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Nature of Council

November 16, 2015 - November 23, 2015

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. Here on the flanks of the Eastern Sierras, weather and wildlife will influence our movement.

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.

In the circle of our days together, the Owens River watershed will be our terrain. 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 (and are available on request).

Location: The Ojai Foundation, Ojai, CA

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 Virginia Coyle and Jack Zimmerman. (Available through Lost Borders Press.)


November 16, 2015
November 23, 2015
Event Category:


The Ojai Foundation
Ojai, CA United States


Marlow Hotchkiss
Sharon Shay Sloan