Nature of Council

Sep 8th, 2018 - Sep 15th, 2018

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 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. We are all pieces of the same great big sacred puzzle.

The eight-day arc of this training gives us time to explore both our day-to-day rhythms and the seasons of our hearts. We will use the universal life-maps of the four directions and the four seasons, as our compass to guide our way through the wilderness within and without. In this ceremony, we will ask ourselves to cross threshold after threshold into the wholeness of our lives. The questions we’re currently living, and the experiences we bring with us, will shape our time together, as will the shadows following us here.

This extended training is intended for leaders and change-agents, caregivers and caretakers, and those longing for and creating community. It supports and informs those working with young people and elders, as well as guides using council with rites-of-passage. It offers guidance for Council Carriers introducing circle work into other cultures and challenging places. We will explore different techniques, forms, and exercises, plus ways of sharing council in intimate relationships, in families, schools, businesses and communities.

In the circle of our days together, the Owens River watershed will be our home. There will be alone-time and group-time. We enter the wilderness in order to open to the teachings offered by the natural world. We will explore group exercises and weave solo, self-generated ceremonies, inviting the mystery into our personal journeys. And for group leaders, we will explore the facilitation challenges of working alone, with a partner, and with the whole circle.  

Your experiences and questions will shape our journey’s direction. The personal content and group processes explored will be as relevant as the forms and techniques of council offered. Creating opportunities for deep listening is a key to healthy community on all levels. Learning how to trust oneself—our responses arising in the moment and then eliciting that field of trust with others—is a crucial skill developed through this practice. More importantly, learning how to accept and even appreciate the unknown, to welcome the mystery and trust the unfolding, in our circle and in the world, all the while committing fully to do one’s part…these are experiences to be found at the heart of council.

In our eight days, participants can discover a renewed sense of connection, to both human and wild nature, and through that, a stronger sense of what it means to be whole. We will explore the challenges of working with an entire group in partnership…making decisions, opening to insights, building understanding, accessing wisdom, touching fear, pain, joy and even perhaps a taste of bliss. The place itself will guide and inform our day; the weather and wildlife will affect and influence our movements. From the foothills to the pinnacles of the Eastern Sierras, we will have ceremonial time to fast and confirm our paths, our ways of living council. Together, hopefully, we will return as allies in our own individual expression of this ancient/modern practice and discover what incorporation into our daily lives truly means.

With vulnerability and a little grace, we may arrive at that moment where serving self, serving others, and serving Creation, are spoken in one voice.

Prerequisites: Letter of intention /application; Completion of at least two council trainings or the equivalent … working with council as a practice … reading The Way of Council by Coyle and Zimmerman.

“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



The School of Lost Borders has created a sliding scale for all its fast and trainings in an effort to keep our courses affordable to a wide range of people. We set forth no criteria and trust that each individual will pay what they feel is appropriate.

Tuition: $700 - $1150

Deposit: $250
(Non-refundable & non-transferrable unless seminar is cancelled)

Extra Fees: Camping Fee: Approximately $70 depending on group size


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