Initiatory Practices and The Power of Threshold Crossings

Initiatory Practices and The Power of Threshold Crossings

1st – 6th September 2022
Coniston Water, Lake District.

You walking, your footprints are the road

and nothing else;

                 There is no road, walker,

    You make the road by walking…

Antonio Mechado


Throughout the human story people have made use of wilderness and the ‘mirror of nature’ as a means of gaining clarity in life or marking significant life transitions. Individuals have crossed the threshold into wild places to attend more closely to the movement of soul, to remember what is at one’s core, what is most important.


In this program we will embark on a wilderness threshold crossing from dawn to dusk, going without company, food or shelter for this duration. Even though we go out alone, the traditional support for such crossings has invariably been the community.


In the two days before the threshold crossing, we work each individuals ‘intent’, exploring where we find ourselves in life and what draws us to undertake a threshold crossing at this time. The two days after the threshold are dedicated to incorporation, and we sit in story council to hear what has come back from the land. In sharing our stories and having them mirrored back to us, we have the opportunity to see our individual narrative in a wider context, together with the gifts and implications for the life we return to.


This work is based on the premise of our seamless belonging to the wider natural world, and a further support for our work is using the four directions wheel (an eco-centric model of human development) to contextualize our experience. In this way we see that attending to our own souls is not separate from remembering our place in our human community as well as our belonging to the wider natural world. One of the most touching and heartfelt aspects of this ceremony is witnessing how these threads of soul, community and land all weave together in a mutually beneficial manner.


This course will be of particular benefit for those offering any type of wilderness solo to their communities through practicing with tools for creating a conductive container that attends to all three phases of a solo journey: preparation, threshold and incorporation. In particular participants will be exposed to the following elements of working with the wilderness solo or wilderness threshold crossing:

• The practice of ‘Council’
• Shaping and honing of ‘Intent’ as a foundation for threshold experiences
• The four Directions of Human Nature – an eco-centric wheel of human development.
• The nature of self-generated ceremony and the role of threshold crossing.
• Experientially understanding Nature as mirror and guide
• The role and art of ‘Mirroring’ for empowerment and mythologising story



Rupert Marques
Rupert’s background is in environmental and outdoor education with an emphasis on experiential approaches to exploring ecological identity and personal agency. For several years he trained and guided with the School of Lost Borders (U.S.) in Contemporary wilderness rites of passage, and now offers this work here in Europe.

The other thread of Rupert’s livelihood centers on contemplative practice. He has practiced in the insight meditation tradition for over 25 years in Europe, America and Asia, and teaches at various retreat centers in Europe and beyond.

In recent years Rupert has sought to bring the fields of contemplative practice and wilderness immersion together. This has been supported by living and working at Ecodharma, a contemplative retreat community in the Spanish Pyrenees dedicated to the movements for social justice and ecological sustainability.

Rupert currently works with individuals and organizations offering a range of retreats and trainings that explore personal empowerment and resilience in service of creating a more just and beneficial human presence on this Earth.

Adrian Kowal

Adrian is passionate about the wellbeing of the whole. He is a social entrepreneur and community builder. Adrian himself pines for a healthy mix between adventure (doing) and slowing down (being), both of which he brings into the retreats and expeditions that he runs. Adrian deeply enjoys supporting the balance in people’s personal holistic well-being, working with men’s groups and also guiding adventures and expeditions.

Adrian lives off-grid in southern Tuscany, Italy, where he is growing an intentional community. He is the co-founder of Way of Nature UK and is impassioned by the alchemical reaction of combining deep relaxation processes with Rites of Passage nature connection practices. He has trained and assisted in facilitating programmes with John P. Milton, and has been leading wilderness programmes for 7 years. Adrian is also a co-founder of The Visionaries, an organisation that creates nurturing school communities that support young people into healthy adulthood. Adrian co-founded and runs Evolve, a centre for growth and wellbeing in London, for 10 years and has deep knowledge of both urban and nature-based wellness practices.

He works on a host of other businesses and projects that involve being of service, supporting the emergence of a better world for our grandchildren’s grandchildren and having a great deal of fun and connection along the way.

Sophie Vandenkerchove

Sophie is foremost a lover of the wild, within and without. She has followed training as a Wilderness Rites of passage Guide at the School of Lost Borders in California. Beside that, she has been practicing Zen meditation in the Korean tradition for several years, and has received initiation into Druidry and Celtic Shamanism.

Sophie grew up in the forests of the Belgian Ardennes, where she nurtured a strong connection to the land of her ancestors as a kid. After roaming wild places in the cities, she moved back to her village with a strong dedication to offer her life to the well-being and healing of this land. Out of this, Chamai came into existence: a nature-based learning centre, where she offers residential workshops and experiential journeys in and with Nature.

In her work, she always interweaves the power of ceremony with her soulful love for nature and people. She is passionate about pilgrimages, solo time in nature, silent retreats and all those experiences that bring together a good balance of adventure, presence and gentleness.


The price for the program  including all activities, practices, accommodation and food: £600

We have a few bursary places available.

We really want to support people to participate. If you are challenged by your income please get in touch with us: [email protected]



If you would like to apply for this mentorship, please complete this application form.

For more information please email [email protected].


Equipment and Camping

We ask that you bring your own camping equipment for this programme. Please check our packing list to ensure you have everything you need.


Travel Information

We will be meeting at Ulverston train station in the Lake District at 2pm on 1st September. The programme will finish at 12 noon on the 6th September.

We will send more travel information on registration to the programme.

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