Forest, cooperation, bikes, men's academy

Men’s Academy – Nationalpark Eifel, Germany

The spirit of the masculine essence

Men’s Academy is a retreat, organised and led by Northern Deer Alexander, spiritual teacher, shaman & healer. The aim is to “reconnect with yourself and discover your true potential as a man, in this short retreat in a beautiful natural environment”. This particular retreat took place in the Eifel National Park in Germany, close to the borders with Belgium.

We were 8 men participating, and our group was quite diverse, having people from Belgium, the UK, Greece, Netherlands, Slovenia, Turkey, and Spain. Most of us met in Brussels on Friday and we drove to Germany, where we were joined by two more there.

Friday – Introduction to the retreat / Awakening the masculine essence

The hotel we were staying was right opposite the lake, with beautiful tranquil sceneries right off our room’s balcony.

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We went for an initial walk to get acquainted with the area and to have a chance to meet and talk with the other men of the team. Then, after having a superb German dinner, we walked towards the forest. It was dark and the only light we had was the moonlight, in the peaceful yet strangely mysterious natural environment. The shaman performed a meditation ritual with the drum, to awaken the dormant spirit of the masculine essence within us, and to connect with it. It was a remarkable mystical experience, not easy to describe in words.

Saturday – The power of the unknown nature we have inside

We woke up early, and it was a beautiful sunny day. We went running and we also engaged in some exercises/practices that come from spiritual techniques of ancient civilisations. The purpose was to rejuvenate and awaken not only our bodies, but also the hidden potential of our masculine essence.

After an ample, delicious breakfast, we went for a hike around the lake, while doing practices for personal power. We hiked for about 11km until we reached the canoe rental place. We canoed in the lake – an unbelievably tranquil experience. The serenity of the water together with the abundance of sunny spells was soothing to our souls. We meditated in the canoes, in the middle of the lake, and it was magnificent.

Then we hiked back to the hotel (another 11km!). The day, even though physically demanding, felt like a lot of fun: there were times I was feeling like a child, playful, joyful, and careless. For dinner we enjoyed another fantastic German meal!
The day ended with a mini mastermind session and a talk from Alexander about money/business and the blueprint of manifestation: How things manifest in our lives, what role our chakras play on this, and why most people do not manifest their ideas and desires in the physical world (starting projects and not finishing them).

Sunday – Teamwork, bonding, and a promise to the masculine essence!

After an initial early morning rain, the weather turned into another glorious sunny day. We rented bicycles and we cycled around the lake, just short of 30km, amongst both spectacular and tranquil sceneries.

Strava map Germany cycling

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At some point, halfway through, we reached an area where the path we were on came to a sudden end. There was only a very steep metal staircase leading upwards to an area with trees; there was no path for the bikes. One of us went up and confirmed that we can rejoin the main road, however that would mean taking the bikes up the staircase and through a steep uphill full of trees and branches. We had a choice ahead of us: Either backtracking, or going on this seemingly hard route. Roc, one of our team, was keen on going for it, whereas most of us were considering retracing our steps. After some debating, he said “let’s go”, he took the bicycle on his shoulders and climbed up, to show us that it can be done. Then another one did it, and then eventually we all did it, helping each other along the way.

After this feat, we appreciated some well-deserved relaxation at the swimming pool and sauna of the hotel. Our adventure was closing to its end, but there was still one last surprise left.

We all gathered for the retreat’s debriefing, which focused mainly on how we can work on the blockages we have that stop us from manifesting our desires and ideas. The last element of the Men’s Academy was the “chilli pepper ritual”, where each of us ate a (very hot!) chilli pepper. Here’s the purpose of this practice, according to the shaman: It is a ritual that men were doing in tribes, to create bonds with the others, promising to follow the true path all together. They were not necessarily using peppers, but an action that was somewhat painful. With this powerful action, they declared their intention to ‘walk the walk’ – it’s like a promise to the masculine essence, an accountability promise to one’s brothers. 

It’s not a flower – it’s a red hot chilli pepper!


Lessons I learnt from this amazing experience

  • Being in nature is calming and empowering at the same time – I should spend more time in nature. We are so used to living our lives in cities that we have disconnected from where our essence is.
  • Brotherhood and friendship – to support fellow men on their worthwhile endeavours.
  • Physical exercise: Apart from the obvious health benefits, it improves our emotional state and our mindset.
  • The event when Roc picked up the bicycle and started climbing the staircase reminded me of Roger Bannister’s 4 minute mile – If one person manages to do it, then there is a collective mindset shift and others follow.
  • Masculine essence = to overcome our fears.

“On the other side of our fear is freedom.”
-Northern Deer Alexander

There will be more adventures like this one, and hopefully one in the UK soon. Watch this space!


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