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Advanced Training for Nature guides & coaches – Tending the Wild Soul – 3rd November to 8th of November

3 novembre 2021 @ 14:00 - 8 novembre 2021 @ 12:00

Tending the Wild Soul

A land-based retreat integrating contemplative and nature-based practice

The Earth is waiting for us to recognise her stunning beauty, and remember that we as humans are part of her wild gracefulness. Such intimacy is never far and doesn’t demand much besides our presence to what is already in front of us, in the very ordinariness of life. Elders within both indigenous societies and contemplative traditions have long sought out the refuge of the wider natural world to become more intimate with the larger ground of their belonging. These sages and elders understood deeply that the nature of their own minds was not separate from mountains and rivers on this great wide Earth. For a long time in human existence, we have also depended directly upon the land for our survival. We knew the Earth throughout all of her seasons and were very much aware of all the magnificent creatures with whom we share this life.

This retreat is an invitation to draw closer to life through deeper attention to both the landscapes of our own mind as well as the wider landscapes around us. Apprenticing to both Mind and Nature requires attention and patience. It requires slowing down enough to see what is often overlooked in the busyness of our lives. In this retreat we will come together as a small community to support each other, drawing on contemplative practices, soul work and nature-based practices as well as simple daily life together, governed by the rhythms of the rising and setting of the sun. As a people, we will grow a culture of togetherness with deep respect and awareness of our kin and teachers in this larger web of life.

Through daily immersion in nature, we will heighten our awareness and reconnect to the intuitive senses of our animal body, mind and spirit. We will learn how to experience the land from a perspective of reciprocity. We will also discover the beauty of being intrinsically interwoven in the story of place through exploring its wildness, discovering local myths, meeting the beings who are living here and the reverence which naturally emerges by its presence. This retreat will be based on the Four Directions model of Human Development (see Bill Plotkin’s outline below). The Four Directions developmental wheel draws on generations of indigenous cultures’ intimacy with the wider natural world and is a model of human development that is based on careful observation and a depth of relationship with the More-than-human world. Each day we will journey to a different nearby landscape to explore each of the directions in turn.

Our time together will include a range of nature-based practices and craftwork as well as silent contemplative practice. Meditation guidance will be offered around the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, corresponding to the particular direction we will be exploring each day. This training will be useful for those wishing to deepen their own practice in these fields in a tangible way as well as those involved in sharing this work with others. It is particularly directed to those exploring the common ground between contemplative practice and nature-based practice or those who are willing to cultivate an authentic and soulful life of service to the Earth we live on. The wider context and offering of this work is in support of meeting the times we are living through and to contribute toward, in Charles Eisenstein’s words, “The more beautiful world our hearts know is possible”. We live in a time where the marriage of outer engagement and inner understanding is an essential feature of the movement toward a mutually beneficial human presence on this earth, as well as the ground for individual flourishing.

This retreat is an opportunity to explore this through slowing down and settling into a rhythm and quality of presence that supports us in remembering what is most important, what nourishes us and what allows us to freely bring ourselves to this life.

Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose. Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently, until the song that is your life falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it. Only then will you know how to give yourself to this world so worthy of rescue.

      –   Martha Postlewaite


Areas of learning:

    • The mutually supportive relationship between contemplative practice and nature-based practice.
    • A secular approach to contemplative practice
    • Exploration of eco-centric models of human development as theoretical frameworks from which to facilitate experiential work in nature-based practice. 
    • Exposure to a range of experiential approaches within the Four Directions framework and how these serve particular needs and populations.
    • Utilizing the practice of Council as a tool for the creation of safe containers for sharing, where diversity, vulnerability and honesty are foundational.
    • A deepening of personal agency through engagement and exchange with a peer community of emergent facilitators and experienced elders in the field.
    • Experiential understanding of how the natural world can serve as a  catalyst for personal maturation and individuation, supporting increased resilience in meeting the challenges of our times.


Rupert Marques


Rupert’s background is in environmental and outdoor education with an emphasis on experiential approaches to exploring ecological identity and personal agency.
For several years he trained and guided with the School of Lost Borders (U.S.) in Contemporary wilderness rites of passage, and now offers this work here in Europe. The other thread of Rupert’s livelihood centers on contemplative practice. He has practiced in the insight meditation tradition for over 25 years in Europe, America and Asia, and teaches at various retreat centers in Europe and beyond.
In recent years Rupert has sought to bring the fields of contemplative practice and wilderness immersion together. This has been supported by living and working at Ecodharma, a contemplative retreat community in the Spanish Pyrenees dedicated to the movements for social justice and ecological sustainability.
Rupert currently works with individuals and organizations offering a range of retreats and trainings that explore personal empowerment and resilience in service of creating a more just and beneficial human presence on this Earth.

Sophie Vandenkerchove


Sophie is a lover of the Wild – within and without. She has followed training as a Wilderness Rites of passage Guide at the School of Lost Borders in California. Beside that, she has been practicing Zen meditation in the Korean tradition for many years, and has received initiation into Druidry and Celtic Shamanism. Sophie grew up in the forests of the Belgian Ardennes, where she nurtured a strong connection to the land of her ancestors as a child. After roaming wild places in the cities, she moved back to her village with a dedication to offer her life to the well-being and healing of her ancestral land. Out of this, Chamai came into existence: a nature-based learning centre, where she offers residential workshops and experiential journeys in and with Nature. In her work, she always interweaves the power of ceremony with her soulful love for nature and people. She is passionate about pilgrimages, solo time in nature, silent retreats and all those experiences that bring together a good balance of adventure, presence and gentleness.


Supported: 490 euro
*for students, low waged, or those experiencing challenging living circumstances

If this contribution would still be a barrier for you to participate, please feel inclined to contact us through We might have a couple of scholarships available.

Regular: 560 euro

Supporter 650 euro
*for those with ample financial means, which allows others with less means to participate


If you would like to apply for this retreat, please complete the following application form. Your registration is complete, when your deposit of 250 euro is received. For more information or question, contact us at

Cancellation policy

The participation fee will be reimbursed fully if your cancellation is made up to the registration deadline (1st of October 2021). If you cancel later up until two weeks before the start of the course a cancellation fee of 50% of the participation fee will be charged. In the event of cancellation one day prior or on the day of the event, the total cost of the retreat will be withheld.


Début :
3 novembre 2021 @ 14:00
Fin :
8 novembre 2021 @ 12:00