Interbeing 05: Ancestral Connection

Saturday, October 28, 2023
12 noon – 7 pm
*Bonfire + Drum Circle follows
Ages 14+

@ Silvae Spiritus Northwoods Nature Retreat
68441 Rhine Lake Rd
Finlayson, MN 55735


Under the full moon and just prior to Samhain (pronounced “SOW-in”), the ancient Celtic observance honoring those who have passed, Interbeing 05 is a single day retreat tapping into ancestral and living wisdom through Forest Bathing, Circlework, Meditative Sound Immersion, Earth Medicine Art Practice, and Crafting Ritual. The evening will conclude with a bonfire + drumming. Sessions will be held both indoors and outdoors. While all are welcome, this retreat has been designed with people in mind who are walking with loss; grief will be respected here.

facilitated by Leigha Horton
The Circle – a shape that honors equanimity, as it holds every person equidistant from the center – is one that encourages a shared truth to emerge from the center. Whether for storytelling, for ceremony, for celebration, or for the simple act of connection, humans the world over have been gathering in circles with intention for millennia. Facilitated so that every person’s contribution – including silence – is respected and honored, we will explore ideas of ancestry, generational gifts, inherited wisdom, grief, presence, and legacy.

Guided Forest Bathing
facilitated by Leigha Horton
Forest Bathing is a slow-moving, deeply sensory, mindful and bodyful walk in Nature that has shown to result in measurable physiological, cognitive, and emotional benefits – most importantly, a reconnection to Nature alongside our inner nature.  This late-Autumn session will be guided through the 30 acres of woods and meadows and past the ephemeral ponds along the trails of Silvae Spiritus. We find that rain heightens the senses and can make for truly magical experiences, and therefore the walk will take place outdoors rain or shine.

What to bring: water bottle, dress in layers warmer than you think you’ll need, any personal comfort items or clothing to assist in cold or wet conditions

Crafting a Ritual for You
facilitated by Leah Cooper
In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer says, “Ceremony focuses attention so that attention becomes intention.” Ceremony and ritual are basic human tools for connection, catharsis, and comfort during times of chaos. We need not depend on religious dogma or cultural authority to tell us how to do them; they are embedded in our very systems of being if we can just listen without judgement to what our body already knows. In this workshop we will explore the essential ingredients of ritual, guiding you through the creation of your own personal ritual you can take home and evolve over time – one that is suited to your belief systems, lifestyle and needs for setting intention and seeking catharsis through ceremony.

Earth Medicine Art Practice
facilitated by Amanda LaFrance
For hundreds of thousands of years, people all over the world have nourished life, found healing and honored the threshold moments of the human experience through ritualized Earth Art practices. Stonehenge in England. Nazca lines in Peru. Serpent Mounds in North America. Earth Medicine Art Practices are multisensory explorations that combine nature, art, meditation and meaning. Incorporating the natural world into our everyday intention encourages positive well-being and connection to and with the Earth, each other and ourselves. Come as you are. Create. Connect. 

Meditative Sound Immersion
facilitated by Dendrotic
An exploration of the resonance between your inner nature and the natural world. An invitation into the harmony of mental + physical health. A vacation from stress and rumination wherein we allow ourselves to fully relax into the spaciousness of ambient soundscapes and gently welcome ourselves into the shared home we call the present moment. An opportunity to find your frequency and amplify your strength, intuition, and personal motivation. Drawing on my long history of live electronic music performance and interweaving the acoustic energy generation of melodic drums, crystal singing bowls, chimes, bells, and percussion I’ll be seeking to create and hold space for you to enter into a state of being highly conducive to restoring balance in both body and mind. My hope will be for participants to leave with the kind of physiological refreshment and psychological clarity that can serve as a foundation for deeply engaging with and contributing to the co-creation of the more beautiful and limitless world that awaits us…

What to bring: any pillows or blankets you’d like help find your cozy place; an open mind + a compassionate heart + curious ears

Bonfire + Drum Circle
facilitated by Travis Norman
Earth, air, fire, water – the elements that sustain us have sustained everyone who has come before us, and will sustain everyone who comes after. Drumming alongside a fire is a practice with deep early-human roots, used for ritual, ceremony, and celebration. This casual, informal gathering will explore rhythms and tempos, inviting both play and catharsis to conclude the retreat day. Some percussion instruments will be provided.

