The Sweat Lodge at Clophill

October 8, 2013


The sweat lodge is a place to cleanse the body, the mind, emotions and of course the spirit. The Clophill Centre is working towards making ceremony and ritual part of everyday life in a gentle, effective and simple way. It does not matter if you experience and understand that as a purely cognitive and physical process, as part of the trance or human inner guidance system or if you connect at a deep spiritual level. It is the cleansing and the time to do it with that you reward yourself with that matters. It is a time to become mindful, of yourself and others, so etiquette is simple, gentle, but important.

Sweat Lodges have been common in Briton and the British tradition it seems is similar to others around like the Scandinavian and Native American, but (of course) we have our own style, way of doing things and work with the ways and energies of this land.

Clophill honours the beauty of the old ways, but recognises that the new and developing ways, especially in psychology and healing, mean we choose to bring our unique approach to the work. In that work we seek to bring together the language of those with a purely cognitive approach and those with a spiritual way. We respect both and the democracy of the individual to work as best suits them.

Part of the purpose of the Clophill Centre is to find the ways in which those of us who live in the land (We call Albion) can connect with this land. We are seeking to do that and we do not claim that this is the best way, right way or that it follows any traditions or specific ways (for which we understand there are many). You are part of the unfolding and development of our ceremony and ways. Thank you for that.

During the process a Fire will be lit, Stones will be heated, the Earth will be sat on and Water wiill meet the hot stones and the Air to meet steam. So who is that runs that process for you?

Fire Keeper and Guardian of the Land: Richard Diss

Richard Diss is your host and guardian of the land. He is an initiated Fire Keeper within the Sacred Fire Community and has many years of experience working the land.The Sacred Fire Community works from Clophill so please be aware that offerings are in keeping with that tradition are honoured.

Pouring the waters: Keith Abrahams

The pouring of the waters is important, because it regulates the heat in conjunction with the elements of course, which is the metaphor for your emotional processing too. Keith is qualified to hold those emotions.

Meet Richard and Keith

Like in all healing ceremonies, it is important to know who you have entrusted yourself to. Feel free to ask Richard or Keith anything you wish to, who will, when you first meet for the first time, tell you about the work that they do. If at any time you ever (in any healing situation at all), have any questions or wish to slow down, withdraw or go home, you should do so confidently and with our honour and respect

Purpose; respect, release and replenish yourself and the land: You and Clophill

The sweating process is designed to relax and loosen the individual up and It is a time to respect yourself, your feelings and your development, and allow the emotional “stuff” that may come up to process through. You can contact and speak with Keith anytime that you need to.

The sweat is a time to just be and replenish. Keith will talk more about intention and attention and how we bring that to the work, but intention, if it is clean, will lead to a clean outcome, providing the attention is right. There is no need to test your endurance and our etiquette is gentle and set out below.

We bring attention through (what Jung might call) our Body (the five senses), our Mind (your thoughts and imagination), Intuition (you guessed it! Or did you already know it?) and our Emotions. These are represented by the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water (all of which we meet in the lodge!) and the directions, North, East, South and West.

We will also meet the (Jungian psychology) Archetypal energies, some might call it our imagination and others may call Saints, Angels, Guides or imagination – it’s all good and of course we meet the Ancestors, those who have done the work before us  and of course ….. we meet ourselves and each other! We call this our “inner guidance system”. This adds three more directions to be mindful of, all that is Above, all that is Below and all that is Within. But more on that when you wish and speak to Keith and Richard.

During the process, respect for ourselves, each other and the land is essential. Similarly, Confidentiality for and with each other is expected, vital and will be honoured.

Monies: is the energy exchange

Your contribution pays for the food, wood & the use and upkeep of the land and its services. This is a ceremony and our time and energy is gifted as part of honouring the land.

For us a Ceremony is about:

  1. A subtle change in consciousness; for new sources of insight, wisdom & strength (from our inner guidance system.)
  2. It is Sacred in nature of time, space and a celebration of the here and now
  3. Being a Special time for us and the beneficent sources of healing that are open to all of us, if we bring our attention to it.
  4. An opportunity for deeper interconnectedness

It is suggested that you do not eat for about two hours before joining the lodge, but that you drink water. We will eat afterwards and if you wish, bring something small to share. Please bring some wood that you have gathered as an offering for the fire.

