The Night Breathes Us In

A Dark Mountain Event at Reading's Festival of the Dark

On the 25th of March the Dark Mountain project presents The Night Breathes Us In as part of Outrider Anthems’ year-long Festival of the Dark. This unique event will celebrate the Spring Equinox with a combination of workshops and performance: a participative journey of story, song and fire.

At a time when winter is ending and spring has begun, we will look at our relationship to the seasonal shifts of the year, and to the deeper flow of both circular and linear time. We will explore the play of light and dark as expressed in the stories and myths that enrich our lives.

Throughout the afternoon there will be a full programme of talks and workshops. In the evening, as the light fades, we will take your hand and lead you on a lantern-lit procession, a waymarked route of shadowed installations and performance, to a secret location where we’ll share stories, music, poetry, and the warmth of a good fire; we’ll celebrate the dark and the community of people that has gathered; we’ll let the night breathe us in.

12:30pm – 10:00pm
For full timings see here

Time Walk– the story of the Earth in a thousand paces

Take a journey through time, of nearly five billion years, tracking the story of our home planet. Marvel at the way everything on Earth evolved from stardust. From the origins of our world through eras of amazing life forms to the present moment, this is the strangest true story ever told. Your cosmic guide will be artist, musician and theatre maker, Annabelle Macfadyen.

Dark Mountain Issue 10: Uncivilised Poetics

Author and Dark Mountain editor Nick Hunt will introduce Uncivilised Poetics, the latest anthology from the Dark Mountain Project. This is our tenth collection of stories, essays, poems and images, produced in a hardback edition. We will share readings from the book and explore the wider impact of Dark Mountain as a cultural movement in a time of profound change.

Crossing the Bridge – navigating ourselves in Deep Time

A group exploration of the ancestral calendar of the growing and solar year, led by writer and Dark Mountain editor, Charlotte Du Cann. The session will look at the challenges and opportunities represented by the eight stations or ‘doors’ of the year, focusing on the Spring Equinox.

We will be looking at the layers of time (as distinct from 24/7 mechanical time) – which includes the seasons, biographical time, the times we are in (history, era of climate change), as well as ancestral or mythic time – and sharing new ways this ‘clock of stones’ can teach us how to be real human beings, rooted in place and time. Please bring a stone, or the memory of a stone, that has held significance for you through time.

Singing the Dark

Darla Eno and Tamsin Wates invite you to join them in a celebration of the songs and sounds of the dark. Taking inspiration from the habits of animals at night, we will use body and voice to begin exploring how darkness opens an elevated level of perception and sensory awareness. From a place of listening and responding, we will allow our collective sound to emerge.

Stepping Out into the Dark

In this session, writer, therapist and ‘human rewilder’ Steve Wheeler will lead a series of collaborative games to help us to reconnect with our bodies, to trust in the natural wisdom of our hearts. The session will take as its starting point the age-old human instinct to draw close to a lit place of safety, safe from the wildness lurking in the shadows all around. Through conversation, movement, partner work and imagination, we will explore what it means to embrace the shadow-side, and to step boldly out into the darkness of the unknown.

Holding the Fire

Lucy Neal, theatre maker and author of Playing for Time: making art as if the world mattered, hosts this exchange of stories about warmth and holding true to our inner fire. Inspired by Sicily’s 3rd century activist, Lucia of Syracuse, who ‘held the fire’ on her head when taking soup to the poor, with the help of a wooden headtorch, illuminating a path through the dark.

Procession and performance: The Night Breathes Us In

At 6.30pm we will light the lanterns and begin our procession through the streets of Reading. The walk will take approximately 30 minutes – look out for ‘interventions’ along the way. Arrival at our secret woodland location will be marked by a literal and symbolic crossing point. Be prepared for strange encounters on a journey through an enchanted otherworld!

Once we’ve gathered in the woods, the fire will be lit and we will share a feast of stories, music, songs and poetry. The evening will formally end at around 10pm, with an escorted walk back to where we began.

For more information on the event, and to buy tickets, see the Outrider Anthems page here.