Residential Retreat 2022, Earth-Based Spiritualities

A second spiritual offering to share…

At long last, after the two year long haul of being unable to gather together in person for our wonderful annual residential retreat, Oak Spirit Gatherings is finally happening again! This June 23rd to 26th 2022 will be our fourth event, ‘Sacred Waters‘. Just as in previous years, with each retreat being dedicated to one of the elements, this year the learnings will be based around the element of water. Links at the bottom of this post.

We have the same glorious venue as always, ‘Unstone Grange‘ in Derbyshire. Same fabulous fully-catered vegetarian and vegan food by Richard, all-inclusive of course. Same remarkable workshop programme by wonderful, experienced presenters and practitioners including your Oak Spirit Team. Residential via in-house dormitories, or camping in the big field on the grounds itself!

It’s always an amazing event with drumming, singing, journeying, workshops, social events, opening and closing circles, and plenty of break times to rest and explore the beautiful grounds. A real fully immersive experiential retreat from daily life, to reconnect with yourself spiritually, in nature, with lovely, fellow journeying folk. We’ve built quite the beautiful-hearted community, come be a part of something special, some sit around the fireside with us!

Just look at this awesome line-up!

For my own part, other than being a founding member of the original team organising this glorious event, my workshop offering is shown here.

SO! Get yourself over to OakSpiritGatherings website, read all about it, and sign up through the booking button and form, to grab your place before they all go! ❤

HERE is the Facebook Event too, but just clicking ‘going’ won’t save you a place, only the Website booking button can do that!

See you there 🙂

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Spirituality and Circle

a picture in woodlands, green background, DK sat in a green hat and nature colours patchwork shawl, with his shamanic journey drum and a smile.

Happy to share some wonderful things that are happening in the spiritual side of my work with you all.

Circle 2022.
Multi-cultural hands clasped in a circle, wording 'join our community and experience growth, and deep exploration as we travel around the wheell

It’s open-up time for newcomers to my online Annual Self-Development Circle! It’s so exciting to be travelling around the wheel again with a group of both current and new Circle members. Shamanic journeys, deep-dive self-development, crafts, education and learning together – we all learn from one another. Bringing the whole of myself into this work; the psychotherapist, the shamanic practitioner, the GSRD (gender, sex, relationship diversity) expertise, as always I exist in the liminal spaces with ‘a foot in both worlds’. Link to read all about it and apply to join us is also at the bottom of this post.

Keep reading!

a spiral of stones, seeds, leaves and twigs on the ground, with the wording 'allow, allow, allow. Don't wallow or swallow, just allow'

Once a month we meet up on Zoom for a full 10am – 4pm full day (with comfort breaks) of Circle work together. The rest of the month we have solitary and group work to do, and an online space where we can share and grow together (currently a Facebook group), and even a WhatsApp Circle chat group for sharing pictures and thoughts, happenings and support, growing and socialising together! It’s a real community of folk committed to travelling the year together and learning from one another.

a half mask with the wording beside it, 'we all wear masks in everyday life as the strong, single parent, the capable entrepreneur, the disabled person who manages their pain, the racialised person who deals with microaggressions, the neurodivergent person who has to present allistic. Circle is a space where your mask can drop, and you can discover what it means to be yourself'

I open up the Circle to new members only once a year, thereafter (until the following year) it’s a closed group so that we can develop a safe, familiar, intimate working space together. Currently open but only until the end of May, jump in before you miss your chance!

a pencil outline nude figure, subtle. Wording, 'Unmask and explore the power of your sexual energy'.
screenshot quote from the 'sex with my ex' podcast saying, 'spent part of the morning listening to DK Leather present on BDSM101. And WOW what deliciousness we were served! (2 pages of notes to be precise!). Could've listened to you speak on the subject for hours! Thank you, thank you, thank you' (heart emoji)

We don’t shy away from adult conversation around the sacred or spiritual in regards to sexuality! Many of us recognise that these things are intertwined. Remember that this Circle happens to be trans led, and is a space where diversity is the norm, and all flavour of queer is welcome. ALL are welcome in all your intersectionalities and diversities whether that be via gender, sexuality, culture, disability, neurodivergence, chronic illness… truly ALL are welcome as it’s by this we all learn from one another the deepest.

ALWAYS show up just as you are whether that be happy, sad, frustrated, angry, joyous… it’s an important part of the process. We SHARE these things together in Circle, and someone will always resonate or learn from something you say. Just show up and trust the process.

