About The Living Centre
Shantree (Walter) Kacera opened Spirit of the Earth, ‘The Living Centre' in 1983 to fulfill a dream of being in the country and learning how to live in accordance with the laws of Nature. This he did wholeheartedly, creating a beautiful and sacred space for healing and learning, originally known as "Balance Life Gardens". He was joined by Lorenna Bousquet-Kacera in 1997. Over the years the Centre has offered life-inspiring programs and services to thousands of people on their evolutionary journey.
Over the course of 30 years, The Living Centre has transformed into an integrated,
multifunctional, ecologically rich, and productive living classroom.
The Living Centre has welcomed thousands of students from over twenty countries around the world — youth, adults, families and elders — seeking a deeper connection with the natural world and solutions for restoring human and planetary health. Many of these students have since become practitioners,designers, herbalists, forest gardeners, community leaders, and educators, using what they have learned at The Living Centre to make positive change in the world.
Looking to nature as mentor and guide, all of our programs cultivate connection and rooting in nature's design and evolutionary wisdom. Courses include: Permaculture, Shamanu Earth Wisdom Teachings, Forest Gardening, Visionary Herbalism, Ayurvedic Living Nutrition,
We welcome you to our Centre, our home and into our hearts.
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The Living Centre Mission
Cultivating the unity of personal and planetary well-being through life-affirming, empowerment education and mentorships that open human potential and pathways to a resilient and regenerative future.
Through life-supporting leadership programs that support the healing of our inner and outer landscapes we strive to consciously participate in the creation of an Earth Community that is centered in peace, equality, regeneration and reverence for all Life.
Crafting Cultures of Connection
The Living Centre's Forest Gardens
Founded in 1983, Spirit of the Earth ‘ The Living Centre' is a 50 acre educational sanctuary with wild meadows, forest-woodland, tranquil pond and organic fruit orchards and gardens. The land has always been organic. The spacious surroundings offer you a wonderful setting for relaxing, learning and reconnecting with your soul.
We are located in the heart of Canada's Carolinian zone which is the southernmost region of Canada and contains more rare plants and animals than any other part of Canada. Scientists report about 2,200 plant species, 400 bird species and 47 reptiles and amphibians. It contains species found nowhere else in this country. Its southern location and proximity to the great lakes give it a milder climate than the rest of Ontario, with longer summers, and lower snowfall.
The dynamically alive energy of the land and wide range of wild life are all a part of what makes this a safe haven for you to learn and grow. The Centre is known for its unique circular medicine wheel herbal forest garden and edible medicine trail through our beautiful Carolinian forest. Our lovely teaching lodge is surrounded by a 1000 sq. ft. Earthship solar greenhouse which provides organic produce for nine months of the year.
Sacred Medicine Wheel Herb Garden.
Our circular herbal medicine-wheel garden was
established in 1983 as an Herbal Education and Nature Awareness teaching garden. The garden began with a few handfuls of medicinal plants. Within ten years the garden was known across Canada as one of the most diverse gardens of its kind with over 500 species of medicinal and edible herbs.
The Garden is designed as a medicine wheel with eight spokes or paths that lead to the centre of the Garden. In the centre we a have a pole planted that reads "May Peace Prevail
on Earth" to remind everyone who enters the Garden that peace can be found within our hearts and in nature. There are four paths that divide the garden into the directions: East, South, West and North and these symbolize the four elements: Air, Fire, Water and Earth and the fifth element Ether/Space/Spirit is symbolized in the centre.
Each of the eight sections grows the herbs that support the health and vitality of one of the
eight body systems. Much of the herbal
medicines made a The Living Centre come from our garden and are sold through the Apothecary Clinic.
Thousands of people have gathered in circle around the Peace Pole to meditate, give thanks, commune and to absorb the abundant healing energies and generosity of the Earth.
Tea gardens, the Elemental Rose Garden, Heart Garden, our one acre vegetable garden, wild flower gardens and more, bless the Centre with their abundant nourishment, and thrilling the senses with their beauty, scents, tastes, textures and sounds.
An edible medicinal forest trail is in the process of being completed. We have much to learn from the wild plants and even more to gain nutritionally. Regular herb walks are offered, and of course, the gardens provide a place for people to relax and reconnect with soul, self and Nature.
The property in 1993
The property in 2010