Previous Events held in Latvia
Since 2018 we are offering events led by Guides from Animas Valley Institute.
In 2018 we had 2 events
In 2019 we had 3 events
In 2020 we have planned 8 events
24.-28.07.2019 Wild Mind Intensive
Guides: Magdalene Sage and Gene Dilworth
Wild Mind Intensive Based on Bill Plotkin’s book, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche, this 5-day intensive is an experiential exploration of our human psyches as unique expressions of the universal forces and patterns of nature. We will work with what we call the Nature-Based Map of the Human Psyche, which is, among other things, a comprehensive inventory of what can be right about a person, a “shadow” version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), mainstream psychology’s list of what can go wrong with people.
Our wild minds possess astonishing resources, untapped potentials and depths that we might not even know exist until we discover how to access them, cultivate their powers, and eventually integrate them into our everyday lives. In this intensive, we’ll access these depths and potentials — which we call the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four sets of fragmented or wounded subpersonalities that form during childhood.
Rather than attempt to eliminate our subpersonalities (which is not possible) or to beat them into submission, we’ll cultivate the four facets of the Self and uncover the gifts of our subpersonalities. Our goal is to fully embody our multifaceted wild minds, commit ourselves to the largest, soul-infused story we’re capable of living, and serve the greater Earth community.
• how to recognize and consciously cultivate the four facets of the Self — your innate human wholeness
• how to identify the subpersonalities that supported you in childhood and adolescence to adapt to the challenges of family and social life, but ultimately became barriers to your full and authentic humanity
• practices and guidelines for cultivating relationships between the Self and your subpersonalities, enabling you to heal your subpersonalities, discover their gifts, and foster Self-actualization
• how each facet of the Self provides essential resources for the underworld journey (the descent to soul), its radical transformation of personal identity, and for living as a visionary artisan of cultural evolution.
We’ll explore the landscape of the psyche through a variety of practices, including creative expression, self-designed ceremony, solo exercises while wandering on the land, group work, movement, voice dialogue, journaling, and deep imagery work.
30.07-03.08.2019 Coming Home to an Animate World: A Way of Ceremony and Conversation
Guides: Magdalene Sage and Gene Dilworth
Coming Home to an Animate World: A Way of Ceremony and Conversation is one of our most exhilarating and imagination-expanding intensives, and it’s foundational to all the work we do at Animas. Think of this intensive as a green doorway, an opening to a wilder consciousness shaped by forest and owls, clouds, cliff and dreams — a passage from a lifeless universe to a cosmos breathing with mystery and invitation, singing and crying in a jillion tongues. Come gather with other Earth lovers, forest whisperers, and visionary coyotes to honor the Others with ceremony and conversation.
When we address the beings of the world as if all are alive, intelligent and suffused with psyche, our lives shimmer with profound richness, depth and mystery. When we engage in conversations with sacred Others – whom we might know as stone, river, owl or pinyon, or as a figure from a dream, or as soul, anima, beloved or muse, or simply as world – we dip into the deep stream of our life: the soulful, mythopoetic story that flows beneath the surface of everyday consciousness.
We will tend the holy mystery at the core of our lives with soulful practices and ceremonies designed to arouse our conversations with the Others — in both their luminous and shadowy guises. These conversations might include song, symbol or poetry, dream or dance, expressive art or lyrical gestures, or something else utterly unique to you. The Milky Way Galaxy and ancient ocean will help support us in an experience of what ecophilosopher Joanna Macy calls “deep time” — a felt-sense of our embeddedness in the cosmic and Earthly unfolding of life. We’ll bring greater awareness to the conversation we’re already having (whether we know it or not) with the embodied and numinous Others. And we’ll bring greater consciousness, as well, to tending the conversation with our human and other-than-human ancestors, and with the generations that follow our own – as if our ceremonies and conversations matter not only to the present, but also to the evolving Earth story.
The guides will help you track themes, archetypal images, patterns, and numinous encounters from both your dayworld and nightworld (dream) experiences, and then offer deliciously alluring (or perhaps exquisitely challenging) invitations for you to more deeply participate in conversations with the Others with whom we share the world. Self-designed ceremony (with assistance from the guides, if you like) will help deepen the atmosphere for your encounters with Mystery — in the wild, symbolic, poetic, image-rich language of Mystery. Perhaps a sacred Other will flirt with you, or perhaps she (or he, or it) will throw off her mossy robes and show you a glimpse — or a full view — of the precious treasure that you, and only you, carry as an offering to your people, an essential offering to the world’s evolving story.
This intensive is designed for change-agents, artists, educators, poets, therapists, and others seeking immersion in the intertwined mysteries of nature and psyche; for those longing for greater depth of connection with the Others with whom we share both the phenomenal and imaginal worlds; for those longing to ceremonially tend the temple of the holy Earth; and for those with curiosity about soul in a participatory, animate cosmos.
04.-08.08.2019 Deep Imagination Intensive
Guides: Magdalene Sage and Gene Dilworth
Deep Imagination Intensive It is our imagination, our deep imagination, that allows us to comprehend the voice of running water; to overhear the song of a place; to move between the knowable world and the unknowable world; to stand in the presence of the infinite; to discover our unique ways of participating with the Mystery that courses through all things; and to connect with the secrets of our own souls.
Imagination is the essential human capacity that grants us entry to the magic that lies behind the veil of our ordinary ways of perceiving and experiencing. Deep imagination is a translator, fluent in the languages of animal and plant, canyon and star, wind and stone, as well as the languages of our own depths — the expressive modes of nature and soul being essentially the same. But, to be clear, this is not a one-way path, for imagination not only allows us to receive, but to offer as well. We rely upon imagination for our own expression, for our own communication across these same frontiers. Imagination is central to our own capacity to participate meaningfully with the rest of creation in bringing forth the world. And, the rest of creation is longing for us to participate in this great dance in our individual unique ways — through the embodied life of our souls.
