Our Mission Statement

Homestead Retreat takes one back to a time when things were simpler. There was time to sit and wonder, time to breathe life in, open the heart, and be present in the eternal moment of 'now'. Homestead offers a warm, nurturing place to experience a deep ​sense of inner tranquility and peace. Here you will have the opportunity to explore the mysteries of the Universe through intriguing workshops and personal retreats. Homestead is a place to enjoy the natural beauty of the majestic mountains while pursuing the depths of your own self discovery and personal healing.

About Your Hosts, Ayal & Hawk Hurst

Ayal Hurst

Ayal tending the flowerbeds.

  • Ayal is an accredited Reiki Master, Spiritual Counselor, Intuitive Healer, and Shamanic Practitioner. For nearly forty years she has offered personal healing sessions, seminars, classes, and workshops in order to share with others the knowledge she has gathered and integrated. Ayal specializes in tracking, releasing, and transforming dysfunctional emotional and mental patterns, unworkable situations, and negative energy blocks that limit development and no longer serve one's highest good.

  • Ayal was drawn to begin her healing studies at the age of 19, when she first began the practice of Kundalini Yoga. While in college, she discovered the writings of Carlos Castaneda and Baba Ram Dass. The world of spiritual healing began to open for her. From 29-32, she lived at the Ananda Cooperative Village, a yoga ashram and community in California. There she obtained her Yoga certification and began studying the ancient wisdom of the Vedas and the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.

  • Ayal has studied and integrated a wide variety of  healing modalities, including Polarity TherapyLife DanceReiki,  HypnotherapyMassageMeditationEnergetic Healing and body work, including the Rubenfeld Method and Healing TouchFlower Essence, Aura-soma TherapyBreathworkJungian Archetypal TherapyContinuum, and Shamanism. Ayal has studied with Hank Wesselman, Sun Bear, Sandra Ingerman, Swami Kriyananda, Yogi Bhajan, Drunvalo, Gregg Braden, & Brooke Medicine Eagle, employing  what she has learned from each to create her own, unique method of healing.

  • As co-creator of the Council of Women Programs, Ayal has facilitated numerous healing/ceremonial retreats, circles, and sacred gatherings. She has been a featured presenter at a variety of healing expos and gatherings and has written numerous articles which have been published in various holistic-magazines. As the author of Clearing the Way, an online question and answer site, Ayal responds to personal questions from people worldwide regarding what underlying causes may be creating illness, distress, or disharmony in their lives, as well as directing people to alternative methods of healing that are available. 

  • As a multi-media artist, Ayal loves to create mythical and magical paintings and images, using a mixture of collage and acrylic, some of which can be seen at Homestead Retreat.

Hawk Hurst

Hawk Hurst crafting a flute

  •  For three decades, Hawk has offered a wide range of cultural arts performances and  artist-in-residency programs focused on ancient living skills and the environment. He has visited hundreds of schools, libraries, museums, and festivals across the country, sharing songs and stories from various cultures across the globe.

  •   Hawk has served as a lead naturalist and folk artist at the Green River Preserve - a natural science summer camp, located near Tuxedo, North Carolina. Additionally, he has taught at a variety of other programs including Blue Star Camps, the Earthskills Rendezvous, the Firefly Gathering, Piedmont Earthskills, and many more.

  • Hawk has authored two children's books, The Story of the First Flute and The Way of the Forest, as well as having recording nine storytelling and musical CD's, two with the award-winning band, Sapien. His latest CD, The Earth is Our Mother - a diverse collection of Native American songs and stories from across North America, offers a free online curriculum for teachers to access when teaching about First Nations People.

  •  Hawk is a long-standing member of the South Carolina Storytelling Network, the North Carolina Storytelling Guild and the South Carolina Artist Roster. He twice co-directed the Piccolo Spoleto Children’s Festival and the Stories for Life Festival, both held in Charleston, South Carolina.

  •  Hawk’s educational background includes a Masters of Science degree in Environmental Education from Lesley College and the Audubon Expedition Institute, as well as undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Political Science from the University of Oklahoma. Hawk was a scholarship runner on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams at the University of Oklahoma.

  • Hawk's greatest joys include sharing time with his wife and his grandchildren, handcrafting flutes and drums, tending the organic gardens and honey bees, and rambling in the wild places he is fortunate to occasionally find himself.​​

  • Hawk and Ayal co-founded Silver Water Retreat, a 220 acre Outdoor Educational Center located near Boone, North Carolina. There they offered a variety of healing, environmental, and educational programs, including E.A.R.T.H. Summer Camp.