Programs Overview

Wild Mind Intensive

November 26 – November 30, 2019

Guides: Doug Van Houten and Sage Magdalene

Venue: Baanya Biami, Staughton Vale, Victoria https://baanyabiami.com.au/ (1.5 hrs west of Melbourne)

Cost: Early bird (before 31 August) $1655.00. Full $1850.00. Camping or Scholarship (by application) $1388.00

Description: Based on Bill Plotkin’s newest book, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche, this new 5-day intensive is an experiential exploration of our human psyches as unique expressions of the universal forces and patterns of nature. We will work with what we call the Nature-Based Map of the Human Psyche, which is, among other things, a comprehensive inventory of what can be right about a person, a “shadow” version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), mainstream psychology’s list of what can go wrong with people.

Our wild minds possess astonishing resources, untapped potentials and depths that we might not even know exist until we discover how to access them, cultivate their powers, and eventually integrate them into our everyday lives. In this intensive, we’ll access these depths and potentials — which we call the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four sets of fragmented or wounded sub personalities that form during childhood.

Rather than attempt to eliminate our sub personalities (which is not possible) or to beat them into submission, we’ll cultivate the four facets of the Self and uncover the gifts of our sub personalities. Our goal is to fully embody our multifaceted wild minds, commit ourselves to the largest, soul-infused story we’re capable of living, and serve the greater Earth community.

Discover:

  • how to recognise and consciously cultivate the four facets of the Self — your innate human wholeness
  • how to identify the sub personalities that supported you in childhood and adolescence to adapt to the challenges of family and social life, but ultimately became barriers to your full and authentic humanity
  • practices and guidelines for cultivating relationships between the Self and your sub personalities, enabling you to heal your sub personalities, discover their gifts, and foster Self-actualisation
  • how each facet of the Self provides essential resources for the underworld journey (the descent to soul), its radical transformation of personal identity, and for living as a visionary artisan of cultural evolution.

We’ll explore the landscape of the psyche through a variety of practices, including creative expression, self-designed ceremony, solo exercises while wandering on the land, group work, movement, voice dialogue, journaling, and deep imagery work.

Soulcentric Dreamwork Intensive

December 1 – December 5, 2019

Guides: Sage Magdalene and Doug Van Houten

Venue: Baanya Biami, Staughton Vale, Victoria https://baanyabiami.com.au/ (1.5 hrs west of Melbourne)

Cost: Early bird (before 31 August) $1755.00. Full $1950.00. Camping or Scholarship (by application) $1462.00

Description: The soul yearns to dream itself into the world. Every dream emerges from the mystery of the soul and is an opportunity for our conscious self, our ego, to be further initiated into the secret stream of our deeper life. On this 5 day immersion, you will learn what it’s like to enter dreams as mysteries; to boldly and vulnerably interact with its denizens and dreamscapes; to be moved by the deep intelligence of its living images; to open to non-ordinary ways of perceiving; and to experience the underdream of your everyday waking life.

Soul speaks through images, including those that comprise dreams. While most modern forms of dreamwork focus on interpretation and analysis, soulcentric dreamwork invites us to do something radically different – to fully surrender to the experience the dream wants us to have, however strange it may be. A soulcentric approach holds every dream as an embodied invitation to our unfolding soul story.

In this intensive, we’ll wander slowly in the disturbing splendour of the nightworld’s rich symbols, images, and emotions. We’ll courageously commit to an extended stay in the soul’s mysterious domain, permitting the dream to do its formidable work on the ego. Instead of trying to figure out the meaning of the dream, we’ll submit ourselves to its atmospheres, landscapes, and characters.

Earth is always dreaming and inviting us to dive into our own dreamstream. The inner wilds of dreams and the outer wilderness of the world are two of the most potent guides to soul. Unlike any other Western form of dreamwork, we’ll enter both wildernesses at the same time, amplifying the initiatory effects of both. We’ll apprentice ourselves to the mystery held within our dreams while approaching the animate world as if it is listening and wanting to participate. We’ll re-enter our dreams while deepening our conversation with the other-than-human world.

Through a variety of modalities – including direct dialogue with the dream itself, expressive arts and movement, deep imagery, and wandering on the land with (and in) our dreams – we’ll explore how our dreams want to shift us, what doors they want to open, what underworld thresholds they want to usher us over. Join us and deepen into your dreams and your unfolding soul story!

