“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

Council is an ancient way and modern practice whose roots are deep within the natural world, spanning diverse cultures and spiritual traditions. Sitting in circle we remember and learn 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, a piece of the puzzle.

The eight-day arc of this training gives us time to explore the circles of our days and the seasons of our heart. We will use the universal map of the Four Directions as our compass to guide our way through the wilderness within and without. We will be asked to cross threshold after threshold into the wholeness of our lives. The questions you are living and the experiences you bring with you will shape our time together, as will the shadows following you here. Here on the flanks of the Eastern Sierras, weather and wildlife as well will influence our moods and movements.  

This extended training is intended for leaders and change-agents, caregivers and caretakers, and those longing for and creating community. It is intended support and inform 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 forms, formats, exercises and ways of sharing council in intimate relationships, families, schools, businesses and communities.

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

With vulnerability and a little grace, we hope to meet the moment where serving self, serving others, and serving Creation, are spoken in one voice.


Marlow Hotchkiss: Senior Guide

Marlow is a poet, Council trainer, eco-builder, amateur ecologist and ceremonial guide, with over 45 years experience of working in circle with young people and adults, in the classroom and in nature.  A member of Beyond Boundaries and a senior Guest Teacher with both the Ojai Foundation and School of Lost Borders, he offers Council trainings and village-building workshops in the US and abroad.  Marlow is a family man, father and grandfather. 

Yamin Chehin: Guide Intern                    

Yamin is a Council trainer, facilitator, and doctor of Oriental Medicine, with intimate experience of nature-based and shamanic practices that inform her work with clients and groups, and help to integrate the healing potential implicit in our stories and our bodies.  She facilitates councils in English and Spanish (her native language) for women, teen-age girls, and youth-at-risk, as well as with non-profits and community organizations.  She and her husband co-lead monthly couple’s circles, and practice Council at home with each other and their family.

Tuition: $700–$1,150 (sliding scale). Deposit: $250. Plus camping fee of approximately $40 depending on group size.

Location: Owens Valley, near Big Pine, California.  “Base Camp” in a local campground,with solo walk-abouts in surrounding area.

Prerequisites: Letter of Intention; completion of at least one Council training, and/or equivalent experience working with Council in different arenas. 

Reading: The Way of Council by Virginia Coyle and Jack Zimmerman.  (Available through Lost Borders Press.)

Information packets, including logistics, directions, camping and accommodation information, plus safety and equipment lists, will be sent to registered participants.

 For questions regarding the program, prerequisites, or to register

contact Marlow – marlowhotchkiss@hotmail.com

For information regarding SOLB see: www.schooloflostborders.org