A Practical Mystery School for Resilience & Sustainability


“The mystic is not a special kind of person; each person is a special kind of mystic.”  (William McNamara)

Do you feel a call to find a way to live a life of connection to nature and spirit?  Is it imperative for you to return to sacred relationship with Mother Earth? Are you determined to unfold your spiritual self in a life grounded in compassion, simplicity and service? Perhaps you are ready to reforest the earth and re-wild yourself? Are you made for this moment? Are you one of the people we have been waiting for?

“…reforest your soul, re-wild your life, plant a thousand trees, grow food… realise that the mountains and the rivers are your very own body.”

At Bodhi Khaya, we are heeding the call to gather a team of the fiercely compassionate, spiritually grounded protectors and cultivators to work with us. We are developing a school that will depend on the genius and will of a team of radically capable individuals. 

We are seeking people to actively engage and participate in the final stages of developing an Earth School - people who know about manifestation and what it takes to transform dreams into reality; discerning people who are awake to the current miasma of confusion overwhelming humans. Are you ready to excavate your habitual base of operations and move steadily toward new and unfamiliar terrain?  Are you ready to invite training, support, affirmation and encouragement into your life?

It is proposed that the new Born as the Earth School for Spiritual Resilience and Sacred Sustainability will emerge in three spheres.

1) The first will be to support, maintain and develop the school campus within the existing Bodhi Khaya Retreat Centre and surrounding land. In this area, team players will learn about stewarding wild and domestic land, looking after buildings, and learning the business of running a healing retreat centre.

Bodhi Khaya Retreat Centre

Bodhi Khaya Retreat Centre


2) Second, we will open the pathway to manifestation by defining the campus structure, curriculum, faculty, protocols, precepts, and methodologies. We will study, examine and undergo training to become a trainer of future wisdom gatekeepers.

3) Third, we will be ready to offer our program to others all the while honing our curriculum and initiating and training new students through a lineage-styled  methodology.

Born as the Earth Mystery School

“To be born as the earth is not the same as being born. It is to realize that these mountains and rivers and the whole earth itself is our true human body.” (zen master John Daido Loori, Roshi)

Curriculum in Brief

Mother Earth and the original elements of creation are not separate from ourselves. These building blocks are in all things and fill all spaces. They are powerful, magical, intelligent, and highly relational. Through an elemental medicine wheel you will become the healing center, and the center of healing. You will learn and practice non-duality as an emerging faculty member.

Two ancient schools will provide the core curriculum: Elemental Wisdom and Zen Buddhism. 

The simplicity of a medicine wheel (mandala) integrated with the practice of Zen provides a map to Homecoming. It awakens the divine truth within you - your special kind of mystery - which is to be shared with the world.

Zen Buddhism, coupled with initiation rites into the Elemental Gateways, will empower you as an emerging trainer with a practical framework to help people find their way to grounded healing.

Manadala Medicine Wheel adapted for contemporary students by Glenn Leisching

Manadala Medicine Wheel adapted for contemporary students by Glenn Leisching


Practical Spirituality

Practical Spirituality suggests that everything we say and do is inherently spiritual. If we divide our world into mundane and sacred we divide ourselves and inevitably attempt to use the pattern of division to restore unity - an impossible task. Everything early humans did was infused with an interdependency with the earth’s elements. Methodologies and profound mythologies evolved ensuring continued survival and healthy relationships with all beings. Their way of life was holistic and circular. Through the school you will remember your mythological journey. Everything you encounter, think and do is a doorway to infinite potential and wholeness. 

Practical Spirituality is a return to Earth - to the sacred grounding of sustainability, action, self-sufficiency and a conscious interdependency with all beings. It denies nothing and leaves nothing out. Practical Spirituality is a practice. It tests our perception of things. It realizes through experience and develops wisdom. The love of this wisdom and a mythological know-how can be shared through practical applications: like growing a garden, building shelter, speaking clearly, caring for children, honouring elders or, as an example, developing a personal, sacred relationship with water’s inherent wisdom. We will come to realize how our life’s purpose and relationship to abundance, peace, and harmony is the fruit of healthily constellated elemental energies.

Community service work with our partner program Food for Thought

Community service work with our partner program Food for Thought


Rites of Passage

Stages of human realisation, accomplishment, age and wisdom are ceremonially recognised in indigenous cultures. Rites of passage hold communities and the fabric of thriving human eco systems together. Initiation is a new beginning rather than a blurred continuation of the past. Activated by the functioning power of symbolism and myth deeply imbedded in psyche, initiation strikes a clear ending and signals a new start. It restores, rejuvenates, and invigorates layers within your emotional, mental, spiritual and physical energy fields. If we remain uninitiated we remain adolescent children and naturally behave accordingly. Initiated adults are empowered, responsible members of an interdependent society. They think and act for the whole. Empowered with the realisation of their own unique life purpose they serve the wellbeing of the entire web. They know and experience liberation when freely giving their gift. Initiation, performed well, restores awareness, balance and harmony between self and other. It heals the divide. The consequence is abundance. 

