I am so happy that Manda Scott is coming to the camp this year – we have been trying to get her along as a guest speaker since 2017!
I read her Boudica sdries many years ago, and I learnt and felt and discovered so much from that, connecting me to the pasts of this land, and dreaming into the cultures and peoples that were here in Britain before the Roman conquest, and how their cultures may have worked. Its a powerful and tragic story of how we were, what we have lost and how we lost it.

To write those books, and ‘research’ those cultures, Manda developed a lucid dreaming technique to discover what may have been going on – a technique we probably used ourselves here 2000 years ago as part of our rituals and initiations. As well as being a best selling author and social change activist, Manda also trains people in this way of ‘Dreaming Awake’, which she calls a shamanic practice for the 21st century

Manda’s work is also very focussed on social change, and reparing our cultures, as her new book ‘Any Human Power’ strongly demonstrates. To this end, she runs the ‘Accidental Gods‘ podcast and Thrutopia, her masterclass on cultural change.

Manda recently recorded a podcast with Deborah Benham, our Village Hearth ‘West’ and storyteller: ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS OF LIFE: BIOMIMICRY, COMPLEXITY AND PEACEBUILDING. Its a great introduction to them both.
Listen here.

Manda will be joining us on the Tuesday evening of the camp, to share her insights into social change, ceremony and the land connected cultures of these islands.


Review of Manda’s new book –

“Imagining a future that is actually possible.”
A Review of Any Human Power by Manda Scott (September Publishing 2024) – review by Root Cuthbertson

Homeschooled 14-year-old Kaitlyn is lucky. She has the support of her entire family.  When yet another black teenager’s death is ignored by the legacy media, Kaitlyn decides to do something about it.  Using her influence within the living media, she becomes the focus for a global movement of millions, as well as some dangerously powerful enemies.  She strategizes with her older siblings Niall (radical lawyer), Kirsten (cultural change-maker), and Finn (online gamer/hacktivist); with her mother Maddie (theatre actor/director), father Eriq (Moroccan/Brazilian venture capitalist), grandfather Connor (Irish folk-hero).  And also with her grandmother, Lan (shamanic practitioner/anthropologist), who died when Kaitlyn was a baby.  

Using the lucid dreaming techniques she both learned and taught when she was alive, Lan has been keeping a watchful eye on the family.  Existing between life and death, Lan has limited access to both the natural world and a hypersensory dream world inhabited by spirit guides, ancient powers, and comforting familiars.  Lan promised on her deathbed to help however she can, but will her meager skill and unfinished training be enough?  Can she enter into the terrifying danger of the Void, bringing enough of her love and intention to split the flow of Time?  So she can see how to prevent the many possible catastrophic futures that might arise from Kaitlyn’s choices?  

And when everyone’s best efforts cannot avert heartbreaking tragedy, how can Lan convince them there is still hope?  Reaching the future they all want will be like walking a razor’s edge.  How can Lan’s tiny nudges possibly help them to redirect their anger and pain, and their oh-so-understandable fears?  If the future of all life on Earth hinges on this one family’s choices, how can they get it right?  Can they transform a self-righteous rage for vengeance into vulnerability, compassion, and inclusive solutions before it’s too late?  

Part family drama, part heated intergenerational argument, part political thriller, part revolutionary handbook, and part shamanic guide to the afterlife, Manda Scott delivers on so many promises with Any Human Power.  

We get multisensory nature imagery — flying with a flock of rooks; fresh- and saltwater journeys with trout and salmon; an old tree empathically nourishing a young one; the evocative scents-sights-sounds of the British countryside. Scott has clearly spent time learning from the natural world, and vividly brings alive for readers her love of Life.  

We get insights into the virtual and online realities where, globally, millions of people now interact, including savvy screenagers and predatory pedophiles.  We get some delectable thought experiments: what if the kleptocratic cadre of vulture capitalists — mostly old white men clinging to positions of power — were exposed as creators and consumers of hate-porn in real life?  What if online gamers created community ‘IRL’, transferring their skills to level-up first a social media trend, and then a flat-pack political campaign?  

We get the dynamic tension of relational dramas — siblings, parents, children, grandparents, ex-partners and lovers, with a smidgeon of polyamorous entanglement for spice.  A mother is outraged by her own mother’s complicity in her daughter’s perceived betrayal.  A previously responsibility-avoidant father is both relieved and surprised when his daughter and his stepchildren welcome him.  A grandson’s emotional numbing and suicidal thoughts are cleverly addressed and redirected by a worried grandmother.  Pathways to forgiveness and healing, never easy, are nonetheless offered, and sometimes miraculously taken.  

We get a classic underdog story, a 21st-century David vs. Goliath.  Can the family resolve internal tactical debates to navigate the tsunami of attention resulting from Kaitlyn’s actions?  How will they defend against the wolves growling at the gates?  Will they be strong enough to adapt and withstand the new pressures put on them?  Who else can they trust to pitch in when exhaustion threatens to overwhelm everyone?  

Largely a nail-biting race against despair, the book remains clear-eyed about the regressive resistance of naysayers, and the violent and abusive tactics the establishment is willing to use.  Without pulling any punches, without any saccharine-sweet sugar-coating, Scott invites readers to imagine a future that is actually possible.  Starting within the parameters of what already exists, Scott deftly depicts, with incisive and well-researched practicality, how to get from where we are now to a more regenerative future that includes all life on Earth.  

She gives us a fly-on-the-wall, in-the-room-where-it-happens view of a small group of committed people preparing to effectively replace our broken political, economic, and legacy media systems with a number of viable alternatives. This is reportage disguised as fiction.  Scott is simply reporting on what has already happened — and what might yet happen if we have the courage to implement, on a wider scope and scale, some real-world solutions that have been tried, tested, and proven to work — on the ground, in real life, in many parts of the world.  

Any Human Power has ruined for me any other kind of storytelling.  This is all i want now, the new yardstick by which i measure every kind of story.  i’ll be on the lookout for more ‘thrutopian’ stories like this one from now on.