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Coming to Our Senses 2023: Expanding the Inner Journey

March 18, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Deepen community. Honour Elders and Seniors in our midst. Meet the challenges and wisdom-teachings of our times.

PLEASE NOTE: THE EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT! Thank you to everyone who registered — we look forward to seeing you on Saturday! For those of you who are finding us now, please mark your calendar for next year’s Spring 2024 Coming to Our Senses event!

We invite you to celebrate the Centre for Earth & Spirit Society’s 20th anniversary by joining us for this four-hour experiential gathering to remember the four universal healing modalities of singing, dancing, storytelling, and silence (Angeles Arrien, 1940 – 2014):

“Healers throughout the world recognize the importance of maintaining or retrieving the four universal healing salves: storytelling, singing, dancing, and silence… It has long been recognized that these healing salves reawaken and sustain the divine child within us and return to us the qualities of wonder, hope, and awe.” (Angeles Arrien, 1993, The Four-Fold Way)

~ We are grateful to be meeting on unceded lands, and beside unceded waters, of the lək̓ʷəŋən People, known today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. We respectfully acknowledge their long-standing ties to these places on the Gorge Waterway — their ancestral village sites, such as Xwsepsum — and place of connection with herring, a keystone species. Hay’sxw’qa si’em to Songhees knowledge keeper Florence Dick for her guidance and for welcoming us to her peoples’ territories. ~

In this time of growing ecological awareness, we seek to amplify the ongoing work of Elders and Seniors – an opportunity to feel and express collective hope, to liberate from grief, and move towards action!

An afternoon of collective ceremony for the vernal equinox,

Revelling in buds of spring…

Celebrating hope and light through sensory offerings

Facilitated by Elders & Seniors,

In our midst…

We look at how spiritual health can be augmented by the four universal healing modalities or salves. Each healing salve will be presented by an Elder or a torchbearer, with participatory elements – singing (Lael Whitehead & Iris Moore), dancing (Amalia Schelhorn), storytelling (Paul Chiyokten Wagner), and silence (Medwyn McConachy).

In preparation for the shared meal, we will hear a teaching about the Salmon People from SȾÁUTW̱ (Tsawout) Elder XEṮXÁṮEN Earl Claxton Jr., who shares his gifts of W̱SÁNEĆ traditional food knowledge. A holistic, custom-crafted meal of local and wild foods by Nature’s Chef, Tom Kral.

LOCATION: Esquimalt Gorge Park Pavilion – accessible space. The new Esquimalt Gorge Park Pavilion is located at 1070 Tillicum Road in the Esquimalt Gorge Park, where it borders the Gorge Waterway and neighbours the expanded Japanese Garden. Experience Victoria’s newest event centre — Esquimalt Gorge Park Pavilion — beside the ecologically-rich & culturally-significant lək̓ʷəŋən waterway on the territories of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.

REGISTRATION: We offer a tiered pricing system to make this event as accessible as possible. Please select an amount that reflects your current financial situation. Thank you 🙂

In-person Event: $30-90 (includes refreshments and a locally catered meal by Nature’s Chef). Space is limited — please register early! NOTE: Our capacity for meals has SOLD OUT.

Funded in part by the New Horizons For Seniors Program. Low on funds? Please contact Centre for Earth & Spirit in advance if funding is a barrier . Everyone welcome.


Lael Whitehead is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist hailing from Salt Spring Island. She is a founding member of the pagan trio, Jaiya (jaiya.bandcamp.com). She also performs and records with Victoria-based Early Music ensemble, Banquo (www.banquo.ca) as well as the English Country dance band, The Dancehall Players, (thedancehallplayers.com). Lael loves to lead singalongs, song circles and ceremonial chanting, believing that singing together is a powerful way to heal our hearts, to connect with one another and to celebrate this world we all share.

Once upon a time Amalia Schelhorn danced as a 1st soloist with the National Ballet of Canada. She is currently teaching ballet at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Oak Bay, and at the Victoria Academy of Ballet, as well as holding her own adult classes. Amalia has explored many different dance forms and is interested in the various ways in which dance can play a role in individual and collective lives.