Etiquette: this is the Clophill Way

The Clophill Land has a strong connection with Fire and the fire is honoured too. We build the lodge, fire and place the stones on the fire together, with mindfulness. We build and honour and altar, which forma a connection to the lodge. You will be asked not to pass through the line connecting the lodge as it is considered part of our connection.

We go into the lodge Spiritually naked, but physically clothed. Wear shorts, towels (bring a spare towel to dry yourself with), dinner suits or the like that make you feel comfortable with yourself. As you enter the ceremony there will be a cleansing process, called smudging, which helps us to bring our attention to the work.

We enter clock wise, leave anti clockwise and mark our respect by offering up our work as we enter for “All our relations” which for us means everything we are connected to.

The full lodge normally lasts for 3 to 4 rounds. Between each round the door is opened and water is brought in. You should only stay as long as you wish and can leave by simply asking “Door Please” at any point and leave ideally anti clockwise unless the shortest route is essential. Ask for help if you wish.. All we ask is that you only return to the lodge when there is a change of round. The lodge is about being mindful to others too and we should honour others views and space too. That is the exit protocol.

In the rounds we may sing, chant, talk, tell stories and share jokes or personal things. Participate as seems fitting for you.  It will be exactly as you need.

Confidentiality & respect for each other.

Health & Safety

Each of us responsible for appropriate behaviour, ours and others, it comes with the risks associated with everyday being outside, working with others and with hot and wet things.  If it is dark & wet; please tred carefully and use torches.

The lodge is about connecting with nature and is outside bring suitable clothing to honour the season and the time of day, plus implements you may need (torches, spare clothes etc) . Take Jewellery off and wear losing fitting garments.

There is fire, water and hot stones (which have never, but may splinter, which is why they are checked). We will ask you to acknowledge this risk and we will talk to you about it if you have any further questions.

Your work is to honour yourself. It is not an endurance test so leave anytime you wish following the Exit protocol above.

Drink water, so as to avoid dehydration & exhaustion. Be aware of the signs and ask for help if needed. It needs only be a gentle process.

Please advise us of any medical conditions that we may need to take account of; asthma, heart, blood pressure or physical support you may need.

We looking forward to introducing you to the beauty of the the Clophill land, the ways of the lodge and to new parts of yourself.

With warmth and wetness,

Richard & Keith aka Eisba


Firewalk, Vision Quest and Sweat Lodge – Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my!

December 3, 2012

Much like the fabled Emerald City, The Clophill Centre is known as the place of “Wow” and many have been wooed by both its place and sense of community, both of which meet in the teaching and healing the facilitators bring. Of course, sometimes that means facing the lions, tigers and bears!

The Clophill tradition of teaching and healing continued (and lions tigers and bears where met) during the recent spirited weekend where, led by Richard Diss, Sheelagh Keddie and Keith Abrahams, a group of questers came together, bonded and in order to set off down their own yellow brick road!

Unlike poor Dorothy, winded and dumped into oblivion to find her guides and confidants, the questers were met with Richard’s congeniality, the perfect host and the bonding started in a supportive circle, where hopes, dreams, fears and hurts were confidentially, confidently and compassionately shared.

From that safe place in community, the questers were left to explore, find and prepare their place on the land; the place that would hold them over night whilst they faced their lions and tigers – their personal fears and challenges. Together they fashioned a natural gateway, an exit from the tameness of community and entrance into the wild of the land.

But none of us can leave without ever having arrived. And we can arrive if we have been successful to a great extent. Invariably “moving on” involves letting go, not just letting go of that which “no longer serves us”, but also of the stuff that has served us well, could still serve us well, but keeps us limited from a greater potential, we tend to grow when we are challenged and adopt new ways. In stepping home Dorothy had to leave the comfort of the magic shoes behind – they were only borrowed anyway!

So the questers were invited, led by Sheelagh weaving her magic, to celebrate all they had and achieved with a dance around and with the Fire. As they danced and celebrated and their energy matched the burning coals, they become light and focused; they gathered their intent and walked bare foot across the hot coals! Whooping and cheering, releasing and freeing! They had much to celebrate together! And yet they knew that the silence of the night would come. Dorothy also had to leave Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion behind.