If you’d like to know more, do go read all about it and apply to join if you feel called to, HERE.

a drawn graphic of figures stood in a circle upon a circle of stones. The wording, 'in the circle we are all equal, when in the circle, no one is in front no one is behind, no one is above, no one is below'
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The Festival of Sexuality, 3 Podcasts, and Tantra4GayMen!

Recently I had the honour of addressing a wonderful event: The Festival of Sexuality, held by Sexual Alchemy aka Rebecca Lowrie. It was wonderful! Lots of loveliness, deliciousness, and keenly sought after education. We received lots of lovely feedback for the Festival, and my presentation too!

HERE is the link to the event profile page on me, and in turn to Rebecca’s super cool website.

It was an elite, excellent group of presenters, including magnificent presenters in this field such as Barbara Carrellas and Mollena, so I was particularly honoured to be invited to talk.

My presentation was BDSM101 for beginners, showing how it’s not all Hollywood presumed whips and chains, and that it can simply be about physical sensations, (erotic, mental and emotional) and deeply connective energy and power exchange. Basically about simply adding deliciousness into your life and bedroom.


On the ‘Sex With My Ex Podcast’ the following week there was a great segment of feedback about the Festival, including a bit of ‘fanboy’ commentary about yours truly! Worth a listen and a chuckle HERE.


Earlier in the year I had the fun of recording a podcast with Rebecca Lowrie too, on the delectable topic of Taboo!

‘The Sexual Alchemy Podcast’ with Rebecca Lowrie: listen to Episode 56, Talking with DK Green on the subject of Taboo HERE.


Another exciting thing I did recently was give a workshop for Tantra4GayMen, within their TLA (Tantra Love Academy) community. The workshop has been edited and will be available to watch for members of that community.

The topic was education on transgender (men in particular), with a view to encouraging education and inclusion in their community. It was a profound opportunity to teach a room full of cisgender gay men with beautiful hearts, all about how to include trans men within their community.

I was proud to be invited, and grateful for such an excellent opportunity to advocate for more trans inclusion!

To join that community (if it’s of interest/relevance) go HERE.


Another exciting Podcast! This time with Ruby Rare’s Podcast, on CNM or consensual non-monogamy. We had a great chat, and it was very well received by the listeners. Ruby was awesome fun and we really dug into important issues around this topic.

Go HERE to listen to the Podcast!


Just felt to share some of the smashing sexuality educational fun stuff going on for me.

Feel free to ignore, or enjoy!

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People

Everyone grows and changes. Relationships change shape, shift, begin and end. People come into and out of your life, some stay awhile, some remain for all their, or our own, lives. Those we’re blessed enough to keep in our lives grow, shift and change themselves too. Some pass over, actually leaving this world, and those remain some of my deepest memories.

Children grow up, the shape of those relationships change like the tides, close to less so due to their own busy lives, and wonderfully back again from time to time. We watch, love, ache, miss, adore and cherish all we are able to share. Grandchildren similarly. Some people simply fade from view like weathered rocks, leaving gently over time or in a blaze of some dreadful glory or other. Parents age and we watch and remember that they are, or were, merely human too with all their own struggles, fragilities and changes, wonderfulness and cleverness, sometimes we watch with pride, sometimes with difficulty. Friends come and go, some stay forever, people grow and change and sometimes we fit into the life they live right now, and then we simply don’t any longer. Those who weather the changes become friends for life and oh so important to our hearts.

It can be hard, these losses and changes, but also beautiful as we come to remember what each person brought to our lives, the gifts they bring, the lessons we learn and the hardships we share.

I have a lot of memories, so many pretty pictures in my head from times past, further adventures and shared experiences bring more and more as the years go by. I flick through the faces of all those who’ve passed through my life, whether they still remain or have long since gone from me, and I smile. So many people, so many loves, friendships, memories.

Then again I changed too, many times over the years and in so many ways. I wonder if I’m one of those faces to others, or whether I’m forgotten, lost in the mists of time. There is no sadness attached to this thought, merely curiosity. Do they remember me, as I them I wonder? It matters not, but I hope the pretty pictures I’ve left behind for others hold fondness, kindness, fun, magic and beauty for some at least.

