The Elder’s Journey: The Four Shields of Elderhood for Women


Oct 9th, 2022 - Oct 15th, 2022 | Catalina State Park - Tucson, Arizona | Silvia Talavera, Cary Gaunt

Throughout the ages, elder women have enjoyed sitting in circle to weave the rich tapestries of their stories, stories that continued to warm and inspire people across time and culture.

What about us, now, in our time? As women in all stages of growing into our greater years, there is a growing passion and a commitment to tell our own stories and to create a new myth to help us to grow into the most positive women elders possible. We have children, or we are childless, we are single or we are partnered, working or retired, healthy or feeling the struggles of the body. Whatever stage of elderhood we find ourselves navigating, it is imperative that we find our way with humor, grace, and dignity. Death awaits us all and how we move through these years is of utmost importance.

Elderhood is a cyclical experience that can be a ripening of our strengths rather than the dulling of our minds through an unlived life. From the words of social activist Maggie Kuhn, “Old age is not a disease. It is a strength in survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illness.” This speaks to aging as an extraordinary achievement. It is an opportunity to re-awaken the imagination towards new possibilities and a renewed spirit inspired by the wisdom of living we have acquired.

As women ripen into the various stages of elderhood, it may be time to re-map the landscape to make room for the emerging new perspectives of what it means to be an elder. Through honoring the years of a life lived and awaken to another level of life. The interior life and search for the sacred. Creating new meaning and imparting our gifts in service, we move towards transformation and into a renewed vitality, creativity, and vision. This program is an invitation to open to what is needed to welcome the elders we are becoming.

Program Overview: During our time together, we will explore ways to deepen into a more conscious approach to how we can live as elder women in the world today. We will recall our personal stories, life experiences, and collected knowledge and discover ways to transform them into our wisdom and our medicine. We will explore an ancient means of looking into the mirror of nature (the Four Shields) that will reflect and support the wisdom of the elders as a natural point for introspection and meaning. These teachings and the earth itself will help to bring what is needed to your own particular stage of this rich new frontier.

Program Questions Contact: Silvia Talavera at [email protected]



TUITION: $750 - $2,250

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


PROGRAM LOGISTICS: Our first meeting will take place at 7:00PM on October 9th. We encourage you to arrive by 4:00PM to allow time for you to set up before dark. We will be camping out the entire time and no camping experience is required. There will be assistants to help with unloading and setup if needed. The group camp site is spacious and accommodates tents, picnic tables as well as a large covered area. Our site also a spacious area for RV’s, campers, vans etc. for those who wish other camping options. Showers and bathrooms are available across the way. The School makes no provisions for meals or equipment and encourages you to come prepared to live self- sufficiently. An equipment list and detailed logistics letter will be sent out upon enrolment. ADDITIONAL FEES: Camp fees are $15/per night/per vehicle, includes 4 people each vehicle. Additional fees TBD.

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.

There is no required reading for this program.

We will gather at the Catalina State Park: Indigenous lands of the Hohokam, Tohono O'odham and Yaqui Indians and home to the saguaro cactus, coyote, javelina, big horn sheep, deer along with over 100 species of birds.

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