Soulcraft Intensive

March 13 – March 17, 2020

Guides: Doug Van Houten and Rebecca Wildbear

Venue: Bhundoo Bush Cottages, near Milton NSW http://www.bhundoobushcottages.com/

Cost: Early bird (before 17 January) $1335.00. Full $1485.00. Camping or Scholarship (by application) $1115.00

Description: The Soulcraft Intensive is our popular five-day experiential plunge into the wild depths of Soulcraft; a synergistic set of nature-based practices designed to evoke the life-shifting experience of soul encounter. Your soul is your true self, those qualities that most deeply define and express who you are and the unique gift that you were born to bring to the world, a world so much in need of the socially transforming contributions of initiated, actively engaged adults. To encounter the soul is to discover the mystical image you were born with, which reveals the path to your greatest personal fulfilment as well as the essence of your true service to society (the cross-cultural wisdom traditions say these are one and the same). Soulcraft practices spring from nature-based cultures, modern depth psychology, the poetic tradition, and wilderness rites of passage – to comprise a truly contemporary Western path to soul discovery and soul initiation. For a full discussion, see Bill Plotkin’s book Soulcraft:Crossing Into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche. http://www.animas.org/books/soulcraft/

The Soulcraft Intensive is highly experiential and, well, intense. We alternate between practices utilised in group, practices explored in solitudein nature, and sharing and deepening those experiences in small groups (5 to 9 people each). There is a Soulcraft guide for each small group, providing you with a fully individualized experience. What you discover through one practice is carried into and amplified by what you learn in the next. By the end of the intensive, you will understand yourself and your place in the world from a more soul-oriented perspective, be clearer about the gifts you were born to bring to the world, and have new skills to enrich your life and to defend the health of the more-than-human world.

Soulcraft practices include: Soulcentric Dreamwork; Deep Imagery Work with Animal Guides; Talking Across the Species Boundaries; The Way of Council; Soul Tasks in Nature; Self-Designed Ceremony; Shadow Work; Soul Poetry; Sacred Wound Work; Synchronicities: Working with Nature’s Signs and Omens; Befriending the Dark; Ecstatic Trance Drumming and Dancing; many others.

The Way of Council and the Art of Mirroring

March 18 – March 22, 2020

Guides: Rebecca Wildbear and Doug Van Houten

Venue: Bhundoo Bush Cottages, near Milton NSW http://www.bhundoobushcottages.com/

Cost: Early bird (before 17 January) $1425.00. Full $1585.00. Camping or Scholarship (by application) $1190.00

Description: THE WAY OF COUNCIL empowers us to gather together, speak from our hearts, and witness each other fully, not only by making it safe enough to do so but also by generating a group field that enables us to reveal our hidden depths to ourselves as well as to others. Through council, we cultivate our capacities for empathy, compassion, and sensitivity to where we are and how we are with each other and in the world.

THE ART OF MIRRORING: There is an art to hearing a story as well as telling one. Mirroring is a collection of skills employed in receiving, embracing, and honouring each other’s’ stories. In mirroring, we neither project nor interpret but rather celebrate the magic of the story and the gifts of the One Who Bears the Tale. We help the storyteller glean-harvest-reap the jewels, the dark ones as well as those that sparkle.

The Way of Council and the Art of Mirroring are invaluable practices on the descent to soul. Although much of the descent is solitary, gathering with others in council can make all the difference in finding our way. In the mirror of another, our eyes are opened to aspects of both our gifts and our challenges that we might not have seen otherwise. We are encouraged and inspired to drop into realms that are scary, edgy, darkly alluring, mysterious, and ecstatic – dangerous, yes, but keenly aligned with our deepest longings. During council and through mirroring, we serve as consorts for each other’s mysteries. We are supported to track threads of our soul story that, during the intensive or later, can be amplified as we wander on the land or surrender ourselves to movement or dance, or expressed through poetry or other arts. Council and mirroring can crack us open to irrefutable truths about our core nature and our connection to the Others, the larger field in which our councils occur. During council, we track synchronicities with the other-than-human world that surrounds us (animal appearances, for example, or weather shifts, or the quality of the light). And we unearth common archetypal themes that appear within our own human circle. All this helps us better perceive the threads of our individual soul stories and our unique ways of belonging to the world.

Through the Art of Mirroring, we learn to listen as if our lives depend on it (they do.) We hone our ability to detect the magnificence and mythic qualities in our own and others’ stories. We listen for unique soul threads that might appear in a repeated theme, a tone, aspects of sacred woundings, dreams, unique imagery, archetypal dimensions of the journey, or tracks of shadow material.

A circle of fellow pilgrims, witnessing and mirroring us, helps us understand where we are on the journey to soul and supports us to take our next steps – from our initial preparation for the descent, to the leaving of “home” and the courageous abandonment of our old story, to our hazardous and ecstatic encounters with numinous mysteries, to the gathering up of mysterious treasures, and, finally, the return to our communities with a vision to perform in service to the larger web of life.