My Life Path

I grew up in Cornwall in love with the sea and the granite, but with exam success and academic study as the best chance to escape into the wider world. I won a place at Trinity Hall, Cambridge to read English in 1970, and escaped to a place of intellectual stimulation and narcissistic opportunity. Since then I have pulsated between the pull of the wide world, and the elemental power of the Cornish land.

At Cambridge my love of acting in the theatre became a fascination with directing, gradually specializing in more experimental and improvized productions. My desire was to create something real but archetypal, personal but universal, that would really reach and touch the audience. Reading Grotowski's Towards a Poor Theatre meant I had a name for this: holy theatre. Grotowski was seeking to create a theatre with no barriers, where the actor could directly embody life to be witnessed by the audience as a kind of sacrament of which they partake. I applied through the British Council for a scholarship to study at his Theatre Laboratory in Wroclaw, Poland after graduating from Cambridge.

Getting a first class degree released me from having to prove myself intellectually all the time. I also applied for a theatre directors' training scheme which I desperately wanted to get a place on, and for the Granada TV production training scheme, which I had no charge about. At the interviews I was a tongue-tied sheep on the one I cared too much about, and a self-confident bright spark for the television people where I wasn't so attached to the outcome. I failed the theatre scheme and got a place at Granada, one of seven selected from 1500 applicants. This was my first lesson in attachment and non-attachment. Having heard no news from Poland, I went off excitedly to Manchester.

Just before Christmas a telegram from Poland arrived at my parents' village in Cornwall. It was hard to decipher as the Post Office had written all the letters in one sequence as they hadn't recognized any words. It turned out to be in French, and decoded was in invitation to auditions in Wroclaw for January 2nd. For the first and only time in my life I threw the I Ching and got Revolution. With the blessing of my boss at Granada I caught the train across a snowy iron curtain on 1st Jan 1974.

Theatre Laboratory, Poland

I was in Poland for five lifechanging months. The stage theorique was a mixture of studying Grotowski's journey, and exploring ourselves. We ran backwards through the black room of the theatre space until we could "see" or sense what was behind us through our energy bodies. We went to sleep in the workspace without watches or windows, and were woken to carry on without any sense of how long we had slept, or whether it was day or night, to free us from the mind's dictates and expectations. We watched through the night with the question "what substance are you made of?" I had a vision of being a rounded stone of blue elvin, but without substance, so wierdly floating on the surface of the sea, battered by wind and waves, with a longing to gather weight and sink into the calm depths and come to rest on the sand, with shafts of sunlight streaming down from above.
Grotowski impressed with his new paradigms for theatre, his passion, his honesty, and his daring to think outside the box. He was beginning his paratheatre experiments, meetings in the mountains between the troupe and participants where masks could drop, where people could share deep moments of contact and togetherness without words, dancing through the night around a fire, bathing in the dawn, breakfasting on fresh mik straight from the cow - letting life touch them directly. Was it art? No, more like a snare to catch life. Most inspiring was the contact with the actors, who were simply so energetic, so alive and open and passionate with a creativity and intelligence that had nothing to do with the mind and all to do with being liberated from forms and open to the vibrant flow of life through their bodies. I wanted to be like them. But how?


The years after Poland were confusing. The old didn't attract or convince me any more, but I had only a vision of but no real grasp of the new. I saw the gap between where I was - heady, inhibited, anxious, adapted - and where I wanted to be - alive, open, fearless, free. I had some aliveness and adventurousness, that was mirrored in my attractiveness to women, but it didn't take them long to discover the needy, anxious pleaser underneath. How to close the gap? The answer was bioenergetics and body orientated psychotherapy based on Wilhelm Reich. I kidded myself I wanted to learn techniques to work in drama and drama therapy with real strong emotions such as anger in other people and hold a safe space for participants. This was a byproduct, but more deeply I was discovering my suppressed anger and other energies and starting the journey of liberating myself from my desire to be loved, from my controlling  mother, from my fear of my own power and the intensity of my aliveness. I financed myself through teaching, but my more important path was training in humanistic psychotherapy with Richard Dror and David Boadella. I learned to be more open and honest with women from the beginning, and my relationships shifted from quantity towards quality.
One teaching job was in Bremen, North Germany, and the opportunity arose to teach Reichian massage and bioenergetic weekends. My client base grew so big that I made once again the decision to leave a steady job, and set up as a self-employed therapist in Bremen. I ended up there for eleven years, co-founding the Roots and Wings therapy centre, and running individual, evening and residential sessions and a bodywork therapy training.

