Earth Awareness Foundation
Retreat center for art, nature & consciousness – When you come to Earth Awareness, you really step into another world. Creativity reigns supreme in this exceptionally off grid forrest village, where monumental bunker farms pop up here and there among the colossal trees with an exceptionally many birdsong. It is an impressive sight, a lively setting with a compelling story. The jewel in its entirety is a breathtaking work of art, the Nature Temple, a visit certainly guarantees an unforgettable time full of inspiration.
The Earth Awareness retreat centre is based in the middle of the Netherlands – about 1 hour from Amsterdam – and is close to a big national parc https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/Veluwe. The centre is founded in 2004 and been completely off grid since.
Here you find rocket mass heaters and woodstoves, eco toilets and solar power, great gardens and an ethnobotanical greenhouse. Sculptures and natural art are all around, with one major piece at the centre ‘The Nature Temple’. Inside the farmhouse there is an atelier of 275 m2 where the sleeping spaces are situated. For more details on the centre click on this link: https://earthawareness.nl
At the heart of the Earth Awareness retreat centre you will find the Nature Temple. The Nature Temple is an initiation centre for the people, for reflection on and reconnection with our origin and the mystery of creation. This unique experience space is specifically designed for ceremonial use. It functions as a compass and initiation centre for truth-seekers. The enchantment of the Nature Temple is the ultimate retreat setting to explore altered states of consciousness.
Library of the earth – Made from more than 40 different types of wood, mostly inlands, give the Temple an unmistakable authentic character. Each type of wood tells its own story, both physically and symbolically. From a technical point of view the Nature Temple has become a combination of various ecological building styles, with elements from an earth-ship, a hobbit house and a log cabin. We have made use of straw, clay and cord-wood construction techniques.
Magic Mushrooms are the general name of mushrooms that contain psilocybin and psilocyn. Psilocybin is a psychoactive substance that acts on serotonin brain receptors resulting in changes of perception, cognition and emotion. It is a highly visionary natural compound with a long tradition of shamanic use and a close similarity to normal brain chemistry. The mushrooms that we use in our ceremonies are the Magic Truffles. They are non-toxic to the body and completely legal in the Netherlands.
Magic Mushrooms enlighten the brain, free the mind and activate the waking dream state. They expand consciousness, allowing us to realize the wonder of life. They are a key to the circle of oneness and show us how everything is interconnected and interrelated. Magic Mushrooms are honest and playful and take you straight into the realms of your imagination. Your perception gets highly influenced, beyond the world of logics. Defence mechanisms can be bypassed, which enables you to think and feel out of your conventional reality. For thousands of years medicine people have worked with visionary plants to open the pathway between realms, because teacher plants are a profound spiritual tool that can reveal our true nature.
A ceremony is a marking point in time, a rite of passage and an ancient way of setting the space for a conscious transformation, therefore it creates safety and clarity. Our ceremonies are dynamic and alive, with beautiful acoustic music, sensitive songs and powerful chants, silence and sincere sharing around the fireplace. We hold space with a clear structure that leaves space for a playful, open minded and intuitive course, to which you are invited to contribute.
During recent years many scientific research has been done on psilocybin, The results show great promise of using these psycho-active compounds for managing treatment-resistant forms of depression, anxiety, addiction and PTSD. Science is just starting to grasp the tremendous healing and wellness potential of this ancient medicine, both medical as well as psychological and emotional. Psilocybin has a close similarity to our normal brain chemistry and even seems to stimulate the development of new brain cells.
Also we, as workers from the field, see over and over again that when Magic Mushrooms used with respect and sincerity, they can catalyse healthy and lasting life-changes for a person. Here are some scientific studies in regards to how psilocybin can have positive impacts on our life:
– It increases creativity and general trust in life/yourself
– It is heart-opening and increases creativity
– Positive personality alterations
– Unlocks spiritual potential
– Less mental suffering, less judgement
– It generates the lust for life and connectedness
– It creates a deeper understanding on past, recent or future topics
If you are interested in investigating more on this topic we can recommend you a few interesting sites:
• A New Understanding – the science of psychedelics (video)
• Advancing studies on psilocybin for treatment of addictions and other mental disorders, wit the highest standards of scientific research
• Online community with many articles on psychedelics
• A non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana
Shamanism is based on the understanding that the sensory/physical world is influenced by immaterial energies which affect the lives of all of us. It inspires to listen to inner guidance, follow your own footsteps and learn from direct communication with the source. It is a way of life to strengthen the connection with nature and the mystery of creation, it is the oldest form of healing and ceremonial magic.
