We know that the work of reintroducing rites of passage in nature speaks to people on an international, pan-cultural basis. We have always guided people of diverse ethnic, social and religious backgrounds, and in the past few years, we've worked with people from many countries, including Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Japan, England, Argentina and Australia. In the past three years, we've presented our program in countries on three continents: South Korea, Australia and the Czech Republic. Our work proved itself to be adaptable and relevant--representing that which is essentially human across diverse cultural (and physical) landscapes. For 2013 we plan to visit Australia, Canada and Estonia--see below for more information.
We've made four wonderful trips to Australia to present trainings and the Vision Quest program. We plan to return to Australia in April, 2013, to present two programs, both in the Bellingen area of New South Wales:
A Workshop on the Medicine Wheel, April 6-10, 2013: These teachings, first presented to Rites of Passage by Hyemeyohsts Storm over 30 years ago, provide a deep and powerful foundation for understanding ourselves as co-participants in Creation with the entire natural world. In this workshop, we explore each direction through discussion, sharing, time spent with assignments in nature, telling the story of these encounters, and mirroring of the stories by staff.
The idea of the Four Shields is found within many cultures and traditions, often understood as four cycles or seasons of nature, shared by humans: --Four archetypes of human nature: Spirit, Body, Psyche, Mind --The the seasons of our life cycle, representing birth (Spring), childhood growth (Summer), adolescent self-consciousness (Fall), adulthood (Winter) and elderhood (Spring again) --Orienting our internal process to the landscape: the four directions of the compass These core teachings are at the heart of the work we do, helping us to name and meet the transitions and changes that we face. Teachers, counselors, psychologists and others in the helping professions will find this workshop of value as an in-depth application of ecopsychology and as an opportunity for personal growth.
A Men's Vision Quest from April 13-21, 2013: This will be our third Men's Vision Quest in Australia. In 2011 we first presented a men's quest in New South Wales that was a great success. We followed this up with a fantastic men's program in 2012. This program will again be co led by Mike Bodkin, the Director of Rites of Passage, and Robert Boyle, Ph.D., a shamanic practitioner, artist and group leader who trained with Rites of Passage and brings a deep consciousness of the Australian land to his work.
This past July, we guided six Canadians on the Vision Quest we held in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. They drove down together from Edmonton, Alberta, helping create one of the most closely bonded and spirited groups we've ever led. Now we've been invivited to Edmonton this coming July, to help train some of these folks and others in our work, and to hold a Vision Quest in Canada. This will be our first visit to Canada, and we're excited about it. We'll hold a Medicine Wheel workshop from July 10-14, then a Vision Quest from July 17-25. For those in Canada or the American Northwest, this is a great opportunity to train and/or quest with Rites of Passage.
This past March, we hosted a man from Estonia on Vision Quest in Death Valley. Now he's invited us to bring the Vision Quest program to Estonia. Tentative dates are August 16-24, 2013. We'll have more information online soon!
On August 19, 2009 we returned to South Korea to present training and supervision at Soop Chae Won, the country's foremost environmental education and nature healing center. It was an amazing and inspiring experience to work with Korean guide-apprentices, especially the young adults who want to do this work. We stayed at Soop Chae Won for almost a month, making many new friends and reconnecting with those who quested with us 2 years ago. To read more about our recent work in South Korea, take a look at our newsletter for Fall 2009.
In September 2007, we traveled for two weeks to present a Vision Quest and training to a group of staff members of Soop Chae Won, a South Korean forest retreat center serving youth and adults, and of the Korea Forest Foundation. The result was a rich cross-cultural learning for both the Rites of Passage staff and for the South Koreans. We're delighted and honored to have been a part of the inauguration of the new forest center, and we hope for continued collaboration in the future. You can read more about our journey here.