About Joanna Watters
The story behind The Greek Island Summer School
I live in the village of Nidri on the Ionian island of Lefkada, a move I made in May 1995.
Some people thought I was mad, others thought I was brave. I felt neither. Having reached an obvious crossroads in my life it was a natural step. I left my hectic London life behind and for my first season I rented a room in an old rickety house. It had dodgy electrics, a leaky shower and a donkey in the back garden. The orange and lemon trees were so close that I could pick the fruit from my balcony and the stunning night sky was an astrologer’s paradise. So far, so very Shirley Valentine, but even she had to make a living.
Having put everything in storage I’d arrived with a rucksack, my ephemerides – astrological tables that tell you where the planets are each day – and my tarot cards. In those days legislation around such things as work permits was practically nonexistent. I simply set up a table on the seafront, alongside the artists and the girls doing hair wraps and selling handmade jewelry, and did on the spot readings for tourists. We all worked from about 7.30pm when the heat of the day was cooling, to around midnight. I met some wonderful people, heard harrowing, humbling and uplifting stories, and honed my tarot reading skills in the process. It was only in my second season that I realized that a wealth of material was passing through, or under, my hands. I started to write up the stories and these led to the publication of my first book, Tarot for Today.
Before I moved to Greece I’d been teaching at The Company of Astrologers in London. Fast forward to 2002, as I was completing this book and starting the sister title Astrology for Today, the idea for a summer school here in Greece took root. By then I was back in the “real” world of an apartment, the miracle of the internet and email had arrived and I suddenly had four students on their way. We set up class on my terrace, socialized in the local tavernas in the evenings, and had a wonderful week.
The Greek Island Summer School was born.
Over the years the school has gone from strength to strength and attracts an enormous variety of students. Every course is a mixture of backgrounds, ages and professions yet everyone comes together as a group. I’ve met some lovely and fascinating people, many of whom have become and remained firm friends. I’ve also had several visiting journalists, including Amanda Samson (left in the photo) who wrote for Kindred Spirit magazine:
“The course was excellent – really well structured, clear and thorough. Jo is a gifted teacher and her warmth, humour and genuine interest in all of us shone through. The other students were great and there was always company if you wanted it. Do it – you’ll love it! Thanks for a fabulous week.”
It’s hard to believe that, at the time of writing, I’ve lived here for over 17 years. It hasn’t always been easy but I’ve never had any doubt that I was meant to be here. I’m often asked if I ever “go home” but for me the UK is “abroad”. Nidri will always be home, especially as my twin sister also lives here – she followed me ten years ago – and also because I’m totally committed to my adopted family of one dog and six cats, all rescues. However, in the last couple of years, I have started to travel back to the UK more regularly to do astrology and tarot workshops in London. I have thoroughly enjoyed these and, again, have met some amazing people as a result, many of whom then find their way to Greece.
You can read more student feedback comments about my astrology and tarot courses, the Greek Island Summer School experience and the London workshops under Astrology Testimonials and Tarot Testimonials.
Do get in touch if you want to learn more – and I look forward to welcoming you soon!
With love from Greece