Meet the Cast of Characters
Instructor and Program Designer. Rowena is a barefoot poet and a fierce protector of grief. She is a student of Giants, and the mother of two wildlings.
Apprentice & Facilitator
Tina has travelled extensively and faced major illness. She currently teaches Yoga and works in health care running wellness programs, hosting families, and counselling.
Salt Spring Island | B.C.
JSR State Park
238 feet (72.54 metres) tall, with a diameter of 23.24 feet (7.08 metres), and 87 feet (26.51 metres) in circumference.
It is an estimated 2527 years old
Masai Mara National Reserve
Tira has a rare genetic mutation called pseudomelanism that causes an abnormality in her stripe pattern, though all Zebra stripes are as unique as fingerprints.
Salt Spring Island, BC
Cat is a mentor and mother. She coaches home-learning families outside the school system working with nature, attachment parenting and children's innate, wild natures.
I joined the apprenticeship feeling largely illiterate in the liminal, the symbolic, and the imaginal. But the apprenticeship is helping me to crack open a door, and begin a conversation with the unseen. I’ve been angry, triggered, frustrated and humbled as well as inspired, joyful and deeply moved, in my time with this wild and ragtag group. Come join us; leave your expectations and judgments at the door.
"helping me to crack open a door"
Salt Spring Island, BC
Sequoia is a father of three with a background as a naturalist and mycologist who has run outdoor education programs and almost everything else under the sun.
I have opened parts of myself I did not even know were closed, uncovered buried wounds, and released tears. The ritual tasks we do brings unexpected gifts. The connection with the peers, eldership, and unseen forces is helping to unravel expectations and armour around old wounds. It is helping me walk through the un-faceable, and connect to my human grit and grace.
"brings unexpected gifts"
Robyn is a mother and traveller and works in higher education. She mentors young people on studies in Southeast Asia through international internship programs .
Joining the apprenticeship is a bit like the ripping off the bandage and exposing the wound. It is the unraveling and the balm. A way into the medicines we carry deep within ourselves that we can offer as we journey into Eldership, if we can learn to listen. It is about tuning our tongues to the wisdom of the land, the ancestors, the more than human. It is about living ritual. It is about leaning into the grit.
"the unraveling and the balm"
Salt Spring Island, BC
Sofia is dedicated to wild thriving life, coming from a background in science, through the arts, 8 Shields nature connection. She is passionate about creating space for authentic connection.
I have never met people who care more deeply or that I trust more. In them I found true mentorship. Feeling them walk alongside me through my journey, gave me enough resource to really face my troubles and transform them. I went from being shut down, afraid to speak up and tormented by my inner critic, to finding the genius of my strategies. My vigilance became my way forward in leadership. This work has brought me to life.
"has brought me to life"
Tony has a lifetime of leadership experience. He is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and creating safe places for grief.
My professional background has been leading organizations and creating events in a traditional western context; now I'm understanding a different, “indigenous” approach to leadership and facilitating. I'm more in touch with my natural self, and learning about my strengths and weaknesses as a facilitator. There is an incredible cohort. That support, and the curriculum, is leading me toward stepping fully into my medicine and toward Eldership.
"There is an incredible cohort"
Trevor is a journeyman carpenter, musician and community organizer who is interested in grief work, containers of Eldership and initiation.
Engaging and wrestling with and within this apprenticeship has helped unlock the power of ritual and myth in my life, opening a door to a larger life of meaning and wonder. My leadership and container building skills are continually supported and fed. I hear the whispers of a re-membered culture, and feel the seeds for growing a better world—tasting the water of life. In these troubled times, the program is a source of blessings and guidance.
"a larger life of meaning and wonder"
BOARD OF ADVISORS | GUEST FACULTY
Chris Ralston, B.A.
Career Counsellor (Retired)
Chris has been a teacher, a farmer, a contractor and ever a gardening fanatic who loves the Cook Islands and Turkey and Scotland. He is a master conversationalist.
Peter le Breton, PhD
Free Range Elder
As a free ranging elder, I treasure fresh experiences in which there is sensitivity to the complexity and beauty of life in the raw.
