Circle of the Seven Senses
About Us

About Us

THE CIRCLE

Circle of the Seven Senses offers workshops, retreats and therapeutic sessions designed to bring the spirit, body and mind into harmonious connection. The founder’s guiding observation is that our post-industrial culture has over-emphasised rational strategies for living well, neglecting intuitive, creative, and sensory responses to the reality we all help to create. The experiences introduced by Circle of the Seven Senses underline the importance of valuing the imagination, the physical body, and the rational mind in equal measure and in concert. 

The ‘circle’ in Circle of the Seven Senses represents a consortium of women who have expertise in a wide range of creative and embodied practices, each designed to help you connect with the limitless source of vitality within you. The ‘circle’ simultaneously represents women as they gather together to ‘come home’, sharing their strength and power along the way. Dr Liesl King, as founder of Circle of the Seven Senses, leads and co-creates the venture alongside the gifted women in her consortium.

Circle of the Seven Senses

Illustrations by Hannah Kenyon: hkenyonillustration

Creative Director and Founder

LIESL KING

Dr Liesl King is a Californian by birth who emigrated to England in 1995. She has an academic background, with degrees in English from University of California at Santa Barbara and San Francisco State University, and a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London. She is particularly interested in speculative fiction and women’s progressive spiritualities. She is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at York St John University. 

Liesl enjoys the creative and imaginative aspects of her job, but she feels more and more that any full-time role that ties one primarily to a desk dramatically limits physical health and spiritual well-being. Academia with a capital ‘A’ arguably over privileges the rational mode of seeing and perceiving – and while the rational is a mode which she greatly respects, she observes that it needs activating ALONGSIDE other modes of self-expression. It is Liesl’s aim to create bridges across two paradigms – those of academia and the spiritual/wellness community. Both worldviews, if one can sum up these diverse categories in this way, have a great deal to offer one another. Circle of the Seven Senses invites women to consciously activate the spirit, fire up the creative imagination, and stretch the body through dance! At the Great Pyramid at Giza in May 2023, Liesl was drawn physically to the centre of the Queen’s Chamber which sits under the apex of the pyramid. Following this she became convinced that her life’s work was about finding alignment. She has added this to her invitation to women: how, where, and when do you find your own sense of alignment?

Ideally, participants will take this blend of practices back into their own lives to enable transformation and liberation! It is Liesl’s conviction that to activate ‘sensual receptiveness’ (Le Guin 1969) is to feel gloriously alive, open, and receptive to the beautiful world we have been born into.

CONTACT LIESL AT LIESL@CIRCLEOFTHESEVENSENSES.CO.UK, OR PHONE OR TEXT HER ON 07743441708


LEANDRA ASHTON

Leandra Ashton combines her varied acting and directing career with coaching and training and has over twelve years of experience as a workshop facilitator and teacher. Leandra has freelanced for RADA Enterprises since 2004. She has worked with individuals and groups around the world including the British Army, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, doctors, The UN, local government leaders and chief executives. Leandra has a degree from Cambridge in Modern Languages and a degree from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She is a talented and inspirational yoga teacher. To contact Leandra about her yoga sessions and Divine Feminine Yoga retreats:

CONTACT LEANDRA AT LEANDRA.ASHTON@ICLOUD.COM


EMILY BARRETT

Emily Barrett has a degree in Contemporary Dance and Performance Art, a Dance Leaders within the Community Award and an Exercise to Music qualification. She is passionate about creating inspiring, accessible, positively motivating dance activity for everybody and for anybody’s body! Emily’s classes inspire women to move from the inside out, encouraging a wonderfully organic, dynamic flow of energy. To contact Emily about her dance sessions, email her on

EMILY@EMERGEDANCE.CO.UK OR ACCESS HER WEBSITE: WWW.EMERGEDANCE.CO.UK


ZOE BIRCH

Zoe Birch has a passion for coaching, developing and facilitating people and organisations to effect personal transformational change. This is underpinned with expertise in organisation development, people development, culture change and coaching gained in senior roles across the NHS, civil service and private sector over 20+ years. Zoe holds an MA in Business and Management (University of Middlesex), an MSc in People & Organisational Development (Roffey Park) and is a qualified coach (ILM7 Leadership and Executive Coaching, Leeds Beckett). Zoe is the co-founder of York Coaching Circle (2008), which provides an inclusive and powerful learning environment for coaches of all abilities. Zoe brings a holistic, warm and thoughtful coaching approach and embraces the circle of the seven senses as a wonderful opportunity to work with people who want to become more present in their lives to make positive changes. Zoe is married to Gary, a chef, who lives in York, and she enjoys nature walks, horse-riding, reading, other people’s company (most of the time!), having a laugh, travel and cats.

