Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Mind In Nature 2017 - Three Week Intensive

Status message

This event has now passed

Mind In Nature 2017 - Three Week Intensive

£ 2 200.00
Course fees include all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions.
The programme will run from Monday of the first week to Friday afternoon the last week, and includes twenty nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. This course is expected to be held at The Old Postern.

With Jonathan Horwitz, Zara Waldebäck, Stephan Harding, Karen Stead-Dexter, Merlin Sheldrake, Andy Letcher, Philip Franses and Robin Saltonstall

For the last 400 years or so we have been taught that nature is a mere machine, without consciousness, purpose or meaning. This view has led to a devastating destruction of life on earth. Today’s emerging science is turning this understanding on its head, revealing life as inherently intelligent, purposive and meaningfully communicative. According to this new science, there really is mind in nature.

In this course we foster and integrate direct experiences of mind in nature with rigorous intellectual enquiry based on an integration of shamanic practice with recent developments in science and philosophy. We begin with a week of shamanic practices lead by Jonathan Horowitz and Zara Waldebäck during which we encounter the soulful life of nature through carefully guided experiential processes both indoors and outdoors using the deep rhythms of the shamanic drum for opening pathways into the deep psyche of the world.

In week two, with Stephan Harding and Merlin Sheldrake, we explore how this ancient shamanic heritage has inspired and informed an unbroken lineage of panpsychist thought (which sees mind and matter as inseparable) beginning with the Orphic tradition, to key philosophers of ancient Greece to more recent versions of this understanding in thinkers such as Goethe, Bateson and Whitehead.  We then explore how biology is gradually accumulating evidence that animals, plants, single-celled organisms and fungi are minds in nature, displaying traits such as feeling and intelligence similar in kind (but not necessarily in intensity) to these qualities in ourselves. We’ll spend an afternoon connecting with the inner lives of Karen Stead Dexter’s birds of prey, and end the week with an enquiry into the nature of primordial sound, and of how this can be seen as the basis of the mind aspect of nature.

In the last week, beginning with Andy Letcher, we use perspectives from the English Pagan tradition combined with short pilgrimages to particular sites around Schumacher College to experience how mind in nature can be found in the very landscapes that surround and enfold us. Then, with Philip Franses we look into his radical proposal for a new vessel for wholeness.  Finally, with Robin Saltonstall, we ask how we can use our learning from the course in our daily lives to make a positive difference in the world.

This course is an elective on our postgraduate programme. It is open to external participants who would like to deeply explore this subject material and can join us for the whole three-week programme.


Stephan Harding

Stephan Harding is Programme Coordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science and resident Ecologist at Schumacher College teaching on the MSc core modules and on most short courses at the College. He holds a doctorate in behavioural ecology from Oxford University, and before coming to the college taught ecology at the National University in Costa Rica. He is a close associate of James Lovelock and an expert in the study of Gaia theory and deep ecology. He is the author of Animate Earth and Grow Small, Think Beautiful: Ideas for a Sustainable World from Schumacher College. Click here to read his full staff profile >>

Jonathan Horwitz

Jonathan Horwitz has been working with shamanism since 1972. From 1984 to 1993 he worked as a teacher and field researcher at the Foundation for Shamanic Studies with Michael Harner. In 1986, he founded the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies ( together with Annette Høst and has been teaching internationally ever since. Jonathan sees shamanism as a spiritual path and his main focus today is shamanic healing, spiritual ecology and shamanic community work, and how these three aspects can work together for the future of the Earth. He has a master's degree in anthropology, contributes regularly to Sacred Hoop magazine and was for several years the European Editor of Journal of Contemporary Shamanism. He has taught many times at Schumacher College.

Zara Waldebäck

Zara Waldebäck has been working with shamanism since 2005 and co-teaching workshops with Jonathan since 2010. Originally from Sweden, she spent 30 years in the UK, most of it as a writer and teacher specializing in creativity. She has 20 years experience as a screenwriter, filmmaker and university lecturer, and has run courses on shamanism for writers, presented papers on the shamanic journey as story, and written two books on screenwriting and creative practice. She has a deep interest in the role of story as a spiritual tool that helps us to hear life and connect to magic. She is a trained shamanic counsellor, and works regularly with place-specific ceremony and partnering with Nature for healing.

Philip Franses

Philip worked with the late Brian Goodwin here at the College on the use of language as a tool for interpreting and drawing meaning from the world. He will show how all of life, from individual genes to humans themselves, make use of their ability to communicate with each other and the world around them to live grounded and meaningful lives. Philip Frances lectures on the MSc in Holistic Science as teacher of complexity. Click here to read his full staff profile >>


Merlin Sheldrake

Dr Merlin Sheldrake graduated from Cambridge in biological sciences and history and philosophy of science. He recently completed his PhD on the ecology of fungal networks at Cambridge and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, where he conducted extensive fieldwork as a Smithsonian Research Fellow. He is a keen brewer and musician.


Karen Stead-Dexter

Dr Karen Stead-Dexter is an Energy Healer, Teacher, Environmentalist and passionate Falconer (Bird Whisperer). Academic work and Spiritual work, for a long time, were always kept separate but for Karen something was missing. Having spent the majority of her academic career learning the damage ‘we’ have done to the planet, the need to explore ancient ways of understanding our relationship with the Earth led her in to learn more of the ways of the Shaman. Karen now has a strong understanding of ancient healing modalities, bringing in Shamanic traditions of North America, South America and Celtic Shamanism. She runs a popular clinic in Somerset & East Devon for Energy Healing, Falconry at Trill Farm (East Devon), and runs regular Shamanic workshops in Energy Healing, Bird Spirit Medicine and Plant Spirit Medicine connecting people back to nature, back to who they really are and gets them to truly listen to the world around them.

Andy Letcher

A writer and a folk musician, Andy has a D.Phil in Ecology from Oxford University and a PhD in the Study of Religion from Winchester University. He is the author of the critically acclaimed 'Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom' and has published a range of articles and academic papers on subjects as diverse as psychedelics, paganism, bardism, environmental protest, fairies, shamanism and evolution. A modern day troubadour, he is the ex-frontman of Telling the Bees.

Robin Saltonstall

Robin holds a PhD in Integrative Health from UCSF. She has studied anatomy extensively with Leslie Kaminoff, Judith Lasseter, and Tias Little. A long time meditation practitioner, Robin’s special interest is to bring the wisdom of eastern and western healing traditions to the challenge of life transitions, especially those in midlife and beyond.


If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

NB: Please do not pay your deposit for the course yet. Any applications received where a deposit has been paid will be rejected and the deposit refunded.

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.

More about our growing areas and philosophy

We follow ecological cycles as much as possible. Much of the food is grown in the five and half acre agroforestry field – in a system of alley cropping and in the developing forest garden. The field also has fruit trees and bushes; young nut trees; a flock of pasture fed poultry; two wild life ponds, a craft and pollinator garden and a hazel and willow coppice.

Other areas include two herb gardens; four polytunnels; a perennial no dig vegetable garden and several fruit areas. We compost our garden and kitchen waste for use on site, and use green manures for fertility building.

Our students find their time engaging with food growing, and all it entails, a truly transformative time.   Our gardens are as much about nurturing people as plants, and hundreds of students have found the contact with the land and soil to be a rich learning journey.

Integral to the College’s international learning community, you will get to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of events and evening talks, offered by college residents, visiting teachers and local experts.

Help & Enquiries

 Admission Enquiries
email us  
+ 44 (0) 1803 847212