Access to our deep imagination is vital on the journey to soul because we are drawn into intimate conversation with the mysteries of Earth and Cosmos and the depths of psyche. In this communion, we hope to catch shimmering glimpses of how we are called to embody a unique and wild relationship with all of life.
And yet, while imagination is an innate part of our humanness, it can lie dormant, unvalued, or even feared. The mainstream culture of our time and its dominant institutions revere the rational, explainable, and quantifiable. Deep imagination, in contrast, is not a tool or a construction of the ego; it is not active in guided visualization or in everyday fantasy and make-believe. Our deep imaginations, rather, allow images to arise unbidden from the wild depths of nature and psyche, images that can take the form of symbol, metaphor, pattern, dream, myth, archetype, poetry, song, music, movement, and dance. During this intensive, we will open ourselves to our own innate imaginal capacities, find ourselves in intimate contact and conversation with the wild world, and allow ourselves to be irrevocably changed.
If you are longing to open to the mysterious beauty of Earth, Cosmos, and your own soul, please join us at Elias Nams in the pine forest at the edge of the Baltic Sea. We will amplify our deep imagination, along with our capacities for deep feeling, sensing, and thinking. We will open the door wide to our unique place in the world. We will engage in consciousness shifting and imagination-enhancing practices that may include: wanderings on the land; drumming and rhythm; song, movement, dance, and art in collaboration and conversation with the nonhuman world; conversations across species boundaries; dreamwork; and self-designed ceremony; in addition to a variety of approaches to deep imagery journeys. You will discover more about the practices, conditions, and environments (both of the land and of yourself) that render you more permeable to the mysteries of nature and psyche, enabling your journey to continue unfolding as you stride deeper into the world.
20.-24.08.2018 The Soulcraft Intensive
Guides: Brian Stafford and Magdalene Sage
The Soulcraft Intensive is five-day experiential plunge into the wild depths of Soulcraft; a synergistic set of nature-based practices designed to evoke the life-shifting experience of soul encounter. Your soul is your true self, those qualities that most deeply define and express who you are and the unique gift that you were born to bring to the world, a world so much in need of the socially transforming contributions of initiated, actively engaged adults. To encounter the soul is to discover the mystical image you were born with, which reveals the path to your greatest personal fulfillment as well as the essence of your true service to society (the cross-cultural wisdom traditions say these are one and the same). Soulcraft practices spring from nature-based cultures, modern depth psychology, the poetic tradition, and wilderness rites of passage—to comprise a truly contemporary Western path to soul discovery and soul initiation. For a full discussion, see Bill Plotkin’s book Soulcraft: Crossing Into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche.
The Soulcraft Intensive is highly experiential and—well—intense. We alternate between practices utilized in group, practices explored in solitude in nature, and sharing and deepening those experiences in small groups (6 people each). There is a Soulcraft guide for each small group, providing you with a fully individualized experience. What you discover through one practice is carried into and amplified by what you learn in the next. By the end of the intensive, you will understand yourself and your place in the world from a more soul-oriented perspective, be clearer about the gifts you were born to bring to the world, and have new skills to enrich your life and to defend the health of the more-than-human world.
Soulcraft practices include:
Deep Imagery Work with Animal Guides
Talking Across the Species Boundaries
The Way of Council
Soul Tasks in Nature
Sacred Wound Work
Synchronicities: Working with Nature’s Signs and Omens
Befriending the Dark
Ecstatic Trance Drumming and Dancing
25.-29.08.2018 The Way of Council and the Art of Mirroring
Guides: Brian Stafford and Magdalene Sage
The Way of Council and the Art of Mirroringare invaluable practices on the descent to soul. Although much of the descent is solitary, gathering with others in council can make all the difference in finding our way. In the mirror of another, our eyes are opened to aspects of both our gifts and our challenges that we might not have seen otherwise. We are encouraged and inspired to drop into realms that are scary, edgy, darkly alluring, mysterious, and ecstatic — dangerous, yes, but keenly aligned with our deepest longings. During council and through mirroring, we serve as consorts for each other’s mysteries. We are supported to track threads of our soul story that, during the intensive or later, can be amplified as we wander on the land or surrender ourselves to movement or dance, or expressed through poetry or other arts. Council and mirroring can crack us open to irrefutable truths about our core nature and our connection to the Others, the larger field in which our councils occur. During council, we track synchronies with the other-than-human world that surrounds us (animal appearances, for example, or weather shifts, or the quality of the light). And we unearth common archetypal themes that appear within our own human circle. All this helps us better perceive the threads of our individual soul stories and our unique ways of belonging to the world.
Through the Art of Mirroring, we learn to listen as if our lives depend on it. (They do.) We hone our ability to detect the magnificence and mythic qualities in our own and others’ stories. We listen for unique soul threads that might appear in a repeated theme, a tone, aspects of sacred woundings, dreams, unique imagery, archetypal dimensions of the journey, or tracks of shadow material.
A circle of fellow pilgrims, witnessing and mirroring us, helps us understand where we are on the journey to soul and supports us to take our next steps — from our initial preparation for the descent, to the leaving of “home” and the courageous abandonment of our old story, to our hazardous and ecstatic encounters with numinous mysteries, to the gathering up of mysterious treasures, and, finally, the return to our communities with a vision to perform in service to the larger web of life.