Contemporary Animism: A Wisdom Tradition for the 21st Century


An apprenticeship and deep exploration into animistic magical practice.

With Colin Campbell, Angharad Wynne and special guests Sharon Blackie, David Abram, Stephan Harding and Andy Letcher 

22nd February - 23rd July Contemporary Animism Book Now

NEW 2021 DATES:  February 2021  to July 2021

Is this for you?

What has become of the alchemists? – the rainmakers, the ancient oracles and voices of the wells, the medieval magicians?

They knew that by working with the force of nature, that which resides in the very matter of the universe, in the blades of grass, in the winds that blow, that they could change the world. At this moment of great change for us, as we stand on the very edge of what is possible for the human species, perhaps there is something important we have forgotten. What is it that we have lost that has allowed the great mystery of life on earth to flee from our lives. Where does magic now reside in the world and how can we possibly bring it back?

“Magic is what happens when you are fully embodied in nature”David Abram, author of Spell of the Sensuous

In this apprenticeship you will be standing on the shoulders of the old magical traditions as you connect back to the creative and intelligent force within nature itself – the same force that runs through all of us and is our birth-rite to know.

By being resonant with it, with all that is, by knowing the names of things, by offering libation to the ancestors and spirits of place, we aim to learn the old ways of working with the world, to make the changes it is asking of us. If we are truly inside something bigger than ourselves, and everything around us is alive, then it is time to tune back in, because our very future as humans depends on it.

Animism is the belief that we are one small part of a greater intelligent whole and within this whole we all have a part to play. This is a belief shared by our ancestors for thousands of years and with indigenous traditions around the world.

What would it mean for us to believe again?

Key information:

DATES:
February 2021  to July 2021

LOCATION:
Based in Devon, at Embercombe

ACCOMODATION:
This includes two residential components at Embercombe, which will be fully catered (plant-based menu) in shared accommodation, plus all teaching, online and mentoring sessions.

FEE: £1,495
We are able to offer a limited number of bursaries at £1120 to make this apprenticeship accessible for as many people as possible. Please apply for a bursary place here.

Nature's Cycle - by Virginia LeeArtwork by Virginia Lee

This apprenticeship is a deep exploration of animistic magical practice that focuses on the context, the place and the needs of each individual.

By joining the group you will become a member of a small group of people who are pioneering this work in the world. The intention is to learn together, to create together, to challenge current knowledge and belief systems and come up with practices and understandings and beliefs that work for each of us and may even benefit the world at large.

It is a sharing of what is already known and an exploration of what might be possible.

It comprises of two residential retreats at Embercombe with the lead facilitators and their guests.

22 – 26th February 2021

19 – 23th July 2021

Between and around these retreats there will be regular online meetings and mentoring sessions. On completion of this year, there is the possibility for further deepening of the apprenticeship. This an opportunity for you to answer the call of your own longing to invite the mystery.

The lead facilitators for this apprenticeship are Colin Campbell and Angharad Wynne.

Their intention is to go deep, to explore, to exhume, to piece together the bones of a magical tradition that is fit for the 21st Century, that will lead us back into relationship with the natural world itself. Colin works with the wisdom traditions of South Africa, specifically those that are based on our relationships with the ancestors and spirits of nature. He looks at where these ancient indigenous practices collide and coalesce with the knowledge and belief systems of the west. Angharad teaches from the old Brethonic tradition of the British Isles, the spirit ways of the ancestors of this land, and how we can recover and remember them to help us restore balance in ourselves and with the world around us.

They will be joined along the way by special guests who will bring together old traditions and new insights to create ways of thinking and practising that will serve you regardless of your place and context.

