The Art of Pilgrimage: Walking the Wild Path with Steven Harper & Adam Rumack


Thu, 06/11/2015 - 5:00pm to Sun, 06/14/2015 - 1:00pm

In this retreat we will explore the art of making the ancient act of walking and being in nature a contemporary pilgrimage.

Most of the world’s wisdom traditions have some active form of pilgrimage as part of spiritual practice. Contemporary western culture has few sacred forms of pilgrimage as part of contemplative life. This retreat is a dynamic inquiry into inner and outer nature while celebrating the sacred aspect of the journey itself, where meaning lies in each new moment of simply walking, and simply being.

Our time at the Ojai Foundation will begin with an overview of the cross-cultural elements of pilgrimage from around the globe. An introduction to the basic principles of contemplative practices borrowed from many of the world’s wisdom traditions will include various forms of meditation, walking and movement awareness. As we journey forth on mindful day hikes, we will use these ancient practices to explore the beauty of Ojai’s ancient oak, pine and chaparral forests, riparian woodlands, valley grasslands, rivers and swimming holes, expansive views, and the wild nature of the internal landscape. Part of each day will be spent out on the trails and paths around Ojai moving between silence, instruction, and informal discussions. There will be space and time each day to take advantage of all that Ojai offers.

This is a contemplative journey where each step is the goal and an exploration of what inner “gems” we bring back from pilgrimage as gift to our greater community. Be prepared for invigorating embodied activity and the opportunity to simply sit still in quiet reflection.

On the second and third days of the program, we will journey offsite of The Ojai Foundation Land Sanctuary to explore local wilderness areas. Hikes will vary from 5-8 miles in length, and will be moderately strenuous.  We will enjoy delicious vegetarian and mostly organic food in the mornings and evenings, and will pack our lunches on the hiking days.  Workshop cost includes all meals, from dinner on our first night, through lunch on our final day. Accommodations are semi-rustic, in yurts and domes with shared full-service bathrooms and showers, and with stunning views of the Ojai valley and surrounding mountains.

Steven Harper is a wilderness guide, author, consultant, and artist. He has led both traditional and experimental wilderness expeditions and workshops internationally for over 35 years. A frequent long-time leader at Esalen Institute he has an MA in psychology and his work focuses on wild nature as a vehicle for awakening. Visit

Adam Rumack is the Executive Director of The Ojai Foundation, a trainer in The Way of Council, a youth rites-of-passage and wilderness guide, and a dedicated practitioner and teacher of traditional ashtanga yoga.  He incorporates the wisdom of these practices into his role as a leader and a steward of The Ojai Foundation’s work in Ojai and beyond.

$645 includes workshop, three nights shared accommodation (private accommodation may be available for additional cost), and 9 vegetarian meals.  

More information and waivers will be sent upon registration.