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Soulcraft™ Australia & New Zealand offers programs and training in partnership with the Animas Valley Institute of Colorado, USA.

Happening in New Zealand 2023
28th April - 2nd May



The Soulcraft Intensive is Animas valleys popular five-day experiential plunge into the wild depths of Soulcraft; a synergistic set of nature-based practices designed to evoke the life-shifting experience of soul encounter. Your soul is your true self, those qualities that most deeply define and express who you are and the unique gift that you were born to bring to the world, a world so much in need of the socially transforming contributions of initiated, actively engaged adults.

To encounter the soul is to discover the mystical image you were born with, which reveals the path to your greatest personal fulfillment as well as the essence of your true service to society (the cross-cultural wisdom traditions say these are one and the same).

Soulcraft practices spring from nature-based cultures, modern depth psychology, the poetic tradition, and wilderness rites of passage—to comprise a truly contemporary Western path to soul discovery and soul initiation. For a full discussion, see Bill Plotkin’s book Soulcraft: Crossing Into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche


The Soulcraft Intensive is highly experiential. We alternate between practices utilised in group, practices explored in solitude in nature, and sharing and deepening those experiences.

What you discover through one practice is carried into and amplified by what you learn in the next. By the end of the intensive, you will understand yourself and your place in the world from a more soul-oriented perspective, be clearer about the gifts you were born to bring to the world, and have new skills to enrich your life and to defend the health of the more-than-human world.

Soulcraft practices include:

·        Soulcentric Dreamwork

·        Deep Imagery Work with Animal Guides

·        Talking Across the Species Boundaries

·        The Way of Council

·        Soul Tasks in Nature

·        Self-Designed Ceremony

·        Shadow Work

·        Soul Poetry

·        Sacred Wound Work

·        Synchronicities: Working with Nature’s Signs and Omens

·        Befriending the Dark

·        Ecstatic Trance Drumming and Dancing and many others!












Doug Van Houten
Doug 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 a…
Learn more about Doug Van Houten

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Jaime Howell

Jaime is a trained Wilderness Rites of Passage guide, Work That Reconnects facilitator and experienced teacher of Open Floor movement practice. He is the founder of the Centre for the Great Turning, inspired by Joanna Macy, Bill Plotkin, Tarchin Hearn and many more. 


In recent years he has been working to develop a map of human wholeness. A map that offers guidance and inspiration to undertake the journey of human wholeness. The work involves bringing communities together to create and support meaningful passageways between the life stages.


Jaime uses mythology, poetry, song and embodied conscious dance to help people enter the landscape of the soul. His work is about helping humans rediscover their innate sense of belonging to the natural world. He has a Masters in Education, a legitimate blues guitar and a passion for rites of passage that are empowering and that ultimate help folks be in wholesome relationship with the Great Turning.


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Juliana Griese

I  have been exploring and sharing progressively since 2007, contemplative practices/meditation moved by a passion in the area of ecology and community care. I  worked for more than 15 years in Brazil with NGOs, the environmental movement and research projects focused on wild animal ecology. I am beginning to explore more deeply and delivering The Work that Reconnects for communities and in retreats. I am a NVC passionate and do my best to put it into practice. I am an enthusiastic supporter of community building. Me and  Jaime are a couple in awakening, singing, meditating and building a home together. We have the deepest aspiration to support each other in our growth and  collaborate in the Great Turning.

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Rene Aish

Rene lives in Palmerston North in the shadow of the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges, watered by the Manawatu river. He is a father to three boys, counsellor, and Soulcentric Nature Based Underworld Guide in training with Animas Valley Institute. As a guide and mentor his work is to help people dive into deepest conversation they can have with themselves and with the Earth so they might follow their Soul’s deepest longing, come to know and embrace their sacred gifts, live a life of creative service, and rediscover their deep belonging to the Earth community

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