David Hatfield, MEd MA
Edges: Process: Transformation
David teaches group facilitation to re-imagine and re-enact the way we live. He instructs a cappella improvisational singing internationally and loves biking.
Marketing for Hippies
Respected internationally as an innovator in conscious marketing, Tad also turns his free time toward study and writing around myth and culture and practicing community development.
Initiated Dagara Elder
Theresa originally studied Environmental Design. She is an initiated Diviner and Elder of the Dagara since 2006.. She travelled to Burkina Fasso several times.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
David MacMurray Smith
Fantastic Space Enterprises
David has worked professionally in the areas of theatre, ballet, opera, mime, and clown, as a creator, a performer, a director, a choreographer, and an educator.
Bowen Island, BC
Résumé | Team
"It was the birth of agriculture—the moment we succumbed to the cult of the seed— that the poetry of the shaman was replaced by the prose of the priesthood. Because of course the shaman’s role, was, by definition, to seek the catalytic release of the individual’s wild genius, whereas the priest’s role was to actually inculcate the collective into a religious ideology that could serve the organized, sedentary community. So this modern world that we’ve moved through in the last 10,000 years . . . is just one thread in the human tradition."
Wade Davis, Ethnobotanist
"I will not lace my scars
around my neck,
for you to admire . . .
I will wear my scars,
like War Paint"
Medicine rests upon four pillars - philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, and ethics.
I think all chefs who pursue great flavour have good ethics.
A pledge from Faculty and Apprentices
We seek the catalytic release of the Wild Genius, and to critique contemporary organization of society and the colonized mind. We seek to reintroduce non-dogmatic practices of ritual into modernity and remnant cultures, while also being guided by the principles of intact customs and lineages of practice.
educate and encourage rather than foster dependence
inform responsibly about the context and particulars of ritual processes
show up for healing work to be done as agreed with presence and attention
reciprocate communication with our ancestors, totems, dreams, and spirit guides
develop our awareness of sensitivities and remedies for personal self care
maintain the active emergence of integrations and discernments in our growth
celebrate different religious, cultural, ancestral and socio-economic backgrounds
include both genders, and all sexual orientations and body types
recognize the intersecting legacies of colonialism, oppression, and ecological desecration
honour the limits of these healing methods, personal training, and client suitability
refer as needed to other psychological, medical, and religious professionals
encourage cooperation by resolving conflicts directly and actively supporting colleagues
We affirm that all people are indigenous and native to Earth, and that we best prosper with a human sense of inclusion, village and home.
We work to call forth people to have better relationships over time with discernment between nurturing and toxic energies.
We pledge to utilize collegial support navigating the relational complexity of this work with multifaceted stakeholders and contexts, with the understanding that it takes a village.
We affirm that each person has a unique guiding wild genius whose proper vocation is the contribution of renewal and the updating of traditions in an initiated way.
We work to call forth the expression of life purpose, working with the awareness of challenge and opportunity presented by life separation and leadership moments.
We pledge to recognize that expression has differing costs due to rank, class, accessibility, power, and privilege, whether in symptoms, body signals, or words said.
We affirm that everyone is injured by the grief and grief illiteracy of this time, whether personal, historical, ancestral, environmental, or social.
We work to call forth the high style expression of grief and praise to feed life and send hungry ghosts onward to their proper vocation in the world of ancestors.
We pledge to educate about grief and praise, to both listen to and encourage expression of, grief and praise in an initiated way connected with both life and death.
We affirm that ancestors are a shared human heritage whose wisdom is meant to help the living, and that some of the dead remain un-ancestral-ized as hungry ghosts.
We work to call forth the strength of relationship with the ancestral realm including the idea that there are a team of ancestors wiling to ally with each person.
We pledge to encourage clients to claim ancestral gifts, especially through the medium of mythic imagery, to honour obscured and marginalized histories, to help the dead be dead.
We affirm that reaction and response are both biological intelligences which are a foundation of the trickster wisdom and guile that we seek to strengthen.
We work to call forth grit and grace in the service of the natural ecological dynamic equilibrium tension between sovereignty and community.
We pledge to develop a managing, orchestrating, ringmaster present awareness to navigate in clarity between the grit and the grace with guile.