What’s your role at The Isbourne?
I teach the Introduction to Astrology course, which is one of the College’s Quality Endorsed courses, and am one of the tutors on The Energy of The Universe Level Three course. I’m also teaching several of the College’s new marketing mini-workshops for holistic practitioners that take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays this summer. In addition, I help Chloe in The Isbourne’s marketing department one day a week and run the Gloucestershire Holistic Networking Group, which meets on the first Friday of every month. It keeps me busy!
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by how the movements of the planets affect our emotions, desires and relationships, as well as the course of our lives. I was still at school when I discovered astrology and it helped me understand myself and my family better, as well as the sometimes incomprehensible behaviour of friends. Afterwards I did a Foundation in art and then went on to study art history at university – I came to love the visionary paintings of Samuel Palmer, as well as the dreamlike art of painters such as Odilon Redon and Wassily Kandinsky. Music has always been an inspiration – sometimes because it opens up portals to inner worlds and sometimes because it makes me want to react to it through movement or dance. I am also inspired by the thoughts and ideas of the eminent Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, who coined the terms ‘collective unconscious’, ‘introvert and extrovert’ and ‘synchronicity’, and who respected astrology as a coherent system of arcane knowledge.
How would you describe your journey?
At the age of eighteen I experienced a crisis of faith, during which I found that everything I believed in on inspection turned out to be illusory. It was only when there was nothing left at all that I discovered spiritual ideas, as well as Eastern philosophies and practices such as meditation and yoga. I felt at the time that I was being guided on a journey of learning, and one of the things I encountered on the way was astrology, which changed my world-view completely. Later on, in the mid 1990s, I started practising astrology professionally as well as helping run the Aquarius Severn Astrology Society (which still meets on the first Thursday of the month at The Isbourne). At the same time I attended a course in NLP, which improved my communication skills, helped me develop a more positive mindset and gave me additional tools for helping my astrological clients.
What did you do before you joined the Isbourne family?
In the early 1990s I co-founded Gloucestershire Connections, a bimonthly holistic events guide that I published for 21 years. In the mid 1990s I learned to design websites and did so until 2011 when I decided that teaching web design was more enjoyable – and fitted better with my philosophy of empowering people to help themselves. In 1997 I wrote Astrology, A Beginner’s Guide, for Hodder Headline, and around the same time co-authored with James Hunt a series of sixteen Career Fulfilment Guides based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, itself based on the personality type ideas of Carl Jung. Apart from a couple of years in the late 1980s and in 1990 I have always been self-employed, and I love the freedom it gives me to set my own goals.
What are your favourite holistic treatments/practices?
I used to love doing yoga and intend to take it up again one day! My favourite ‘practice’ however is dance. Being able to move in whatever way I feel inspired to is incredibly freeing and puts me back in touch with my body and my imagination – a great antidote to working with technology during the week. It makes me feel great, gets my heart beating faster and I always finish feeling more energised yet mentally calmer than when I started. To that end I co-run DanceJourney every month in Cheltenham with movement facilitator Jo-Anne Hale and I love helping other people discover the same sense of freedom and joy.
Tell us about your interests/hobbies
I like travelling and would like to do lots more! It’s great being where the light, the food, the language and the culture is different, and I enjoy exploring landscapes on foot. For the last five years a small group of friends have held a weekly film club in each other’s homes and we each bring home-made, usually vegan, food to share. This always results in an unpredictable but always delicious feast, and has expanded my appreciation of film as a medium. We recently had an allotment in an idyllic plot, which we transformed from a waste-ground full of buried plastic and metal into a productive and happy space. It was hard work but we got a great sense of satisfaction from eating our own organic produce.
You can find more information about the courses Graham teaches on at www.isbourne.org