The Nature of Council


Mon, 09/15/2014 - 9:00am to Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:00pm

with Marlow Hotchkiss and Leslie Roberts

Click here for registration or email

This program is offered through our friends at the School of Lost Borders (Big Pine, CA) - all inquiries should be directed to them.

Council is an ancient way and modern practice whose roots are within the natural world, spanning diverse cultures and religions. Here we remember and learn to listen to the whole: the people and the place, earth, water, fire, air. . . the spirit in all. This practice elicits an experience of true community, recognizing that each voice has value, every person has a gift, a story to share, a piece of the whole.

The seven-day arc of this training gives us time to explore the circles of our days and the seasons of our heart. We will use the Four Directions as our compass to guide our way through the wilderness within and without. We will cross threshold after threshold back into the wholeness of our lives. The questions you are living and the experiences you bring with you will shape our time together, as will the ghosts and shadows following you here. Here on the flanks of the Eastern Sierras, weather and wildlife will influence our movement. Frog and toad, raven and coyote will serenade our sleep and occupy our dreams. And over all, Great Spirit circles….

This extended training is intended for leaders and change-agents, caregivers and caretakers, and those in search of their people. It will support and inform those working with young people and elders, guides using council in quest work and with intentional communities, as well as council carriers introducing circle work in other cultures and unfriendly places. We will cover different forms, formats and exercises, exploring alternate venues and uses of council in intimate relationships, families, schools, business, and community.

We will also work in small groups, giving everyone a chance to share in the facilitator and witness roles. Inspired by each of the Four Directions, we will improvise exercises that invite the natural world into our personal process. Learning how to create opportunities for deep listening is a key to healthy relationships and resilient communities. Learning how to trust yourself and the intuitions arising in any situation, is the soul of this practice. How to accept and appreciate the not-knowing, to welcome the mystery, to embrace the unfolding, all while committing fully to doing what is yours to do. . . These are a few of the blessings to be touched at the heart of council.

In the circle of our days, there will be alone-time and group-time, plus entering into the wilderness to open to the teachings offered by nature. We will explore the facilitation challenges of working solo, with a partner, and with the whole circle, in making decisions, accessing wisdom, building understanding, touching fear and pain, opening to insight and wisdom, to something greater than ourselves. The Owens River watershed will be our terrain and the Four Directions our map. Each person will have some time alone to fast and confirm their path, their way of council. With vulnerability and a little grace, we hope to touch the place where serving self, serving others, and serving Creation may all be one voice.

Information packets, including logistics, directions, camping and accommodation information, plus safety and equipment lists, are available on request.

Location: Three Creeks, Big Pine, California. You be will camping and bringing your own food to the Tinnemaha public campground, 1 mile from Three Creeks where we will mostly be meeting.

Tuition: $700–$1,100 (Deposit: $250) (public campground $10 dollars per car daily to be shared.)

Prerequisites: A letter of intention, plus completion of at least one council training and experience working with council as a practice… or the equivalent… reading The Way of Council by Coyle and Zimmerman.