A diverse team of caring and experienced professionals will be there to make sure you can surrender to your inner journey. The Earth Awareness team consists of 12 permanent team members; 7 ceremonial facilitators, 2 ground facilitators and 3 back office operators. Together we form a solid, enthusiastic and experienced team with the common goal to generate awareness from within as a contribution to the health of all. Most facilitators were trained both as ground and ceremonial facilitators, which ensures that they are at home at the centre.
First meet Mark & Maya, initiators and creators of the Earth Awareness centre. With great pleasure and devotion they have been guiding the inner work with the psilocybin mushrooms for 20 years. They are feeling grateful to share this heart medicine. They did a full cycle of 7 years intense training and collaboration with indigenous shamans from all over the earth which makes them very well trained as ceremonial lead-facilitators. Their ceremonies are influenced by many ancient traditions. Mark & Maya organise the ceremonies with Magic Mushrooms as a tool for awakening, it is a key to the circle of oneness.
Mark Huser (1977) – the Netherlands
The initiator and director of Earth Awareness and architect of the Nature Temple, he is the master mind behind it all. Mark is a multi-talented person with great vision and a proactive attitude. As an extraordinary artist he is engaged with creating beauty in all its diversity, which is unmistakably found everywhere around the centre. For 13 years he and Maya are organizing countless events and retreats. His teachers came from many different shamanic cultures, but above all the Huichol, the Shuar and the Shipibo traditions. After a full-time cycle of initiation into medicine plants and by collaborating intensively with many wisdom keepers, Mark has an incredible understanding about the use of sacred plants as a tool for transformation. He is an inspirational speaker, a marvellous musician, a powerful chanter and a resourceful lead-facilitator during the retreats. He proved himself being an authentic bridge between the ancient knowledge and the modern Western culture.
Maya van Oosterhout (1976) – the Netherlands
Director of the organisation and artist of the Nature Temple, she is the care-taker of the holistic vision. Her experience in this type of journey-work is outstanding. Her quality lies in her empathic and bold approach. Her motherly, unjudgmental, supportive attitude and vibrant spirit makes people feel at ease quickly. She sings enchanting songs, plays various instruments and is a furious dancer. She is a mother of two grown children and an influencer on a sustainable lifestyle. With her guidance you can be sure that you are personally taken care for.
Arend Jan te Biesebeek (1954) – the Netherlands
Arend Jan is the respected elder of our team and is most appreciated for his sincerity and preciseness within everything he does. He is a multi-qualified team member of Earth Awareness for almost 5 years, he is a seasoned all-rounder. In 1976, at the age of 22 years old, he got involved in the work with medicinal plants and natural psychedelics and had the privilege of working closely together with some traditional wisdom-keepers from Northern America who learned him the intricacies of shamanism, like sweat-lodges and vision quests. His knowledge about shamanic practices, the medical use of plants, the functioning of the human body and healthy food are always of great value for all participants. He is studying natural health care and is making his own herbal medicines, he is very passioned about gardening. People often consult him for alternative medical treatment. As a ceremonial facilitator participants experience him as helpful, correct and most friendly.
Pieter Kartikeya Das (1988) – the Netherlands
We know Pieter as an adventurous, bright and calming member of our team. With his friendly energy he is a real contribution to the retreats and we have been lucky to have him already 4 years at our side. He completed his medicine study in 2014 and started working in the regular health care for a few years as a docter in the mental health service. He went on several extraordinary travels and got involved in yoga, meditation and plant medicines. In 2017 he was initiated into Qiyo, a multiverse form of yoga where different paths come together, ranging from gigong, tai chi, yoga and kungfu, all blended into one system for inner alchemy. He is working for some time with the teacher plants, ceremonial as well as therapeutically. This all led to the creation of his own practice ‘Dr Aquarius’ by which he aims to build a bridge to a new era of holistic healthcare, where all different modalities are integrated and a network of healers and therapists is formed. Within the retreat-team Pieter is also an enchanting musician and singer, he is most appreciated for his subtlety.
