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Sacred Activism 2017

With Pat McCabe, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Kara Moses, Adam Bucko (by Skype), Emmanuel Vaughan Lee (by Skype), Justine Huxley, Claire Martin, Sophy Banks, Tommy Crawford and Amrita Bhohi

£ 2200.00
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 based in the elegant surrounds of the Elmhirst Centre at Dartington Hall. We recommend attending this course as a fully residential participant however for you may choose to book as a non-residential participant. Please call 01803 847237 for more details.

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With Pat McCabe, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Kara Moses, Pancho Ramos (by skype), Toni Spencer, Adam Bucko (by Skype), Emmanuel Vaughan Lee (by Skype), Justine Huxley, Clare Martin, Sophy Banks, Mac Macartney, John Milton, Tommy Crawford and Amrita Bhohi

We have bursary funds available for this programme specifically for activists -
Online Bursary Application ›

Recent events on the world stage have left many of us feeling that we living in a post-Truth world that is making less and less sense. It can be a challenge to know how to respond. 

Our political systems seem broken. Fear, racism and misogyny are heightened, poverty and economic polarisation are escalating, and there are more refugees and migrants displaced from their homes than we have ever seen before. Consumerism has the world in its grip and the destruction of Earth continues unbated. And we are still being asked to pretend it is ‘business as usual’.  

At this moment in time, we seem to have two realities living side by side. On the one side, a growing movement for social change and environmental balancing, visible all around us, is giving birth to many new ways of living and organising based on the principle of interdendence. Simultaneously, elsewhere in society, sentiments are rising that reject multiculturalism, retreat from connectedness and are generating disturbing poitiical divsisions, isolationsism and fear.   

Pope Francis in his encyclical described the ‘cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor’ as the fundamental challenges of our times. We see this as a call to action.

Where do we each fit into this?  What should be our response?  How do we live in a challenging new landscape and act with integrity?  What contribution can we make to protecting what is most sacred?  And how can we make that contribution without burning out?

This three week intensive will bring together activists and change agents from different traditions and perspectives to inquire with us into some of the following pressing questions:

Such questions include:

What is sacred activism and why is it essential in todays landscape?

What is different when we act from a place of relationship with the divine, regardless of tradition?

What lessons can we learn from Standing Rock and the women's marches?

What is the role of spirituality in social, economic, political and ecological change? 

How do we bring spirituality and action together with power, inclusivity and integrity?

How do we live in touch with the soul of the Earth - in connection with the sacred dimension of our life in our everyday realities?

What tools do we have that can help us move from reflection and prayer into action that comes from the heart, from a place of oneness? 

What is the role of protest, disruptive innovation and non-violent direct action?  And how can we ensure it comes from a non-oppositional place?

How do we live from a place that is real within us, and avoid getting drawn into unnecessary drama and distraction?

How do we stay connected and aware of what is happening globally without drowning in an ocean of negativity? 

What is radical simplicty and why is it important? 

How do we stay resilient?  How do we pick our battles?  And how do we avoid burn out?

This is a three-week intensive delivered as part of our postgraduate programme in Ecology and Spirituality but open to external participants. It will take place in the elegant surrounds of the Elmhirst Centre at Dartington Hall.

Week 1 will focus on the lessons and inspiration from Standing Rock and other beacons of this new movement.

Week 2 will be a rich market-place of ideas, tools and stories from a diversity of local and international activists. We will explore some of what gets things done and some of what gets in the way. We will inquire into how activism can arise from a relationship to the sacred and how this can bring new vitality, creativity and support.

Week 3 will be a thought-provoking experiential exploration of how to discern our own authentic contribution, how to live with resilience and to act from wholeness. In this week we will weave together threads of personal, local and global action and reflect on the wider movement and our place in the ecology of sacred activism.

We have bursary funds available for this programme specifically for activists - please do apply through our bursary application procedure.


Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining)

Woman Stands Shining, Pat McCabe, has the honor of being of the Dine (Navajo) Nation. A Life-Bringer, Life-Bearer Mother, writer, artist, activist, speaker and cultural liason, her work is driven by the study of the Science of Right Relations. Moving from the central knowledge that We, The Five-Fingered-Ones, are born into Beauty, as Beauty, for Joyful Life, she brings the understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing into discussion and inquiry on Sustainability. Born to a People who have deep understanding and methodology for Restoration, she carries the Beauty Way into places where it has formerly been kept out. She is an active participant in Indigenous Peoples gatherings worldwide most recently in Chile, Belgium, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Bali. She has worked with the International Center for Cultural Studies in India and with Sarvodaya with Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne in Sri Lanka, as well as with organizations and gatherings in the U.S. Her recent work includes being a cultural consultant to the Pachamama Alliance, Inner Circle Invitee to the Language of Spirit Dialogue - Dialogue between Quantum Physicists, Linguists, Scientists and Indigenous knowledge keepers. Upcoming work includes the AUM National gathering, Women's teachings In Chile, and work with Israeli and Palestinian women.

Tiokasin Ghosthorse

Tiokasin Ghosthorse is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota. He is an international speaker on Peace, Indigenous and Mother Earth perspective. A survivor of the “Reign of Terror” from 1972 to 1976 on the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River and Rosebud Lakota Reservations in South Dakota and the US Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding and Church Missionary School systems designed to “kill the Indian and save the man,” Tiokasin has a long history of Indigenous activism and advocacy. He is a guest faculty member at Yale University’s School of Divinity, Ecology and Forestry focusing on the cosmology, diversity and perspectives on the relational/egalitarian vs. rational/hierarchal thinking processes of Western society.

Francisco 'Pancho' Ramos Stierle

Francisco 'Pancho' Ramos Stierle is de-professionalized Astrobiologist turned full-time community organizer and humanitarian. Since stopping cooperating with his Ph.D. program, Pancho has instead been pursuing a "PhBE" as a "citizen of the World", undocumented and unafraid. His activism has focused on issues of human rights, nonviolence, restorative justice, immigration, permaculture, and the development of the gift-ecology. He has participated in movements to demilitarize, democratize and decorporatize the University of California system, protect old growth trees, facilitate urban farming, and move past youth violence. Known for his easy smile and kind heart, Pancho's mission is to "live in radial joyous shared servanthood to unify humanity." He is a full-time ServiceSpace volunteer, and a founding resident of Casa de Paz (House of Peace) at Canticle Farm in Fruitvale, East Oakland.

Kara Moses

Kara Moses is a facilitator of social change and nature connection. She has been involved in local, national and international political organising and environmental direct action, and trains people in direct action, creative resistance and other skills for grassroots activism. She is passionate about nature, connection and the transformation of self and society to be more deeply connected and life-affirming. This involves practical applications of nature connection to fields including direct action, architecture, wellbeing, spirituality, climate change adaptation and social inequality.

She is also a freelance writer and Environment Editor for Red Pepper, and works at the Centre for Alternative Technology where she manages woodlands and water, delivers courses, and lectures on masters courses. She practises within the Triratna Buddhist Community and is a Fellow of St Ethelburga's Spiritual Ecology programme.

Toni Spencer

Toni works with questions of deep ecology, resilience and ‘a politics of wonder’. She designs and facilitates learning journeys for change agents, informed by the understanding that “we are the leaders we’ve been waiting for”. She creates spaces where grit, grief, messiness and laughter are welcome, where innovation and wisdom can emerge, and essential un-learning can happen.

As a lecturer and course leader Toni has taught on the faculty of Schumacher College (Educational Practice, Ecological Facilitation as Leadership, Embodied Eco-literacy) and at Goldsmiths, University of London (Eco Design). As a participatory artist she has worked with Encounters Arts and The Feral Kitchen, also taking ‘The Work That Reconnects’ to activist communities at Occupy London and elsewhere.  She is a Trustee at ProcessworkUK and was on the Embercombe Council for 8 years.
With a BA in Fine Art and an MSC in Responsibility and Business Practice, Toni has trained in a diverse range of awakening practices and facilitation modalities, alongside many years of dancing, foraging and ‘living life as inquiry’. She is a mentor and teacher for Call of The Wild with Wildwise and Schumacher, and is helping develop further courses at the college on themes of sacred activism.

