Ceremony – The Song, The Dance, The Drum

Deep within humans is the need to declare ourselves connected, belonging, and in relationship. Ceremony begins with deep listening, with prayerful attentiveness, with presence.

What is needed? What is ready to emerge? If we listen deeply, what does the land whisper through us, call back to our attention? From where we are right now, how do we weave together our individual strands of emergence, as pieces of a whole longing to find expression? What big prayer calls itself into being sung, danced and drummed?

Join us as we listen deep to our bodies, the land, the unseen, to call forward ceremony in the new old way, in the eternal way, where we trust what comes through us, don’t need it to be perfect, and offer it all in honour of the gift of aliveness.

With Denise Rowe, Matthew Pickles, Bethan Lloyd and Mac Macartney

The Song, the Dance, the Drum

The drum is older than history, possibly older than language. The drum connects us to our ancient roots and to the medicine of the circle. The drum pulses with breath, with feet, with blood. The drums assert our bond with all that is past, present, and yet to be born. The drum calls us to rise again.

Our bodies, the same substance as the Earth. The impulse to move, to be still, to infer, predict, to create, always suggestible to a shift in the wind, call of fox, scream of falcon. Our bodies seek connection, probe the invisible, and seek always to express our kinship with life. Dance invites us to experience ourselves and the flow of life more fully.

Alive or dead our bodies create sounds. From the very beginning of time, sound emerged from the great silence. Our voices tear fear from its hiding place, free joy, dare new life to birth. Our voices shriek, calm, cosset and threaten. Our voice spans the rainbow bridge that arches the curvature of the earth.

Is this for you?

If, when you read the text above, you feel an instinctive call, a recognition of something deep inside you wanting to experience it; if you love the idea of co-creating a ceremony rooted in nature while also being held in the empowering embrace of guides for whom this is a way of living, then Ceremony, the Song, the Dance, the Drum, is for you.

If your love is greater than your fear; if you are young, old, or anywhere in between; if you desire to feel more deeply, see more clearly, hear more profoundly, and live more powerfully, then Ceremony, the Song, the Dance, the Drum, is for you.

What you will gain

Ceremony – The Song, The Dance, The Drum offers you a deepened connection with the sacred and kinship with stone, tree, soil, flower, animal, water, wind, sun and ancient relatives.

You will experience remembrance, joy, delight, wonderment, grief, sorrow, beauty, togetherness and aliveness. You will gain a deepened understanding and experience of what ceremony can bring to yourself and the world, and what you can bring to it.

Please note no previous experience and/or specific skill is required to attend this programme.

Find out more…

Register below to receive a recording of our free introductory webinar with the lead facilitators on this programme, Denise Rowe, Matthew Pickles, Bethan Lloyd and Mac Macartney

Access to recorded webinar

Key information:

15-19 May 2024

Arrival at 11 am – Departure at 2pm

Accommodation is at Embercombe in shared or single occupancy yurts or camping (bring your own tent).

£698 Regular Ticket
£817 Supporter Ticket

Please consider purchasing a Supporter Ticket if your finances allow it, to subsidise participants who can’t afford the full price.

Interest-free payment plans available, please see below.

Limited bursary places are available for £580 on application

In order to increase accessibility to our Programmes, we are delighted to offer interest-free payment plans to allow you to spread the cost of a Balance Ticket over a number of months. If you would like to utilise this option, please purchase a Deposit Ticket for the programme and then click here to set up your personalised interest-free Payment Plan for the Balance Payment.


Denise Rowe

Denise  is a creative practitioner, ceremonialist and experiential facilitator with over twenty years experience in creating and holding safe spaces for powerful transformation. Denise’s passion is for the deep embodied remembering that is encoded within our beings as part of this living earth.  She works with music, dance, prayer and landscape as access points for this remembering.

