Remembering the Nature of Council

This programme is not currently scheduled.

For details of registration and programme start time see here.

This course does not require previous participation in an Experience Week.

Marlow Hotchkiss & Leslie Roberts

Council is an ancient form and modern practice that encourages attentive listening and heart-felt, compassionate expression. Council engenders a deep sense of community and for many is held as a life practice.

This week we will trace the arc of our collective story – from our core personal expression, through dialogues with nature and connection with our lineage, to building a circle of trust, a culture that supports who we are becoming and how we know each other.

We will explore empathy, intuition and an expanded sense of relationship as paths to a more committed life. As we remember our interconnectedness, we can speak with heart and our intentions can be understood. When our dreams are known, we become truly supportable. Through council we grow the art of telling the stories that need to be told, as author Ursula K. LeGuin suggests. Thinking like a circle. Living council.

We will offer practices for aligning our hearts and minds, a variety of council forms and address the use of council in many settings, personal and professional. With vulnerability and a little grace, we hope to touch the place where serving self, serving others, and serving the divine may all be one voice.

Reading The Way of Council by Zimmerman and Coyle, and some previous council or circle experience is prerequisite.


Participation is limited to a maximum of 20 people.

Income related price (click here for more information): £445 / £595 / £725
Non-residential - includes the workshop and all meals.

Marlow Hotchkiss is a poet, council trainer, avid naturalist and wilderness guide, with over 35 years experience of circle work with young people and adults in classroom and in nature. In addition to serving on the Ojai Foundation Board of Directors, he was, with Gigi Coyle and Jack Zimmerman, a founding member of Ojai's Leadership Council, and continues today as a senior teacher and member of the Elders Council. Together Gigi and Marlow offer trainings in Europe and are assisting the launch of the European Council Network. A co-founder of Mobile School, an alternative high school in San Francisco, and of LivingSystems, a community-building and training organization, he has worked extensively with rites of passage for young people and adults. He is father of six children, grandfather of two, and a sort of Buddhist for over 40 years.

Leslie Roberts has grown from roots in the healing arts, and harvested fruits from practices as diverse as Bioenergetics and Gestalt, JinShin Jytsu and Hospice. She studied structural bodywork, movement therapies, and sports medicine, ventured into Co-Counseling, Permaculture, graphic design and ceramics, worked with horses and dairy goats, and raised gardens in several bio-regions. She is mother to 2 daughters into their teens, and has a life's practice of swimming meditation, to fuel her soul. She worked with Gigi Coyle and Marlow Hotchkiss, among others, in design and artwork for The Box: Remembering the Gift, and was a trainer with the consulting firm, LivingSystems, devoted to helping businesses discover their group soul. Leslie has been deeply involved with the Ojai Foundation's way of teaching and learning Council for 20+ years.

Marlow and Leslie are partners in life, work and art for over two decades. They have served The Ojai Foundation as members of its Leadership Council, as Land Stewards, initiated the Path of Service Retreat Programme, and are currently serving as senior trainers. In addition, they launched year-long programmes to support artists, teachers and other non-profit workers, including Deepening the Medicine, Tracing the Arc, and Nurturing the Call to Service. They offer numerous programmes tailored for staff, families, communities and businesses. Grounded in council, they facilitate rites of passage for individuals, partnerships and organizations, from hospice caregivers to Fortune 500 leaders.
We strive to live in council, to engage the natural world and our own inner wilderness, returning again to a songline that connects us all.