And you? Are you willing to risk everything (which ultimately we all must do) that your rebirth might bring you a life purpose strong enough to carry you all the way to your final dance with Death? This allegory invites us to walk in the footsteps of the archetypal Hero, learning to sustain life and to face death. We are confronted with the great questions of mortality—questions both wrenching yet life-giving, questions leading us on to our ultimate Giveaway.
We will come together for 12 days: beginning with a final Severance from the old world, stepping across the Threshold into 4 days and nights of fasting and solitude, then returning for our stories of Incorporation, each filled with understanding and insight. The metaphors we will explore include Decision Road, Death Lodge, Purpose Circle, and the Ballcourt. Our explorations together will be informed both by Mayan teachings that spread to native tribes in the plains of North America and by the lessons of modern-day hospice, learned directly at the bedside of the sick and the dying.
The Ballcourt ceremony is considered an “advanced program” in the Practice of Living & Dying (PLD) and is the only one in the series that has a prerequisite. We ask that people have already completed a full-length PLD course, or that they have already done a 3-day or 4-day solo wilderness fast. Based on our experience we’d like to emphasize how important it is that people properly prepare for this fast. One way that works well is for people to come to one of the other PLD courses during the time leading up to the fast. We discourage people coming who are simply wanting to “try this out.” The living-and-dying metaphor evoked by the Ballcourt allegory is strong, so it’s important that the theme be right for you. We encourage people to commit to the ceremony 6 to 12 months in advance, allowing adequate gestation time for the activated intent that will guide their inner and outer preparation.
Time and Location: We will rendezvous at Furnace Creek in Death Valley at 8:30 a.m. on March 4th, with our last meeting finishing by mid-day on March 15th. The morning we rendezvous we will caravan to a backcountry site for the 4 days of preparation, the 4 days of the solo fast, and the final 3½ days of incorporation. The School makes no provisions for meals or equipment, though we will offer a communal meal the first night of your arrival and the morning you emerge from the threshold. We ask everyone to come prepared to live self-sufficiently. More detailed logistical information will be sent out a few months before the course begins.