“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.” –Richard Bach
Skye was raised on (and by) a farm in South Africa, where she spent her early years wondering barefoot, hand-raising and rehabilitating wildlife and working as a wilderness guide. She then trained in traditional Taoist healing practices for three years, as well as other body-based healing modalities, before travelling to the Peruvian Amazon to study plant medicine. Skye’s personal blog.
Helm also grew up close to nature, but tried to ‘civilise’ himself through university education and a number of years in the corporate world. Fortunately he failed, and found his way to the jungle, where he met Skye. Along the way, Helm trained as a counsellor, breathworker, psychotherapeutic journey practitioner, and in Shiatsu.
We lived in the Peruvian Amazon from 2011 to 2016, where we apprenticed with a number of Shipibo curanderos (traditional healers). As part of our training we facilitated retreats for hundreds of participants from all walks of life and formed relationships with master teacher plants through the practice of dieta.
As lovers of nature and long-term dharma practitioners, we have been lit up by the movement of deep ecology / the Work That Reconnects. We are passionate about ecological identification, protection and regeneration.
As warm-blooded human animals, we are deeply disturbed by the trajectory of our civilisation and the separation consciousness on which it is premised. Now, more than ever, we feel the imperative to explore Earth-friendly culture and ways of being – including spirituality, community, permaculture and soul-centric early childhood education.
what we offer
We currently facilitate deep ecology study groups and retreats to raise awareness, build community resilience and keep ourselves sane.
We also facilitate breathwork and plant medicine intensives,
and offer ceremonial preparation & integration support.
what we’re about – embodiment, ‘being-in-the-world’, belonging to earth
In our plant medicine work, we are ‘integration-focused’. Transpersonal and spiritual experiences are vital, but their potential is limited if we cannot integrate them. This takes time. It requires commitment and energy. It can be a highly challenging, unsexy business, which sometimes involves changing the structures of your life, and letting things die.
We do not believe in the separation of spirituality from life. On an absolute level or deep-time perspective, everything is perfect. But this does not mean we ignore the various dimensions of our relative reality, including environmental and social justice.
In this time of great ecological and socio-political unravelling, we need mass ecological awakening/remembering – life-sustaining cultures which encourage us to belong and relate again to the larger self-organised intelligence of earth.
Plant medicines are wonderful supports for this movement – but they are not substitutes for it.
One of the ecological functions of plant medicines is to increase resilience and coherence in living systems over the long term. Human culture can either corrupt this process, or support it.
We believe it is vital for the medicine paradigm to reflect on itself and ask: where are our cultural blind spots, and how can our use of plants be a support for greater identity and harmony with the living earth system.
what we’re not about
We are not fundamentalists. We see our offering (particularly plant medicine) as only one current in a movement towards more soul-centric ways of relating to life.
We are not so-called ‘shamans’, although we express aspects of the shamanic archetype.
We don’t pretend to ‘have our shit together’ or to be offering this work from an ego-less pureland.
We do not offer panaceas, pacifiers or antidotes to the human condition. Nor are we much interested in peddling pineal orgasms to tourists.
We are not really into love-and-light / dopamine-chasing. We are more into deepening, soul, waking up to life.
This necessarily includes relating to dark experiences. Although it can result in ‘feeling good’ or whole or healed, none of this is guaranteed and just as often what follows awakening is disintegration and the dark night of the soul. We work with people who accept this as completely natural.
what we’re up to now
We recently emerged from a long period of integration, study and city living. This was a kind of winter cycle. Now it is spring again, so we are offering sessions and growing our networks and paying more attention to our little garden and the dog.
We do this work because we love it and we feel it is part of our ecological function during our fleeting time on earth.
If it feels right, reach out to us.
Skye and Helm