Earth Encounters, a centre for wilderness rites of passage, was set up in 2000 by David Wendl-Berry to promote and celebrate wilderness and personal renewal through nature. Based in Gloucester, the centre offers various courses, the heart of which is the Vision Quest itself. The courses are structured to meet the needs of all applicants, from introductory workshops, animal therapy sessions, shorter quests such as one or two nights or even 24 hour journeys, to lead up to a four day and night Vision Quest.Read testimonials to David’s work here.
David Wendl-Berry trained as a wilderness guide at the School of Lost Borders in California, under the guidance of Steven Foster and Meredith Little - pioneers who first brought the Vision Quest into Western culture. David is the preeminent Vision Quest guide in the UK and has been taking people through this process for 20 years. He is a trained Rites Of Passage Guide and Counsellor and works with many different techniques including Reiki, animal visualisation therapy and eco-psychology. Over the last 15 years his work as a Vision Quest guide has brought a deep connection to the power of the land in Snowdonia, which gives David immense insight and connection to his participants’ journeys.
He has led all types of people through the Vision Quest, from teenage street kids to drug addicts, successful business men and women, people who have been diagnosed HIV and AIDS and even a wonderful lady in her 70s!
Before becoming a wilderness guide David was a high-flier in the media industry and led the archetypal life of western success and excess. Despite his apparently enviable lifestyle, he was aware of a nagging dissatisfaction; a hole that was being filled with material goods and indulgent activities. After exploring various spiritual paths from meditation to martial arts and even therapy, without finding what he was looking for, he bumped into an old friend who was attending a talk by Sun Bear, a Native American Medicine Man. David went along and from that moment, he knew his life had changed forever. He had found what was missing - a connection to the land, to the whole of nature.
Soon after meeting Sun Bear, he quit his job and found himself on a plane to Washington State, about to join an apprentice screening program and do his first Vision Quest. That led to 2 years of travelling the Americas, learning from Medicine Men and Women of many different tribes before he came to the School for Lost Borders in Eastern California.
Now, as well as guiding people through the Vision Quest, David also trains others to become guides themselves.
"There is nothing more beautiful, more moving and more touching, than the look in questers’ eyes when they return." ~ Steven Foster.
Fern Smith lives in Wales and is an artist and newly fledged wilderness guide, having recently trained at the School of Lost Borders in California. She first went on Vision Quest with David in 2011 and this proved one of the most transformative events of her life. Since then she has been bringing earth based practices and the Four Shields consciously into her work. Her background is mainly as a theatre practitioner and co-founder of international touring company Volcano Theatre. She is now co-founder of Emergence, dedicated to creating conditions for dialogue and transformation in the areas of ecological justice and spirituality. She is currently researching and teaching in the areas of leadership, creativity and the ‘art of living,’ and strives to combine this with Rites of Passage work. She is also a craniosacral therapist, celebrant and coach.
Jen has been working with David for ten years.
She did her first Vision Quest in New Mexico in 2007 and another in 2009 in Wales. She understands the deep life changing and transforming process of VQ and has a deep connection to land and feeling at home with nature. Facing fears of darkness and walking through with David as trusted guide.
Jen is a Medical Herbalist and therapist working with massage, plant oils, Reiki and healing. She has a deep love of nature and feels passionately about supporting people reconnect with themselves and the world through being close with nature.
She holds a nurturing, caring space and enjoys the lightness that playfulness and and humour can bring!
James’s passion is to help call forth our human potential and our soul. His weave brings together more than 20 years experience in techniques, practices and information from the cutting edge of Neuroscience, Tantra, Biodanza, Energy Work, Integral theory and Taoist practices to create a spirituality that is rooted in the body. He is the organizer of international Dance and Tantra festivals in 7 different countries.
His Earth Medicine work includes vision quest, sweat lodge offerings and sacred cacao ceremonies using the structures and 4 directions from Native American cultures, incorporating this into western psychological and somantic awareness which is relevant for our culture.
He trainined as a vision quest guide with David as well as the School of Lost Borders in California and now holds vision quests in Poland for young adults.
His evolutionary approach is to work on all parts of ourselves, all lines & levels of development, and touching into the different states of consciousness that are possible in bringing forth our fullest potential. Click Here to be taken to Awaken As Love with details about all the work and trainings he offers.