Visiting a cave of our 60,000 years of ancestral wisdom

Visiting a cave of our 60,000 years of ancestral wisdom


You are a human endowed with an inalienable wisdom, an undefiled purity, with a direct connection to God, the ineffable, and to Spirit. This is what the Buddha and all great masters taught. How do you exemplify this in your life today? How do you locate yourself in this potential? Are you inhibited, conditioned to believe someone else’s truth, or lost in your library of ideas? Do you know why you are here at this time? If your answer is in anyway unsure or unclear, this school is for you.

How long will the training of the team players take and what will it cost?

We estimate that the training and school formation will take 24 months. As part of the program, the team will be directly involved in training and initiating the next two intakes (two five month modules each). The program is free for development team initiates who complete the estimated 24 month cycle (conditions apply).

Solstice ceremony 2017

Solstice ceremony 2017


How do you know if this is right for you?

First,  check in with yourself and ask if this is what you are called to do. Take a few days or weeks to sleep on it. If the opportunity continues to resonate, apply to join the Development Team by completing the application form and sending in the requested materials by 15 November 2019. (This invitation and the questions on the application form will give you a good idea of the character and skills we are looking to assemble.)

Second, a video interview will be arranged. Assuming all goes well, you will then be scheduled to join the Bodhi Khaya Month Long Mindful Giving and Receiving (Dana) Retreat for a 28 day trial. This will be the equivalent of a very long, two way interview. Through our Giving and Receiving Retreat you will get a very good sense of the space, place and people involved. At the end of the month we will know if there is a strong alignment to move forward together.

Thirdly, after the Dana period, we will agree on a start date for you to join the steadily forming team.

Lastly, once all the team members are in place, we initiate the start of our collective work together. Up to that point the early arrivals will begin initial orientation and training in particular leadership roles. 

An elemental overview of the curriculum:

Each element will be studied in its dual, and non-dual form.



Fire Making & tending; Alien monitoring & harvesting/clearing; Fire management & fire breaks; Fire safety & training; Biomass boiler and alternative technologies; Renewable energy and electrical generation and distribution; Electric maintenance; Fire Wood collection and storage; Wood chipping; Making alternative fire starters; Fire in the body


Working with intention; Passion & desire; Developing intuition; inspiration, vision & mission; Power of visualisation; Dream communication & interpretation; Expanded imagination; Ancestral healing & communication; The power of Initiation; Spirit & Spiritual lineage; Transmutation; Vision quest; Fire in the body



Water courses & conservation; Water storage; Waste water treatment; Wetland preservation; Trees, plants, nature & water cycles; Plumbing & heating; Waterproofing & building concerns; Damp proofing; Drainage on roads & buildings; Tears, perspiration, lubrication & elimination; Water in the body


Balance & harmony; Self, sensitivity & boundaries; Flow, stillness & synthesis; Meditation; Divination & telepathy; Solving paradox & dilemma; Compassion & empathy; Water as medium; Energy in motion - eMotion; Baptism & cleansing; Water in the body



Soil preservation, regeneration & nutrients; Garden beds & permaculture; Earth-building/construction; Laying foundations; Home, hospitality & hosting; Vegetarian cooking & food storage; Baking; Love, generosity & abundance; DNA & genetic ancestry; Seed storage; Service & generosity; Earth in the body


Homecoming; Ego & true identity; Grounding; Death, rebirth & renewal; Centering; The body of being; Pachamama; Yoga, exercise & body practice; Earth in the Body



Plant medicines; Floral & Fauna studies; Nature conservation; Healthy home construction; Food & flower gardening; Reforestation, tree pruning and harvesting; Composting; Permaculture; Edible flowers & herbs; Wild foraging; Mycelium & moulds; Fermentation; Nature in the body


Authentic expression; Plant medicine; Tricksters & shapeshifters; Spiritual gift & medicine; Addictions & habits; Masking & hiddenness; Talismanic medicine & totems; Origins & originality; Detoxing & fasting; Transformation & transmogrification; Nature in the body



Communication; Rationalism, its purpose & limitations; Patterns & systems; Planning & strategizing; Organising, Computing, IT & Social media; Art & creative expression; Accounting & record keeping; Memory, imagination, & Story telling; Structural components in construction; Tools, storage, & care; Tracking, Pathways & Channels; Action & Activism; Mountain in the body


Power & potential; Hollow Bone & Channelling; Sacred work & leadership; Working in & with duality and non-duality; Symbolism & Mythology; The Way of Council; Gatekeeping; Angels & demos - taking care; Precepts & moral code; Remembering, Recollecting & Regathering; Zen sesshin meditation; Mountain in the body

This is a very comprehensive study. Is the curriculum graduated to allow time for assimilation? Where and how do the teachings take place?

