Mid-Winter Vision Fast

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Feb 13th, 2023 - Feb 24th, 2023 | Death Valley, California | Petra Lentz-Snow, Nick LaHaise

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, 

we have come to our real work 

and when we no longer know which way to go, 

we have begun our real journey. 

The mind that is not baffled is not employed. 

The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

~ Wendell Berry ~

In your bones you hear the singing of your sacred ancestors. You follow in their footsteps. You go alone, with an empty belly and a bare minimum of equipment, into the heart of the wilderness, for four days and nights. There you live with yourself, in perfect solitude. You surrender to the mirror of your wild environment, and to memory, the looks-within-place. You enter the mansions of nature’s soul. You ponder the questions: “Who am I?” “Who are my people?” and “What is my intent?” You wander the precincts of loneliness, where vision lies waiting. You drink at the springs of your soul and are filled with self-recognition. What is not important falls away. The work that must be done lies ahead.

Logistics: The twelve day ceremony involves four days of preparation, four days and nights of fasting alone, and four days of incorporation.  The program will be held on the ancestral, and present day homelands of the Timbisha Shoshone, in Death Valley National Park (Tüpippüh Valley). 

Preparation: Your preparation begins the moment you decide to come, and perhaps it has been happening long before that. Once in the desert, you will be readied to physically, psychologically, mentally, and spiritually benefit from the experience of fasting alone in the wilderness. You will be given an ancient means of looking into the mirror of nature (the Four Shields).

Threshold: The time of fasting and aloneness will take place at Hole in the Wall, Death Valley. Your teachers will maintain a safe perimeter around the area while you are alone and make sure you have sufficient water. Another person will fast nearby. The two of you will be “buddies,” each day leaving assurance of your well-being at a stone pile erected along the borders of your respective areas.

Incorporation: You will return to human companionship and a feast. In council you will confirm the attainment of a new maturity. With others, you will tell your story. The Guides will listen, help you to understand, and challenge you to give your vision practical feet — to live the life you have earned. When all the stories have been told, you will celebrate with the others and then return to a life lived with new understanding.

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

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TUITION: $1000 - $3000
DEPOSIT: $300

Sliding Scale: To honor the vast difference of financial resources among us, all of our program tuition is based on a sliding scale. We set forth no criteria and ask that you pay what is appropriate for your circumstances and access to financial resources. You can see recommendations on using the sliding scale here. If the low end of the sliding scale is still too much, scholarship assistance is available , please reach out to the office for more info.

Cancellations: Cancellations are hard on the participant, the School, and the guides. We respect the unpredictability of life, and we are diligent about running an organization sustainably.

-If you cancel 60 or more days prior to the start date of your program, you will receive a full refund of any tuition paid, minus any deposits.

-If you cancel 59 days or less prior to the start date of your program, and we can fill your spot, then you will receive a full refund of any tuition paid, minus any deposits.

-If we cannot fill your spot, and you cancel within 59 days of the start of your program, then we hold you accountable for paying the tuition at the lowest end of the sliding scale.

Submit enrollment form

 Please fill out and submit the enrollment form and then pay the program deposit below. After your enrollment form is complete, please submit all health and liability forms.

Pay program deposit

Deposits: This deposit signifies your commitment to the program and is deducted from the tuition balance. All deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable. They cover the work of the specific course you signed up for, including all communication involved as well as the fee that guides pay to the school administration for the course accounting. 

Additional Deposit: Some programs require a second deposit to help us affirm commitments. Last minute cancellations make it hard to fill openings and incur a loss of income to the School and the guides.

Tuition Balance: Balance of tuition can be paid before or upon arrival. Simply deduct any deposits made from the amount you’ve chosen on the sliding scale.

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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The Mid-Winter fast is held as a 12-day immersion program in the wide open expanse of Tüpippüh Valley (Death Valley National Park), where we will hold camp among creosote bushes, ancient rock and sweeping vistas. We will meet at 9 AM on Feb 13 at the Furnace Creek Visitor's Center and then drive out to our base-camp as a group. The program will conclude by 2pm on Feb 25.
CA ADDITIONAL FEES: National Park Entrance ($30 unless you hold a valid Park Pass) and $30 for camping.

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. Please note: As of November 2021, unvaccinated international travelers are not currently permitted entry to the USA as per current CDC Guidelines.

All participants must submit the required health questionnaire and liability form.

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

Tüpippüh (also known as Death Valley) is home of the Timbisha people and is the name of their ancestral and contemporary homeland. Miners came to this area in 1849 and the Timbisha’s land was stolen to create Death Valley National Monument in 1933. The Timbisha were allotted a 40 acre reservation in the park and also forced onto other reservations and into towns in the area. The guides have a practice of donating a small portion of our proceeds to the indigenous communities whose land we share during ceremony, we will be gifting a portion of the tuition offered to the Timbasha Shoshone Tribe of Death Valley.

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