“Being a global citizen of a living Earth is to return to the ‘great conversation’ with all of its many inhabitants, in both its inner and outer worlds. We can no longer live in isolation, alienated from the very planet that supports and nourishes us both physically and spiritually. We need to learn once again how to respect and listen to the Earth, to its ancient wisdom and spiritual depths. The Earth can teach us how to live in harmony and oneness as part of the great web of life. Once again we can learn how to walk in a sacred manner, experience her wonder and mystery, care for her soul as well as her soil.” – Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The calling for us to reconcile our relationship with the Earth, our common home which is in deep crisis, could not be more urgent. As melting ice caps merge into sea and the body of the earth continues to warm, it is obvious that political, economic and even environmental efforts are failing to protect, preserve or sustain life. They may even be exacerbating the desecration we are experiencing. It is clear that a deeper response is required; so what kind of actions can truly create the changes we so desperately need?
Alongside mainstream approaches, there is also a growing awareness that this crisis is not just an outer one, but has it’s roots in an inner crisis. This inner dimension has to do with our underlying attitudes towards the Earth as a resource and commodity, and our failure to recognise the fundamental interconnectedness and interdependence of all life.
Spiritual ecology is both an ancient and newly emerging field, and an aspect of our work that we are exploring in relation to building a global culture of peace, which includes learning to live in peace with the Earth. It brings together ecology and environmentalism with a deeper awareness of nature as alive, as animate, and as sacred. Spiritual Ecology is not based upon any single religion or spiritual path, but rather points to the primary and universal recognition of the sacred nature within creation. It proposes that at this time of ecological unravelling, spiritual values have the potential to provide the foundation from which to respond and rebuild.
The retreat will be shaped around the core enquiry of what it means to integrate spiritual values with real-world action for physical and spiritual regeneration. Through experiential tools, group discussion, personal reflection, nature connection and inspiring input, we will explore the inner and outer dimensions of Spiritual Ecology.
Over the weekend, we’ll take time to deepen our relationship with the Earth, connecting to the sacred nature of all the forms of life we share a home with, both together as a group and in quiet solitude. We’ll share space and time as a community, cooking, eating, walking and meditating together. With this grounding, we will develop our experience of the principles, practices and project application of this new and ancient worldview of interconnectedness.
Together we will
This retreat welcomes people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, religions and spiritualities, abilities and backgrounds, and requires no prerequisite knowledge or training. We would particularly like to support those who identify with marginalised or minority sections of society, and have a limited number of bursary places to offer if finances are a barrier.
The weekend may be particularly relevant to environmental activists, change makers, peace workers, young people and anyone interested in the transition to a world based on values of interconnectedness and reverence for life.
We’ll be staying on the adjacent property to 42 Acres called The Hermitage. The space is surrounded by 130 Acres of private land with ancient woodlands, a seven acre lake and the source of the River Frume and Bru. It is home of the last remains of the Royal Selwood forest in Somerset. The land was originally used in the 11th century by Eastern monks taking refuge in the area, and The Hermitage was originally built in the 1450’s as a hunting lodge for the Duke of Somerset.
The site is now run as a regenerative farm and nature reserve to feed guests of 42 Acres and locally. The founding philosophy of project is to create intentional spaces for growth and transformation through healing of people and the land. The land is abundant with diversity and wildlife including heron, hares, deers and badgers – and other wildlife secrets to be revealed! The property is heated by a biomass boiler which is powered by woodchip from the land and the electricity is derived from solar. It is home to the first utility scale Tessler battery in Europe. We’ll be in a rare spot in the UK with no noise or light pollution.
The residential will be catered by the outstanding 42 Acres kitchen team, and we’ll be eating from the land as much as possible. Read more about the 42 Acres food philosophy here.
We’ll be making the most of being in this special place with the opportunity for enjoying foraging, wild swimming, outdoor bonfires and more!
Travel and timings
Please note: ticket prices do not include travel.
Please arrive from 4pm on Friday, dinner will be served at 6:30pm..
The retreat finishes at 4pm on Sunday afternoon.
Nearest train stations:
Westbury or Frome
For those travelling by train, we are happy to help coordinate a shared taxi from the station to The Hermitage to help reduce travel costs. For those driving, we can provide a further map to assist you. Please email Amrita for more information.
For the past three years Amrita has lead the Spiritual Ecology Programme at St Ethelburga’s Centre which explores how practical environmental and social action can be rooted in spiritual values and based on a recognition of the interconnected and sacred nature of life. Her work focuses on facilitating training workshops, developing the Spiritual Ecology curriculum and resources, and supporting practical project development, mainly working with emerging leaders in the next generation.
Amrita previously worked on the global Eradicating Ecocide campaign and at the think tank, The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). In 2013 she organised TEDx Whitechapel, which was named as one of the most popular and radical TEDx events in London. She holds a BSc from King’s College, and an MA in Ecological Economics from Schumacher College. She is a fellow of St Paul’s Institute.
Kara Moses is a facilitator of rewilding – landscapes, ourselves, and society. She offers experiential, educational courses in nature connection, spiritual ecology and skills for social change, combining all three wherever possible.
She is particularly interested in practical applications of nature connection and has worked with many groups to bring the natural world into diverse spheres of society: activism and social change, architecture and the built environment, creative arts, well-being and emotional resilience, spirituality, sustainability, and climate change adaptation.
Kara teaches and facilitates on short courses and Masters programs at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Schumacher College and St Ethelburga’s. Her passion for the natural world also finds expression in political activism, and she has spent much of the last few years fighting the fossil fuel industry with Reclaim the Power and Plane Stupid. As a freelance writer and editor she contributes regularly to Resurgence and Ecologist magazine and is Environment Editor for Red Pepper magazine. She is a trustee of the Wales Wild Land Foundation, which is currently focused on rewilding land in west Wales, where Kara is based.
Kara is an Associate Fellow of St Ethelburga’s, and an alumni of the Spiritual Ecology leadership programme. Her spiritual practise is inspired by Buddhism, nature-based indigenous shamanism and Sufism.
“I feel deeply fulfilled and connected to a group that just on Friday were complete strangers, I feel wind in my sails, I feel empowered.”
“I felt I was being held in a nurturing community, exploring deep, loving work in the world.”
“The highlight of this day was bringing the vision of worldview, personal practice, and our work together under one framework of Spiritual Ecology.”
“This workshop made me more confident to ‘walk the talk’. I have taken confidence in my passion for Spiritual Ecology.”
“Leaving this experience I am going to further integrate Spiritual Ecology in my daily tasks, I will deepen my personal reverence but also continue to persue the conversations that took place in order to further explore these feelings and bring them to my personal life, work and activism.”
This retreat is limited to 16 participants.
Standard rates include food, accommodation and workshop participation, prices as follows:
Camping – 195 pounds
Shared room – 295 pounds
Private room – 395 pounds
We have a limited number of concessionary and bursary places available for those who would like to attend but can not afford the standard rates.
Please email Amrita@stethelburgas.org if you would like to apply.
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St Ethelburga’s is a ‘maker of peace-makers’. We inspire and equip individuals and communities to contribute, in their own particular contexts, to activating a global culture of peace.