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Earth Initiation

a Wilderness Rite of Passage

held at the Anam Cara retreat centre,

Inverness (

with Rupert Marques, Amy Clarkson & Margaret

MacDonald Kearney

23 September – 4 October 2020

(starts Wednesday evening 6pm)

The greater part of the soul lies outside the body

 – James Hillman

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 deeply belong to, what we have always belonged to.

For much of our story as a people, the wider natural word has long been respected as a necessary partner in initiatory journeys or rites of passage. The land offers itself as mirror, as ally, as fertile container in which to draw close to the roots of our life, to what is important and what so easily can be forgotten in the fullness of contemporary life.


This journey 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 held in a wild wooded glen, where we travel together from Anam Cara. Each person goes alone into this wild landscape (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 heartfelt aspects of our time together: being witnessed and affirmed by those who we have come to know intimately.




In a commitment towards making this ‘rite of passage’ as accessible as possible, we are experimenting with using a sliding scale, depending on your financial situation. The guides invite participants to offer what they can genuinely afford. 


£390: Supporter rate. This price enables another participant to take a reduced rate.

£290: Standard rate.  This price meets the baseline costs for the fast to take place. 

£190: Concession rate. Limited places (early booking recommended)


Guide Fee: (payable directly to 

Once you have been accepted onto this ‘rite of passage’, and your guide fee has been paid to Earth Sky Learning, please contact Anam Cara to reserve your accommodation and meals. 


Accommodation & Meals: £460  

Concession Rates – limited availability: £360 (early booking recommended) 



Rupert Marques has worked within the field of experiential environmental education for the past fifteen years with an emphasis in outdoor education. He trained extensively and subsequently worked as a guide with the School of Lost borders in the U.S. offering contemporary wilderness rites of passage.

A practitioner in the Insight meditation tradition for over 20 years, he is interested in how experiences in wild places can serve to open the mind and remind us of what we belong to. "I am interested in how we come to find our place, our sense of belonging in the times we are living through, how we meet the magnitude of the challenges we face in a manner that calls forth our integrity and even our gratitude."


Amy Clarkson’s creative and spiritual practice is guided by an ongoing apprenticeship to a particular wild place of residency, in the NW Highlands. Here, she spends time each month ‘alone’, or rather in the company of the land. Whether holding ceremony, engaging in acts of ecological restoration, or by accepting the invitation of the land just ‘to be’; so much can be healed by coming into intentional relationship with wild land. It is this reciprocal act of restoration between land and people, that has become her ‘gift of service’.

For the past decade, Amy has coordinated and co-facilitated courses, family wild camps and programmes which explore our creative and spiritual relationship with the natural world, with regular events at Anam Cara, Scotland, where she lived as a community member for eight years.

By first participating in Earth Initiation, and now holding space as a guide, wilderness rites-of-passage have become a truth stone of her existence and she trusts the ceremony with all her heart. “The story of each participant, shared and witnessed by the community we create together, becomes an offering of healing and empowerment for the individual, and for all our relations, re-storying our collective relationship with the earth”. 

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