Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester


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About us: We are Greater Manchester based GreenSpirit members and other interested people who meet regularly in the Greater Manchester area. We run a calender of events meeting approximately once a month. If you have any ideas for future events please email


Some past events:

Our Planet home: Animate Earth – Monday 31st March 2014, at Luther King House, Brighton Grove, off Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5JP 7-9pm.

The next Greater Manchester GreenSpirit meeting will be a DVD of Stephan Harding’s Animate Earth.  Stephan Harding is a famous ecologist and colleague of James Lovelock and believes that we urgently need to develop an expanded science which cultivates intuitive wisdom as well as rational knowledge so that we can experience everything, from the smallest microbes, to our planet’s life sustaining cycles as deeply interconnected.

James Lovelock writes that what we need to learn to do is love our planet with the same love we give our family and our tribe. This DVD shows how we are part of our wonderful planet. More details of film here

After watching and listening to Stephan Harding showing us the interconnected nature of the planet, we will discuss together how we experience our planet home, Gaia.

Luther King House has easy access from Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations through the number 40s buses. There are bicycle racks outside and a secure shed. Location.

We request people contribute a small donation towards room hire.

Please email, if you would like any further details.


Information about GreenSpirit: GreenSpirit is a national charity – a network of people who celebrate the human spirit in the context of our place in the natural world and Earth’s own evolutionary journey. Our radical vision brings together the rigour of science, the creativity of artistic expression, the passion of social action and the wisdom of spiritual traditions of all ages. Attracting those of many faith traditions, we are a body of people who believe that human life has both an ecological and a spiritual dimension. You do not  need to be a member of GreenSpirit to come to our events, however we would encourage you to visit and consider joining up. For a small annual subscription you will recieve the GreenSpirit journal three times a year, have access to our social networking site and recieve information about our national events.


Past events: To find out a little bit more about our group activities, take a look at our past events below (many of the reports include links to further information about the topics covered):

Monday 18th November 2013: The ancient wisdom of our land, Quaker Meeting House, Manchester – 7pm start

copyright belongs to Jason Smalley © 2008

with Nicola and Jason

Our previous shamanic evenings have been really popular and we are pleased to be welcoming back Nicola and Jason to share another connected evening with us.

Shamanism is a fast growing branch of earth-based spirituality.

Nicola and Jason work between the worlds, bringing through ancient wisdom to help understand where we have come from, make sense of the present and create our future.  We will draw on the energies of the full moon, journey with our power animals and receive insights for whatever we are working with at the time. There will be drumming, singing, rattling, and dancing as well as time to go to that quiet space within, and learn more about shamanism and experience how this ancient practice can be used to help with navigating modern day life.

Please arrive at Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS for a 7pm start. Suggested donation of £ 3-5  per person to cover room hire, depending on numbers attending. If you have any questions you can reach Nicola on 07805 490404 or email

Gaia’s Graveyards – a shared ritual to bear witness to endangered species on 8th July 2013


Gaia’s Graveyards was facilitated by Helena Kettleborough and Pam Winter – a shared ritual St Agnes Church, Gorton, to bear witness to endangered species on earth and acts of hope which we can think about and do. A number of press cuttings and other item were scattered around the chairs in the contemplative atmosphere of the church. Members of the group walked round viewing these in silence for a period of time and then returned to the hall where there were magazines and other items about campaigns relevant to the articles we had viewed in the church. This was followed by a group discussion of this experience.

The evening also included a short discussion on our previous programme and ideas for the future. We decided to set up a study group (more of that in the introduction above), and continue with some public meetings as previously but less frequent.

This was our last meeting before the summer break.

Ecologically advantageous systems of growing on 17th June 2013


Birchfields Forest Garden, Rusholme

We met in the basement of a house in Rusholme near Birchfields Park, South Manchester belonging to Plan B Housing Co-op. This space is available for use by community groups, for a donation, and has facilities for making drinks and showing DVDs through a projector linked to your own laptop computer. It has a separate door at the front of the house so can be accessed without disturbing the household.

The evening started with shared food and chat, followed by a brief go-round of introductions.

