a four-part workshop series available to attend





Connecting With Our Ancient Heritage A Four-day Workshop Series – with Michael Joyner



“All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes.” –C.G. Jung





Part 1) Nature and the Soul

Part 2) Ancient Images

Part 3) An Animate World

Part 4) Transformational Journeys


*All workshops will incorporate topics covered from the previous ones. So to get the absolute most out of this series, they are recommended to be taken in order. However, they are also designed to be taken individually if needed. _______________________________________________________________


Every culture has its myths and stories which imply that undertaking a journey of descent is essential in gaining anything of true value. Yet in contemporary Western cultures, we live as if the descent is no longer a necessary part in gaining what is important to us. This is reflected in many aspects of how humans are now choosing to live out their lives. To keep our ancestral heritage alive, we need to re-member our relationship with the natural world and the ancient connection that has emerged from it.


This workshop series examines several cross-cultural techniques using nature as a framework for exploring a re-connection with disappearing perceptions in the modern world. Participants will work with and experience techniques that our ancestors used to enhance personal empowerment, approach problems, and encourage connection during times of life that offer opportunities for our growth. Particular emphasis is on relating to our surrounding environment archetypally, soulfully, ethically, and physically. Throughout the workshops, encouragement toward self-empowerment through symbolic-level connection with archetypal concepts will be a focus.


These workshops are intended for people seeking immersion in the intertwined mysteries of nature, self, and soul. Change-agents, artists, educators, therapists, seekers, and any other interested people are welcome. The format will include experiential, discussion, group, and individual opportunities for exploration of the concepts in an outdoor location. The settings may include gathering around the fire, Lake Superior beach, forest, or field. Skills may include fire-building, using tools to carve wood, painting, collecting natural items, as well as working with rocks, soil, and water. Participants will be working with experiential artistic skills utilizing natural materials to create personalized items as part of their experiences. _______________________________________________________________


Part 1) Nature and the Soul

Our authentic purposeful gifts which call out to be embodied can be found through the exploration and discovery of what Bill Plotkin calls our mythopoetic identity. Anchored in pan-cultural seven directions wisdom, contemporary depth psychology, as well as cross-cultural teachings about the relationship between ourselves and the natural world, this workshop offers a blueprint showing how richly we can grow and mature when soul and nature are embraced as our wisest and most trustworthy guides.


The archetypal aspects of medicine wheel wisdom have much to show us about our relationship with nature, our own cultural connections, and the way in which our ancestors strove to be effective in their pursuits. The foundational aspect of communicating with the more-than-human world to help guide us will weave through investigations of what it means to live an authentic and purposeful life.


Time will be devoted to exploring aspects of our human development through the lens of psycho-spiritual transformations along with multiple facets of cultural backgrounds, archetypal representations, and the investigation of the significance of soul-initiations as developmental necessities. Participants will also explore aspects of both the human and more-than-human worlds through creating and enjoying meaningfully-inspired nature-based artwork which will tap into patterns found in nature and the archetypal expressions inherent in the nature/soul connection. Material fee.
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Part 2) Ancient Images

In our imagination, our deep imagination, the archetypal images we have come to know as ancient motifs still have a place of belonging. Our ancestors moved 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 flows through all things and to connect with the secrets of our own souls.


Through exploration of the archetypal images of both our individual psyche, and that of collective humankind’s, we are granted entry to the magic that lies behind the veil of our ordinary ways of perceiving and experiencing. Imagination is a translator, fluent in the languages of the more-than-human world, as well as the languages of our own depths — the expressive modes of nature and soul being essentially the same.


Carl Jung states that “the psyche contains all the images that have ever given rise to myths”. And yet, the mainstream culture of our time and its dominant institutions revere the rational, explainable, and quantifiable not the mythical. Meaningful personal empowerment, in contrast, should allow connection to arise from the wild depths of nature and psyche through images that can take the form of symbol, metaphor, dream, archetype, poetry, song, music, and/or movement.


During this workshop, 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. Participants will work with hands-on artistic craftwork utilizing natural materials to create personalized items as a reminder of their self-empowerment experiences. Material fee.
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Part 3) An Animate World

When we address the world around us as if all are alive, intelligent, and suffused with life, we ourselves shimmer with profound richness, depth, and connection. When we engage in conversations with sacred Others – whom we might know as rock, lake, tree, fire, or even as a figure from a dream, a feeling, or pattern – we dip into the mythopoetic story that flows beneath the surface of everyday consciousness.


Turning to the more-than-human world for wisdom and guidance is a practice that is deeply embedded in the human psyche. We are intricately connected with the natural world and to experiences that bring us to know what Joanna Macy calls “deep time” — a felt-sense of our embeddedness in the cosmic and earthly unfolding of life.

Shamanic journeying, also called trance meditation, is an ancient and powerful practice which offers meaningful pathways to experiencing deep time and gaining insight by seeing into the reciprocal relationship we have with the surrounding world. It is an important way that our ancestors connected with the earth, yet has relevance to our generations as well. Insights gained through non-ordinary states of consciousness help us become aware of both the physical and subtle realities of our soul’s intuitive relationship with the archetypal world – and can reveal to us the patterns which interweave our lives and connect us with the natural world on multiple levels.


Participants are introduced to universal cross-cultural shamanic techniques, which have been used for millennia, to enhance personal empowerment, problem solving, and healing. Particular emphasis is on experiencing new ways to pay attention to intuition, incorporate ancient skills into our lives, and empower ourselves through symbolic-level connection with archetypal concepts. Each participant will be offered the opportunity to create and work with foundational aspects of a cross-cultural shamanic Mesa which will tap into patterns found in nature and the archetypal world for insightful and empowering revelations. Material fee. _______________________________________________________________


Part 4) Transformational Journeys

Almost every culture throughout history has traditions involving personal empowerment through meaningful initiations or rites of passage by which individuals seek guidance in important life decisions or confirm new phases of connection in life. The pilgrimage, the vision fast, and the underworld journey are typical examples of such traditions which include techniques that can be keys to understanding one’s personal place of power and belonging. Yet, over the ages, we have experienced a decline in many of the meaningful initiation practices that informed cultures with a sense of personal vision, community responsibility and deeply rooted connection to the earth.


With most psycho-spiritual transformations, the passage is the fruit of a process or journey. Major life passages usually require an initiatory process that touches the soul archetypally on multiple levels. In order to fully transition through the initiatory process, we call upon assistance from the cultural surroundings we’re steeped in as well as our foundational beliefs. However, the decline of importance in our contemporary Western culture of experiencing meaningful psycho-spiritual transformations, particularly from adolescence into adulthood, is leaving us bereft of an authentic relationship with our own souls and that of nature.


Turning to the more-than-human world for wisdom and guidance is a practice that is deeply embedded in the human psyche and is what this workshop will focus on. The concepts of nature-based soul-encounters and soul-initiations as required aspects of transformation will be explored along with ways in which insights can be gained through the nature/soul connection that is part of our ancestral heritage.


Time will be allocated for creating and enjoying meaningfully-inspired nature-based artwork which will tap into patterns found in nature and the archetypal expressions inherent in the nature/soul connection.


This workshop will integrate concepts, techniques, and material from the other three offered workshops toward the capstone idea that a soulful relationship with the more-than-human world is part of our ancient heritage and imperative for us to continue to strive for. However, this workshop can be taken as a stand-alone offering as well. Material fee.
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