BIOPHILIA / BIOFILIA – A Deep Green Nature Immersion Retreat

May 1, 2019 – May 5, 2019 all-day
Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden
3636 Trent Rd Courtenay BC V9N 9R4 Canada
$500.00 + GST

Traditional rules of science are being challenged and new perspectives are opening up – new ways of understanding how we relate to and are related to Nature. When we leave the city behind, when we allow peace to reign, when we open to Nature, then transformation happens. This course provides a foundation in life sciences for students of nutrition, horticulture, and herbal medicine.  The course provides insights into life processes and ecological networks not usually taught in colleges and reviews the place of our human species in the natural systems and cycles of the earth.

Expertly blending meditation with medicine, this interactive and experiential program will teach you ways of seeing nature, ways of exploring nature and ways of being in nature that can deepen your personal and professional practice.

 This 4-day retreat will give you:

  • a revised framework for personal interaction in nature
  • a deeper understanding of the chemistry and processes of life on earth and how humans fit in the tree of life
  • an understanding of scientific and spiritual integration through Goethean study of plants and through modern microbiology and genetics
  • definitions and tools for practicing Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing Therapy)
  • ways to bring plants into the therapeutic process (indoors and outdoors)
  • a chance to sink quietly into green space, to relax, to unwind, to rejuvenate

The fee of $500.00 + GST includes lunch each day. Accommodations are not included.

May  1 6:30 – 9pm first evening meet-up (pot-luck supper, introductions, and orientation) Days two / three / four / five 9.30 am – 12.30 pm and  2 – 5 pm 

Download the Poster

Day One Outline Learning Objectives

The Building Blocks of Food

The building blocks of life, protein, DNA, lipid, and carbohydrate biochemistry are reviewed.  Other components are briefly introduced: non-coding RNAs, metalloproteins, cell membrane, energy metabolism, cell wall weaving Understand the primacy of protein molecules in all life processes

Comprehend the immense complexity of life activity at the molecular level in all cells



Goethean Plant Study

A scientific and experiential application of subjective and objective criteria in the study of nature; deepening practices, expanding visual awareness Practice ways of seeing – objective, close up and subjective feeling

Practice  a botanical review of key plant features

Day Two Outline Learning Objectives

Cells and Life at the Microscopic Level

Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells, viruses, chloroplasts and mitochondria, nitrogen fixation, protists, lichens, fungi. Understand the fundamental omnipresence of bacteria

Be able to discuss the role of viruses and fungi

Understand endosymbiosis and the continuity of nucleated cells evolved from bacteria to become plants and animals


Shinrin Yoku Forest Walk

Discussion and slide show of sacred trees around the world and the science of Vitamin G; followed by walking in the woods in contemplative silence Describe and define the structure, shape and form of trees

Understand the mythology and magic of trees

Review the science and research into Forest Bathing practice

Experience a Forest Bathing therapy session

Day Three Outline Learning Objectives

Plants and Animals

Soil microorganisms, plant feeding behaviour, radicle brain networks, soil animals and food webs, microbiome. Be able to define similarities and differences of animal soil dwellers, plant roots, fungi and bacteria,

Understand the pre-eminence of their microbiome to all plants and animals.



Humors, Temperaments and the Seasons – understanding how foods and flavors can be medicines if they are given in accordance with constitution Review the Four Qualities, Elements, Humors, Temperaments

Consider the components of constitution

Understand how to use herbs and foods to adjust and balance constitutions

Practice creating nature art using found materials

Day Four Outline Learning Objectives

Where Food Comes From

Industrial Agriculture, green revolution, gene revolution, RoundUp Ready technology, engineered food. Know about soil biology processes and the impact of industrial agrochemicals

 Understand the extent of agri-pollution in industrial food and the toxicity of engineered food

Appreciate the importance of organic agriculture and sustainability in farming


Sacred Geometry in nature

Understand the patterns of nature as seen in DNA and sunflowers and galaxies and our connection within it.

Walk the Labyrinth – discussion of the meaning and myths and uses of the labyrinth. Opportunity to draw a card and set an intention

Discern the patterns of Nature and the biological connections between life forms

Internalize and embody these lessons in a walking meditation to the literal and metaphorical centre.

Create ritual and intention form the process.


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