People are amazing things whether good, bad or even ugly of heart. So much of who we are today is the direct result of our experiences of other people. Both the enlightening and treasured experiences they bring and the difficult or awful things, teach us about life, and about ourselves. That’s not to refute that I’d rather some of those bad experiences hadn’t happened, that too is true. Hurts, betrayals, the deepest scars are those created by those interactions with others. But so too are the joys, the exquisite moments, the magical memories that make us smile even many years later. From the deepest loves, to the random stranger who compliments us, those things remain with us long after they’re gone.

My life is very ‘peopley’, in work, rest or play there are always people and I do love to live my life surrounded by them in all different ways. So many people of so many different kinds, as individual and different from one another as wildflowers in a field. Some similar in ‘type’, but oh so many types there are. I love that we all share this one experience called life, we all live and breathe, love and laugh, cry and feel alone from time to time. We have so very much in common, and yet we’re all so very different. The perfection of human imperfection, beauty in all shapes and sizes, and darkness equally so in us all. Aren’t humans amazing things?

Sometimes, however, I need to be with just one person in particular. One that often in our oh so busy lives gets left behind or forgotten. Myself.

I’ve created many of those pretty pictures by and for myself, and the lessons or struggles that have happened – I was there – I’m a party to them too. Some of my memories are of moments alone, times where I’ve been able to contemplate, be with nature alone, draw within and be with myself in or for some experience or other.

So many people don’t like themselves, or worse. So many aren’t able to just accept who they are, always resentful of some aspect of self. I think that’s the saddest thing for me. I like myself, but I remember a time when I did not, and assumed that therefore there was nothing likeable about myself and thus I could not be really loved, for who I actually am.

I was wrong, I’m deeply grateful and blessed to be able to say. I learned to accept all of who I am, and continue to learn always as it’s a lifelong journey let’s face it, but actually, even knowing all my strengths and weaknesses, gifts and foibles, I finally grew to love myself. That’s a lovely thing to be able to say and feel. It’s really quite important.

We’re born alone and we die alone, no matter what other people we (or they) are blessed to share our lives with. Ultimately we are only, always and forever, with our self for every moment of our lives. We can share great swathes of our lives with others and revel in the complicated beauty of that, but if we cannot simply and comfortably be with ourselves, it’s a difficult life to live. Alone and loneliness are difficult things, but if we’re comfortable with our self, it’s all navigable.

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Chrysalis

(A composite of various views of a monarch emerging from its chrysalis)

These bones ache, this body tires. I feel the almost melancholic ennui of the weary. And yet not.

I know it’s time for change. I feel it in my blood, the restless itchy-feet-like, knowingness, that growth and change is happening once again. I feel myself yawn and stretch into it, leaning in, looking around me wondering, pondering, what is shifting both within me, and without. Always painful, a little aching at very least, but ever worth it.

I imagine it’s like the pupae within the chrysalis, already formed on the inside yet carefully held within. Creation and transformation have already been occurring in the inner world, but is yet to show itself very much on the outside; only perhaps to those who know me deepest. Pushing, pressing, stretching against the cocoon that’s been my safe place, a quiet place of stillness hidden amongst the chaos of the outer world.

My chrysalis is finally cracking once again, a flaking, a falling away piece by piece. Shake the tree and see what falls, my love says to me. For me it’s about myself, my own internal landscape, the shifts and changes that are seemingly eternally happening, sometimes slow, sometimes swift, yet always and forever in motion, flowing, growing. Once I split the skin and flake away the old, dead skin, once I rebirth and renew, emerge and bloom, that’s when others generally notice.

So it’s happening again, this shifting, shedding of the old to make way for the new. Just as a snakeskin shedding looks messy, haphazard discarding, but then reveals the shiny new, fresh, emerging beauty. That’s what’s occurring with me now.

I’ve seen the signs of it happening within the past few months. A change in the very shape of my life, slowly, gradually, more and more symptoms of the internal changes showing themselves to me externally. A lessening of tolerance for the things that should not be, in my life. Shedding those things, redrawing boundaries, setting open hearted intentions and closing doors firmly if needed, that comes easier again. A shift in thinking about what’s important, what matters. A yearning for other things that simply will not be silenced. A smile of remembering what it is that I want, a quiet recognition of the things I have achieved, as well as the few remaining notions yet to complete or fulfil.

I want more, but of a very different kind than I once might have. More time. More space. More for me.

