Nature of Council


Monday, November 16, 2015 to Monday, November 23, 2015
Mon, 11/16/2015 - 1:00pm to Mon, 11/23/2015 - 4:00pm

Guided by Marlow Hotchkiss with Kate Lipkis and Shay Sloan

Council is an ancient way and modern practice whose roots are deep within the natural world, spanning diverse cultures and spiritual traditions. Here we remember and learn to listen to the whole: the people, the place and all living things. This practice elicits an experience of deep community, recognizing that each voice has value, every person has a gift, a story to share, a piece of the puzzle.

The eight-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 universal map of the Four Directions as our compass to guide our way through the wilderness within and without. We will be asked to cross threshold after threshold 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 shadows following you here.  The Valley of the Moon (Ojai Valley) weather, wildlife, and flora will influence our movement in the journey.

This extended training is intended for leaders and change-agents, caregivers and caretakers, and those longing for and creating community. It will support and inform those working with young people and elders, as well as guides using council with rites of passage. It will offer guidance for council carriers introducing circle work into other cultures and challenging places. We will explore different forms, formats, exercises and ways of sharing council in intimate relationships, families, schools, businesses and communities.

There will be alone-time and group-time, plus entering into the wilderness to open to the teachings offered by the natural world. We will improvise exercises and weave self-generated ceremonies, inviting the mystery into our personal journey. We will explore the facilitation challenges of working solo, with a partner, and with the whole circle.

With vulnerability and a little grace, we hope to meet the moment where serving self, serving others, and serving Creation, are spoken in one voice.

"There is a world behind the world we see that is the same world but more open, more transparent, without blocks. Like inside a big mind, the animals and humans all can talk, and those who pass through here get power to heal and to help. They learn how to behave, and how not to give offense. To touch this world no matter how briefly is a help in life."

~ Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild

Information packets, including logistics, directions, camping and accommodation information, plus safety and equipment lists, will be sent to registrants after they have completed their registration process.

You will be camping and bringing / preparing your own food onsite.  We begin when everyone is present, so plan to arrive Monday, November 16 in plenty of time for a 1:00 pm prompt start.  (Arrival time is between 9 and noon)

Shared dome or yurt accommodations may be available for an additional fee.

Complete reading of The Way of Council by Virginia Coyle and Jack Zimmerman. (Available through Lost Borders Press or through TOF office.)
Completion of at least one Council Training and experience working with council as a practice …or the equivalent thereof.  If you have questions regarding this pre-requisite, please contact Marlow at
After registering  and paying your deposit for NOC, please send a letter of intent to

Program Fees:  In an effort to keep this experience affordable to a wide range of people, we are providing a sliding scale fee.between $780 and $1,250.
We set forth no criteria and trust that each individual will pay what they feel is appropriate and be as generous as possible.  
This includes camping fee onsite, and all program materials and sessions. 

Deposit: $250
(Non-refundable & non-transferrable unless seminar is cancelled)


Please register by calling Diana at 805-646-8343, or by emailing her at
A $30 fee will be added for all credit card payments.