Judith Sudholter (1987) – the Netherlands
As a freelance researcher, anthropologist and journalist, Judith specialises in religion, spirituality and psychedelics. In 2012 she completed her research master Religious Studies (cum laude!) with a fieldwork study into the religious experiences of members of the ayahuasca church ‘Santo Daime’. Being fascinated by this topic, she extended her fieldwork to all forms of ritual, religious and spiritual use of medicine plants. Plants of Wisdom is Judiths blog where you can also find her articles published elsewhere. Judith interviewed many spiritual teachers who all contributed to her broad-minded way of looking at the world. Her personal and spiritual journey with the Magic Mushrooms started in 2007. She took several meditation courses like secular mindfulness and vipassana, and meditates already for years in the tradition of zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. This tradition has a main focus on mindfulness, compassion and interconnectedness, and therefore combines well with the plant medicine work. She also facilitates a meditation group in this tradition. Judith is guiding psychedelic integration circles and has given lectures at Ozora and Psy-Fi, both prominent psychedelic festivals. We are very happy to have her gentle and imaginative spirit in our team for 2 years now. Her objective and peaceful attitude is of great contribution to the retreats.
Laura vd Heijden (1978) – the Netherlands
Laura has been connected to our centre for over 10 years and we really love her cheerful presence a lot. As a young girl she was very passionate about movement and dancing, she did the previous education of the ‘National Ballet’ and Tai Chi. After 8 years of training, she works as a certified ‘Critical Alignment Yoga’ (CAY) teacher and runs her own yoga-studio ‘YogaDus’ in Amsterdam. She teaches to all ages and all levels. CAY focusses on the alignment of the skeleton. This form of yoga helps to move freely and without stress, in collaboration with gravity and breathing exercises. She helps people to build up confidence towards the physical body, which stimulates the self-healing qualities of the body. Laura is also a meditation/visualisation guide. She has over 25 years of experience with psychedelics and visited her shamanic teacher in Ecuador several times. As a ceremonial facilitator she is utmost caring for the participants and has an eye for their basic needs. She is a team player, very strong in practical’s and always in a good mood.
Martijn Geel (1976) – the Netherlands
Martijn is a guest-orientated facilitator at Earth Awareness since 2017, although he is connected to the centre for about 10 years. His 20 year career as a hospitality and event facilitator can be found in his thorough and meticulous eye for the setting of the retreat. For several years he was the location manager in the film industry, he is the person who picks up things that others overlook, which makes him appreciated for his reliable and productive working methods. Martijn began his psychedelic journey about 13 years ago and started later to attend purification retreats with traditional shamans from Ecuador and Mexico. He is a yoga and meditation practitioner. In the ceremonies he is also supporting the music and maintains the fire with great respect. Participants feel seen and taken care for in his presence.
Chemistry van Oosterhout (2001) – the Netherlands
Our youngest team member is Chemistry, she is 18 years old and also lives at the centre with her mother Maya and Mark. She knows the place very well. She joined the team 2 years ago, taking on the job of ground facilitator, now growing into the role of team coordinator. She prepares the place before the events take off or have ended, does great work in the kitchen and is a lovely hostess for our guests. She is doing an education for marketing, communication and event-organizing, which will be finished in two years. We know her as a very motivated and grounded person, who is up for new challenges when they appear. She is a fast learner and we all hope she stays with us for the many years to come.
Kristjan Schwarts (1980) – the Netherlands
Like almost all team members Kristjan is very experienced, for 18 years he is using psychedelics for self-development and answering life questions. It is a way of life for him, which he managed to integrate in his spiritual, hand-pocked tattoo-shop in Deventer K581, where he adds ceremonial aspects to his working methods. He is an artist and a graphical designer who among other things graduated from the art academy. His spiritual training and inspiration came from the Shuar culture (Ecuador) and the Saami culture (Finland). Since 1,5 years he is joining Earth Awareness as a facilitator. We got to know Kristjan as calm and awake observer, who works with focus and care. Participants feel save with him, with his open attitude he brings confidence in the group.