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INSTRUCTIONS for Attending Ritual Encampments or Hosting

See Also on this page [Sidebar] Video Testimonials from Participants

This page describes:

  • Preparing to attend an event

  • Returning to the regular life after an event

  • Backstage process of organizing an event

There are several VIDEO TESTIMONIALS accessible by clicking these blue buttons below the profile pictures in the sidebar: 

Jan-Apr | Australia

May-Jul | Canada

Apr-May | Europe

Aug-Dec | Australia

“Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”

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Coordinates | Instructions | Preparing
In this section:
  • Curiosity
  • Intention
  • Deciding
  • Showing . . . up
  • Participating
  • Gathering—1 evening or 1 day events
  • Packing—multi day events

“Opportunity does not waste time with those who are unprepared.”

Idowu Koyenikan
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If your attention has been grabbed by this work, it only means that you might have used your deep old indigenous soul to see the themes of belonging, purpose, ancestors, grief and ritual woven throughout. Welcome. 

It makes sense to check things out. Working in the realm of the soul, we have to share the truth of troubles with each other. That can be challenging to the modern sense of isolation. There is a modern idea that we are supposed to "Take care of things on our own." 

The video of Martín Prechtel's talk (it is just the audio) is an excellent place to start answering that curiosity. This is the video I recommend to everyone who comes to a weekend event, but it is even a good preparation for an evening story event.

"Grief and Praise" 

From the 2000

Minnesota Men's Conference

Part 1 of 3

Total: about an hour 


Absolutely, it is beneficial to bring a worthy concern to the gathering. We are making a "moment of village," where the human community seeks contact and conversation with the "other-than-human" for some wisdom that is older than our own opinions. By "worthy" concern I mean something that is a challenge in your life.


This does not mean that the issue will be solved, or go away, or be fixed. But it does imply that some step can be taken. We are looking to get help with guidance for the "next best step" as my friend Phil L'hirondel called it. To take a step is only possible when you show up saying "Yes, I want healing . . . if there is some way I can get help from the process, I want it."


Grief Ritual

Video Testimonial

Krystal Patience,
Registered Nurse


Deciding to attend often activates the energy of the event. In relation to an intention, the inner workings of the soul start looking for opportunity. This is wonderful news, since there is an old saying about ritual, "The ritual has to happen three times."

The first time is in the leading up phase—some energy has to be activated about the willingness to change. If you were asked, "Do you want this change or healing," there needs to be a YES in response. Second is during the event itself. And third is the time after the event when changes are brought back to the community and social environment of the person.

Deciding is confirmed with signing up, deciding.


Grief Ritual

Video Testimonial

Sequoia Lesoski
Nature Guide

Showing . . . up

It is possible that showing up simply means arriving on time.


Yet at certain times, for some people, it is possible that energy begins to move even at the moment of signing up. If that happens for you, reach out ahead of time to get some support. Every gathering, no matter what the particular focus, touches on sources of grief, anguish, grit. It is part of the healing process when the energy begins to move. That is the reason we make a ritual container that can "compost" certain old energies into the renewal of new nutrition for life. It is also why there must be moments of grace, humour, delight.

Another version of the energy moving that can happen is feeling upset just a few hours prior to the gathering. This might mean that the psyche is getting ready for change. It is certainly not necessary that you show up looking fine, and as if you have it all together. That is how we are forced to behave in much of our lives in this modern setting.


Malidoma Somé has poetically said that our outdated habits of being act like intruders in our house. While they are happily enjoying all the comforts of life, we ourselves are exiled out of a sense of ease and relaxation! So when we move toward healing, those hungry ghosts get disturbed. They begin to kick up a fuss, claiming that we cannot live without them. But you can show up with acknowledgement of that messy part of you. It is part of the ritual process. You can truly come "as you are."


Grief Ritual

Video Testimonial

Azul Duque
Curriculum Design


To the extent of your skills, ability, and circumstance, offer to assist with the event. The event will be richer for it, and you will personally benefit from the experience. Actively contribute if you are able to. Not as a bystander or passive audience member, but as a creative helper. The place to begin is to simply ask, "How can I assist?"

