The Four Shields of Wholeness for Women
Patrilinear hierarchical systems have pushed life on earth to the raw edge of social and ecological sustainability. Many of us feel the global crisis reverberating acutely in our own bodies, in the rawness of our personal lives, and in the torn fabric of our communities. And, at the same time, the ancient evolutionary imperative to re-member wholeness, to move from “power over” into “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 has perhaps never been more essential.
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. As a result, we may be more comfortable living in the masculine part of ourselves, where we perform as best we know how in a dominance driven culture.
Remembering our birthright, unearthing, empowering and uplifting feminine nature within us and around us is as necessary for ourselves as it is for life on Earth.
Although the feminine lives in exile in a culture that has forgotten how to nourish and tend instead of extract, how to 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 runs deep in the female body. We carry the medicine of birth in our DNA, whether we become mothers of children or birth art, truth, or visions. Women 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. We will dare to unlearn the logic of rationalism and unearth a deeper knowing of (and belonging to) the life-thriving paradigm that – no matter how much we fear we have lost it – still lives right beneath the surface skin of our homogenized cultured selves.
As with all ceremony, we will do this not only for ourselves, but 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.
Overview: Over the course of seven days, we will invoke communion with the living earth and each other, alternating time in circle together with solo time to venture into wild places for personal ceremony council, story-telling, and reflections/beholding.
The earth, her elements, seasons and cycles will be our map of wholeness and our mirror as we explore body, soul/psyche, mind, and mystery. A 24-hour solo is included toward the end of our time together.
Venue: We are gathering in the high desert of Payahünadüü (Owen’s Valley). A private walk-in section of the campground, surrounded by flowing water, will be our base for the first four nights while most of our days are find us out in various wild places around the valley. The last three days will be spent in the vastness of the Eureka Valley, where the 24 hour solo will take place.
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 near full scholarships (covering 80-90% of total tuition, based on need). BIWOC will receive primary consideration as we strive to create more access to this work as well as bring racial diversity into future leadership.
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]
Additional course details & Materials
NOTE: Please plan to arrive on the afternoon of Sept 16. We will complete our ceremony mid-afternoon on Sept 23. ADDITIONAL FEES: Camping Fees $45. Please bring cash for camping,, we will collect it 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. Please note: As of May 2023 there are no longer any vaccination requirements for international travellers seeking entry to the USA.
There is no required reading for this program.
We will gather in the eastern mountains of Payahuunadü (also known as the Inyo Mountains) east 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.