‘If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees………..
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
from The Vision by Wendell Berry
Rebecca works as a Guide, Facilitator and Ceremonialist of Nature-based Wisdom, Cultural Healing and Soul Initiation. She is trained in the 8 Shields lineage of Apache Scout and Shaman, Grandfather Stalking Wolf, and is involved with the 8 Shields, UK as a Village Builder, working at a regional and national level, and has organized and facilitated on a number of 8 Shields programs.
Rebecca is training to be a Wild Mind Guide with Animas Valley Institute and trained as a Wilderness Rites Guide with the School of Lost Borders. She is also a qualified and experienced Yoga teacher, Meditation Instructor and Somatic Movement facilitator. Her encounters with the other-than-human world and the tracking of the soul’s journey inspire her poetry writing. Rebecca holds grief tending ceremonies and is deeply passionate about reclaiming the indigenous roots of her people and her land in order to create empowered, grounded, and authentic ceremonies.
She believes in the power of ‘the village’ and sitting in circle for deep healing and honest connection. Her passion is in re~membering Wholeness and finding creative ways to explore that. Her joy is in dancing, weaving, dream work, being with the birds and the land and spending time nurturing deeply fulfilling connections.
Find out more about Rebecca’s offerings: http://naturewisdom.life/
A heartfelt facilitator and culture designer, Peter has been involved with 8 Shields programmes and events since 2011. He’s on the team setting up the UK 8 Shields network and runs 8 Shields introductory weekends and events around the UK and Europe, including being on the staff for the 8 Shields Institute’s ‘Regenerating Nature Connected Communities’ online course. He was the the lead organiser of the UK Art of Mentoring camp in 2017, and is part of the core team running the Art of Mentoring this year in Scotland.
Peter has been teaching and facilitating Permaculture courses since 2007, specialising in ‘People Permaculture’ (social and personal regenerative design). He co-creates immersive and empowering learning experiences that connect people more deeply to nature, themselves and their community.
Back in 2000, Peter co-founded Steward Community Woodland, a sustainable woodland community in Devon. He lived, designed, learned and played there in deep collaboration with the land and people for 7 years. Peter now livves on a farm in South Dartmoor, where he enjoys wild running, cold swimming, listening to birdsong and singing to himself.
￼Guest Facilitators and Elders
Peter and Rebecca will also be joined by an elder at each weekend, and a different expert guest facilitator for each weekend (apart from the September Vigil).
The guest facilitators this year will be Deborah Benham, Jack Payne-Cook, Chris Holland and Amy Downing, and our elder will be Lynda Benham.
Deborah is part of the 8 Shields Global Leadership Programme; co-founder of 8 Shields UK and a mentor to ‘Village Builders’ all over the world. She has been a student of Jon Young’s for several years and is now part of the 8 Shields strategic and design team.
Deborah has a PhD in wildlife conservation, environmental education and the people/nature interface. After 15 years working in this field she moved into broader areas of regenerative culture and design for sustainability; with a particular interest in social sustainability, peacemaking and social enterprise. She was until recently Managing Director of the Newbold Trust, a retreat and education centre focusing on sustainable living and wellbeing.
She is now freelance, working closely with 8 Shields, teaching, providing facilitation, consultancy, trainings and workshops in regenerative culture, sustainability, nature connection and youth empowerment. She is an experienced facilitator, and dedicated ‘Hopemonger’ who loves to create connective, uplifting and transformative programmes in support of healthy communities and ecosystems.
Deborah will be bringing her gifts and experience to the South and South West weekend in July.
Jack’s journey of rewilding started on the edge of Dartmoor. He spent a year working and living at Embercombe, a land-based organisation in Devon inspiring change through empowering leadership, before going on to spend 9 months at the Wilderness Awareness School (WAS) in the Anake Outdoor School program. This immersion in the 8-shield cultural model at WAS kindled a tinder bundle of love for nature into a real passion for naturalist training and ancestral skills, as well as an embodied understanding of what makes a healthy and vibrant village.
Since his return from the US, Jack has been working with several 8-shields based or influenced organisations in the UK, supporting programs for both children and adults to deeply connect to nature, community and themselves. He is a dedicated mentor of children, accompanying them on connection journeys both in groups and individually.
He loves to move like an animal, eat wild food, dance, clown and dive into all things body movement related. When not supporting people to connect to wild nature he can be found sunning himself on a mossy Boulder, swimming like an otter in a Dartmoor river, or dancing in the street.
Jack will be welcoming and enlivening us on the East and South East weekend in April.
Chris is a leading inspiration in nature connection and environmental education for families and schools in the UK and worldwide.
Chris is also a prize-winning photographer and the self-published author of I Love my World (2009), his engaging book on outdoor play. Chris’ teaching also benefits from his environmental science degree and his flair for facilitation.
Chris captivates groups of all ages by weaving his gifts in storytelling, bushcraft, foraging, environmental art and didgeridoo playing through his work. Founder of nature connection business Wholeland, Chris loves to relax by sea swimming and kayaking.
Chris will be gathering us in and taking us deeper on the West and North West weekend.
Amy grew up in an old watermill and pottery in North Wales that her parents turned into a trout farm. Her dad taught her about trees and woodland plants, her mum taught her about compost and vegetables and her little brother taught her how much fun it is to hunt for eels in the mill race mud. The Afon Seiont, the river that runs through the mill, has taught her more than she ever read in any book. Cynefin is her favourite Welsh word – it roughly translates as the place where you feel most deeply at home, whole, connected, alive and with a sense of belonging.
She spends most of her time helping folk find their way home to their own Cynefin, be that inside themselves, in community or in nature. To this end she is a mentor, counsellor and facilitator, community builder and activist, traditional craftswoman, herbalist and deep nature educator, song carrier and ritual holder. She works with little ones to elders and everyone in between, and has been involved with 8 Shields events since they first came to the UK and has had staffing roles at the UK Art of Mentoring camps every year since.
Things that make her happy include; wood smoke from a sweet fire, swimming in any water that isn’t a swimming pool, heartfelt communication, joyfully muddy feet and satisfyingly messy hair, treasure finding and spinning wool, a new song and a good story. She loves being outside with anyone, but especially the children in her life who help her both lose herself and find her way properly home.
Amy will be celebrating and closing the course well with us on the North and North East weekend in January 2020.
Lynda Benham – our Elder
Lynda grew up in Somerset, taking long walks with her Dad and falling in love especially with wildflowers, animals and birds. She is now back in the South West, in East Devon, after some years in the north of Scotland. Due to an ankle injury, she now walks less but loves just as much.
At the age of about 10, Lynda decided that lasting change needed to happen from the inside out, by helping people to understand themselves and others better. She has a degree in Psychology – which was about ‘rats and stats’ rather than people and pretty irrelevant to her final 30 year career as a free-lance management and personal development consultant/trainer, group/team facilitator, mentor and life coach.
At the age of 64 she attended the Art of Mentoring camp in 2011, (and every one in the UK since), where she was inspired by Jon Young’s emphasis on the importance of elders in creating healthy cultures. As a result she initiated an Elders Group (in Scotland) which has now been meeting for over 5 years. She is still very committed to inner tracking which has been fed by many streams, including Buddhist teachings and psychology, Insight Meditation practice and occasional long silent retreats.
In her Elder role, Lynda holds a loving, non-judgemental space for anyone who needs it, and a willingness to offer both supportive and challenging reflections in service to people freeing themselves from ‘old stories’ that no longer serve them and can stop them showing up as their best selves.