There are many alternative ecologically advantageous systems of growing plants, particularly for human food consumption. These include a Japanese system called “natural farming”, agroforestry, permaculture, organic and vegan organic (sometimes referred to as“stock free”).

We viewed two DVDs specifically about vegan organic growing methods:

Grow Your Own Fruit & Veg which demonstrates how you can feed yourself and your family from your allotment or garden using stockfree organic techniques.

Vegan-Organic Farming which is an introduction to Stockfree Organics on a larger commercial scale featuring Ian Tolhurst.

Both these DVDs are available on loan from Barry.

We finished off the evening with a visit to two nearby projects in Rusholme which follow many of the principles of these alternative systems.  They overlap a great deal in places, but each has its own specific combination of principles. They all involve a greater respect for other species than conventional methods and do not damage biodiversity as much as conventional chemical based agriculture. They can also be felt to have a greater spiritual benefit for those taking part in them.

Birchfields Forest Garden and Barry’s Allotment (NB: you have to be a paid up member of GreenSpirit to access these blogs about these two projects)

For further information email Barry: barryj[at]

We took part in a Council of All Beings on 13th May 2013



After spending a little time outside to decide on the being we would be, we came back into the Meeting House to participate in a Council of All Beings, following the ideas of Joanna Macy.

This was designed as a taster session, given the time avaliable and we will re-run if there is interest, for longer in the future.

It is a gentle, participative workshop, where we have the opportunity to think about planet Earth from the viewpoints of the other creatures and beings  with whom we share the planet.


You can find further information about a Council of all Beings at:

We watched “Journey of the Universe” on 8th April 2013 and afterwards we had a discussion on what the film meant for us.

Journey of the Universe

An Epic Story of Cosmic, Earth, and Human Transformation

A Collaboration of Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker

Journey of the Universe is a dramatic and expansive film that reimagines the universe story and reframes the human connection to the cosmos. Created by a renowned team of scientists, scholars, and award-winning filmmakers, it is beautifully filmed in HD on the Greek island of Samos, the birthplace of Pythagoras.

Journey is hosted by evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme, whose stories awaken us to the beauty and complexity of our planet. The film was written by Swimme and Yale historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker and produced by Patsy Northcutt and David Kennard.

“An introduction to Thomas Berry’s work” on 11th March 2013

“Meditations with Thomas Berry”

Sr June Raymond visited us for a second time, discussing some of Thomas Berry’s work. June is a longstanding member of the GreenSpirit Council, and produced the book “Meditations with Thomas Berry”. (click here for book review)

June explains that she sees spirituality as absolutely a key part of working with the environment. Once we are connected to earth by love we will not be able to go on harming the earth. We have all the answers now to live sustainable lives, but we are not changing. We need to see ourselves as connected to and part of the Earth.

“The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To become alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence”.

Thomas Berry

We had another thought provoking evening in Sr June’s company. Thanks to Clive and his parishoners at St Agnes Church, Reddish for hosting this evening.

“Deeping into ancient wisdom through Shamanism” on 18th February 2013

Following our popular introduction to shamanism evening last October, Jason and Nicola will lead us through another shamanic evening. We will draw on the energies of early spring and journey to our power animals and guides to receive insights for whatever we are working with at the time. This is an opportunity to spend a beautiful evening with likeminded souls and journey to that quiet space within, and learn more about shamanism and experience how this ancient practice can be used to help with navigating modern day life.

Please arrive at Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS between 6.30pm and 7pm for a bring-and-share vegetarian supper for a 7pm start. If you have any questions you can reach Nicola on 07805 490404 or email

“An Ecology of Mind” on 28th January 2013

We had a wonderful evening at Victoria Baths in Manchester watching the film “An Ecology of Mind” – a daughter’s loving film portrait of the life and work of Gregory Bateson whose thinking and writing touched fields as varied as ecopsychology, psychology, philosophy, science and systems thinking. It certainly prompted a stimulating discussion afterwards on the nature of connection and disconnection which is so central to the way we all live our lives.


Click on the picture to link to Nora Bateson’s website, which includes a clip of her DVD.