Core Facilitators

Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell grew up in rural southeastern Botswana, the son of a renowned anthropologist and a creative healing mother. He is currently a practitioner of traditional African medicine, based in Cape Town, South Africa and the UK. He receives clients from all over the world, and facilitates international group processes relating to natural law, transformation, healing & personal power, sacred sites, and cross-cultural cosmology. His work bridges major world cities with ancestral homelands and forgotten wilderness, taking him from the Amazon Basin to Los Angeles, the sacred sites of Venda to the urban grit of Johannesburg, and remote Ethiopia to the City of London. Colin co-founded and co-runs a training school in Botswana for traditional doctors and sangomas with his brother Niall Campbell. He is also a lifelong artist and musician, his style once again bridging the traditional with the contemporary, the timeless with the timely, and the sounds of the sacred with the lyricism of electric rocking funk.

Angharad Wynne

Angharad Wynne

Angharad spent much of her youth exploring her Welsh homeland by foot and delving deeply into the western magic, healing and spiritual traditions in order to piece together the lost parts of her own indigenous culture. Connection and dialogue with with nature and landscape is central to her work as is the magic of everyday, the creation for meaningful ceremony for our lives today and sharing the spirituality and mythology of her homeland with others. A published author and poet, Angharad is also a storyteller who uses story as the starting point for deep enquiry and a source of timeless wisdom and healing. She regularly runs spiritual and creative retreats including the Return to Centre series for women, In the Footsteps of Ancestors, an annual pilgrimage following ‘Songlines’ across the sacred landscapes of Britain, and Dreaming the Land which she co-runs with partner and collaborator, Eric Maddern. She speaks widely about finding ‘the dreaming’ of place; of working with intuition, knowledge and landscape to draw together threads of spiritual practice which are connected and meaningful to and arise from specific geographical and cultural landscapes.

Visiting Facilitators

(More facilitators TBC)

Sharon Blackie

Dr. Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer and international teacher whose work sits at the interface of psychology, mythology and ecology. Her highly acclaimed books, courses, lectures and workshops are focused on the development of the mythic imagination, and on the relevance of our native myths, fairy tales and folk traditions to the personal, social and environmental problems we face today. www.sharonblackie.net

David Abram

Dr. David Abram

Dr. David Abram, cultural ecologist and philosopher gone wild, is the award-winning author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Described as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, David’s work has helped catalyze the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. Named by both the Utne Reader and Resurgence as one of a hundred visionaries transforming contemporary culture, David is co-founder of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), an organisation exploring the manner in which sensory perception, language, and wonder inform our relation with the rest of the animate earth. He lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.

Dr Stephan Harding

Dr Stephan Harding

Since childhood Stephan has had a deep fascination with the natural world, and his scientific cast of mind lead him to do a degree in Zoology at the University of Durham and then a doctorate on the behavioural ecology of the muntjac deer at Oxford University. After completing his first degree he returned to Venezuela where he was a field assistant for the Smithsonian Institute, studying mammalian diversity in the rainforest and in the lowland plains. Stephan was appointed Visiting Professor in Wildlife Management at the National University in Costa Rica, where he lived for two years before becoming a founder member of Schumacher College in 1990. Stephan is author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia. Green Books, and editor of Grow Small, Think Beautiful. Floris Books. He is also the writer and presenter of the documentary film Animate Earth, produced by Angel TV.

Andy Letcher

Dr Andy Letcher

After a brief spell studying physics and astronomy, Andy Letcher completed a degree in Ecology at Sheffield University, then a doctorate in Ecology at Oxford. It was as an eco-activist in the 1990s that he was invited to do a second PhD in the Study of Religion at King Alfred’s College, Winchester. He is especially interested in the tangled and sometimes tortuous relationship between science and spirituality, and in so-called dark green religion. He has written papers on: the distribution of mammals across continents; fairies; mysticism; and psychedelic spirituality. He is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom.


Upcoming Dates & Booking

22nd February - 23rd July Contemporary Animism Book Now


We aim for all of our courses to be as inclusive and accessible as possible – please pay the deposit to secure your place then contact us for information on paying in installments.

If you have any questions please call +44 (0) 1647 252 983 or email support@embercombe.org

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