I want less of the things that harm me, are unhealthy, or make me unhappy. Less driven busy-ness, less exhaustion, less crap from people.

Some things I want a returning to. A return to better physical health, return to strength, return to my sense of self. Others I want new, different and better for me changes.

A ceasing to accept too much, too little, poor behaviour or treatment. A deliberate movement of the boundaries of those things I’ve been too tolerant of, for too long.

I’m giving far less fucks these days. Less fucks about the myriad and plethora of all that once seemed to matter so deeply. Caring more profoundly about the few things that really do matter to me.

The people, the places, the memories made from adventures and experiences both singly and shared. My own health and happiness. Breathing room for rest, peace and tranquillity. Space for delight, excitement and aliveness. Those are the fundamental things that matter to me now. The very blood of life.

So strip away gladly, old skin, fare thee well. Leave behind the going and doing, pressured driven-ness of achieving and succeeding. I have done enough. I am enough.

Make new and raw, fresh and weeping, the space for deep breaths and an overall slowing down. A gentleness. A return to a stillness and a quiet place of choice for the adventures and experiences of life that I choose, that matter to me.

So I can choose with whom, what, where and when I wish to devote the remaining energies of my life.

Be well – once again – old me, you have served me well.

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Rest and Heal

Hmm. What on earth do I want to share with the world today?

I’m 54 years old and have lost a fair few friends including a couple more lately, to death, sadly. My health is a bit rubbish at present, and those things are certainly a mortality wake up call. I need to heal and recover from ill health and it’s taking far too long for my liking. I long to be fit and well again, living life to the full, spending time with those I love, having adventures.

Meanwhile, I’ve had the sheer, unadulterated bliss of an actual, bona fide week OFF! It’s taken me ‘til this age to recognise, accept and do this thoroughly weird thing of taking time off, for me. I’ve worked hard over the past few years to develop a pattern of work that properly sustains me; three days of actual client work on a ten weeks on, two weeks off rotation, and this works really well for me. Especially when I add in a retreat just for me in those times! Three days off, two nights to myself, no phone and just myself for company. I need it, it revitalises me for the really very peopley nature of my life.

So yes, have I felt guilt at lazing in bed, being looked after, brought food and drink, just literally physically resting? Of course! Each time I remember jobs awaiting my attention, things to be done, I remind myself good and hard that it is ok, it is allowed, to just simply rest and heal. I give myself full and hearty permission. It is complex though, to do so simply with love and no regrets.

Rest; it’s just so underrated in this current melee of the lives we’re ‘supposed’ to lead. Rest = lazy, indolent, selfish, especially when there are important things to be done, like work, running around after others, etc.

Rest; so precious, so meaningful, so healing on a deep level. My only regret is that my health means I haven’t been able to do so outdoors. It’s very cold and damp out there, both things that my recovering from illness body would not appreciate right now. So it’s been indoors, in a wonderful nest of pillows and duvet, bed rest proper, with a tv and books to entertain me. But gosh how I have missed the healing nurture of nature itself.

My body feels weak and tired, but it doesn’t feel quite as pained or sick now. So I’ll not do guilt, I’ll not allow it to encroach upon the loveliness of a little bit of time taking proper care of me. Fatigue and phantosmia are still irksome, but I still have a couple of days left to continue resting.

And gratitude, profound, deep and eternal gratitude, that my life is such that I’ve loved ones who understand, care, help and support me. That despite working for myself that I’m in a position to do so, take this time off, and the bills still are paid. I’m almost grossly aware of the privilege of that; whilst knowing equally just how hard and long I’ve worked to achieve it.

This past week I should have worked, visited with a loved one, been to an event, and then travelled to Venice for a holiday. I chose the gift to myself of rest and healing instead.

Thank you past me.

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New Branding!

Super excited to share I finally entered this century (lol) in terms of having an awesome day working hard with the superb ‘branding master’ G, totally revamping and recreating my original logo and overall branding.

We managed to keep all the parts of the original that were so deeply meaningful for me, whilst bringing the whole look bang up to date and snazzy! I’m exceedingly happy with it, and thought I’d share. Thrilled with and grateful for your work G, thank you.

https://brandingbyg.co.uk/ (G is awesome, I highly recommend working with them!)

Isn’t it all just wonderful and beautiful?!
As a reminder and comparison, this was the original – very outdated – version!

Anyway, thanks for watching.