SkyDancing Tantra

I and my partner at this time, Monika, had met at a demonstration of tantra massage by Andro, and we wanted to experience tantra, but each time we booked on a couples group it was cancelled. Finally in desperation we overcame our fear and went on a four-day group with Margot Anand. We were so touched by the heart energy and aliveness we immediately booked on the year long training, the third Training in Love and Ecstasy. I was particularly moved by the message to follow the authority of my own heart, and realized that I was still trying to get it right, to please. Fine, so I was trying to be a good man rather than a good boy, to please my therapist whose ideas I agreed with rather than my mother whose ideas I rejected, but still the system itself hadn't changed. Tantra offered a deeper level of freedom. Sometimes it took my ego to push me through moments of fear. Margot warned us that through the strong process childhood illnesses might come up for healing, and indeed I had asthma for eight days. But fear of rejection became experiences of belonging, fear of inadequacy became experiences of fullness and empowerment.

After the training I assisted Margot on two year long trainings and joined the first SkyDancing teachers' training, completing it on my 40th birthday in March 1992, becoming a licensed SkyDancing teacher.

On Margot's training we were 64 participants, only 10 of whom were couples, so couples tended to become second-class citizens, rather judged as clinging on to each other for safety instead of being free spirits and one of the beautidul sexy people. I was determined to create a) a tantra beyond narcissism, where energy mattered more than appearance, and b) a couples training I would like to have experienced, that honoured the special path of bonded couples: a training about manifesting the god in the man and the goddess in the woman, creating a path of respect and honouring between them and love being the recognising and calling forth of the highest in each other. The other becomes a mirror of the undeveloped part of oneself. Love is expressed not through lack, not having those qualities in yourself and being therefore needily dependent on the presence of the other, but through seeing your partner as your teacher of these qualities, and becoming whole and complete in yourself.  Margot had no patience with the heavy arguments and struggles that couples go through, whereas I saw them as an opportunity to confront one's own karmic patterns and find liberation, instead of moving on to a new partner whenever the mirror of the relationship became irksome.

With Margot’s blessing I therefore created the SkyDancing Couples Training and taught it together with Monika in north Germany, and in south Germany for SkyDancing Deutschland.
I was still seeing therapy clients for individual sessions, but the therapy groups had been replaced by tantra ones. Monika and I separated but continued to teach together, including the first tantra groups and couples training in the UK. I met my wife Siggi assisting Margot at a festival in the Black Forest. At the same time I became an apprentice of and organizer and translator in Germany for Arwyn Dreamwalker, a powerful shamanic teacher of mixed Irish and Navajo blood, who taught me being in the dreamtime and holding ritual space and powerful ceremonial energy. I also studied the Quodoushka fire medicine teachings of Swift Deer.

Pregnant with my first son we decided to move to Cornwall and set up the SkyDancing Institute UK in 1994. Margot came to launch us at Gaunt’s House, and the first individuals training was soon added to the Sacred Couple training. After some years of commuting between Germany and England I left Germany to Monika and her new partner, and Hilary Spenceley, now of Shakti Tantra, developed from my student through assistant to co-teacher. Several other current UK tantra teachers were my students: Martin Jelfs, Leora Lightwoman, Jewls Wingfield, among others. In 1998 began the first training in the Czech Republic., spawning a generation of Czech tantra teachers.
In these years also I developed management trainings, team buildings, coaching and team and project supervision for BMW, Rover, Rolls Royce and Shared Intelligence. I also facilitated, coached and delivered the training for the prize-winning change management


Twenty years after I began, I am still teaching tantra. Every other path in my life led on to another: acting to directing, directing to therapy, therapy to tantra; but tantra is the one path I have not demystified, have not found the end of. Every week I discover new insights, even teaching at a beginner’s level, spirals of meaning below spirals, new doors opening, new questions arising. Above all, tantra gives me a sense of purpose. I have the privilege of seeing healing, transformation and flowerings of aliveness and creativity on an almost daily basis. Over the twenty years there have been many changes. Tantra is well established in the alternative scene, but is still treated with ridicule based on fear in the media, when it is not being sensationalized. It has still to receive the recognition of yoga or psychotherapy, that it is a serious, life-enhancing path that can benefit anyone who is looking to expand their possibilities.

In teaching tantra I feel I have found an excellent form to realize the ideals that Grotowski was working towards. The workshops facilitate deep, open meeting without masks, more, beyond ego, meeting with body, heart and spirit. The stripping away of unnecessary externals that Grotowski started – scenery, proscenium arch, text, has been completed by eradicating the actor who allowed the spectator to experience vicariously, and replacing him with direct participation and experience of one’s own aliveness, energy, feelings and sensations, and of one’s own spirit. The sacred is still manifested as meaningful time, space, and activity, and life is not represented or symbolized, but is embodied, to be experienced directly. Touching deeply, communing, sharing energy has become a teachable way of life.