Vision Quest Gathering

Vision Quest Gathering

Dates 10th – 21st October 2022
Dartmoor, Devon – UK

Earth Initiation: A contemporary wilderness rite of passage

We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them:
 we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them, but to find out the way to do them the most good. – Thomas Merton

We used to know our belonging in our bones. As a culture we have grown away from intimacy with the more-than-human world, yet it waits for us. This initiatory journey is an invitation to remember what we most deeply belong to, what we have always belonged to.

For much of our story as a people 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. Such transitions in a person’s life were often marked through ceremony as initiatory events or passage rites, as a means of reinforcing both to the initiate and the community the new orientation, direction or phase of a person’s life. The wider natural world has long been respected as a necessary partner or companion in such initiatory journeys, the land offering itself as mirror, as ally, as fertile container in which to draw close to the roots of our life.


The initiation will be divided into the three classic phases of a passage rite:
Preparation, Threshold and Incorporation:
The first days serve as our preparation as we come together as a community to clarify our intentions. Here we listen to each other’s stories of where we find ourselves in life and what brings us here. Specifically, we explore in some depth our intention for this passage rite, what is it in our life that is asking to be honoured or marked through an initiatory journey?

The threshold phase will be a traditional four day and night fast. Each person goes alone into the wilderness (with the support of guides at base camp), without food and minimal external trappings. The threshold time allows for one’s intention to be revealed and to be unfolded in the mirror of Nature. It is a time for self-generated ceremony, for becoming intimately receptive to one’s life and for experiencing both the challenge and the beauty of taking our place amongst our relations as a simple human animal on this Earth.

The final days are devoted to incorporation. We share the stories of our threshold time and explore its gifts and implications for the life we return to. We sit in ‘story council’, sharing our stories and having them mirrored back to us by the community, offering the opportunity to see our individual narrative in a wider context. This can be one of the most touching and heartening parts of our time together: being witnessed and affirmed by those who have come to participate and create this ceremony.

Other elements we will explore in support of our time together will include:
– The practice of ‘Council’
– Shaping and honing of Intent as a foundation for threshold experiences
– Exploring the role of contemporary wilderness rites of passage or initiatory
journeys in our times including the challenges to this.
– The four Directions of Human Nature – An eco-centric model of human
– The nature of self-generated ceremony and the role of threshold crossing.
–  Nature as mirror
–  The role and art of Mirroring for empowerment and community witnessing.
–  Physical safety during the Threshold time

This unique gathering is a journey exploring the wild and crazy times we live in, combined with a powerful, four day ‘Vision Quest’ adapted for modern life. The intention is to work as a camp – sharing stories and questions together, then venturing into the wilderness alone before returning to share insights and wisdom to take back home.

At a time of increasing ecological and social urgency, this programme brings added emphasis to qualities such as resilience, transformation and letting go of the old. We do it with a spirit of adventure, care and love of the wild – at the end of the day, life is a gift to enjoy – with fires, good food and big skies to relish.


Rupert Marques

My background is in environmental and outdoor education with an emphasis on experiential approaches to exploring ecological identity and personal agency. For several years I trained and guided with the School of Lost Borders (U.S.) in Contemporary wilderness rites of passage, and now offer this work here in Europe. The other thread of my livelihood centers on contemplative practice. I have practiced in the insight meditation tradition for over 25 years in Europe, America and Asia, and teach at various retreat centers in Europe and beyond. I currently work 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.

Israh Goodall
My work explores, and is inspired by, life’s transitions and thresholds, and this permeates all aspects of my work, as a midwife, expedition leader, somatic coach, and rites of passage facilitator.

As a midwife, I have worked with remote tribes in the Afar region of Ethiopia, in Pakistan, in Zanzibar’s bush hospitals and in the NHS in the UK. As a qualified Mountain Leader I have led youth expeditions in the UK, Ladakh, Armenia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Lesotho, empowering young people to step into adulthood by helping them to create and embark on their own meaningful journeys.

As a Rites of Passage facilitator, I have trained with and assisted for School of Lost Borders. I run programmes for women and girls in the UK, and co-facilitated ‘Call of the Wild’ at Schumacher College in Devon.  More recently I am working 1-1 bringing somatic awareness and nature connection to support women and girls in times of change.

I am also a mother to two young ones, and have recently moved onto land at the edge of Dartmoor. Together we are in a deep journey of learning how to tend and nurture this place.

I have always found great inspiration spending extended periods of time in nature – particularly in the mountains. In both my own experiences, and in witnessing others, I have seen the power of the natural world in guiding and holding us through times of change.

For more details, please see www.israhgoodall.com

Assistant Guide

Laurie King
Laurie is deeply interested in exploring how human relationships with the more-than-human world can help us to transform ourselves and the way we live as a society.

There are two main threads to her work: The first is exploring how mirroring, myth and autobiographical storytelling can help us to make sense of our experience and find meaning and purpose in our lives. This year she is training in Nature based practices with Way of Nature UK and mirroring in Belgium as well as editing of collection of peoples personal stories of transformation and adventure. She is currently co-planning a course on purpose and meaning with Roz Savage to deliver in Stroud, where they both live.

The second thread is exploring representation of non-human beings through creative practices. She is currently working on a PhD which treats non-human beings as stakeholders in the debates surrounding foraging, as well as creating a program for young people to explore representing the voices of other beings in times of ecological crisis.


The price for the full retreat including all activities, practices, and food:

£950 or £850 Early Bird price before 28th February.

We want this ceremony to be available to all regardless of financial circumstances so if the base cost feels unreachable for you then please contact us on [email protected]


To book your place on this programme please complete this registration form, following payment instructions at the end.

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

The meeting point for this programme will on Dartmoor in Devon.

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


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