As the coals died, they left quietly and gathered together, in silence, in circle. As the darkness deepened with their breathing, they become reflective. The anticipation grew as one by one, alone they left the circle, walked through their exit and out to the land, to take their place, like Dorothy in the balloon…

Their place, where they sat with themselves and nature listened, reviewed and re-wrote their personal histories. That story is theirs to tell – or not if they choose – how could Dorothy have told anybody her yellow brick journey?
That mattered little whilst just as the light of dawn appeared. A lighter look, a more positive step and they strode back to community, returning through the exit in re-entrance, to be welcomed triumphantly with a song and embrace – Keith made a great auntie Em!

Then from the cold of the night to the warmth of the hearth, the questers found themselves once again in the darkness, but this time bearlike in the community of the sweat lodge. How could they share their story? In the warmth and witness of their clan they could share and tell their story. The Hero returns, healed and stronger!

A brief summary like this cannot do justice to the full gamut of the experience of the team of questers, but all of them reported profound and beautiful experiences, and have made lifelong friends, including with themselves too!

Vision Quest – follow a natural way

October 3, 2012

Vision Quest – 20/21 October 2012


Vision quests have taken many forms over the centuries, from tests of survival, to pilgrimages, to inner quests. Here at Clophill we regularly hold a physically gentle version of the vision quest, in way that it can bring you in touch with yourself, your spirit and the natural world in your unique way. Everyone can benefit from such a quest.
In this way the Vision Quest is a gift of time to you, perhaps at key defining moments, maybe in dealing with changes; such as career, relationships, parenthood or retirement. Or it may be about gaining clarity or direction in life, either way there will be some form of transition.

These transitions are often initially experienced as a sense being cut off or of isolation, in which we can feel we have remained stuck for an eternity! If are to move through the change or get the direction we need, then the next phase will need to be one of expectation and preparedness for change – we feel like we on the edge of changing. The last phase is when we embrace new positive ways and apply them. The new ways become integrated within us.

The Vision Quest is not just a metaphor for working with those phases of isolation, threshold and re-incorporation, but is a process, which if met with proper intention and attention and can shorten the duration of the phases (and certainly move us through aspects we are stuck in!)

Held and facilitated by Keith, once your application for the Quest has been accepted, you will begin the process of preparing and enacting that sense of isolation, by experiencing and enjoying time alone on the land, before being welcomed back, celebrated with and supported into adopting new ways.

Dates: 20th and 21st October 2012. Cost £85.

The day(s)

We will gather between 10.30am on Saturday and spend circle time together, gaining greater insights into the work for the day. We will meet several times together and have time for one to ones with the facilitator. During the day we will build a gateway to exit from and return through and also build the sweat lodge, ready for the next morning. You will choose and prepare your questing spot.

Around dusk you will be invited to attend the Fire Ceremony and Walk. That will finish and you will spend some time in quiet contemplation before heading off on to the land for your quest at midnight. You may return anytime that it feels right, but will return at first light, to the vigil fire which will be by what is known as the Garden Room at Clophill.

Once we are all returned and settled, we will enjoy the warmth of the Sweat lodge then break our fast in celebration and prepare to close our days work.


Please speak with Keith 0n 078834655171, Skype Keith.Abrahams or email him on 01438 724145 before the 13th October 2012 for your initial discussion.

On the day, on Saturday from 11am you will be asked to fast (but drinking plenty of water) to aid the cleaning process until after the lodge. If you have any medical requirements to eat, please let Keith know as it can be accommodated for and it is not an endurance test. Indeed, anytime you feel like you need something, simply talk it through with Keith and agree what is best for you.  

You will also be asked not to drink caffeine from the Thursday before the lodge.


You will be connecting and exposing yourself to the elements. This can be done either by just sitting in nature or using a small (pop up like or one man) tent or tarpaulin that still enables you to connect with the elements. And yes it is likely to be damp and cool, if not cold, and dark.

You may take:

–          Tent, sleeping bag or quilt

–          Warm layers of clothing, including gloves and hats

–          Water proof boots, trousers and jackets

–          Something to sit on the damp ground and if wished a ‘backjack’ to sit on

–          A torch (it will be suggested that you use natural light to guide your way, but your safety comes first

–          For the sweat you will need spare towels, clothing suitable for the sweat – see previous blog too.

With warmth, wetness and wellness


The Spirited Weekend – Bringing it all together

September 16, 2012

The details of the weekends work follow, but first my preamble.

