18-Month Rite of Passage Ceremonial Immersion

Dec 12th, 2021 - Jul 2nd, 2023


Hope is not a word in my vocabulary, I have to tell you. Faith is…There is beauty in erosion. And that has been evolving over time. So I think it takes us to our essence. It may take us to our knees; our consciousness is evolving. And I think it's not so much about hope as knowing where hope dwells. And I think for me, hope dwells in community. I don't know about you, but there are moments where I wake up and I think I don't know if I can get up today, you know? Despair is very real. But that is the limits of my own imagination. Imaginations shared create collaboration; in collaboration, we create community, and in community, anything is possible.

~Terry Tempest Williams


No matter our ancestry, we are all a part of the lineage of this living planet. And because of this it is in our bones to be called again and again to the land and into ceremony to “re-member” ourselves and be emboldened by the entreaties of our earthen communities. To play in discovery, to mourn loss, to contemplate purpose and to celebrate the miracle of simply being alive. When we say yes to this the land, in relationship with us, flows into our marrow and into the communities we are tethered to or will be in the future. For though this ceremony is deeply personal it is less about us and more about what we have to offer this ancient lineage we are intimately connected to. Perhaps now more than ever with so much uncertainty in the midst we certainly need all hands-on deck but also all ears on deck listening with the mountains and deserts for what is ours to pick up and what is ours to let go of.

The Rites of Passage Ceremonial Immersion is an 18-month, community-based plunge into what it means to be whole human beings: alive to our wildest fury, our erotic and blessing power, our grief, our tricksterliness, and our ineffable love. The land, as always, is our guide and teacher; and the heart of all our gatherings will come from sitting with Creosote, listening to the whisperings of soaring Hawk and the cadence of the Chama river, dancing with shadow under the midnight moons. Over the course of a year and a half together—in person on the land, in zoom gatherings, and through email councils— our community will create that rare kind of human container that both nourishes the ceremonial spirit in each of us and that feeds Ceremony itself.

The school for decades has offered month long immersions. However, as many of us know, the return voyage home can sometimes be the hardest. This then is a new offering of a coming together not only during the time of the falling leaves but also at a time when the leaves are budding anew. To share in community, over multiple seasons, the trials and tribulations and boons and blessings when we return to our places of origin again and again--of what follows when we receive not only the clarity of who we are and who we are not but also the courage for living out what we have been given. The Rites of Passage Ceremonial Immersion arcs around five ceremonies – the number five referring to the four shields that we have the capacity to grow into, and the fifth that is born when we have access to all four shields and thus a more embodied wholeness.

Each of the five ceremonies is an extended journey into each of the ceremonial aspects of the traditional two-week fast: Beginning and Grounding into community, Four shields and Mirroring, Commitment and Intention, Vision fasting, and Acts of incorporation. By taking each of these ceremonies one at a time, we will have a chance to explore, expand and deepen into each one—in ways that invites Ceremony to be integrated into our lives more fully than ever before.

The Rite of Passage Ceremonial Immersion is designed for those who have previously completed at least one three or four day vision fast and were deeply inspired— enough to commit to five ceremonies and to the community that forms to enact them. We will meet in person five times as a group as well as engage in an email council and five online zoom gatherings. The first three meetings will lay the groundwork for preparation for a four day fast, which takes place in the fourth gathering. In the fifth and final gathering, we will touch into the reality of incorporation, focusing on both the personal and collective nature of our experiences and how to embody them in our lives. The final Ceremony will be created and directed by the participants. The community we build together will serve as a support and catalyst to help us bring home and into the fullness of our lives the invitations the land offers us.

Because the gestalt of the experience happens from the moment the group comes together to the very moment we are done— your commitment to the entire program is necessary.

Prerequisites: At least one previous vision fast, and a phone conversation with Emerald or Scot

An initial zoom meeting will take place on December 12th 2021(exact times TBD) in order to prepare for, and seed, our first in person gathering in March. Dates for later zoom councils will then be set by the group in future gatherings. 