DK x

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Trainer Training

Thought I’d share that I recently completed a two week course on training for trainers, meaning hopefully I’m *even better* at it now! It was both exhausting and awesome. Thanks once again to Pink Therapy.

Approaches to hire me as a trainer remain always welcome. I have a long history of providing excellent training for both large and small groups and organisations, including for Pink Therapy, several UK universities, Unitarian Church Youth Workers, private groups (e.g. Tantra groups) and the NHS.

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Super Excited!

I’m very happy to share with you all that I’ve been granted Advanced Accreditation by Pink Therapy, in recognition of my work in this field of GSRD (gender, sex, and relationship diversities) therapy.

Isn’t it pretty? 🙂 Proud to show off and share my achievements.

Pink Therapy are “the UK’s largest independent therapy organisation working with gender and sexual diversity clients.”

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Therapists Are Human Too

One thing about being a therapist is that I’m able to work fairly quickly through my own ‘stuff’. So I’m writing this having returned to a place of relative peace (with a twinge of sadness) after having my own ‘reaction’.

But it’s worth remembering that your therapist is human too, has feelings, thoughts, beliefs and reactions to the world and other people, including you, just as you do.

Once in a while I’m in session with a client who, for whatever reason, has turned up that day in a difficult or even antagonistic frame of mind. Projection abounds, and as therapists we’re often the ‘repository’ for all feelings, negative ones included. So anger, frustration, sulks, hopelessness, tantrums, hate and all sorts of unpleasant feelings that the client is suffering/enduring, can be projected towards the therapist. Whilst in full understanding that this is what’s happening, indeed it is absolutely a useful function of our job itself, sometimes – as you can imagine – it’s not a pleasant experience.

I’m pretty good at holding the space for that, so that the energy of it can be held and spent, so that those feelings can lessen, quieten or pass, so that we can regain a good place of open communication again.

Once in a while it presses my buttons, because I’m human too, and I find myself on the odd occasion going through a mental process that looks something like this (only at superspeed, because as I say, experienced therapists are always analysing ourselves first, and I got pretty good at it!).

  • Self-pity (why is this being directed at me; I don’t deserve this)
  • Self-questioning (did I do/say something to provoke/invite/deserve this?)
  • Anger (how dare you/why do you think it’s ok to talk to/behave towards me this way)
  • Self-righteousness (I’ve given up my time, my energy and my best efforts to help you, wtf)
  • Self-reflection (hmm, my reaction to your behaviour is nothing to do with you and everything to do with me)
  • Self-enquiry (ah yes of course, [historically] I’m reacting to anger/resentment/aggression towards me, it makes me protective of myself and angry/afraid/sad/reactive accordingly, and expect to be blamed/not good enough again, presses my ‘unfair’ button, usually whilst rolling my eyes at myself)
  • Self-soothing (this isn’t about me, no need to take it personally, you know this can be a helpful part of the job, which you signed up for, breathe, relax, allow the process)
  • Resolution (this is ok, you are ok, I am ok, this may be unpleasant, but this is ok)

(not necessarily in that order!)

That may take some folks days to work through, hours at the very least, but generally it’ll take me under a minute or two, whilst a client is raging/rampaging/projecting etc. and usually before they ever notice. I become fully and consciously aware again once I breathe and relax my body, and then we can continue, with me gently holding, or softly challenging, or occasionally putting down a firm boundary if I feel it’s necessary (i.e. with gentleness, kindness and understanding but firmly; I’m ok to hear all of this, but swearing ‘at me’ or raising your fists at me is not ok, [for example]).

Only twice in my therapeutic history has anyone ever ‘walked out on me’ (i.e. both times I was hung up on mid video call]. That absolutely leaves me running through this process!

It feels really rubbish… and even after that process, can leave me mostly a little sad, that a session didn’t end well, that the client is in such a bad place that in that particular moment I’m part of the problem rather than help towards a solution, and that the client is simply in a bad place. It leaves me a little heartsore.

Also worth noting here; there are times where I grow as a therapist through this process, realising that there may well have been an action or some words of mine that did indeed play a part in the client’s reaction and behaviour! Sometimes a challenge is good, sometimes the client isn’t ready for it, or open to it, sometimes it’s simply the wrong time. And that is a good reminder to me; to always assess and reassess whether something is in fact appropriate for this particular client, or on this particular day. Do no harm, the very first rule.

We live and learn too, as humans, and as therapists, always.

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