Apr 19th, 2017 - Apr 23rd, 2017
“If there were a measure of “mental health,” it would involve the ability of individuals to grow into the fullness of each season--that is, the ability to fully become, or enact, the contents of each shield.”
Steven Foster, Meredith Little
The Four Shields of Human Nature turn with the experiences of life, from the smallest cell to the great seamless whole of the biosphere called earth. It begins with the body (summer), turns into psyche (fall), becomes activated form (winter), which dissolves into spirit (spring) -- which is born again in the body (summer). The four seasonal directions of human nature, in their complex, yet simple, interaction, form the basis of an ecopsychology which redefines psychologies based on human alone, apart from nature.
In this experiential training ceremony, we will study the ways in which the four shields and initiation rites can facilitate the passing of an individual from one season to the next. Each seasonal shield becomes a doorway. We will meet together in the mornings. In the afternoons each will go alone into the natural world specifically to experience the dimensions, images, feelings of one the shields. Evening gatherings will bring shield stories and the chance to listen and respond (“mirroring”) within the context of the elder’s council. We will also focus on the ways in which these solitary excusions into nature and the stories they evoke are useful in preparations for a 4 day vision fast. Participants will be given an opportunity to teach the essense of the shields to one another, and to delve into a deeper understanding, both personally and collectively, of the Four Shields as a bare bones tool for the rites of passage ceremony.
This ceremony will take place at the Cochiti Lake campgound near Santa Fe, New Mexico. We will arrange for camp sites and share the expenses of camping. A 2 burner stove and simple kitchen will be provided. Particiapants provide and cook their own meals. Showers are available at the campground and a small convienience store with gas and ice is nearby. Wireless internet is available at the town of Cochiti Lake Library. The weather in April is often warm in the daytime, low 70’s and cool to cold at night high 40’s to freezing. It is often dry and can be windy. Come prepared for varible conditions.