REV JO ROYLE
Year of ordination/graduation: 2020 the first online graduation amidst the pandemic!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m a spiritual being having a human experience! I feel we’re living in times between two paradigms… the old patriarchal, capitalist, inequitable and often abusive paradigm and a new loving, peaceful, honouring paradigm. I feel to live in these times is to have one foot in each and I often struggle with the way of the world. I settled on the Isle of Skye whilst travelling around the UK coast in a bus with my husband and 2 children. We travelled for 15 months fell in love with the West Coast of Scotland and stopped! My youngest child has still spent more than half of his life living in vehicles! I feel like I get very clear guidance from Spirit in life and sometimes it takes us all on a journey! I’m grateful my husband and I support one another in all our crazy ideas! I LOVE living on Skye and being able to walk in nature and swim in the sea and the pools here. My spirituality is earth-based and my soul finds joy in the landscape, the tides, the moons, the eagles, the water, the seals, the mountains, the sunsets and sunrises, the wildflowers and the trees.
What made you decide to study with OneSpirit? Synchronicity and guidance. After settling on Skye I did an art course for a year in which I learnt a lot about myself. My project was entitled ‘Cracks and edges’ and it was only at the end of it I realised it was because the creative process cracks me open and takes me to my edges! When asked if would I sign up for another year I realised I wanted to put my focus back on my spiritual life and growth (having learnt meditation a decade earlier and done various courses over the years including an intensive based on the Kabbalah, focused on uncovering core wounds and opening to love). I started researching what spiritual development might look like, considering first a 10-day vision quest on Iona with Bill Plotkin’s organisation Animus Valley Institute but wanted something which spanned a longer timeframe. I came across a 10-month programme called Warriors for the Human Spirit (cool name huh?) by Meg Wheatley which again was attractive but the pre-booking contemplation revealed it wasn’t what I was looking for. I came across OneSpirit’s training, discounted initially due to cost, but then realised it was a possibility with the payment plan. And then… everyone I spoke to that week had either done the course, knew someone who had, or was going to ordination! The synchronicities were off the scale! I signed up! For me, it was about putting a focus on my spiritual life, less about being a minister or a celebrant or doing anything with the training at the end of the course. I had a very funny relationship with ceremony so I was intrigued as to where that would take me.
What is the best thing about being an ordained interfaith minister? Being able to call myself ‘Rev’! Just kidding… although I do love to challenge assumptions. I don’t think I’m what people expect as a Minister… especially in the Highlands. The best thing about being a minister is the people it’s brought into my life! The couples I have the delight of marrying… the clients I get to accompany through life… the community of ministers I’m now in connection with. I’m inspired every day by the wonderful people I met through my training… dancers and actors and writers and healers and teachers and witches and artists and poets. And the journey I went on to ordination. I LOVED the training more than any other training I’ve ever done. I loved the unearthing of more to be healed, the profound experiences I had of opening to love, and the new practices I learnt. And most of all I loved discovering the magic of ceremony! I’d always felt that ceremony didn’t do it for me, but I discovered that true ceremony moved me deeply… is pure magic… and is a calling! I also connected with a deep rage that my ancestors had had ceremony… deeply earth-based ceremony… and it had been taken from them… ripped from my line.
How do you put your ministry into practice? My ministry is… my mumming… my time in and conversing with nature… my giving and receiving… my resting, self-care and me-ministry… my dancing… and swimming with the seals… and growing veggies… my work with trauma and abuse… exploring and feeling ALL the emotions… my teaching meditation… my pilgrimages to the stones and the wells… to the mountains and the sea… to the flowers, trees and whales… my spiritual counselling and death cafes… my creations of poetry, prose and presents oh and ceremony, cakes, circles and craftivism… my dreaming… my healing… my partnering…my feeling gratitude… my holding… my following where I’m guided… my loving…
What inspires you about your work? Healing, Connection, Love and Nature and the joy of working with wonderful spiritual deep and connected people… and with Spirit.
What sets your ministry apart from others? I guess me! I love variety and adventure so my ministry is always opening and unfolding. My vow guides me as do the synchronicities and messages I receive from Spirit. As I see it most Interfaith Ministers have a unique ministry. We might offer some of the same things, but the way in which we do is authentically ours.
Where do you see your ministry taking you in the future? Oh, in so many directions! I would like to be a published author and currently have at least 5 books in various stages of writing. I’d love to hold more circles… to teach more meditation courses again… Since losing Sonja Eckl, a sister minister and friend in the local community I’ve noticed a desire to spark some new community projects. I’d love for us to have a threshold choir and a green burial ground on Skye. And I’d love to resurrect the Health Oasis – the wellbeing centre which Sonja founded but lost its physical presence in lockdown. As my husband and I build our own home on Skye… and our children leave home… and perhaps we travel again… maybe these new life transitions will weave into my ministry too.
What do you offer? A wee bit of magic is what I like to think! Delivered via the medium of ceremony and circle, meditation and accompaniment. Those who are drawn to work with me often have some healing work they’re called to and want support with… I find I’m in that realm even with wedding couples.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our community? My gratitude to those from the community who’ve chosen to journey with me in this life. I’m grateful for your holding and your love and support. And to those who might feel guided to connect… a welcome. Please do! I’d love to hear from you!
~ Rev Jo Royle, Interfaith Minister, Ceremony… Spiritual Counselling… Women’s Circles… Meditation… Havening Techniques…