Porter Center
1 Brevard College Drive
Brevard, North Carolina 28712
Location map

About this event

Beginning the Great Search:

A Day with John Philip Newell & Cami Twilling

Saturday, October 19, 2024

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Porter Center for the Performing Arts

Brevard College, Brevard, North Carolina

Plan now to join us this fall for a very special day with author John Philip Newell. A renowned teacher of Celtic spirituality, Newell's writings and presentations are animated by a vision of reawakening us to the sacredness of Earth and every human being. Center for Spiritual Wisdom is pleased to be bringing John Philip to Western North Carolina for a full day of presentations, practice-based work, and interactions with participants. He will be accompanied by colleague Cami Twiling, Director of Earth and Soul, who will oversee the day's practice-based sessions.

The event title "Beginning the Great Search" coincides with Newell's forthcoming book, The Great Search: Turning to Earth and Soul in the Quest for Healing and Home, to be published in August of this year. Copies of the new book will be available for purchase and signing by the author on Oct. 19th.

Registration includes admission to John Philip's two presentations, accompanying workshops, musical presentations, lunch, and book signing.


8:30 Arrival & check in begins

9:10 Live music begins

9:30 - 12:00 Morning presentation & spiritual practice session 

12:00 -1:30 Break and lunch 

Live music prior to afternoon session

1:30 - 3:30 Afternoon presentation & spiritual practice session

3:30 - 4:00 Book signing

This is a fundraising event for Center for Spiritual Wisdom, and we have created registration fees to make this special day with John Philip Newell as accessible as possible. Discounted rates are available for groups of 5 as well as full-time students. General admission is $95.00 per person.

John Philip Newell is a teacher and author who calls the modern world to reawaken to the sacredness of Earth and every human being. He is widely recognized as an international authority on Celtic spirituality. Canadian by birth, and a citizen also of Scotland, he resides with his family in Edinburgh and works on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2016, he began the Earth & Soul initiative. He teaches regularly in the United States and Canada as well as leading international pilgrimage weeks on Iona in the Western Isles of Scotland.

His PhD is from the University of Edinburgh and he has authored over fifteen books, including his latest award-winning publication, Sacred Earth Sacred Soul, which was the 2022 Gold Winner of the Nautilus Book Award for Spirituality and Religious Thought of the West. His forthcoming book (August 2024), also with Harper One, is The Great Search, in which he looks at the great spiritual yearnings of humanity today in the context of the decline of religion as we have known it.

Newell speaks of himself as “a wandering teacher” following the ancient path of many lone teachers before him in the Celtic tradition, seeking the wellbeing of the world. He has been described as having “the heart of a Celtic bard and the mind of a Celtic scholar,” combining in his teachings the poetic and the intellectual, the head as well as the heart, and spiritual awareness as well as political and ecological concern.

Cami Twilling, based in Colorado, is the Director of Earth & Soul (a Celtic initiative of study, spiritual practice and compassionate action inspired by the teachings of John Philip Newell). As well as heading up the overall work of Earth & Soul, she facilitates the spiritual practice component of the Earth & Soul Annual Retreats. Previously she was the head of Contemplative Spirituality and Youth Ministry at Trinity UMC in downtown Denver. She has studied meditation in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition of Shambhala and received Spiritual Direction certification from the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to leading mountain and urban retreats, she has led international pilgrimage groups to Iona in the Western Isles of Scotland and work teams to Guatemala to build houses in communities that have suffered from political strife and economic hardship. Cami is passionate about the relationship between spirituality and action and believes that spiritual vision and practice can play a vital role in helping to heal and transform our lives both individually and together.

Special Hotel Rates

If you will be traveling from a distance and would like to book a hotel for Friday and/or Saturday, you will want to know that Hampton Inn in Pisgah Forest (just 3 miles from Brevard College) is offering our attendees a special rate. Learn more & book a room HERE. Our local Comfort Inn (also close to Brevard College) is offering a special rate as well. You can access it HERE.


We are grateful to Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority for their invaluable support.

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