What to bring: participants are invited to bring their own percussive instruments for this outdoor session

Retreat Agenda:

12 PM: Welcome + Intention Setting

12:15 PM: Opening Circle

12:45 PM: Guided Forest Bathing with Leigha Horton

2:15 PM: Nourishment Break:  an assortment of small bites, including cheeses, crackers, meats, fruits, veggies, & sweets ~ including gluten-free & dairy-free options 

3:00 PM: Crafting a Ritual for You with Leah Cooper

4:00 PM:  Ambient Sound Immersion with Dendrotic

4:45 PM: Earth Medicine Art Practice with Amanda LaFrance

Full Hunter’s Moon Rise: 5:56 PM 69°East-Northeast
Sunset: 6:03 PM 252° West-Southwest

6:30 PM: Closing Circle

7 – 8:30 PM: Bonfire + Drum Circle with Travis Norman


Leah Cooper
is the co-artistic director of Wonderlust Productions, a community-driven arts ensemble that activates imaginations and illuminates story through collaborative arts and ritual experiences. Leah has been leading arts organizations and facilitating groups through creative empowerment for 25 years, and she has been fascinated by the common ancestry and purpose of performing arts and ritual for a long time. Inspired by her own healing journey through ambiguous loss and severed connections, she has spent the last seven years studying ritual as a healing and connecting practice for groups and individuals. Most recently she has co-written, directed, and produced two large-scale participatory ritual performance experiences, Contact Tracing: a virtual ritual for connection produced via Zoom during the pandemic, and Lost & Found: a ritual for ambiguous loss, which ran for three weeks on Raspberry Island in St. Paul last summer.

Dendrotic, aka event co-host Travis Norman, is a co-founder of Silvae Spiritus, sound sculptor & musical explorer committed to staying curious and helping others deepen their relationship with our living world. A certified Nature & Forest Therapy Guide and purveyor of ways in which sound and frequency can help welcome us into the home we call the present moment.

Leigha Horton
Silvae Spiritus co-founder, ANFT-Certified Forest Therapy Guide since 2018, and a communicator by training and by trade, she has spent over 24 years as a professional voiceover, screen, and stage actor – the past 17 years specializing in voiceovers for national television and radio commercials, film trailers, museum exhibits, documentaries, training films, educational games, animation, and audio books. Leigha also has over a decade of experience in the museum field – developing and delivering programming about science, history, and arts to tens of thousands of visitors at the Walker Art Center, The Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota History Center.  It wasn’t until 2016, however, when her near-death experience in the remote wilderness became the catalyst for sweeping change in her life, that she realized her calling to immerse herself in a deeper understanding of, respect for, and connection with the healing, creative, and destructive power of nature. Leigha is now honored to introduce and inspire others to step into their own reconnection with the natural world, believing that what we love and enjoy, we protect; and nature needs all the love, enjoyment, and protection it can get.

Amanda LaFrance
Amanda P La France is a Lifelong Student, Nature Lover, Yoga Sharer, Healing Energy Practitioner, Certified Morning Altars Teacher, Certified Wild Mushroom Harvester, Advanced Practice Skin Support Therapist, Thermal Cycling Enthusiast and Retreat Host. She aims to hold sacred space as folks curate self care healing tool boxes and light the fire of their own Hero’s/Heroine’s Journey.

Travis Norman
Silvae Spiritus co-founder, ANFT-Certified Forest Therapy Guide since 2019, and techno DJ “Dentrotic.” Before ever hearing the term Shinrin-Yoku, before discovering research detailing the substantial health benefits of Mindfulness in Nature, before the decision was made to dedicate his professional energies to helping others experience these benefits, there were simply … walks in the woods.  Walks of celebration during moments of personal victory, walks of consolation during times of loss, walks of introspection in times of uncertainty … setting and circumstance ever changing while the ritual remained constant.  The physical, mental, and emotional equilibrium gained from this practice soon became essential tools in Travis’ ongoing quest to live life with intent and focus, while layering a keen appreciation for the Natural world into the very essence of his identity and perspective.  Walking through the woods at a slow pace while allowing mind and body the time to just be … this habit provided welcome balance as his career path unfolded to become increasingly interwoven with technology as a web designer and electronic musician.  Fast forwarding to the present day finds Travis in awe of the degree to which his early intuitions on the value of time spent in this manner are being confirmed by science and embraced by more and more of the world’s population.  Firmly believing in the interconnectedness of all life, he is curious and excited to witness how the practice of forest bathing will resonate outward and what effects it will generate in the people who experience it.


