Prayers in the Dark: Tending Our Visionary Fires – February 2017
Guides: Doug Van Houten, Rebecca Wildbear, M.S. Limit: 14
“In a dark time, the eye begins to see…” — Roethke
Radical personal and cultural transformation at this time requires a descent into the depths of soul, an initiatory journey that reveals our hidden and unique gifts, as well as a descent into the inescapable grief and despair evoked by a sober view of contemporary Western culture and the real possibility of self-inflicted extinction. The descent to soul enables us to cultivate our innate visionary skills, respond creatively to the dangerous opportunities of our times, and achieve real change in our world.
On a journey such as this, we encounter both demons and angels, fears, wounds, and the shadowy aspects of previously denied elements of our psyches, as well as awe, wonder, and enchantment. Your unique role in the larger Earth community is revealed in the mysterious symbols, metaphors, images, dreams, and numinous encounters that weave together your mythopoetic identity, which is your greater story or personal mission, “the truth at the center of the image you were born with,” “the largest conversation you can have with the world”. Your mythopoetic identity is your indispensible guide in fulfilling your purpose in this time of planetary crisis.
Prayers in the Dark is a wild invitation to enter the cave-womb of transformation and experience states of non-ordinary perception through a variety of practices and processes rooted in art, imagination, and the body. Our soulcraft practices will include dreamwork, council, shadow work, self-designed ceremony, conversations with the sacred Others (including cactus, sky, hawk and stone), creative expression, gentle wild yoga and movement, soul tasks in nature, befriending the dark, and sacred wound work.
Will you dare to dive into the holy dark mystery at the center of your life? Are you willing to reclaim your true voice and bravely add your song to the uni-verse, the symphony emerging at this pivotal moment in the Earth story? Are you willing to risk a radical re-imagining of your life’s purpose and return with sacred gifts for your people?
During our five days together at Black Arrow Lodge at the foot of Fire Mountain, we’ll listen to and track what arises in our body, dreams, hearts, and imaginations, and follow our allurements. We’ll begin and end our days with prayer ceremonies, to listen and honor all the Others. We’ll live embraced by a desert community and pray to be sung to life by the profound truth of our own visions.
…Let us pray dangerously.
Let us throw ourselves from the top of the tower,
let us risk a descent to the darkest region of the abyss,
let us put our head in the lion’s mouth and,
direct our feet to the entrance of the dragon’s cave.
Let us ask for nothing less than the Infinite to ravage us.
Let us ask for nothing less than annihilation in the Fires of Love…
— Dangerous Prayers, by Regina Sara Ryan
You are also responsible for getting yourself to and from Black Arrow Lodge.
Participants are responsible for bringing their own lunches/snacks and will be participating in the preparation of breakfast and dinner (food provided). Price shown is for camping on the lodge grounds (for which you need to bring your own equipment). There are 3 additional indoor lodging options available for a total of $50-$125 extra. Details are included in the preparation letter sent out after registering.
Doug Van Houten
Doug Van Houten has an eye for the heartbreakingly beautiful and a wild heart that sings in the dark night of his own soul. He is beekeeper, artist, brave explorer of the "darker than darkness", student/facilitator of the Great Work, and Animas trained vision fast guide. In his own backyard of the rolling Kentucky hills, Doug organizes retreats/conferences/workshops/drumming circles, and festivals in celebration of Earth spirit. Lit by the luminescence of his own dreams, wanderings and visions, his firsthand enraptured experience is a deep exploration of his own dark wounding. Doug has taken a vow to soul, (that would kill him to break), to live consciously with grace and to stay awake. Here, he dances with shadow, hones his artistry, and answers the call to support the soulful opening of others.
Rebecca Wildbear, M.S.
Rebecca is a soul guide and lover of the wild. She compassionately assists people in listening to the mysteries that live both within their own being and within the animate natural world. Rebecca guides others in opening up their sensory bodies, engaging their dreamworld, and accessing their deep imagination. She delights in tracking the underground streams of the greater human stories. She gently ushers people into surrendering to their soul’s deepest longing. Formerly a therapist and wilderness guide for 17 years, she focuses her private practice on supporting individuals as they discover and manifest their soul gifts. Rebecca utilizes her training and experience with yoga, Hakomi, and somatic psychotherapy in her work. She leads Animas programs and is on the faculty of Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. She is also the creator of Wild Yoga, a sacred way of breathing and moving, aligned with one’s soul and the beauty and rhythm of the evolving Earth.
Black Arrow Lodge located in beautiful Tucson, adjacent to Saguaro National Park