Testimonial – Training in Human Development November 2018

A belated posting of a testimonial from Training in Human Development: The Soulcentric Development Wheel 2018 guided by Bill Plotkin.

I came craving something more. To know more, but know it with my very being: to make my gut my mind’s equal, tune one to open the other.

I needed to learn something new, for and of myself… I needed to feel it: grit between my teeth, warm dry leaves beneath my cheek, sap in my veins. 

To feel it in my very cells so as to hone and tune that which I can offer to others. 

I entered hungry, uncertain

I was seen and held by the bush, by myself, by the dear and beautiful group, by Weaver’s words, thoughts, theories, his quiet still wisdom. 

We spiralled, labyrinthine, from talk-thought-words out into the hush-crunch-breath of the bush and back in again. I became as though hypnotised. Old things awoke, some to bloom, some to slope off. 

And then: we danced – how we danced. Sparks flew, tides turned, blood surged, skin was shed.

I came back down the mountain both buzzing and soothed. First steps had been taken and I welcomed the mystery of not knowing how or where I’d next find an opening to the deepening, but in no doubt that I would. 

Caroline D. Clinical Psychologist 

Testimonial – Advanced Soulcraft Intensive November 2018

Animas delivers on its promise to take you a step closer to knowing your deepest and true identity, to find the wildest aspirations of your soul and to recover your place in the Earth community. The program guides not only have the experience and skills to facilitate such an adventurous journey. They also have beautiful human qualities to support the soul travellers and inspire them. I have experimented with various paths on human development in the past in my own search for communion with the Earth and my soul, but I have never before encountered something as powerful as Soulcraft. Soulcraft has changed my life and I believe that it can change the life of many others for better. If you are up for the trip, I highly recommend Animas Valley Institute programs as probably the best option available to facilitate your journey.

Carlos G – PhD Student of Anthropology

Testimonial – Deep Imagination Intensive November 2018

The week I spent in Deep Imagination with Bill and Geneen and new precious friends was something I will always hold close.  These wise and wonderful elder guides have dedicated themselves to the way with great humility and honesty and I am profoundly grateful for their gifts of showing me how it might be possible to live in wild communion.

During the timeless time of the experience I was the one who journeyed with feather and bone, scales, stones, bright sky and moonlit night. There were voices in caverns and deep long moments in wells of grief. Drumming circles left footprints inside that led to rocky outcrops that buzzed with life and hid inner secrets. Meetings occurred in light and dark between human and non-human, shapes of snake and wombat and kookaburra, and other less recognisable beings. Friends who travelled alongside had their own longings and loves, we were each alone and yet together. There was a great bonding with one another and a knowing of place and senses, yet an un-knowing, an allowing of mystery to wrap itself around and carry us to places not yet explored. Great trust and bravery was seen and welcomed. A stretching of boundaries and a deep dive into what it is to be alive and present to this wild, raw and precious world. We left with a reminder to ourselves about what is important and loved, and the whispered words echoing in our ears… “don’t go back to sleep…”

L. Cussel – Chinese Medicine Doctor

Testimonial – Deep Imagination Intensive November 2018

With deepest thanks to Cocoon Weaver, Dr Jas, Deer Heart and Carin…

I feel for the first in a long time that there is a place where I can be.  I belong.  

I found it in the beauties of a hillside in Nowra, led with very gentle kindness by honest guides.  I was born by this river 51 years ago, and have been led home again, to the earth that birthed me and has nourished me since.  I have felt so lost and alone in this world for many long years, because, I think, I wouldn’t believe what my heart has screamed for me to hear.  

I have found a peace, a way to go forward, have been led to understand the art of living.

I had read Bill’s books and loved them.  But it was these days, in the wilds, with these gentle people that gave me a gift I have longed for, without knowing to long for, my entire life. 

Life.  Earth.  My knowing of my life, my belonging, place, beauty, strength and love, granted and gifted by a mystery and becoming that I have loved, and lived within always … but never I think, understood or dared to believe.

I see that the earth lives, and shares her beauty with me, in me, through me.  I live, play, speak, sing, stretch and mould the world, in a great mystery of becoming … and I do this in pure belonging with the earth, the world, unconditionally and absolutely.  I see and I feel my place in it, my belonging and becoming.  

I have wept at ceremonies, songs, poetry and beauty without understanding why or how to stem the flow.  

Now I weep for the pure beauty of the earth and my capacity to behold it and to live it, to breathe her air, speak her songs, dance in her glory … for beauty that I have so long denied myself, in service to a veil I have laid over my heart, caught in a whirl of self-ness, scrounging for morsels of Western nourishment.  I saw the egocentricity of that path in those hills, I recognised its loneliness and brokenness … and I left it beside a rock, I gave it to the river – a burden too heavy for me to carry.  I sang it to sleep and I promised not to wake it. 

