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Ancestral Vision Quest - Earth, Ancestors and the Deep Imagination


  • High Heathercombe Manaton, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 9SE UK (map)

Earth, Ancestors, and the Deep Imagination - Healing the Wounds and Claiming the Gifts of Ancestral Heritage with Peter Scanlan and Paul Howell

“At the Ancestor Retreat I experienced opening and direction for much needed transformation that continues to this day. This awakening emboldened a journey of deep shifts, nurturing, and vibrant Essence.” - Laura Gerren


Deep in our bones we carry the DNA of the ancestral stories passed down to us over many generations.

"I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors. It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family which is passed on from parents to children. It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished."  CG Jung - Memories, Dreams, Reflections. 

The family narrative woven by the shadows of time; including all of the migrations, celebrations, tragedies, gifts and wounds, lives on in our body, beneath our rational understanding. These personal mythologies have the power to influence us profoundly. Our emotions, life choices and how we see ourselves are all in some way derived from our personal and collective past.

The untended aspects of our unique stories surface in our lives and appear as themes and patterns; perhaps a yearning for a deeper sense of our origins and a connection to a place and a people, perhaps as illness, addiction, or a particular talent, skill or personality trait.


  "Often our loneliness and isolation is due to a failure of spiritual imagination. We forget that there is no such thing as empty space. All space is full of presence, particularly the presence of those who are now in eternal invisible form".  John O'Donohue.

"Often our loneliness and isolation is due to a failure of spiritual imagination. We forget that there is no such thing as empty space. All space is full of presence, particularly the presence of those who are now in eternal invisible form".  John O'Donohue.


During this program we will enter the House of the Ancestors to track the people and the stories; some known and many unknown, which have shaped our lives, often in mysterious ways.

Through research of personal genealogy, some may find valuable facts about their ancestors. We invite you to bring whatever ancestral material you possess, and suggest perhaps doing a little research before attending.  However, whilst this kind of information can be helpful, those for whom such information is not available, please be assured this is not an impediment. For the most part we will be working with the less rational aspect of your ancestral story; exploring the wisdom that resides in a different, deeper imaginal layers of your consciousness in order to recall and re-member the memories and meanings you seek.   

There will be ample opportunity to wander the wild landscapes of Dartmoor, listening with our hearts and imaginations to the ancestral energies, engaging with and embodying them in story, movement, and images.

Between wanders we will weave poetry, the way of council, deep imagery, embodiment and mirroring practices, ceremony and dream work to court the Old Ones and sort the threads of our personal and collective stories. Perhaps it will help that just a short walk from the retreat centre are the remains of an ancient Viking burial mound. Standing there looking out over the moor and the ocean beyond evokes the passage of time, whispers of adventure, migrations and movements of people past, so we might know them in the present.   

In these ways we will invite a larger conversation with the past and so bring a deepened self-understanding, find lost heirlooms, and bring balm to ancient wounds.

Please join us for these days of keen listening; of honouring and embodying the wisdom we uncover. The time we spend alone and together will be a gift to the ancients, as well as to us and to each other. As we embrace the fullness of our personal ancestries, we are able to find more of the wholeness we want to bring the world, which the world so dearly needs and is calling for. 

Read more...article by Peter Scanlan.


Please to contact me on pauljhowell@gmail.com if you have any questions and to request an application form.

This retreat will be fully residential with home-made vegetarian food provided. It will be possible to camp for those who prefer to do so. The group size will be limited to just 16.

Costs inclusive of all accommodation and vegetarian meals.

  • £450.00

A non-refundable deposit of £200.00 secures a place once confirmed.


Guide Bio's

Peter Scanlan was a clinical psychologist in private practice for 34 years in Nashville, Tennessee. He trained with AVI and with School of Lost Borders as a vision quest guide and has been an AVI lead guide for 15 years. He works to facilitate the transformation of personal story into the mytho- poetic story that each of us inhabits. He is dedicated to guiding people to the edge of the deepest mysteries holding sacred sacred space while they plunge into those depths, and then honouring the unique power and truth of the stories that they bring back from those journeys. He brings heart presence and a playful spirit to his work. - http://www.peterscanlan.com/peter.htm

Paul Howell worked in the corporate arena for 17 years. After studying applied psychology he left his 1st career to travel. During this time he rediscovered his passion for wild natural places and the opportunities they afford humans to heal and grow. He works as a therapist, guide and facilitator with individuals, couples and groups in a wide range of settings across the UK and in North America. Skilled in helping people access the wisdom inherent in the body and the symbolic and archetypal realms of the imagination, Paul is committed to helping individuals realise their deepest sense of purpose. He brings insight, mischief and authenticity to his work. He lives in Findhorn and can most often be found in the wilds with his camera stalking the light as it dances across the landscape. Paul J Howell


Testimonials from previous events

“What I experienced was a big surprise. My ancestors were ready to greet me with open arms. They had seen me! I heard important stories that needed to be told and listened to. The healing went both ways - for both my ancestors and me. I think we surprised one another.” − Donna Marie

“A life changing experience that started me on a brand new way of experiencing my ancestry, through exploring the matriarchal side rather than the male side I had traditionally followed.  My “story” or at least the telling of it has even changed ” − Ken Pyburn

“I had the deep delicious fortune to encounter an Ancestral Heritage community that truly lifted my heart and opened my DNA, my body, and my mind, to my larger soul story. It was a community both seen and unseen, living and dead, from all times and places.” - Julia Archer