Paul Chiyokten (“Che oke ten”) Wagner is an internationally performing presenter of traditional songs and stories of his Coast Salish tribal ancestors. Che oke ten is a member of the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) Tribe of southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and he is based in Redmond, WA. An award-winning Native American flutist, his songs have come to him with visions of healing and prayer for all relations (tree people, animal people and human people). He teaches workshops on drum making and flute playing, makes Coast Salish form wood carvings, and is a videographer and photographer of Nature’s phenomenal spiritual gifts. Nature is where his art comes from – the deep silence and spirit that lives in the ancient waters and forests of the Salish Sea bioregion are a gift directly from Spirit to help us heal on this path we walk through life. Che oke ten’s art allows us to better understand and realize the ancient Coast Salish belief that we are a part of the Nature which Spirit placed on the lands and waters. We are helped to remember that we have come to this place, Mother Earth, to heal and to bring reciprocal relationships with all things around us.

Breathing with the trees, living the cycles of the seasons, listening to the spirits of the land are the core practices which support Medwyn McConachy in a life of art, ritual and learning. Medwyn is a queer aging white settler privileged to live amongst the old ones of the forest on the unceded ancestral territory of the Hul’q’umi’num and SENĆOŦEN speaking people of the Quw’utsun First Nation, settler-named Salt Spring Island. Relationships with the more than human who share their space with her, offer her strength and respite in the face of conflict and degradation in our world. Among the things Medwyn holds dear are organic food, farmers and farming, body centred healing arts and community.

Iris Moore is a North Island-born artist who loves to share creative expression in community. She has led group song circles for 7 years and believes deeply in the medicine of singing together. She works with youth and with adults, creating spaces for people to explore their creativity in all mediums.

XEṮXÁṮEN Earl Claxton Jr. is an Elder from SȾÁUTW̱ (Tsawout) of the W̱SÁNEĆ Nations. Earl worked for the SȾÁUTW̱ Band Office – the only office employee at the time – for 17 years. He did surveying, answered phones, picked up mail, paid bills, did payroll and prepared cheques. SȾÁUTW̱ Chief and Council asked Earl to help with the Saanichton Bay Marina court case. He became a SX̱ÍX̱I Warrior and climbed up on the dredger’s cables and stopped them from digging! They won their court case and received a permanent injunction against construction of a Marina in Saanichton Bay. “Our home and our sanctuary” as the judge said. Next Earl worked for SeaChange Marine Conservation Society in Brentwood, for about 7 years. Now he is Resident Elder at Westshore School on Mondays, PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Nursery & Garden on Tuesdays, Maria Montessori Academy on Wednesdays, Lakewood Elementary school on Thursdays. On Fridays, Earl is in the Role Model program at any of the schools in the Sooke School District, from Langford out to Port Renfrew. Sundays he is watering the gardens at PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱.

Nature’s Chef, Tom Kral. Over 25 years of professional cooking experience and a bloodline of cooks has evolved Tom Kral into Nature’s Chef. From a child growing up in a Czech deli and spending time at the family cottage, camping and foraging played an important role of his life that developed a deep connection with nature. Following his passion for cooking it led him down a path of being trained by some of the world’s best chefs, then to owner of a renowned restaurant and catering business in Toronto, ON. After a chef burn out and an awakening he finally came to settle in supernatural BC because of the irresistible call for the wild. His passion for putting medicine back into our food quickly grew into a whole new genre of dining experience, which he delivers to others through edutainment. http://natureschef.ca

The Centre for Earth and Spirit is a charitable eco-spirituality organization, started in 2003 on the unceded lands and waters of the lək̓ʷəŋən and SENĆOŦEN-speaking Peoples. Our small-yet-mighty, volunteer-led group offers classes and events to support Seniors in their homes, share holistic end-of-life training, and create village-centred intergenerational communities. We offer sacred spaces for meaningful conversation, connection, nurturing earth care and cultivating community. In accessing nature’s healing, we recognize lək̓ʷəŋən and SENĆOŦEN-speaking Peoples who have stewarded these lands for millennia, in sets of interrelationships which continue to this day. We honour Indigenous Elders, recognizing their intersecting burdens, and seek to create opportunities to amplify their voices, spaces for deep reflection and conversations around reconciliation.


March 18, 2023
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Categories:


Esquimalt Gorge Pavilion
1070 Tillicum Rd
Esquimalt,BCV9A 2A1Canada


Centre for Earth and Spirit Society
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