The 5 Gatherings

1. Beginnings and grounding into community: 
We begin by coming together and listening for what is bringing us here at this particular time. This includes forming the container for ceremony and seeking out what are the things needing to be left out and what are the necessities needing to be put in. We go out on the land with ears to hear and voices to speak of these things deepening our intentions for why we are here now.
This First Ceremony (6 days) will include an introduction to the Four Shields, an intent circle, a 24 hr. fast, the mirroring of stories, council, physical plane guidelines and logistics for the following four ceremonies and midterm zoom sessions.

Location: Death Valley, CA March 14-19, 2022

2. Four Shields and mirroring 
We come into the world through the mystery of the east, but quickly we become embodied in the senses of the south. Over some years, we arc westward, descending into adolescence and loss and the world of muse and beauty, despair and grief. Somewhere in that loss, we encounter a jewel that wants to be brought forth into the human and non-human communities of the north– to serve, to grieve, to celebrate, to live. Illumination and inspiration then come out of the north, ushering itself toward Renewal. Finally, we hear our bones sing in the east, it was all worth it! And so, we are thrown back to the south to begin again. We welcome a deepening into the four shields, listening deeper to our own hearts and mirroring back the stories and gifts of our community.

This Second Ceremony (5 days) is a deep dive into the language of the Four Shields, from both personal and transpersonal perspectives. We will take a solo walk in each shield to explore the collective as well as individual elements, completing the experience with council and mirroring of the stories. Time will be made for questions and ideas of ways to incorporate this work into “life”, and to look at our shields for clues to movement in our lives, visions and intents. We will celebrate together with laugher, food and commitment to our unfolding community.

Logistics for this ceremony will be shared by the group and guides. 

Location: Southern Colorado - July 20-24, 2022

3. Commitment and Intention
This is a pivotal ceremony where we discover and dare to name and listen to the intentions and commitments of our hearts and lives. As always before, the land is our guide as we not only seek our own intents, but also seek answers to the questions that hold us together as community: How do you listen for intent for yourself and others? What is the difference between intention and commitment? Where does intent come from? What does commitment invite?

This Third Ceremony (5 days) is the powerful foundation and preparation for the Vision Fast at Lost Borders. We will prepare for the four-day fast by taking solo walks with intentions and engaging in a 24 hr fast. We will listen to and mirror the stories and hone our intent as we move toward the four-day fast in our next gathering.

Location: Ghost Ranch NM Oct 17-21, 2022

4. Vision Fast
Welcome to the threshold time, the doorway, the four-day-and-night Rites of Passage— a culmination of all the work done before. This is the time on the land for receiving and bringing forward, as the land guides you into the story and gifts that are yours to bring back to your people. 
As a group, we will step towards the threshold, cross over, and four days later, we will cross back into a community that knows you and has been praying for you, and will gather in incorporating, storytelling, mirroring and celebration.

Logistical planning/efficient travel and gear sharing, etc. will be coordinated by participants. 

Location: Death Valley, CA March 13-21, 2023

5. Acts of Incorporation
What we bring back from the land is what we will bring back to the world to test against the trustworthiness of our lives, so we can discover what is true for us at this time. Here we lay down everything again as we come together for this final Ceremony so we can listen and live out the stories the land sang into us. How do we bring it home? How do we accept that if we are going to go up, we are going to go down? How do we keep letting ourselves move around the four shields? This is a time to ask, what has happened in the last three months since going out onto the land? What do you need and where can you find it? What does the land say to you now? Where are you going?

This Final Ceremony (5 days) will be largely created and directed by the participants (with help from guides as wanted and needed). We will have an opportunity to share our experiences with incorporation of our vision fast into our lives. Day walks and/or a 24 hour fast will be part of this closing ceremony. 

Location: Southern Colorado or Northern NM June 28-July 2, 2023


   You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in. Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet  confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.  


~David Whyte


The School of Lost Borders has created a sliding scale for all its programs and trainings in an effort to keep our courses affordable to a wide range of people. We set forth no criteria and trust that each individual will pay what they feel is appropriate.

Scholarships are available.

Tuition: $3500 - $5000

Deposit: $550
(Non-refundable & non-transferrable unless seminar is cancelled)


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