Denise’s work has evolved from many intensive immersions into indigenous wisdom, including the hunter gatherers of the Cameroonian rainforest, the mbira tradition in rural Zimbabwe, and her own embodied movement practice in the landscapes of Devon, UK. 

Denise has toured internationally as a performing artist with Baka Beyond, Sakoba, Ballet Nimba and Ombiviolum.  She works collaboratively across genres on various projects, including Arts Council funded ‘Enter the Circle’ in 2019.  Denise is lecturer in Dance at Plymouth University, director of Earth Dances and co-founder of Trees of Hope.  She sits on the board for Dance in Devon and has delivered work at Schumacher College, Independent Dance, The Place, The Horniman Museum and the South Bank Centre.

Denise has a first degree in Philosophy and Theology from Oxford University.

Matthew Pickles

Mat is a percussionist and drum circle facilitator based in Manchester. Mat also teaches Yoga and Chi Gong and plays ceremonial music around the country. 

Ceremony is fundamental to every musical project Mat has been involved in. From playing in ceremonies, running ceremonial drum circles or performing with his mantra band, Mat has a wealth of experience using the magic of the drum to hold people while they explore their own transformation in ceremony. 

A key aspect of Mat’s approach comes from the Q’ero tradition where he learned the importance of forming a reciprocal, loving relationship with the land. He brings this ancient knowledge humbly into whatever he shares.

Bethan Lloyd

From studying Theology and Religious Studies at Cambridge to living with indigenous tribes in Brazil, Bethan has been exploring the otherworldly nature of voice on and off stage since her childhood in Wales. Her exploration has included training as a classical singer, performing and living within the experimental scene in Berlin and learning with both shamans, masters, and the wordless ancient teachings of the natural world. Her most inspiring retreat was a month in solitude with only her voice overlooking the sacred Island Ynys Enlli.

Bethan works as a vocal composer and performer. She is an avid collaborator, currently a member of Pre-Human, Global Collective & NYX. She has performed across the globe and currently has 4 solo releases along with many collaborative releases. Bethan regularly teaches 5 day immersive retreats exploring the sublime nature of the human voice, guiding people to vocal liberation and deep connection with the divine nature of sound.

Visiting Facilitators

Mac Macartney

Mac Macartney is a writer, speaker, leadership consultant, eco/peace advocate, and spiritual journeyman. He has explored many paths, some unwisely, some with discernment, all with enthusiasm, vigour, and persistence.

As a young child, he fell deeply in love with nature and since that time has endeavoured to listen to the guiding dreams, visions, and experiences that have landed in his outstretched arms. In their different ways all have invited him to do whatever he can to shift our world for the better.

Mac moves between, learns from, and contributes to, many diverse and contrasting spheres of society – an enriching, stimulating, and often, deeply troubling pathway. Over a period of twenty years he was mentored and coached by a group of Native American teachers. During this training and ever since he has attempted to bring two worlds together – an ancient worldview that emphasises relationship, interdependence and reverence for life, with the huge challenges and equally huge opportunities of the 21st Century. You can find out more about Mac’s work here.

Your stay at Embercombe

Embercombe is a beautiful 50 acre rewilding estate on the edge of Dartmoor. It is a place to find a deep connection with nature – wild nature around us and wild nature within us. Our land is a mix of nature scapes to reconnect with, from mature oak woodlands that are over 150 years old, meadows and pastures, to various fruit orchards and gardens to explore, as well as our sacred stone circle and sacred well to seek counsel from. It is a place for nature connection, self development, inspiration and engaging in nature. 

Accommodation and facilities

You will stay in one of our beautiful yurt villages. Each yurt is furnished with comfortable beds and a wood fired stove. Both yurt villages have compost toilets and running water. Full bathroom facilities with hot showers are available in the main building.


All your meals are included. Organic, vegetarian food is lovingly prepared on site using produce from the Embercombe garden wherever possible. Special diets are adeptly catered for. Please indicate if you require this on your booking form.

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