CONTACT ZOE ON ZOE.CLARE.BIRCH@GMAIL.COM FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ONE-TO-ONE LIFE COACHING SESSIONS.


ABI CURTIS

Dr Abi Curtis is Professor of Creative Writing at York St John University. She has won an Eric Gregory Award and Somerset Maugham Award for her poetry collections, The Glass Delusion (Salt, 2013) and Unexpected Weather (Salt, 2009). She has written on such subjects as mushrooms in Freud, squid in literature, and the creative possibilities of pollination, and often collaborates with artists and musicians. Water & Glass, her first novel, is published by Cloud Lodge Books.

CONTACT ABI ON A.CURTIS@YORKSJ.AC.UK


IRENE FORSYTH

Irene Forsyth is a Reiki Master/Teacher/Practitioner, Flower Essence Practitioner and Baby Massage Teacher. Irene explains that Reiki, pronounced ‘ray-key’ and translated from the Japanese, simply means universal energy, and is one of many ancient forms of healing that helps balance a person’s energy system and promotes the body’s own natural ability to heal. To contact Irene about Reiki, Flower Essences or Baby Massage, please see contact details below.

CONTACT IRENE ON IRENE@YORKREIKIPLUS.COM, OR PHONE OR TEXT HER ON 07941697047.


HANNAH KENYON

Hannah Kenyon is an illustrator and storyteller based in West Yorkshire. Her key interests lie in children’s book illustration, commercial illustration, surface design and printmaking. In 2019 she graduated with a First-Class Bachelor’s Degree in Illustration at York St. John University which inspired her to undergo further studies in Children’s Book Illustration. She completed her Masters in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art in 2021. Hannah currently works as a Design Assistant at Campbell Books, Macmillan Publishers. When she is not in her home studio, you can usually catch her on long walks with her camera enjoying the wildlife that hugely influences her work. Hannah accepts commissions, and additionally you can purchase work through her website (www.hannahkenyon.com). You can contact her at

HKENYONART@OUTLOOK.COM

Note: All Circle of the Seven Senses illustrations are by Hannah Kenyon


ON THE INSPIRATION BEHIND CIRCLE OF THE SEVEN SENSES


URSULA K. LE GUIN (1929- 2018)

Since I came across the fictional work of Ursula K. Le Guin in my early twenties, her writing has helped me to understand what it is to be a human person in this beautiful, living world, and what it means to be ‘always coming home’. Her writing gives me the sense that there is meaning, beauty, and mystery inside each of us and all around us. She brings me joy! Here are a few key details about her life: 
– Born Berkeley, California (1929)
– Meets Charles Le Guin in Paris (1953)
– Gives birth to three children (1957, 1959, 1964)
– Publishes A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
– Publishes The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
– Publishes The Dispossessed (1974)
– Publishes Always Coming Home (1985)
– Library of US Congress names her a Living Legend (2000)
– Speaks at Wordstock in Portland (2015) (significant to me as I had the chance to meet her there.😊)
– Receives a medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2014)
– Publishes twenty novels and a hundred short stories, as well as numerous poems and works of literary criticism (across her lifetime)
– Dies January 22, 2018, aged 88
– Named as the “greatest American writer of her generation” (Michael Chabon, 2019)

Ursula K. Le Guin inspired the work I completed for my PhD in 2010 on women’s progressive spirituality in fantasy and science fiction; her novels and short stories have been the subject of study on literature courses I have taught since 2002; she continues to inspire my online science fiction magazine, ‘Terra Two: An Ark for Off-world Survival’ – https://yorkstjohnterratwo.com/ , and her ethos underpins this venture to inspire women’s liberation, Circle of the Seven Senses. I include some of my favourite quotations from her work in the last heading ‘Quotations’ alongside images sourced from ‘unsplash’. I hope you find them as provocative and inspiring as I always have.
In honour of Ursula K. Le Guin, and of the sense of mystery her work inspires,


Liesl