The Four Shields of Wholeness for Women

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Aug 23rd, 2021 - Aug 28th, 2021 | Inyo Mountains - Big Pine, California | Petra Lentz-Snow, Gretchen (Grae) Gerlach

Patrilinear hierarchical systems have pushed life on earth to the edge of social and ecological sustainability.  As women we feel the pain of the global crisis resonating in our bodies and personal lives, as well as in the lives of our communities. At the same time, the ancient evolutionary imperative to remember wholeness, to move from “power over” to “relationship with,” is waking strongly in us,  asking us to unearth a new story, for ourselves, our people and for life.

Finding our medicine as women and female-identified people, finding our voice and way as daughters, mothers, elders, and stewards of this Earth, is essential at this precious-precarious time of great change and challenge.  Feminine nature has been abused, pillaged, murdered, kidnapped and sold for thousands of years.  Women carry heavy on the trauma their ancestral lineages have endured, whether we are conscious of it or not.  Too many of us carry the blueprint of sexual and/or violent assault in our bodies and the fear of being prey informs and shapes us in more ways than we are consciously aware of.  Most of us are more comfortable living in the masculine part of ourselves, where we perform as best we know how in a dominance driven culture.  

Remembering our place in the continuum of life, unearthing and uplifting the feminine within us and around us is at the heart of this offering.

Although the feminine lives in exile in a culture that has forgotten how to nourish and tend, and collaborate instead of compete, women are still strongly connected to cyclical, natural time with every moon, every cycle of our menses, and in all life cycles of our fertility and beyond. 

The truth of the circular, seasonal nature of life and death surrounding us and beholding us lives right in our bodies.  We carry the medicine of birth in our DNA, whether we physically become mothers or birth art, truth, or visions. We intuitively know that all pain is birthing pain, that light comes from dark, that all things belong and that wholeness means all.

In our time on the land and in circle, we will invite and invoke the intuitive, creative, irrational, deeply informed feminine nature within.  What does she look like in each of us?  What is our relationship to her?  How do we make space for her?   Together, we will dare to unlearn straight-think patterns and unearth a deeper knowing and belonging that – no matter how much we fear we have lost it – still lives right beneath the surface skin of our homogenized cultured selves.  

Some of what might happen…

There is no way to know what will happen when women band together for a week in wild nature, daring to claim wholeness.  Belly laughter will likely mingle with the sacred tears. In the full range of our humanness,  we will dare to remember the whole and holy women that we are, honoring a completeness that was lost long before our own bodies were born into the fractured patterns of patrilinear modern culture.  

As with all ceremony, we will do this not only for ourselves, but also for our kin, our human and more-than-human communities and in honor of creation/life herself, flowing in infinite forms through all manner of bodies.

Come as you are. Perfect, imperfect, cracked open or blown away.  You are welcome.

Program Overview: Over the course of six days, we will invoke the timeless recipe of communion with the living earth and other women as we alternate time in council together with time to venture into wild places for personal ceremony. The container for our work will be the Four Shields, a cyclical evolutionary model that mirrors the seasonal cycles, works with directions found in the natural world, and incorporates all aspects of being (body, psyche, mind, and spirit) in the reciprocal relationship that is the blueprint for life on Earth. We will explore each of the Shields through teaching, solo time on the land, council, story-telling, and reflections/beholding.

Prerequisites:  There are no prerequisites other than a genuine desire to show up for the inquiry of what wholeness means for you at this time. If this is your first time with the seasonal nature model you are welcome to reach out for some optional preparatory materials.  If you have steeped in the four seasons of nature before you know that the ceremony of deepening around the shields is endless.  This particular teaching is centered specifically around the seasonal nature of the feminine as well as the particular life stages of women.  

Financial help: Scholarships are available through the school – and – knowing the disparity of income caused by racial, and social inequities, we are offering two spaces with higher scholarships (covering 80-90% of total tuition, based on need).  BIWOC will receive primary consideration.

Who this offering is for: This invitation is for women and significantly female-identified people. “Woman” and “female” are used as inclusive and expansive definitions.  All are welcome: cis and trans women, genderqueer women, and members of non-binary communities who are also female-identifying.

Program Questions Contact: Petra Lentz-Snow at [email protected]

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TUITION: $650 - $1,150
DEPOSIT: $200

We have a sliding scale for our programs in an effort to make them accessible. Please pay what you are able and know that your generosity supports the affordability of all our programs. If you need financial support or a payment plan check out our scholarship fund.

Pay program deposit

This deposit signifies your commitment to the program and is deducted from the tuition balance. This is a non-refundable, non-transferable deposit that is required for enrollment.

Submit enrollment form

Once you have paid the program deposit, please fill out and submit the enrollment form below. After your enrollment form is complete, please submit all health and liability forms.

Submit Waitlist form

This program is full; however, you may add your name to the Waitlist by clicking the Waitlist button below.

Additional course details & Materials

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Please plan to arrive on the afternoon of August 23rd. We will complete our ceremony mid-afternoon on August 28th.

ADDITIONAL FEES: Camping Fees TBD. All additional fees will be collected at the time of the program.

You will be responsible for bringing your own food and equipment, though we can provide some gear if needed. We ask everyone to come prepared to live self-sufficiently. You will need to bring shelter and clothing suitable for a full range of inclement weather. 

To address safety concerns during the pandemic, please contact us regarding our current Coronavirus protocols as well as any current travel restrictions. These protocols may affect how you are able to travel to the program.

All participants must submit the required health and liability forms.

Following enrollment, please submit the Letter of Intent. We ask that you write a letter of intent at least a month before the program, stating your reasons for enrolling and what is calling you to attend.

If you have questions about the enrollment process contact us at [email protected] or call 760-938-3333.

There is no required reading for this program.

We will gather in the eastern mountains of Payahuunadü (also known as the Inyo Mountains outside of Big Pine, California). These are the ancestral and contemporary lands of the Nüümü and Newe people.

To learn more about our commitment to regenerative relationships please visit Cultural Relations.