It is a very comprehensive undertaking.  The curriculum will be graduated and skilfully structured in a way to transform, heal and ground. Remember it is a practical/spiritual school. While we listed the subjects under the categories of ‘Practical’ and ‘Spiritual’, they are one-learning, one practice and occur simultaneously. The training will happen on campus, under a tree, in the meditation hall, in the chicken coop or at the end of a rake, in the wilderness or in the comfort of the reading room. Learning will also happen offsite and with partner programs we will develop, in protected areas or nature reserves or in urban settings. It’s a one-life training program - so we will learn and practice in all circumstances and situations.


Campus? Tell me more about the campus. Where will I sleep, eat, live and learn etc? And what about the retreats Bodhi Khaya hosts - can I participate?

A section of Bodhi Khaya will be allocated to the Development Team. All the land and buildings will be your home for the duration of your stay. As part of your training you will learn to care for all of it - the body of your being – the dharma vessel. And you will impart your learning to new incoming students and have a leadership role in their training. Additionally, as a team member you will be trained to run the retreat centre and have particular day to day responsibilities - all in the course of the unfolding curriculum. 

Bodhi Khaya Retreat and Born as the Earth Campus

Bodhi Khaya Retreat and Born as the Earth Campus


We are located in the centre of the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy in the smallest, yet most diverse of the world’s seven floral kingdoms. Bodhi Khaya is three miles from the ocean and two miles from the top of the mountain peak that keeps us company every day. We are rural and in the wild, twenty minutes from the nearest village and forty minutes from the nearest town. Cape Town is two and a half hours away by car. You will have your own room and abundant vegetarian meals. There is a great porch for  reading and relaxing, an eclectic library, and fresh water ponds for swimming.


When we host retreats you will learn how to prepare and host teachers and their students. You may participate in most retreats subject to application, availability and schedule. And we (the team) will put on our own shamanic healing retreats which we will facilitate, make available to the general public, participate in and host. Development and training in the school will happen in parallel with all the activities of the retreat centre. 

On your off-schedule days you can hike, bike, swim, and visit local tourist and historical landmarks. There is a cornucopia of beauty and challenge for all outdoor enthusiasts or nature minded individuals. From hundreds of whales and amazing sea life to as yet unclassified inland frogs and mushrooms. There will be down time activity on campus too.  There will be time and occasion to create, play and have fun. Dancing, socialising, singing, music, games and gatherings of all kinds will happen spontaneously or through planned events. We will create a crafting centre for creative expression, constructive manifestation and magical play.   

Please look at the Bodhi Khaya Website for a more comprehensive feel of where you may land for a while.

Continued Training

When my training is complete what then? What will I leave with?

It is up to you to decide when your training in this life is complete. From our part you will have established a strong alliance with change agents and consciousness practitioners. These relationships will hopefully continue for a long, long time. And so will the training. You will have learned how to train yourself and how to talk about your challenges or how to ask for help. You will have learned so much about yourself and how to navigate what is true for you. You will have a strong earthing beneath your feet and know the ground you stand on. When you’re ready to share the wisdom, you are recognised by the school as having been trained and initiated in a particular way.

Council Training 2019

Council Training 2019


Your character, integrity, and capacity to hold and marshall consciousness in yourself and facilitate this awareness in others may open up a new life path for you. Your core truth and life purpose will be more formed and supported. Reviewing the curriculum summary will give you a broad sense of the learning and life skills available. You will become a trained gatekeeper. One who knows how to create, hold, and function in transformative ritual space. First you will role model this for yourself; gatekeeping what you take in and what you let out: holding, caring for and managing your own power. Then, as an Initiated Gatekeeper, you will have the responsibility to open the way for those who are ready to journey into themselves and to be deeply present for their return. A reliable gatekeeper is a functional shaman of a particular kind. 

As a group, you will help establish an ethos in the type of training to be shared through the school. And, should you wish to start working privately, or living more resiliently and sustainably in your  unique way, you will carry with you an endorsement and support structure to nurture your growth.    

Your emergent questions will help us all to create, polish, and constantly improve our work together. For now, if you feel the call, apply. We’ll pick it up from there. Thank you.

Atop the Apu (Witkrans Mountain) with Walker Bay on the horizon and the land of Bodhi Khaya down below in the center of the image

Atop the Apu (Witkrans Mountain) with Walker Bay on the horizon and the land of Bodhi Khaya down below in the center of the image