As part of an ongoing commitment to re-wilding and mystery, in 2016 Toni took herself ‘to the desert’ to mark the initiatory journey of her menopause. At Findhorn, on Dartmoor and in the deserts of Jordan she fell more deeply in love with humanity, silence and writing. She is still discovering what happens now…

Current passions include: Kali and the Sacred Fool; being a complete beginner at Kung Fu; and the wild green feasting that comes with a Devon spring.

Adam Bucko

Adam Bucko is an activist, spiritual director to many of New York City’s homeless youth, and co-author of "Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation" (North Atlantic Books 2013) and "The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living"(Orbis Books 2015).

He grew up in Poland during the totalitarian regime and spent his early years exploring the anarchist youth movement as a force for social and political change. At the age of 17, Adam immigrated to America where his desire to find his path towards a meaningful life led him to monasteries in the US and India. His life-defining experience took place in India, where on his way to a Himalayan hermitage, he met a homeless child who lived on the streets of Delhi. This brief encounter led him to the “Ashram of the Poor” where he began his work with homeless youth. After returning to the US, he worked on the streets of various American cities with young people struggling against homelessness and prostitution. He eventually co-founded The Reciprocity Foundation, an award winning nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of New York City's homeless youth.

In addition to his work with homeless youth, Adam established HAB, an ecumenical and inter-spiritual “new monastic” fellowship for young people which offers formation in radical spirituality and sacred activism.

He collaborates with spiritual leaders across religious traditions and mentors young people, helping them discover a spiritual life in the 21st century and how to live deeply from the heart in service of compassion and justice.

Adam is a recipient of several awards and his work has been featured by ABC News, CBS, NBC, New York Daily News, National Catholic Reporter, Ode Magazine, Yoga International Magazine and Sojourner Magazine.

Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has been featured on National Geographic, PBS, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, exhibited at The Smithsonian and screened at festivals worldwide. Some of his films include: Marie’s Dictionary Isle, de Jean Charles, Yukon Kings, Path of Freedom, Elemental, A Thousand Suns, What Would it Look Like andBarrio de Paz. He is the founder and executive director of the Global Oneness Project, an award winning online educational multimedia platform focused on bringing the values of global citizenry into mainstream education.  He directs the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship, an innovative leadership and incubation program that works with emerging leaders to bring spiritual values into environmental work.  He is a Naqshbandhi Sufi and lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Justine Huxley

Justine is the Director of St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace where she has worked for over 10 years.  St Ethelburga’s work is about enabling people from diverse backgrounds to collaborate across differences to build a global culture of peace.  It works with leadership, particularly in the younger generation, with sacred activism, spiritual ecology, community reconciliation, and with refugees.  St Ethelburga’s programmes call us to reconnect with our deepest values and sense of meaning, and to co-create action in the world that comes from that place. 

Justine has a Ph.D in psychology and also spent 5 years on the trading floor of a City investment bank - an invaluable spiritual boot camp which taught her how to remain rooted in the Real when in the midst of consumerist greed and power games.  She has a passion for bringing people together from different backgrounds and co-creating projects that speak to the needs of the time.  She brings a wealth of experience in deep listening, facilitation, and working with emergent process.

Clare Martin

Clare works for Working With Oneness, coordinating a series of events on the Feminine and Social Change: bringing feminine principles into action. As part of this she hosts monthly gatherings for women. Previously she worked for St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace on their Re-Awakening the Sacred series. Clare lives in London with her husband and 3-year old daughter.

