holding the tail of the wolf

The Anima Mundi School of Storytelling presents a year-and-a-day programme for storytellers

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.’                           

Sue Monk Kidd, ‘The Secret Life of Bees’

event Profile

sep 2024-jul 2025
dartmoor / south devon
Event type
Age Range

A beautiful and immersive new training programme for storytellers, performers, artists, and educators, and anyone who longs for deeper connection to the wild world, to Mystery, and to the stories that are hungry to be told. 

Ever since the first ‘Once upon a time’, humanity has been guided along the wisdom trail by making meaning through the invisible hand of story. All cultures share the languages of image, symbol and metaphor and the stories arrived around the fireside thousands of years ago with the capacity to guide, educate, entertain, nourish, heal and inspire.

Over that long stretch of time the role of the storyteller compounded to serve many functions within our communities, be it priest, magician, poet, teacher, advocate, healer, clown, and prophet – to name but a few. This many-faceted role has always attuned to the key ecological frequency of change, oriented towards a protagonist navigating through troubled times, the individual or collective in adversity, and relying on their wits, guile and cunning to find resilience and solutions.

Sound familiar?

Our future is and has always been shaped by the stories we believe in, on both an individual and collective level. The Navajo (Dine) people call the act of storytelling ‘making it holy’ and this underpins and informs the Anima Mundi School’s approach to storytelling as a practice and an artform.

We stand collectively on the precipice of major change and that threshold demands that we listen deeply – to ourselves, to each other and especially, beyond our species. Storytelling is fundamentally about listening, and our imperative now is to train our attention to the many voices clamouring to be heard and re-presented in the stories you might tell.

Their story. Your story. Our story.

The Anima Mundi School of Storytelling offers you an immersive, profound and creative exploration of what it is to be a carrier, maker and/or a teller of stories in these extraordinary times. This programme is for you if you wish to carry story as medicine for yourself and your people.

The journey is centred on 5 residential modules of 5 days supplemented by masterclasses contributed by various practitioners.

These 5 Modules will be hosted in Devon and taught by Jo Blake and Chris Salisbury. The syllabus teaches the fundamental art and craft of embodied storytelling but also includes and emphasises the process and practice of ‘threshold crossings’ in wild nature. This component of the course will support the individual journey towards wholeness using imaginal practices of courting the wild and cultivating one’s own ‘mythos’. This not only informs the stories we tell and the way we tell them but allows us to inhabit ourselves and the world we live in a more engaged and animated way.

This programme is fundamentally an invitation to develop and deepen your apprenticeship to the role of storyteller and what that means for you and your wider community. Our syllabus offers a wild and imaginal trail of breadcrumbs that invites us back to a sacred source – the wellspring of the natural world.

A nature-connected storyteller. Now there’s a thing.

N.B. By storyteller, we mean it in the broadest sense and wish to include a wide range of vocations and aspirations including poets, performers, artists, educators, activists, and teachers etc.

Overall Structure

The core modules are founded on 4 pillars of storytelling – the body, the voice, the spirit and the imagination.

These are supplemented by skills development on various aspects of the art form and are supplemented by visiting tutors with a particular practice and body of experience to deepen the exploration we are undertaking.

Each module will be a sensory exploration of the natural world, ourselves and the stories to keep us on the trail of an embodied practice.

However, another deep well of wild genius awaits, beyond the human, and what’s more, it’s hungry to meet you. For those who are willing to step away from the human village and attune to the heartbeat of the Earth, a great repository of wild wisdom and creative inspiration and provocation can be found. It’s time to pay more attention, and more respect, to what continues to sustain us all. When our hearts beat in rhythm with the Earth, all things become possible.

This programme recognises the potential of everyone to carry story as medicine, and to be in service to life.

This trail will help you get there.


A broad range of storytelling processes will develop our practice and deepen our craft and skillset. These will include voice and bodywork, the physicality of words, physical expressivity, artwork, poetry, music, developing our knowledge of the symbolic and metaphorical, performance compositional processes, telling and listening to many stories, dreamwork, ceremony.

Who is the course for?
  • Storytellers and performers of all disciplines.
  • Educators, activists and change-makers who wish to influence the agenda with the power of story.
  • Anyone who loves story, and sees their own potential as a storyteller.
  • Anyone who loves the Earth, and wishes to be in creative service to a more promising future

I recognized myself in the mirror of the stories– and only then did it become clear to me how to negotiate the quandary of my life. And so the stories– more than just food, more than just nourishment, are medicine. Not specifically to heal– because we have a fantasy of healing– which is that the wounds and the scars will be gone, and we’ll be just as we were before the affliction ever landed on us. But to heal, as I mean it, is to make the wound a source– a generous and generative source– of what you have to give and bring into the world.’

Daniel Deardorff

  1. Sept 11-15 2024
  2. November 26-30 2024
  3. February 5-9 2025
  4. April 30-May 4 2025  
  5. July 9-13 2025


Modules 2 and 3 are based in Dartington, Totnes. Accommodation is organised by participants. Home-stays within the local community are offered, for a modest cost, but if preferred a list of B&B’s also provided.

The rest of the modules are on camp in the Dart Valley, Dartmoor, near Ashburton. Basic camp infrastructure provided. Tents available to hire in needed.

  • Supporter rate:  £2995
  • Regular rate:  £2650
  • Low waged:  £1995*

*Concessions will be dependent on the overall economy of the programme and subject to application and evidence of financial need. Please contact us for more info.

How to reserve a place

For instant booking and to pay a reservation deposit online click here

If you have any questions about the programme please complete a booking enquiry form and we will get back to you. 

course carriers

Chris Salisbury

Chris founded WildWise in 1999 after many years working as an education officer for Devon Wildlife Trust. With a background in the theatre, a training in therapy and a career in environmental education he uses every creative means at his disposal to encourage people to enjoy and value the natural world. He has worked with Ray Mears, John Rhyder, Joseph Cornell and Steve van Metre, amongst many others. He is also a professional storyteller aka ‘Spindle Wayfarer’, and is the founder and Artistic Director for the Westcountry Storytelling Festival. Chris is also trained as a Be the Change facilitator and offers symposiums for interested groups.

Jo Blake is storyteller and interdisciplinary performance maker working at the intersection of storytelling, dance and theatre. She has worked as a storyteller since 2001 and has a PhD in Contemporary Storytelling Practices from the University of Chichester, and an MA in Dance Theatre from Trinity Laban. She is co-founder of the Anima Mundi School of Storytelling, and founder of contemporary storytelling training course, Body, Breath and Story. Her most recent project, HERESY, is a multi-stranded art project inspired by the Gospel of Mary Magdalene: “Blake is a phenomenal storyteller”, A Younger Theatre; “Blake is remarkably in tune to the shifting of the world… a paradigm of natural storytelling” The Wee Review. www.jo-blake.co.uk

Mirel Stambuk

A liminal creature, forever criss-crossing the threshold of her own contractions. Denizen of the dimpsey time, mirror-holder, torch bearer in the passageway to the crypt of inconvenient truths. Lyrical. Curious. Open-hearted. Part-stoat?  

Mirel is a Threshold Guide and has trained in nature connection, myth and wilderness rites of passage with WildWise, the Westcountry School of Myth, Animas Valley and the School of Lost Borders. She has been supporting nature connection programmes and threshold journeys on Dartmoor over the last few years. Some years before that, she was in another story. And in this story, she’ll be listening out for the stories within the stories.  


Other contributors may include Roi Gal-Or, Sally Pomme Clayton and Abbi Pattrix. 

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Places available on a beautiful and immersive new training programme for storytellers, performers, artists, and educators starting in July – details here.