Some of the answers organizers might give:

  • Help promote the event by inviting people

  • Help set up by arriving early

  • Help clean up by staying a bit later at the close

  • Help with drumming or music

  • Help by welcoming others throughout

  • Help by listening, expressing, caring

With any of these, it is important to contribute with a full heart, not out of a, "sense of duty," which will affect things negatively. If this particular event is one where you cannot offer help, then your help will be the appreciation of other participants and what they bring. That appreciation is an important kind of help as well. It is a model of participation, not watching.


Grief Ritual

Video Testimonial

Raamayan Ananda

Gathering—1 evening or 1 day events

If needed, bring these items for comfort. Each venue has different resources in heating and amenities.

  • Layered clothing to regulate temperature

  • Cushion or blanket

  • Water bottle

  • Notebook

If food has been requested for a potluck please label the ingredients as a courtesy to those who have allergies.

If you bring ritual items or pictures of ancestors or cloth or supplies to help make the ritual space, they will be returned to you at the end of the event.

Check the particular event for anything else requested.

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Grief Ritual|Video Testimonial

Asha Isaacson

Ian MacKenzie

Packing—multi day events

All of the above plus:

  • Flashlight

  • Toiletries

We try to keep costs reasonable by spending money on food rather than accommodation, so some events will have limited billeting available, but if you are able to camp, bring:

  • Sleeping bag

  • Tent

The registration form and the description for each particular event should cover these issues, and if any questions remain, you can always ask.


Grief Ritual

Video Testimonial

Aerial Colleen
Sexuality Educator

Grief Ritual 2019

Grief Ritual 2019
Jen Muranetz Estoria Productions

“The way you make an omelet reveals your character.”


Coordinates | Instructions | Returning
In this section:
  • Arriving home practically
  • Arriving home physically
  • Arriving home mentally
  • Arriving home emotionally
  • Connecting for support

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."


Arriving home practically

Michael Meade used to say with a sense of humour . . . "Stop at the first MacDonald's you see on the way home, and you will be out of the Other World right now!​"

We've been in a space of letting guards down, and you need to get your attention back onto driving safely. Pack up all your things and get them to your car. Help pack up the space; moving physically brings you back to the middle world. Even better if you can drive with someone.


Arriving home physically

  • Drink lots of water immediately and in the first 24 hours after an event, re-hydrate.

  • Eat some food, get solid, be "grounded."

  • Sleep and rest, that is the body's natural recovery.


Most people experience a sensation of  "not being fully back" in the first 24 to 72 hours. A bit of this is natural, and we have incredible natural capacities to integrate different experiences. There is no need to "figure it all out" immediately. 

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

Arriving home emotionally

One way to understand a gathering meant to be a ritual is to notice three traditional steps in the process. The first stage, preparation, has to have a little taste of the content of the ritual. Honesty about the longing to experience healing has to be present in your awareness. This helps the psyche prepare for the upcoming event.


Actual attendance at a gathering could be called the middle step. The ritual gives an opportunity to find an extension of the previous identity—to see the possibility of encountering a new, updated, version of oneself.

The third step is returning back to everyday life. It seems like this could be the easiest, but it has potential challenges. This is the stage of the process where changes could happen in your life as a result of what you underwent.

You may be a bit of a "new you," which both you, and people around you will take a little getting used to. Be gentle with yourself.


Arriving home mentally

Even though there is a lot of emotion in ritual, it is important to keep your inner ringmaster in the "driver's seat"

  • NO big decisions in the first 72 hours after a ritual ends

  • If you are one of the 10% of people who are highly sensitive to ritual space DO NOT isolate.

People can sometimes want the old you to stay in place. A difficulty of our times is a general lack of "ritual literacy" that would make well done welcoming back more common. This might happen, and so it is important to take some steps of support, both self support and support from others.

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Connecting for support

​Who do you talk to, and about what for support?


Remember the agreements about confidentiality, but do get support. Use "I statements" about your experience. Keep other people's identities private.


Consider that traditionally,, key moments of a ritual were kept private for up to a year in some instances. This was simply making time to metabolize and integrate. There can be a phenomenon of the regular world wanting to dismantle the healing that might have occurred.

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It is very natural to engage in "Gossiping the Ritual." Sobonfu Somé notes in her writing that it was considered a kind of "sweets after the meal" as she was growing up. By all means, talk amongst those who were present, or the organizers to figure out what went well, what could be improved next time. That is how a community learns about making ritual.


