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The Embercombe Council

We regard the establishment of the Embercombe Council as an important foundation stone in our efforts to establish a robust, ethical and innovative intentional community.

The concept from which the idea of our Council emerged is called “The Circle of Law”.

The Circle of Law
There are indigenous peoples who offer us a model of community that resonates with Embercombe’s mission; to touch hearts and minds, “inspiring committed action for a truly sustainable world”.

Imagine a circle of people. Around the circle sit representatives from each of the groups making up the tribe; from hunters and War Chiefs to artists, singers and poets. Around this circle also sit representatives from the mothers and the young people who straddle childhood to adulthood. Imagine that, for each of these represented groups sit two people; one woman, one man - female balancing male - the equal democratic representation of all peoples comprising the community.

In the centre of the Council Circle burns a small fire - the Children's Fire. The Children's Fire keeps the Council mindful of the tribe's children as they deliberate on issues important to the tribe. Looking after the fire and guiding the Council's process are four elders; two women and two men. These four wise elders have no voting rights but posses the power of veto and guide the process of the council. They, too, are selected by democratic vote within the tribe.

Such communities did once exist,- a very few may still.

The Embercombe Council
We think that in this ancient council circle called The Circle of Law, we can discover some of the ways necessary to build our own community – a way in which our people choose to give their very best – a way in which we can all train in self- leadership, learn the path of service and giving, and become authentic leaders. As Embercombe matures over time we may see the Council assume different responsibilities and powers, but for now it is being constituted as a group comprising representatives of Embercombe’s stakeholders, and a forum in which anything can be raised, shared, and explored. The Council is not a decision making body. Its task is to:

  • provide a space where all matters relating to the vision and practice of Embercombe can be safely explored by representatives of the whole community

  • provide a process which will enable Embercombe’s stakeholders to raise matters of concern, dialogue with each other, and then influence the emergence of a constructive resolution

  • anchor the vision and values of Embercombe by exercising and developing the practice of deep listening, clear thinking, continuous learning, and constructive dialogue

  • assist the trustees and the management team of Embercombe by providing insights, recommendations, and reflections that will inform and guide them in their duties

  • provide Embercombe with a keel that will strengthen its capacity to act in accordance with the wellbeing of future generations and Embercombe’s ability to successfully manage the many and diverse challenges that lie ahead

Around the council circle sixteen groups are represented by two people; in most cases by one man and one woman. These groups are:

The young adults

The mothers with children under 13*

Artists & artisans

Freelance facilitators
Friends of Embercombe

The Land

Course leaders

Management team
Ashton village

Sustainability in action

Elders (60+)


The Open chair

The Healers

Business & Organisations
(clients, partners, institutions)

*two exceptions to the rule; Mothers group and Fathers group represented by two women and two men respectively.

Guiding Embercombe's Council we have  one man and one woman - the Presiding Chiefs who symbolically sit at the centre of the circle. Their responsibility is to tend the Children’s Fire, guide the Council's process, rule on issues of protocol, and assist the members to become conversant with the council’s purpose and process.

The Council and Presiding Chiefs are elected by democratic vote each year.