Sophy Banks

In 2006 Sophy helped to set up the first “Heart and Soul” group of the newly forming Transition Town Totnes (link is external) project, the first experiment in a movement which many thousands of communities globally have tried in some from. Since then she has trained people around the world in the model and process of the Transition movement, which is unusual in combining outer change with deep reflection and insights from many inner traditions. Sophy has backgrounds in science, psychotherapy and family constellations, as well as playing a lot of football with other women in East London.

Mac Macartney

Mac Macartney is an international speaker, writer and change-maker. He is also the founder of Embercombe, the centre for leadership and learning with a mission to catalyse the emergence of leaders and change-makers for a just, peaceful and sustainable future. Over a period of twenty years Mac was mentored by a group of indigenous elders. During this training and ever since, he has attempted to bring two worlds together – an ancient world-view that emphasises relationship, interdependence, and reverence for life with the significant challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. Mac works with leaders across all walks of life – from business to education – inspiring them to put up their hand and join the chorus of people who are singing alive the world of our longing. He was a faculty member of the WWF/IMD Business School ‘One Planet Leaders’ programme in Lausanne for three years and received an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Plymouth University for his work in service to community.

In 2016 Mac co-founded Liquid School, a network of experts helping organisations imagine a sustainable future. He sits on the Advisory Board for DanoneWave, the largest Public Benefit Corporation in the U.S. and is an Associate with Leaders’ Quest, collaborating on global issues with leaders across business, government and civil society.

John Milton

With his background as a professional ecologist (the first ecologist in the White House in the early 1970s) and a pioneering history in the environmental movement, John Milton embodies a unique blending of scientific grounding in ecology with the heart and mind openness of a spiritual seeker.  For much of his life, John has worked to establish what he calls "Sacred Ecology" as a new cultural foundation for the West. He brings with him the ‘Way of Nature’, a body of practice distilled from many years of extensive years of solo time in nature, extensive personal vision questing and direct teachings from many of the world’s outstanding spiritual teachers and lineages.

Tommy Crawford

Tommy is an idea-artist, poet, and Chief-Mischief Maker at Dancing Fox. He works with change-makers around the world to create campaigns and stories that playfully challenge feelings of apathy and fear with bold and bodacious ideas, that are brimming with outrageous amounts of kindness, compassion and beauty (and a big dollop of cheekiness, just for good measure).

Tommy combines his previous experience as Creative Director of the global Detox Campaign, and his time setting up the Story Team at Greenpeace International, with his deep love of mythology, street art, and indigenous wisdom. He has led culture-hacking workshops in Austrian forests, Italian olive farms, and on boats in the middle of the Bosphorus, and is a firm believer in the power of wild settings to help birth wild ideas. His latest projects include a series exploring what it is to be human in a world entranced by mechanistic metaphors, and collaborating with Brian Fitzgerald and Iris Maertens to launch “The Moon Candy Rebellion”; a book for courageous kids (and brave adults).

Amrita Bhohi

Amrita's passion is working with emerging young leaders and visionaries who are in service to bringing forth a future based on values of interconnectedness and reverence for all life. She works at St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in London, where over the past two years she has helped to launch and embed young adult leadership programmes as part of the Centre’s new strategic focus. Amrita currently leads on the Spiritual Ecology area of work, which includes hosting and facilitating a series of public workshops and events. She co-ordinates the Spiritual Ecology Youth Programme, which brings together ten young leaders to explore how spiritual values can be united with practical project development to create social and environmental action for lasting change.

Amrita previously worked on the global Eradicating Ecocide campaign and at the think tank, The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). In 2013 she organised TEDxWhitechapel, one of the most popular and radical TEDx events in London. She holds a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from King's College, and an MA in Economics for Transition from Schumacher College. Her broader interests lie in new economics, systems change, and social and environmental regeneration. She is a fellow of St Paul’s Institute.

We have bursary funds available for this programme specifically for activists -
Online Bursary Application ›


With Pat McCabe, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Kara Moses, Adam Bucko (by Skype), Emmanuel Vaughan Lee (by Skype), Justine Huxley, Claire Martin, Sophy Banks, Tommy Crawford and Amrita Bhohi

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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.