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.

Advice to HypoKondriacks… three esteemed Doctors

August 27, 2012

Jonathan Swift named the three best doctors; Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet and Doctor Merryman.

I am a grandfather with good teeth, a full head of dark hair and energy to cycle, run dance and play. Here’s how I have interpreted Jonathan’s advice.

Doctor Diet. Choose your food carefully, be wary of too many fad diets and always leave the table (so conventional wisdom goes) wanting just a little more. Being mindful when eating is also beneficial enjoyment, digestion, a sense of calm and of course, mindfulness.

Doctor Quiet. I am an introvert. I love being around people, teaching, playing, laughing and joking, but I like to gather my energy from a place of quiet solitude. We all have a need for privacy. It is important to find some quiet time for yourself regularly to avoid being overloaded. Being out in nature is for instance one good way to reconnect with the quiet and stillness. Mindfulness, mediation or simple attentiveness often suffices. After having ‘partied’, I then like also to return to that place of quiet reflection.

Doctor Merryman. “Folks are just about as happy as they choose to be!” paraphrased Abraham Lincoln. How happy and positive one decides to feel is often to a large degree a choice. You can cultivate a negative attitude towards everything or a positive one.  Positive Ways says I!

Anyway, I enjoy a good party, especially if it involves a lot of dancing and so, with Ludo Crass laughing in my ear, I can relay what he has equally paraphrased Jonathan with “Riot, Diet and Quiet”.

Seems reasonable to me!