Rewilding Retreat: Recovering the Wisdom Within the Wild

Learn and practice seasonal rhythms & rituals for Sacred Guidance through the natural world to grow an earthen and elemental guidance

Rewilding Retreat: Whidbey Island

How are your spiritual practices changing in the face of climate change? How does your faith flourish as our forests burn? How do you engage the wild edges of your life, not as a place of chaos, but as a place of profound creativity? How do our prayers hold the ecological grief that howls within our hearts? A response to these probing inquiries demands a return to a whole-relationship with creation and re-membering, or rewilding, ourselves to a profound sense of the Sacred within and with-out the wild and wonder-filled world.

Come rewild your wonder at a day long retreat designed to reconnect and remember yourself to the Sacred Wild through seasonal prayers, practices, rites and rituals. The Western world has valued separation and alienation from the more than human world, which has resulted in sterile and depleted soul-lives. As we decrease the external wildness, we decrease our internal wildness as well. One could argue that there is no greater spiritual project in today’s world than the reclamation of the wild. By bringing ourselves back into relationship with the sacramental nature within the more than human world, we remember how to conceive of ourselves within a cooperative, a member within the blessed assembly of Creation!

Respond to this call to seek the sacred within the text of the natural world and recover your feral faith on Whidbey Island with ecotheologian, writer, and wild-soul guide Mary DeJong at the Whidbey Institute's Storyhouse, a nurturing cabin surrounded by legacy forest and the whispers of wild life half a world away from the urban hustle and bustle.  

Here you will expand your sense of rootedness and belonging to a place through the practice of the Rewilding Wheel, a sacred wheel circuit, influenced by Celtic spirituality and indigenous wisdom traditions. and designed to cultivate seasonal practices and disciplines that nurture a conscious and inspired relationship with the earth, the elements, and the divine. You will come away with grounded theory and routine, regular, and repeated rhythms and rituals that honor and connect with Earth's seasons and elements as a way to recover your sense of self and the sacred in the very real soil of your daily existence!  

We see quite clearly that what happens
to the nonhuman happens to the human.
What happens to the outer world
happens to the inner world.
If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur
then the emotional, imaginative,
intellectual, and spiritual life of the human
is diminished or extinguished.
Without the soaring birds, the great forests,
the sounds and coloration of the insects,
the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields,
the sight of the clouds by day
and the stars at night, we become impoverished
in all that makes us human.
— Thomas Berry

Following a community learning circle in the morning, a hearty and wholesome lunch will be served on site that will nourish you for a time of personal rewilding within the Chinook woods. Listen deeply to the numinous natural world within the Listening Circle, a sacred circle of stones set deep within a grove of hemlocks, cedar and fir. Engage in the ancient labyrinth-walking practice as a way to discern your place within the wild web of life. Spend time listening and learning from those with roots, wings, or fur and fold those messages deeper into your soul while you take a personal moment to breath in the peaceful air within the woodland sanctuary. Meditation materials along with wild-crafting supplies will be provided to enhance this process of remembering and reconnecting with the precious and wild more-than-human world.  

Rewilding Retreats are offered quarterly, each exploring the entire round of the Rewilding Wheel™ while going deeper into seasonal practices that connect to the corresponding cardinal direction and element. The Rewilding Retreat will invite daily, monthly, and seasonal practices that will embed you in an interconnected, sacred relationship with your bioregion. You do not need to register for all four retreats to be profoundly impacted and invited into a new mindset of being in solidarity with creation; however, each quarterly retreat will spend time focusing on the sacred themes and practices that correspond to that particular seasonal quadrant. 

What's Included

  • A one day retreat experience within The Whidbey Institute's Story House and the surrounding wild landscape

  • Organic and locally sourced breakfast meal

  • Expert teaching and soulful group facilitation

  • Invitation to engage with meaningful rituals and nature-based spiritual practices

  • Rewilding Wheel Workbook

  • Guided nature walk

  • Introduction to and support during a forested labyrinth walk

  • Thoughtfully prepared and seasonally focused vegetarian mid-day meal, snacks, and herbal teas

  • Wild-crafting materials

  • Supported nature solo time

  • Access to a 100 acre trail system in a legacy forest

What's Not

  • Lodging

  • Travel expenses

Please Bring

  • Personal writing materials (journal, paper, pen/pencil) and backpack

  • Warm comfortable layers, weather proof outdoor wear, and sturdy water resistant footwear

  • Personal water bottle

  • Flashlight and fully charged cell phone

  • Emergency whistle

  • Fold up camping chair

  • A seeker's desire and the posture of seeing the stranger as a sacred guide!

2020 adjusted rates account for costs of bringing in seasonal specialists and materials. All retreats involve a 10% donation of proceeds to acknowledge the indigenous land upon which we live and learn, and to support the ongoing educational and land-based work of Eloheh Farm and Dr. Randy Woodley (legal descendent of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, and a mentor and teacher to Mary DeJong).

“Blessed is the life lived at a pace that is in sync with the land on which it is lived.”

~ Wendell Berry


What people are saying about their Rewilding Retreat experience:

“Mary led us through a profound journey to awaken our souls and find our place in the more-than-human world. I am astounded by what I learned this weekend and I expect the aftershocks will continue for a long time.” ~A.K.

“So beautifully skilled in holding the most tender souls and fragile moments with grace, wisdom and understanding. I had the privilege of doing a pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland with this lady last summer. I can't recommend a retreat with her enough- you'll wish you had more days than one.” ~D.C.

Photography by April Huizenga April Huizenga Photography and Mary DeJong