All are welcome (ages 14+), registration required no less than 24 hours prior to event start.
$149 per person; light lunch, snacks, coffee + tea provided


We focus on the wisdom at the center of the circle:

At Silvae Spiritus, we embrace a philosophy of personal awakening and development within a context of “progress, not perfection” – an attempt to meet people wherever they are on their journey, and an acknowledgement that each step along that path is necessary and can be offered spaciousness.

Our Interbeing Events give participants an opportunity to slow down, shift from your everyday routine, and re-focus your attention toward yourself in relation to community. In contrast to the vast majority of wellness events, ours are a more interactive experience: rather than solely absorbing what we and our guest facilitators offer, participants are invited to contribute their own insights and unique gifts, thereby co-creating a more richly nuanced and memorable experience for everyone.

One of our foundational beliefs is that when we come together to immerse ourselves in shared authenticity, a deep wisdom may be accessed; one which emanates not from any particular individual, but arises from the center of the circle: the point of intersection which joins each perspective and coalesces into something greater than, and more true than, any individual would be capable of on our own. We don’t come with any answers or prescriptions for how to best navigate these complicated times, but we are honored to hold space for the conversation to unfold.

We believe effective ecology starts with love:

Hand holding a stone covered in moss.

One of the most simple and accurate definitions of the word “love” is the expansion of self to include another. Within the context of deep ecology, the term “ecological self” describes how a natural maturation of the human is toward ever-widening fields of relevance and caring, as your self-interest expands from being just what affects you (constrained by long embedded notions of yourself as a discrete and isolated entity) to encompass your family or community or country, to eventually include what happens to Earth.

People protect what they love.

The levels of energy, buoyancy, optimism, and compassion available to a person actively enraptured in the process of falling in love are unequaled in the vast scope of human experience. This abundance is just what we will need to meet the challenges ahead. Join us at an Interbeing Event as we remember how to fall in love with Earth.

We encourage nourishment for body + mind:

All Interbeing Events at Silvae Spiritus include Nature as an active participant, not just a setting. Whether Forest Bathing, thermic cycling through the practice of Sauna + Cold Plunge, Star-gazing, Bonfire-sitting, or immersing in an ambient sound exploration, we believe an embodied interaction with the community of flora and fauna are what supports full, grounded wellness.

Physiological benefits include:

  • Boosted immune system
  • Decrease in stress hormones
  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Enhances activity of anti-cancer proteins
  • Increases parasympathetic (rest & restore) nervous system
  • Improves respiratory functions
  • Improves cardiovascular functions
  • Improvement of sleep quality

Psychological benefits include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Easing of depression
  • Improved mood / overall sense of wellbeing
  • Clarity of intention
  • Accelerates attention fatigue recovery
  • Decrease in rumination
  • Heightened sense of community
  • Enhanced empathy
  • Boosted creativity

What to expect when you arrive at an Interbeing Event:

A small teacup filled with tea in the foreground, several more teacups and a teapot in the background. The setup is outside, and lush greenery surrounds the scene.

Whether you’re new to the practices and modalities on offer, or an experienced enthusiast, and whether the totality of your experience with nature is a houseplant or you’re a lifelong wilderness backpacker, we believe that nature is for everyone and all are welcome here.

Upon arrival you will be greeted, checked-in, and given an agenda and an overview of the land and available facilities. Coffee, tea, water, and healthy snacks are always provided.

We’ll fully communicate with you to ensure you arrive prepared and have anything you might need to comfortably participate.

Questions? Contact us anytime.

“In ecology, we understand that the wellbeing of one is inseparable from the wellbeing of all… In the story of Interbeing, life is a gift. The world and everything in it is a gift.” 

— Charles Eisenstein