Nora does a lot of lectures and presentations on her father’s work so check out her facebook page for more details: Nora’s facebook page

An Ecology of Mind is a spell-binding, lyrical, and very important film about Gregory Bateson and his revolutionary ideas that helped launch the modern ecology movement…In the 1960s and 1970s, Bateson became a mentor to students, seasoned academics, and environmentalists, providing the language and insights that linked ecology to general systems, psychology, sociology, epistemology, and broad theories of science. Along the way, Bateson conceived and illuminated some of the most significant ideas of the era: cybernetics, double-bind, changeability, and the pattern that connects. The film effectively conveys the breadth, depth, rigor, and dynamism of Gregory Bateson’s contributions to science and humanity.

  Rex Weyler, Co-founder, Greenpeace International

 There is a lot more information about the film here.

GreenSpirit member Noel Charlton has written a book and several articles about Bateson and his ideas. His website is here.

Leading into the Winter Solstice on 10th December 2012

We had a lovely ritual celebration of the winter solstice during which we all explored the impact of short days, long nights, lots of rest and reading, enjoyment of the naked landscape, the wonderful night sky and much more. It was a lovely way to acknowledge this special time of year when the annual cycle is about to turn again.


Centrepiece with the four directions represented around the earth. Click on image to enlarge.

We also took time to talk about the many experiences we have all had with our Greenspirit group over the past year and what the future might hold for us in the months ahead.

Downshifting revisited 19th November 2012. Our second meeting about downshifting resulted in a very stimulating discussion from which it was clear that the process of downshifting is complex and multilayered. What we heard is that most people are already doing lots to reduce their impact on the environment including using local shops, getting rid of lots of ‘stuff’, using public transport and reusing or repairing rather than buying new products.  There was a general concensus about the importance of support in the process, of letting go rather than pushing against and living by our personal values was seen as central. The fact that we all have choice in how we live, what and where we buy was also pivotal.

One other societal issue which was raised was the impact of the narrowing of the curriculum in education at the expense of the arts. There was strong agreement that the arts play a significant developmental role in both empathy and creativity which are both increasingly lacking in western society.

Samhain celebration on 31st October 2011. We held an informal gathering to celebrate Samhain and decide, at the start of the Celtic new year, what activities we would like to run over the next 12 months. This is the beginning of a new dark-light cycle – whispering of new beginnings and the stirring of the seed from below the ground – a very fitting time for us to be starting something new and exciting. Along with sharing food together we held a small ceremony to remember our ancestors – for without which we would not be here today.


Our beautiful Samhain Mandala

Downshifting  explained. Monday 28th November. After sharing another delicious bring-and-share supper, we discussed the concept of “Downshifting” which is explained in Marian Van Eyk McCain’s book:

Click image to read a review and purchase a copy of Downshifting from GreenSpirit books

One of GreenSpirits longstanding members, and iconic Downshifter shared his inspiring story of how he has downshifted. It was truly inspirational, and he summarised it perfectly… “downshifting has nothing to do with climate change…. its about personal liberation”. We have agreed to support each other through this process, checking in with our progress at each meeting. One of the things we are all going to try and focus  on is shopping at supermarkets less – something which will have an unfathomable impact on climate change resilience, improving the local economy and reductions in carbon emissions.

An introduction to Thomas Berrys work – Monday 23rd January: We had a wonderful evening with our guest speaker with Sr June Raymond discussing some of Thomas Berrys work. June is a longstanding member of the GreenSpirit Council, and produced the book “Meditations with Thomas Berry”. June so eloquently explained that she sees spirituality as absolutely a key part of working with the environment. Once we are we are connected to earth by love we will not be able to go on harming the earth. We have all the answers now to live sustainable lives, but we are not changing. We need to
see ourselves as connected and part of the Earth. “The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To become alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence”. Thomas Berry

Special thanks go to June for giving us such an enlightened evening.

GreenSpirit “Books in a Suitcase” comes to Manchester – Sunday 5th February 2012. We pioneer this brand new scheme at Gorton Monastery, promoting the Book Review Club and selling some wonderful titles including Thomas Berry’s A Great Work, and GreenSpirit a Path to a New Consciousness. Look out for our suitcase at future events!