I begin to see myself, and begin to know the world … a profound gift for my lifetime, … the most spectacular, beautiful, wonderful gift for which my gratitude is eternal and unspeakable, being as wild, mysterious and beautiful as the world itself.  

Beth Britton, Deep Imagination Participant November 2018

River and tree welcome me in.

Kangaroo gumnut lizard blowfly raven black cockatoo kookaburra horse and sea eagle.  rock beetle bug wombat dreaming.

I see the world.  Friends and teachers sit with me.

I am the one who travels this land and walks with its beauty.  I feel myself into it and I dream with, in and because she calls me into life.  I rest in glades of flowers, I shelter in high nooks, swim in river, speak with her dreamings.

I nurture and release seeds of the earth.  I can stand in columns of fire and hold the sacred space of mountain.  I see from heights to the distant hills.

I bring this strength beside me.  I seek movement, life, play, I share, I speak, dance, sing, draw and mould the earth as I stretch, seek, love my land, my home, our mystery.


Testimonial – Advanced Soulcraft Intensive November 2018

Lately I am in conversation with tigers and snakes. Stirring bowls of tears. Breaking into ocean pools in the middle of the night to swim naked under the stars. The subtle difference between ‘doing your work’ and allowing the world to work on you that Bill, Geneen and Wendy returned to over and over during the Advanced Soulcraft Intensive has been like discovering a key that unlocks strange new secret and fearless places in me. For whatever comes – grief, anger, confusion, frustration, love, passion – my only simple yet immense and improbable task is to allow it to do its work on me. To change and shape me, to witness what emerges from that conversation between my being and the world. What a relief and strange magic to give up the illusion of control while living into this paradoxical question of what is my responsibility to this world to sustain this conversation, to see the ways that my being can and does shape the world around me in turn. Daily, I am discovering just how hard it is to truly choose to be alive to this world.

The five days at Bhundoo River with Bill, Geneen and Wendy left me with a tantalising mix of the mysterious unknown, some roughly drawn mud maps of the territory and strong contact with my own internal compass that cannot make out the entire journey at hand, but has a sincere and bodily knowing of the very next step if I am willing to listen. After a long journey of healing and wholing it has been invigorating to feel in myself a readiness and longing for dropping further into the process of dissolution that has been occurring in me for some years now, to find a trust in this process rather than to subtly resist it through ‘working on it’ or ‘working on myself’. There are no words to express my gratitude for the re-encounter with this internal compass that the Soulcraft work has facilitated for me. I am ever grateful for the skill and strangeness offered in equal measure by each of these soul guides. In a way, their greatest gift was simply to live as they are in their initiated wholeness to remind us of who we are and what is possible. 

Beth Hill, teacher, writer, facilitator

Some constant stream of consciousness – guest blog post by Ayme Doran

A blog post from Ayme Doran, scholarship recipient for the recent Training in Human Development – The Soulcentric Wheel with Bill Plotkin held at Karuna Sanctuary Retreat in November 2018.

Some constant stream of consciousness…

Venus be bold in brightness,

Told, us to mourn, let go of something old and torn,

Tried on the winged mask.
Take into mine, this seed of our love,
Seed of our time spent in rapturous divine.

Seek me out on the sea, her waves throwing me,

Cast a line to hook me in,
To dance, this dance, of Heaven and Earth,

When i see nothing but hearth,

Let this breath be of Heaven and Earth,

Of all the places in between,
Spaces to fill this emptiness I dwell within,

Pits of endless measure,

Not needing to severe these ties into nothingness,

For it serves to rise.
You, take flight into its abyss,
It speaks of truth, to true to miss,

Take some time down here within,

Cast a line and watch it sink,
Into ever forgotten spaces in time, In and out of this plane to the next,

Lets test it, out of solitude,

This is where it lays to rest.

This is where I lay to rest.

Training in Human Development and Writing the Wild Soul November 2108 – group photo

From 3 – 7 November 2018 two groups were welcomed to Karuna Sanctuary Retreat Centre. One group deep diving into the Training in Human Development – the Soulcentric Development Wheel guided by Bill Plotkin, author and founder of Animas Valley Institute. The other group leapt into the wild imaginal realms, inspired and encouraged by Geneen Maree Haugen to craft communion and ceremony into poetry and prose. A wonderful gathering of hearts and souls and the more than human world <3

Precious healing moments in wild places – guest blog post by Michelle Morgan

A blog post from Michelle Morgan of Cocoon Creative Arts therapies and scholarship recipient for the upcoming Deep Imagination Intensive 11 – 15 Nov, Nowra.

…I notice as I write that I have become accustomed to going to nature to release or self-soothe. I feel a sense of guilt and shame that I have received so much, and feel that I haven’t yet offered enough back. I’m curious to explore this imbalance. How can I engage a deeper relationship with the world? What can I offer back? How can I cultivate a meaningful relationship of mutuality?…

Read more at: http://www.cocooncreativeartstherapies.com.au/blog/precious-moments-in-wild-places