About Us

The Guardians: Hilary Kneale, Rick Lockwood and Gian Paolo Cottino

As guardians of Vision Quest we have been holding the ceremony in the UK, each year for the last fifteen years. We received the teachings through Chris Luttichau of Northern Drum. www.northerndrum.com. For many years Chris lived and trained intensively with native elders and shamans, mainly in North America. With permission of his teachers and elders he brought the teachings to Europe.

Before training as guardians, we experienced for ourselves the strength and heart of vision quest and to know the power of the ceremony to transform and heal. We feel strongly committed to continuing to offer these authentic teachings, being in witness to each unique journey while honouring the power of healing offered by Mother Earth.

Alongside supporting yearly Vision Quest we continue to study, support and teach within Northern Drum circles.


Rick Lockwood


From an early age I realized the benefits of spending time in nature. I became a young naturalist, living and breathing birds and trees. This developed into a career in nature conservation. I thought I knew about nature. I then worked with Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines and was moved by their ancient and ceremonial ways of working with nature.

It was only when I undertook my first vision quest that I discovered the depth of connection and sense of knowing that was available through spending solitary and prayerful time sitting on the earth. I realized that I was part of the natural world and felt this in every cell of my body. I was struck by the profound power of this simple practice to open to my true self.

I knew from this time that I wanted to support people going onto the land to heal and transform themselves. I have deepened my knowing of the power of vision quest ceremonies by fasting alone in nature on a regular basis, and through trainings with the School of Lost Borders and, for the last ten years, with Northern Drum Shamanic Centre.


 Hilary Kneale


I live on Dartmoor, where as each season unfolds, I move deeper and deeper into relationship with the earth and her ancient stories. I am informed by the stories as I  hold ceremony, guide Vision Quest and work as artist. Living and working closely with the earth brings me home to myself and to the cycles and seasons of the earth and in kinship to 'all our relations', being 'close in' is medicine.

Over many years I have studied and practiced earth based spirituality through both original teachings of the medicine wheel and through an all-weather environmental movement practice. I give thanks for the teachings I have received through Chris Lutticau of Northern Drum and Helen Poynor of Walk of Life and their teachers. These practices inform my own work as artist, teacher and healer.

Guiding Vision Quest is a rich part of my work, I continue to feel the benefit of a yearly personal quest, the unquantifiable benefit of time alone with the earth is filled with power and wonder. Working with Rick and Gian Paolo each year, holding time for others to experience aspects of this for themselves, to move further into self-responsibilty and grow the experiences within other aspects of life, is a gift.

For further information please see www.hilarykneale.com


 Gian Paolo Cottino

 The old rites of people living in close connection with the elements and with Mother Earth held my fascination as a child. In them I saw colour, wisdom and power. 

 I was also drawn by stories of adventure, and I sought it alongside discovery and mystery as much as possible; walking the land of our farm, camping, going fishing or hunting, and travelling.

  Adolescence in South Africa gifted the experience of remote nature and the presence of indigenous cultures around me. Yet I also turned within, trying to find solidity amidst all the tensions and separations.When I finished school I began travelling and seeking alternatives. Eventually this brought me to London where I settled and studied fine art.

 Both my research and a need for healing brought me to do a Vision Quest with Hollow Bone. Here I remembered the Earth as my teacher, my love, my adventure and my healer. The Old Ways called. I noticed that, unlike myself at that time, these Old Ways were still free and this offered me hope.

 I later trained with Chris Luttichau of Northern Drum to become a Vision Quest Guardian and I continue training with Northern Drum to bring indigenous ways and shamanic teachings closer to my heart. 

I feel blessed to be a part of Hollow Bone.