  • Speak with people who were present if possible

  • Consider limiting what you share with non-participants

  • Let the changes metabolize within until they are solid

Attend the follow up Zoom meeting if at all possible. Share more reflections of the experience and give and receive support. Who are you now and who will you be with these new perceptions?


The you that you are is needed in the world. Keep going!

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Coordinates | Instructions | Backstage
In this section:
  • The first step of consultation
  • How an event gets planned
  • What to expect at an event

The first step of consultation

A call for healing requires the attention of community. The first step is honesty about the problem, then a consultation period that could be called Divination. A prescription of ritual action is then recommended. Some of the best rituals come out of a single person's honest call for help.


From the perspective of ritual, there is no way that this single person can be the only source of dis-ease or anguish or trouble in the village. If one person is feeling something, it is probably just the "showing tip of the iceberg" that is a systemic problem in the community.


Right away, we see the intelligence of ritual mindedness—the trouble can initiate movement toward gathering together, facing the trouble together.

Another thing that is implied is that a ritual may have a particular focus, but will eventually have to allow for a range of needs to show up. Traditional Eldership, and ritual leadership, says that the full humanity needs to be welcomed. Elders and ritual leaders are meant to be able to hold a vast tolerance for various kinds of trouble.


Sometimes people ask, "What kind of grief is allowed?" The answer should be that all kinds of grief has to be allowed. Once the grief starts moving, other grief surfaces. Similarly, even at a grief ritual, which could generally be called a "Water" ritual, there will definitely be issues of welcome, life purpose, ancestry, and response-ability that come into the room.


Hence the idea of a "Ritual Literacy" that is agile to these needs, circumstances, opportunities, and jeopardies. So there can also be understood to be an ongoing need for ritual that is deep enough to hold our full humanity, and leadership to hold that ritual space in the human community.

Following the initial focus of an intention, there is a natural need to follow a swing into a balance of practicality. Where will the gathering be held, on what date? One of my teachers has said, "The number one thing guaranteeing the success of an event is committing to a time and place."

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How an event gets planned

Discussing the need for a ritual will lead to an announcement. There will be a formal commitment to doing the ritual. People must be invited. The arrangements need to be made. A venue needs to be booked. The first few to be invited will likely be some of the same people who can be asked to assist with getting the word out, and with helping to organize.


Some examples of the focus announced might be the following:

  • EARTH Welcoming Spirit Home from Exile

  • MINERAL Soul Journey of Separation and Purpose

  • WATER Living in a Time of Grief and Praise

  • FIRE Engaging the Ancestors as Wild Allies

  • NATURE It Takes a Village to do Almost Anything


Like any creative project, an image of what kind of gathering will be created is imagined. Then there is (as mentioned above) the practicalities of time and place. While people are being invited and registered, the rest of the planning moves forward:

keeping track of the finances

liaison with the site

arranging transportation

protocols for first aid and safety

arrangements for accommodation and food


The model described above might not be followed exactly, but it is a useful tool for pointing out the range of things that must be handled.

Beside these practicalities, there is the program of steps in the ritual itself. The study of how to construct and design rituals using these principles is the subject of The Alchemists ritual leadership apprenticeship.


What to Expect at an Event

A ritual gathering has a lot of layers. Planning has been done, invitations have been accepted, issues are being brought, but also the gifts, the peculiarity of the wild genius of each of those attending.


During the event, a story will likely be told, there is dancing, poetry, sharing. There will be prayers, shrines built—the unexpected can show up. No previous knowledge is required, simply an honest open-mindedness and willingness to contribute and participate.

The first order of business must be an introduction to the process so everyone is on a similar ground of beginning. This first opening is a combination of announcements, encouragement, welcome, blessings and teaching.  

“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life. I think ritual is terribly important.”

Joseph Campbell

Participants need recognition for their courage in showing up. And it is important to "get everyone's voice in the room." The proverb says, "if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together."


Ritual gatherings are meant to "go far," even though they might happen in the space of a weekend, a day, or even one evening.

As Martín Prechtel says, "A ritual is a storm that starts happening with or without you." The storm is meant to bring Water back to the parched conditions of modernity. 


When we have food, we do our best to have good food. When we have accommodations, or rent a venue, we try  to keep the prices down. For weekends, accommodation is usually basic, or even camping. But we try to hire an experienced cook so that the participants can concentrate on the soul work. (But participants do help the cook with the dishes!)

Hope to see you there!

Wild Genius | Coordinates | Instructions
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