Join us in the mountains just outside of Lisbon in a forest steeped in lore and mythology where we will explore ancient history, forest meditation, medicinal plants and mushroom ecology.
On the edge of Western Europe lies Sintra-Cascais National Park, a 200 square kilometre forest packed with castles, ancient temples, neolithic archaeological sites and important mystical retreat centres of both the Masonic and Moorish cultures.
On this 2-day weekend experiential learning retreat in the mystic forests of Sintra from September 28th-29th, we will immerse ourselves in one of the largest and most beautiful forests left in Western Europe.
We will unplug from the busyness of the modern world and immerse ourselves in the healing forest where we will forge a deeper connection to the living present and the "felt presence" of our immediate experience.
Meditation is not merely a practice or routine, it's a way of life spent living in presence and connection with the elements of nature that give us vitality: the earth, air, sun, and water.
Healing ourselves and Planet Earth starts with training ourselves to tune into the living spirit all around us and re-awakening our ancient, ancestral connection to the living, breathing Earth that gives us life.
On this experiential learning adventure in nature, you'll discover the magical world of healing plants and mushrooms that grow in our midst.
Develop a fresh way of seeing and experiencing the world by developing deeper embodiment in the richness of your feelings while expanding your awareness by tuning into the beauty and wonder of nature.
Our first day together, we will explore the ancient history of sacred geometry and mystery initiation rites in one of the most mystical places found anywhere in the world.
Rather than learning through textbooks and lectures, our focus on all of our nature retreats is experiential learning.
We will explore the forest of Sintra-Cascais National Park and visit sacred sites, caves, temples and awe-inspiring viewpoints throughout this awe-inspiring park.
You will learn immersive meditation practices to quiet the incessant chatter of the analytical mind and feel a deeper sense of embodiment in your present moment experience.
Along the way, you'll also discover the unique biodiversity of this fertile oasis of forested mountains on the spectacular Portuguese coast.
Here is what adventures will include on our first day exploring at this nature retreat experience in the forest:
We'll start the day by exploring the spectacular gardens with plants from 4 corners of the world around the majestic Palace of Pena, which was built to be visible from any point in the park and is one of the greatest expressions of 19th century romanticism.
Immerse yourself in your sensory awareness of touch, smell, sight, and sound. Quiet your thinking mind so you perceive the world more direclty through your senses and cultivate the healing sense of awe and wonder. Learn meditation practices to tune into the forest.
Learn the fascinating history of the Masonic Initation Wells at the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira. These mysterious underground towers were used for secretive initiation rites by the Free Masons who built the modern world. We'll also explore the legendary Garden of Eden found here.
We will study the unique architecture and sacred geometry found across the park's castles and temples, which combine Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance traditions. We will visit the best viewpoints in the park to marvel at the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Lisbon below.
On our second day, we will build upon our meditation foundation and go deeper into the ancient history of this magical forest on the edge of what was once the known world.
We will expand our meditation practice of sensing through our bodies and feelings rather than just through our analytical, thinking mind. You'll learn to tune into the forest and intuitively sense the patterns of plants and mushrooms in the forest ecosystem.
We will explore the medicinal plants and mushrooms that can heal the mind, body, and spirit, which are found in the Sintra forests and throughout the remaining wild places in Europe.
You will learn to identify important plants and mushrooms that been used in the ancient herbalist traditions of Europe going back to the roots of European cultures in the reverence for the living spirit of the land.
Here is what adventures will include on our second day exploring at this experiential nature retreat in the Sintra forest:
Learn how fungi mycelium, what's called the "Wood Wide Web" and how it enables the miracle of life by interconnecting the forest ecosystem. Discover an amazing world of healing plants and mushrooms that grow in the forests across Western Europe.
Discover the ancient philosophy that once underpinned Western Civilization and is encoded throughout the architecture of Europe. We will also look at the dark side of Enlightenment rationalism that has led us to the point of ecological collapse and alienation from nature.
We will make a pilgrimage to Cabo De Roca, the most western point of continental Europe. The rock formations here are magical and the waves crash along spectacular cliffs and beaches. Along the sandy shores we'll practice immersive meditation while walking barefoot on the sand.
Learn about the ancient priesthood of Europe called the Druids and how they connected people to the living spirit of the land before they were conquered and ruthlessly suppressed by the colonizing armies of Rome. We will explore how they evolved out of earlier neolithic cultures that lived in harmony with the land.
Saturday, September 28th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, September 29th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sintra, Portugal. View this spectacular region on Google Maps.
Early bird pricing available until July 1st. Accommodations or food are extra.
Kyle Pearce is from Vancouver, British Columbia has been designing and leading experiential learning adventures, nature immersion retreats, and forest meditation workshops through Animist Ecology since 2015.
He has spent the last decade traveling the world in the winters studying ancient history, religious traditions, and meditation practices with teachers from around the world. He also runs a self-directed learning website called DIY Genius helping students develop their focus, creativity, and self-motivation.
Accommodation and food is separate. We will be meeting and staying in a 12th-century house and surrounded by 4 hectares of gardens called the Almáa Sintra Hostel.
Only a few rooms are only available for those who book early but you're welcome to stay elsewhere in Sintra and meet us each morning to attend the retreat.
We will be sharing meals and discussions over food each day so you can eat however you wish.
As a bonus, this retreat will have photography and video from a professional videographer so you're welcome to stay unplugged from your smartphone as you will get amazing photos and a retreat video from the experience.
After 4 years of facilitating experiential learning experiences in nature we know that the most important part is the relationships you form with other people at the retreat.
Meet other ecological changemakers from all over Europe and the world, form lasting friendships and meet other co-collaborators for your ecological and regenerative projects that can help transform this world.
After the retreat, we will have a 1-hour call to process our experience and an opportunity to continue to deepen your relationship with other retreat participants.
You will also get three months access to our Animist Ecology membership program to go deeper on the knowledge and practices you learn in the forest during this nature retreat.
You will also get our extensive Mushroom Ecology Learning Guide and webinar trainings for learning to identify edible and medicinal mushrooms that grow across the European continent.
Participate in an international tribe of ecological changemakers in the one of the most mysterious and magical forests in Western Europe.
"My experience was a great introduction into a vast new world of connections. The workshop was ideal for every level, as Kyle catered to the unique interests of all individuals that day. Kyle has a depth of knowledge that spans beyond pure mushroom ecology which creates a very dynamic experience. We were able to find many different species of mushrooms and identify them with Kyle's expertise. Kyle also provided a dense list of references and review from the session so there was no pressure to take notes and tons of resources to consult after the session! The forest meditation was an awesome experience and one that I have added to my meditation practices and can practice on my own. Kyle did a fantastic job making a connection with everyone and ensuring all questions were answered. He is so knowledgable on so many topics that he is able to add context to the geographic location, the ecology of the forest and even some anthropologic history. All around a fantastic experience that I would recommend to everyone regardless of their level of mushroom knowledge/interest."
"I enjoyed the retreat immensely and the knowledge gained/processed in a short time was enlightening and encouraging. There is much to learn about the amazing world we live in and our connection at the core to nature. We are nature! I mostly enjoyed the "gnosis" that happened while experiencing my learning together with all the other participants. Kyle was awesome at keeping the learning experiential and engaging and allowing everyone to contribute to the learning based on their journey of animism and personal connections with nature. I highly recommend this retreat to further your awareness of the forgotten knowledge of trees and mushrooms and leave feeling inspired that collectively we can form a deeper relationship with nature and others."
Join us for a life-changing experience in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. Change your perception of your place in nature and feel a deeper connection to the natural elements that give you life.