Our training program focuses on learning to guide rites of passage in nature, utilizing practices and tools drawn from native and non-native teachers and teachings, spiritual pathways, ecopsychology, and wilderness experience.
This program will appeal to those in the helping professions, those who wish to bring spirituality and ceremony into their wilderness work, and those who wish to follow these teachings more deeply into their own healing.
The program takes approximately two years to complete, depending on the schedule of trainings and field apprenticeships.
The training program will prepare trainees to be able to guide wilderness vision quests following the Rites of Passage model, which has been developed over four decades of practice. We’ll touch on other applications of the training model, including day and weekend programs, seminars, classes and coaching. For those that wish to work with youth, the training provides an opportunity to apprentice on youth vision quests.
The Complete Training Consists of Five Elements
1. Personal wilderness quests. Two vision quests as a participant, the first at the beginning of the training, the second sometime during the training period.
2. Apprentice quests. Two quests as a guide-apprentice, under the supervision and support of Rites of Passage staff.
3. Training workshops (2): Medicine Wheel, Art of Mirroring.
4. Online group mentoring sessions (6): Feedback and supervision on guiding scenarios, practical situations one might encounter as a guide. Sessions are scheduled once a month.
5. Program leadership (1): Planning and guiding one day-long or weekend-long program event, as a further form of apprenticeship.
Upon completion of all 5 elements, Rites of Passage will certify the individual as a Wilderness Vision Quest Guide.
1. Rites of Passage and the Hero’s Journey
2. Overview of the Medicine Wheel: spirit, body, soul and mind; aspects of initiation and rebirth. Principles of Council.
3. South Shield: inner child, play, and the summer season of life; physical plane preparation for guides, safety practices.
4. West Shield: the adolescent (inner and outer), the dark shield and addictions, soul journey, animus/anima, transformation, risk and the rite of passage, assessment of readiness, descent vs. ascent, the child-to-adult rite of initiation.
5. North Shield: the adult, the warrior, finding and giving one’s gifts, real adulthood vs. pseudo-adulthood, the meaning of power, becoming one’s own parent, learning to create ceremony in the natural world, mirroring skills, nature skills.
6. East Shield: the spirit; creating ceremony in the natural world; use of song, dance, silence, story, prayer.
7. Practical elements of safely conducting a rite of passage: equipment, safety issues, locating appropriate sites, wilderness skills required.
8. Focus on Severance, including Mirroring for Intent, Confirmation Statement, group agreements, buddy system, emergency procedures.
9. Creating ceremony in the field: how to do it and how to teach it.
10. Incorporation: Mirroring Stories, the Return Council, Community Building practices.
11. Working with youth.
12. Guide ethics, business practices, self-assessment as a guide.
Tuition for 9-day wilderness quest as an apprentice guide is $795, plus food + camping costs.
Tuition for 5-day workshops is $795, plus food + lodging costs.
Tuition for the online group mentoring program is $375 for six sessions.
Rites of Passage will pay apprentice guides to lead day-long or weekend-long programs, as part of their apprenticeship.
For More Information
Call Mike Bodkin at Rites of Passage, 707-537-1927
Or email him at