Guiding the Descent to Soul Since 1980

The nature-based journey of soul initiation is the way

to personal revelation, visionary leadership, and cultural regeneration.

Animas Valley Institute

Mythologies from around the world tell of seekers whose arduous journeys into the underworld bestow boons to be brought back to the people. But the myths don’t tell us how contemporary people might undertake this journey…

Founded by Bill Plotkin in 1980, Animas Valley Institute offers a rich assortment of guided immersions into the mysteries of nature and psyche, including Soulcraft intensives, contemporary vision fasts, and training programs for nature-based soul guides.

Explore Our Offerings


A great place to begin with Animas, our immersions offer experiential explorations into Soulcraft and Wild Mind practices, preparing wanderers for soul initiation and discovery of one’s unique mythopoetic identity.


The Animas Quest is a ceremonial descent to the underworld — a modern rite of initiation — where seekers die to the familiar way of belonging and return with greater clarity of their soul’s purpose and place in the world.


Animas trainings offer deeper dives into Soulcraft practices for trainees in our Wild Mind Training Program and Soulcraft Initiation and Apprenticeship Program (SAIP), as well as for cultural change agents and guides working in human development fields.

A SAIP Application is generally the beginning step in a conversation that takes some months to complete.


Experience online journeys to soul within the ecosystem you inhabit, gathering virtually for council, deep imagery, dreamwork and invitations to wander between sessions in whatever wild place you find nearby — a backyard, city park, even your imagination.

Not Sure? Here are a few great places to start.


Two Streams within Animas Valley Institute

THERE ARE TWO DISTINCT STREAMS within Animas Valley Institute, one flowing above ground through the sunlit mountains and fertile fields of our daily lives, the other coursing underground through dark vaults and the hidden passageways of soul. The waters of both streams are precious elixirs for those longing to embody and express their full magnificence and human possibility.

The Wild Mind Stream

THE WILD MIND STREAM assists you in cultivating all four facets of your innate human wholeness, especially those most neglected. All facets must be awakened and embodied in order to do anything in life to full capacity.

The Underworld Stream

THE UNDERWORLD STREAM carries you through fruitful darkness to the brink of your current life plateau and then hurls you over the falls, dismantling the story you’ve been living as you plummet toward the alluring but dangerous mysteries of your mythopoetic identity, your one true place — not in human culture but in the greater Earth community.

Soulcraft celebrates 20 years in print

What’s New

We’ve added to the website a set of Experiential Activities for Addressing the Tasks of the Eight Developmental Stages of the Soulcentric Wheel of Life. Check it out here

New Blog Post by Bill PlotkinWho’s Up for Building a Cathedral? Ecocentric Human Development, the Hero’s Journey, and Cultural Regeneration Click here to read

Our cancellation policies & procedures have changed – Click here to review the updates

Council in the Commons join us for a free weekly 90-minute Soulcraft conversation

The audio version of Wild Mind was released on February 23, 2021, and is now available to order on

Animas COVID-19 Response

Animas Founder Bill Plotkin

Our founder Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., is a depth psychologist, cultural visionary and wilderness guide who has been blazing trails to nature and soul for many moons. His ecocentric re-visioning of psychology invites us into a conscious embodied relationship with our original wholeness so we may commit ourselves to the largest, soul-infused story we’re capable of living to serve the greater Earth community. He dwells in the wilds of southwestern Colorado.

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Bill Plotkin’s Books

Scholarships Available

The Animas community and several incredibly generous and visionary donors make it possible for Animas to grant scholarships to our programs. These application-based scholarships are available to all participants regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sex, or gender orientation.

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