Art of Witnessing: Post ECN Gathering – Portugal

Event Category: Council Trainings

  • Profile

    This training will focus on the advanced practice and role in council of the witness, a seat that necessarily courts awareness, deepens presence, and enhances a path of service not only in council but in our everyday world.

    What IS witnessing, its importance and value and why have a witness seat? And how might we learn to deepen our ability to be a witness in council, with ourselves, our communities and this world?

    Beyond tools and techniques, council is a personal practice and a communitarian way of life. When we open to the many voices and different expressions within council, we have an opportunity to access and live more fully in the multi-dimensionality of our world. Whilst the responsibility of a facilitator is to set an inclusive field for all that can emerge, the witness sits fully involved in the circle, both as participant and as an ally, tracking tone, overall content, weaving of viewpoints, perhaps even deeper truths that enhance or hone a bigger picture unseen by the focus of the group.

    In this time of both personal work and practice, we will explore when, how, and in what context the witness serves. To enable such perspective, we will work with awareness of one’s own story to liberate ‘charge’ in the best practice of neutrality, giving attention to keen observation and  peripheral vision, aspiring always to be of service to the council. In this training, accessing and developing our ability to witness, we will have the opportunity to travel further down the council path to a more committed, aware and engaged life.

    Who is invited to participate?
    As this training is a more advanced experience of Council Practice, please note that there are prerequisites:

    • Have already taken Introduction to Council and preferably another training.
    • Have at least one year of experience working with council in various forms and venues,
    • Have read The Way of Council. (Now available in both English,German & Czech)There will be a maximum number of 25 people accepted in the program, and it will be conducted in English.


    When: Tuesday 6th, evening – Friday 9th at lunch

    Where: Karuna Buddhist Retreat Centre, Monchique, Algarve, Portugal

    Costs:  Sliding scale  €300 – 450*
    Plus board and lodging €60 per day (4 days)

    Registration: Contact

    Workshop payment/deposit –


    Virginia “Gigi” Coyle has served as a community activist wherever she is, a council trainer wherever called, and a rites-of-passage guide and trainer with many individuals and organizations. She is learning to be an elder, and serving on such councils, for the School of Lost Borders, the Ojai Foundation, Youth Passageways, European Council Network, and Weaving Earth… She was recently described ‚”a field catalyst of moments and long-lasting commitments to heart’s truth of self, circle and life.” She has contributed extensively in the area of citizen diplomacy, women’s empowerment, and the healing ways with money. Founder of the alliance, Beyond Boundaries, (  she is devoted to inter-generational pilgrimages and projects of prayer, action and service and is currently co-leading the pilgrimage Walking Water ( Co-author of The Way of Council, and The Box, Remembering the Gift.

    Yvan Rytz holds a degree in Human Geography and Environmental Sciences and a Masters in Holistic Science from Schumacher College (UK). He was the youngest ever member of Parliament at a State level in Switzerland and is an active member of the Green Party. He currently works as a special strategist and special political advisor for a Minister. He is a Way of Council trainer for the European Council Network and has trained as a Rite of Passage guide with the School of Lost Borders. He loves the smell of bonfires and the twinkling of stars in the vast Unknown.

    Rob Dreaming found Council in 2002 in the KaliKalos project in Greece and has been an active Carrier, Facilitator and Trainer in regular practice since under the mentorship and care of Ojai Foundation trainers and elders, Gigi Coyle and Marlow Hotchkiss. More recently he trained in Vision fast guiding with the School of Lost Borders. A soul purpose in this life to work with communication, he is currently on walkabout internationally, seeding, watering, mentoring others and supporting Council where it is called. He has over 15 years varied experience in facilitating groups, coaching individuals, designing and running trainings in the areas of consciousness and communication, UK & EU