Monday 20th February 2012, 6.30pm – 9pm in Manchester. Exploring the meaning of Earth as Community: Two of our members Helena Kettleborough and Pam Winter ran a wonderful  session exploring what Earth Community means to us all. There were so many  similarities in our individual interpretations, from the interconnectedness of  all life, to how us humans generally perceive our place in the Earth, as  separate from her. We left feeling enlightened, on a cold, very wet winters  night, and the bring-and-share suppers just keep on getting better and better  too!

On Tuesday 13th March 2012  we held a special event at the Quaker Friends Meeting House . This event was during national Climate Week, and was a Spoke Event to the Manchester Low Carbon Conference . During the evening we paid our respects to Gaia’s Graveyards whilst also considering the opportunities that lie ahead and all the wonderful work that is already being done to help transform our world. We then explored what makes people change their behaviour in order to feed back at the Low Carbon Conference. Thank you Helena for facilitating such a good session.

Celebrating the Spring Equinox at Arbor Low Stone Circle,
Derbyshire, 21st March 2012. The Spring Equinox is an extremely powerful time to initiate new projects and to set intentions for the year ahead. We spent the afternoon walking in  the beautiful Peak District, before having a small ceremony as the sun set at this ancient spiritual site with stunning views across Derbyshire.

Matthew Fox, international teacher, radical theologian, and spiritual activist. Friday 6th April-Saturday 7th April at St Agnes Church, North Reddish, Manchester. Matthew Fox is a radical theologian, spiritual activist, and founder of Creation Spirituality. As an activist Fox’s interests have been the renewal of education and of religion. In the modern age we have developed knowledge, but at the expense of
wisdom. The result has been ecological disaster and destitution, with a loss of
meaning and shared values in our lives. We need our spirituality to bring
wisdom back to us and to refresh our yearning hearts. During this event Matthew Fox explored how we can awaken to our divine origins so as to become transformative agents
of healing and wholeness in the 21st Century.

GreenSpirit Spring Walking Break at Gradbach, nr Buxton in Derbyshire. This years GreenSpirit Spring walking break “ Clouds and Chasms” ran from  Wednesday 11th – Saturday 14th April at Gradbach, Derbyshire. A lot of the organising was done by two members of the Greater Manchester group. We spent some devotional moments on our walks in this beautiful landscape, with its rolling hills, bubbling brooks and ancient woodland, reconnecting and celebrating with nature.

Walking the Universe Story in Manchester on Monday 28th May.  On a beautiful spring evening we embarked on a cosmic walk in Birchfields Park in Rusholme. The age of the universe is reckoned to be about 14 billion years. If we can get  a real understanding of the vastness of time and space, we may be able to gain  a new perspective on the meaning of our lives. We cannot conceive the enormity  of time and space using pure numbers. What does 14,000,000,000 mean to you? By  measuring out some of the important events in the development of the universe  on a route where distance is an analogue of time we can get a better  understanding of our place in this awesome creation. After walking around 1km, we came to the last million years. We were all astounded to visualise that humans evolved on earth just centimetres from the end of the walk, and Christ was born just two human hair widths from the finish line – the present day. It certainly put things into perspective for us all.

Saturday 14th July: An experiential workshop  in the outdoors set in Saddleworth. We spent a beautiful afternoon up in the hills and moorland around Saddleworth. We took time to be with and listen to the natural world thereby connecting with our own natural rhythm – ultimately connecting with ourselves as nature. And we were blessed with warmth and sunshine after what had seemed like endless rain for the past few weeks.

Monday 15th October 6.30pm – 9pm: A shamanic evening. Tapping into ancient wisdom to help us in the modern day, Jason and Nicola led us through a shamanic journey to meet our power animals and receive guidance  for whatever we were working through at the time. There was an introduction to the roots of shamanism and how it can be used to help with modern day life, and an opportunity to tap into the ancient wisdom of this age old practice. We had a beautiful evening together sharing this practice with twenty other like minded souls.