Bringing the day together? Through my work as a scientifically trained therapist and in my exploration as an inspired (or in-spirited) human being, I have met many medical research scientists, PhD Doctorates mostly. Three of whom spring to mind all of whom achieved great medical success in their early lives, became successful business people and then grew further. They explored the boundaries of the human spirit.

When we discussed this we all seemed to agree that the difficulties many people found in maturing, and I don’t mean age related progression, was that they had not been given the grounded way to explore whatever it was that their spirit, soul or the simple mysteries of the universe and the planet, where and meant for them. Very often, their attempts to get that need met led to addictions; drugs, alcohol, excitement and risky behaviours. That rarely left them feeling satisfied and led to a good few of them sitting in my cognitive therapy room, head in hands, dispirited.

As my understanding as healer, psychologist and coach has grown, it has become apparent to me all of us are unique (duh – I know, but truly getting that means being willing to drop pre-conceptions, approach ideas and interpret them in more simple ways). Therefore I found new old ways of working with my clients, from their perspective with their growth in mind. Things that seemed not to make sense, suddenly did when they “did” it! Interestingly one of my research scientist colleagues commented “I have spent most of my career selling drugs and dismissing the placebo effect. And now I work with it!”

Another described how had moved from a similar place, through cognitive processing to the place of teaching mindfulness, that place of greater awareness, and I agree. Sometimes though, we think of mindfulness just as Zen like meditation. That is not so. We can be mindful in many ways; on our own in nature, around a fire with friends, on a walk and in the hot bath (with candles and scents of course!) We often miss and dismiss simple pleasures that feed us as being wacky! Those positive ways of just being one are perfect for bringing just clarity when you need it.

So fire, walk, nature rest & quest and a good hot bath are all brought together in a respectful, honourable approach to the old ways, but with the simple recognition that we are the new people. That is the calling of my work; honour the Sacred and bring it today simply together.

It’s a joy to be working with Sheelagh on and over:

The Spirited Weekend
In this unique weekend the spirits of our land – Earth, Air, Fire and Water are brought together to enable you to find your own true vision and carry it forward into your life. You will spend time alone in contemplation of the sovereignty and guardianship of the land( and yourself)f, which links you with this place –our planet Earth; you will open up your heart and find your deepest desire and take that to the ceremony of the Firewalk to be energised;  after completing your personal Vision Quest you will enter the healing of the Sweat Lodge to consolidate your vision then take it with you out into life – to live your vision – to remain at one with spirit in all its beauty.

Your progress begins on Saturday morning in group and personal preparation for your overnight quest, we’ll then attentively clear sacred space, build the entry gate and prepare the fires for walking and vigil. At 18:30 we gather to light the Firewalk fire with ceremony and prayers. During the workshop your energies link with that of the fire whilst you connect with your heart and your authentic dream. Then carry your dream in your heart to the Fire and dare to walk your dream in to reality.  

Celebrate and then move to the  Vigil Fire where you’ll continue to integrate your dream into your body and heart and you may chose to go and sit alone in quest. In the early morning we gather again at the vigil fire and then move into the Sweat Lodge to cleanse body and spirit ready to move out into the world and make your vision happen.

This is a weaving of ancient ceremonies into a powerful intention: As soon as you decide to participate the magic will begin to enter into your life. Welcome to the beginning of something wonderful in your life.

This weekend is given by 2 of the Clophill Centre’s shamanic practitioners: Sheelagh Keddie and Keith Abrahams.

Sheelagh weaves together ceremony and the art of spiritual fire walking. She studies with the Twin Flames Foundation, with Sundoor and most of all through listening to the Celtic spirits of this land.

Keith has a gentle humour, aimed at keeping ‘the ways’ simple in everyday living. He is learning to serve the tea as a Rainbow Warrior through a variety of colourful teachers, like Simon Buxton, Leo Rutherford and Caitlin Matthews.

The place
The land of the Clophill Centre brings its own special energies to deepen and authenticate our experiences during this weekend as we work in and around its trees, wildlife and the resonance of sacred space.

Booking details
Your place is reserved upon payment of a non-returnable deposit of £40. This can be made payable to Richard Diss at

The price of £80 covers the whole weekend. Bring food to share.
Start time 11am on Saturday morning
Close around 9pm on Sunday evening

If you have any questions please feel free to contact:
Keith on (07834655171)
Sheelagh on or
Richard at the Clophill Centre.