Date & Time Details: August 14-18, 2023 - Start Time 1pm End Time 12pm

Location: Santa Cruz Redwoods, California

What to Bring: This retreat center offers shared dormitory style accommodations, linens provided. Camping is available for those who prefer to camp, yet is limited (first come, first serve basis). Participants are responsible for personal transportation to and from the program.

Meals : Participants are responsible for bringing their own lunches, and snacks. For breakfasts and dinners, the group will be divided into meal teams to plan, purchase and prepare group dinners using safe protocols.

  • $975.00 to $1,275.00 – Sliding Scale Price: you are free to select any price within this range
  • $1,275.00 – High End Program Price: choosing the high end amount or more allows us to compensate our guides at a higher rate

Art & Soul: Unveiling and Igniting the Hidden Imagery of Nature and Psyche, August 2023

August 14 - 18, 2023

With Doug Van Houten and Palika Rewilding

…Hold to your own truth

at the center of the image

you were born with.…

~David Whyte

Image is the mother tongue of the soul.  As humans, we carry images, symbols, mysteries within us that arise unbidden through the dreamtime, dance at the edges of consciousness, and arrive via encounters within human culture and nature. They are with us from the beginning. Images that are core to who we are carry energy, story, meaning, memory, emotion, and/or vision. They might, if we are willing to engage them, connect us to our hearts — to the places we most fear but nevertheless must go — and also to the heart of the world. Such images point beyond themselves toward the mysteries and destiny inherent in a human life.

The reinvention of self and world happens primarily through the powers of our imaginations. Images are at the root of our “image”inations. The special focus of Art and Soul is the awakening of these powers and the expression of our raw images — our prima materia — into visual form, allowing their inherent mysteries to do their work on us and incubate life-changing intimacy with our souls and with our world.

In a precious Redwood Forest mixed with Madrone, Oak, and Bay, perched on the edge of the wild Pacific Sea, we’ll explore our images through the entwining of expressive arts, soulcraft practices, and embodied dialogs with the land and wild others. Our art processes may include: mandala and collage work, group and self-designed ceremony, symbolic art work, trance rhythm and movement, art with the land, focused wandering in nature, clay work, deep imagery, and body art. Artistic process can free us from the conceptual mind and purposeful logic, opening the doorway to nonordinary perceptual experience and the depths of psyche.

We’ll approach expressive arts in the spirit of giving way to spontaneous ceremony, holding clear intentions as well as allowing moment-to-moment improvisation. Whatever happens to us in the process is potentially as revelatory and transformative as any resulting image. We’ll interact with the images that emerge, leaving us vulnerable to feeling everything, to being stopped in our tracks or set into motion. We’ll track, as if with new eyes, underlying patterns and storylines that point us toward the truth at the center of the image we were born with.

No previous visual arts experience is necessary. All levels of creative skill are welcome; we are less interested in the finished product than the process and our ability to free up our wild minds as we dare to give life to our images.



Located in Northern California on 80 acres of redwood forest, an hour and a half south of San Francisco and 25 minutes outside of Santa Cruz. We welcome all people and groups, regardless of Quaker affiliation, who are in harmony with Friends’ values of integrity, unity,  equality, simplicity, peace and community. We also strive to live in harmony with all creation.





Doug Van Houten
Doug (he/him) draws on the wisdom of the natural world, depth-psychology, eco-psychology, dreams, somatic knowing, poetry, and many pan-cultural, soul furthering practices that includes: The Way of Council, vision fasting, shadow work, symbolic artwork, trance dancing and conversations with the more than human world. Doug’s true calling in life is to support others as they uncover their own unique gifts and in so doing, transform their lives in service to what Thomas Berry called ”The Great Work” of our times. Doug is also an ardent beekeeper, a visual artist, a wily wanderer, a dream tracker, an emergent ceremonialist, a heart-centered activist, and…
Learn more about Doug Van Houten
Palika Rewilding
Palika Rewilding has been courting and centering  the mysteries of the moon and the wild miraculous blue green pearl as long as she can remember. As a threshold midwife she listens and tends the edges and holy cracks with fierce love for pearls and shadowed gems within the psyche and hearts of the individual and collective, longing to recover our enchantment with Mystery, and our reciprocity and response ability with the Animate Earth. Passionately committed to the somatic and imaginal, deep structure, the descent into the Underworld, and the way of  beauty; she tends questions that matter, praise, grief and…
Learn more about Palika Rewilding