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We’re being flexible and adaptable! Due to the coronavirus and COVID-19 this year’s Retreat with Samuel, which we’re calling “Soillse” (“Light”), will be via Zoom, an online video conference platform!

Doing a Soillse retreat by way of video conferencing is a little more complicated than just showing up at the retreat location. You’ll need to register with and pay EarthLight (see below), and then register on Zoom for the event itself. It might sound complicated but it isn’t really; just follow these three steps:

Step One – How do I get registered?

First, a reminder: the price of event is per person, not per device. Please be sure anyone participating with you is registered  Thanks!

OK, on to getting registered! Register as many people as will be sharing your computer/device by ordering the number of tickets below (please enter each person’s name and email address where asked when registering). Registration closes Thursday, July 2, at 11:00 am (EDT), so please be sure you register with DiscoverSamuel.com before that time.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive an email from discoversamuel.com confirming your registration(s); if you don’t see that confirmation in your inbox, check your spam folder, and if you don’t see it there please email us at info@discoversamuel.com and let us know. This verification is how you’ll connect to Zoom in step 2. If discoversamuel.com hasn’t verified your registration with this email then you won’t receive the Zoom link to the event, so this confirmation is vital proof that you’ve registered!

Great! Now you’ve completed Step One of the registration and received an email confirming that your Soillse retreat registration has been received. You don’t need to do anything until you receive the next email from us, which contains a Zoom link. That email is important because the link it holds is your access to three amazing days with Samuel!

Step Two – OK, I have my EarthLight registration, what comes next?

Sometime around 11:30 am EDT on Thursday, July 2, you’ll receive an email with a link to Soillse, Samuel’s 2020 retreat. Go ahead and click the link.

You’ll be taken to a page asking you to “register” by giving your first and last name, and email address—this is just Zoom’s way of letting us know you’re ready for the event. It’s sort of like a check-in table at any event. Don’t be concerned, you’re not paying again or getting onto any mailing lists.

As with Step One, if noon EDT July 2 rolls around and you still haven’t received this Zoom-link email, then check your spam folder. If it isn’t in your spam folder, please let us know immediately at info@discoversamuel.com.

Step Three – It’s the day the Soillse retreat starts, so what now?

Much like an “in-person” event, we’ll open the Retreat “room” a half an hour early to give you time to make sure you have a good connection and are having no problems. Sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 am EDT click on the link that came in that email you received yesterday to go into the Zoom meeting.

You made it! You’re here! Welcome to Samuel’s 2020 Soillse Retreat!

Just so you know five to ten minutes after each meeting has begun the moderator (that would be Stuart) will create a “Zoom waiting room” for people who come in late. This also prevents unregistered people from entering the meeting without approval first. This is just an Internet security precaution. Stuart will be monitoring the waiting room throughout the meeting because, thanks to your July 2 registration on Zoom, he’ll know you should be there and will be looking for you. Please try to come a little early so there isn’t any pre-event delay! Thanks.

If at any time you get disconnected from a meeting (and that’s the down-side of video conferencing, occasionally your connectivity changes and you get disconnected), simply re-click the Zoom link from the email you received on July 2 and you will be placed in the waiting room. Don’t worry, we’ll let you back into the session with Samuel ASAP.

A quick tip about getting onto Zoom

You can take part in Zoom meetings from most desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, or tablets.

There are two ways to access Zoom meetings on those devices, you can download the Zoom app or attend the meeting from within your web browser without downloading anything.

Most people say they have a better experience (insofar as connectivity, clarity, and flow) by downloading the app. We really care about your online privacy and security, and stayed away from Zoom for many months. However, over the past 90 days Zoom made major changes to their privacy and security practices, enough so that we believe you’re safe downloading the app, as we have.

If you’ve used Zoom in the past and are choosing to use their app, for security purposes please be sure you’re using their newest version (5.0 or higher.)

Some Q&A about the meetings, including tips to help you during the meetings.

We wanted Soillse, Samuel’s retreat, to be as close to an in-person retreat as we could get, and that’s why we chose to use Zoom video conferencing. This format will allow Samuel’s meetings to be interactive as much as this technology allows. Yay!

The morning sessions are intended to be more direct teachings from Samuel (like a Weekend Update, Lifescapes, or webinar), which will include some back and forth with the audience. On the other hand, the afternoon sessions will mostly consist of Samuel answering audience questions about the morning’s teachings.

This is the part we love. Rather than typing a question into the chat, as you’d need to do with Weekend Update, for instance, you’ll just click a “hand raise” icon to show you have something to ask or say. When you’re called on you’ll un-mute your microphone and talk! (There’s more information about how “hand-raising” works a little further down.)

Discussion is something Samuel loves for us to do, whether he’s there or not. Fortunately, Zoom has a system for creating what they call “breakout rooms” that are perfect for discussion. When Samuel calls for small group discussions (of homework or topics he’s covered) the Zoom app will randomly assign people into “rooms” of 5 or 6 people. If he has us break into small groups during a meeting with him, he’ll let us know how long to take in the discussion; otherwise, the Moderator (Stuart) will let you know. Here’s the cool part: Zoom will signal each discussion group when there’s one minute left so the group can close up and return to the meeting. It seems like it will be fairly simple.

Nonetheless, please remember that this format is new to us, so it’s very possible there could be technological problems or some other way we’ll need to adapt to the moment—and that’s OK. Right now, this is how we think it will work out.

No worries, you don’t need to have your video camera on for any meeting, but it’s so nice to see your face, and you know how much Samuel loves to “see” you—even if you are in your pajamas! We hope you’ll have your camera on.

On the other hand, we get it that if you have lower bandwidth having your camera on might create freezing pictures, stuttering audio, and generally a poorer quality of experience. If you find you’re having these problems, go ahead and turn off your computer’s/phone’s camera, it’ll probably fix the problem. We’ll miss seeing your face, though!

Actually there are a few things that will make your experience better for yourself and all the other participants.

Please keep your microphone muted at all times until you’re called on to speak. Once you’ve spoken, please remember to mute it again. (The annoying ringing sounds or generally weird audio sounds are nearly always because someone left their microphone on). Besides, the whole room doesn’t need to hear you typing your notes, moving around, or eating and drinking.

Most people have a better experience when they use headphones or ear buds with a built-in mic, rather than listening to the meeting through your device’s built-in speakers.

Click here to see an info-graphic with some video calling tips.

Please use Zoom’s hand-raising feature to indicate you have a comment or question. Here’s how it works:

You can find the hand-raising icon at the bottom of the “Participants Panel.” Just click “Participants” at the bottom of your screen to open the Participants Panel. At the bottom left-hand corner of the panel, you’ll see a blue icon for raising your hand. It looks like a little hand. Click that when you wish to speak and you will called on when it’s your turn.

Once you’ve spoken, try to remember to un-raise your hand by clicking on the icon a second time. By the way, if your comment or questions is asked before we call on you, please go ahead and un-raise your hand so we can keep the meeting moving and Samuel talking.

Your ability to participate in this event and the quality of the broadcast depends on your connection speed to the Internet and the browser you’re using. Generally speaking, broadband, DSL, and mobile 4g connections should work fine.

We recommend you use Zoom’s app. But if you’ve chosen to not download the app, Zoom recommends that you use the Chrome browser for the easiest connections. It should also work Firefox and Safari, but there may be more issues with these browsers.

To conserve bandwidth (and have a better experience), please be sure to close any secondary browsers you may have open, as well as any tabs in the browser you’ll be using. Please make sure your roomies aren’t gaming or watching Netflix, as this will likely affect your ability to participate as you’d like to.

Whenever possible, it’s helpful to use a wired connection to the Internet as opposed to wi-fi.

Please remember that Samuel is likely to go over the 90 minutes he said he wanted for each session—he’s pretty famous for doing that.

The “room” will open 30-minutes prior to each meeting.

Friday, July 3

11:00 am–12:30 pm EDT: Meeting with Samuel

2:30 pm–4:00 pm EDT: Questions and Answers with Samuel

Optional FREE Bonus (very important and timely) Meeting

Straight Talk (and Listening) About Race and Racism in a New World

7:00 pm EDT

Led by Dr. Chris Walling, PsyD

Saturday, July 4

11:00 am–12:30 pm EDT: Meeting with Samuel

2:30 pm–4:00 pm EDT: Questions and Answers with Samuel

Sunday, July 5

11:00 am–12:30 pm EDT: Meeting with Samuel

2:30 pm–4:00 pm EDT: High Ritual* with Samuel, and closing

* This is an incredible ritual designed to work on the Internet. As usual, volunteers will be needed for parts, and we’ll send an email to registered participants as we get closer to the event.


Tickets are not available as this event has passed.


  1. Anna Mannino June 17, 2020 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Hello Beautiful Souls,

    This will be my first Samuel retreat and I am SOOOO looking forward to it!

    Thank you for bringing this information to us!

    In Appreciation,

    • Stuart Waldner June 17, 2020 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Annie! Thanks for your comment. Our pleasure and we’re looking forward to seeing you there!

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