Rocky Mountain Highcountry Quest – August 2017
Guides: Brian Stafford, MD, MPH, Rebecca Wildbear, M.S. Limit: 0
THE ANIMAS QUEST
This contemporary Western embodiment of the ancient, pan-cultural vision fast is a dynamic wilderness rite for men and women seeking greater depth and clarity about life purpose and meaning. As a rite of initiation, the quest is a ceremonial descent to the underworld, in which you die to your familiar way of belonging to the world, uncover the passion and wisdom of your soul, and retrieve the gift that is yours alone to bring to the world, enhancing personal fulfillment and genuine service.
The Animas Quest catalyzes the encounter with soul by temporarily displacing everyday consciousness through five primary means: (1) solitude for three or four days and nights while (2) fasting (i.e., drinking water only), (3) being fully exposed to and enfolded within the forms and forces of nature, (4) enacting a series of ceremonies, and (5) employing a set of practices (soulcraft) that support you in crossing into the mysteries of nature and psyche.
Most often, our quests take place over a total of 11days, 8-11 of which are spent in the wilderness. Preceding your time of solitude are five full days of preparation activities that enhance your ability to benefit from the fast. The first two and a half days of these five may be held at a retreat center or car-camp before we journey to our wilderness base camp (or, on some programs, remain at our car-camp).
During the five preparation days, we work with dreams, poetry, deep imagery, ceremonial drumming and dance, dialogues with nature, the way of council, and other practices to help us slip out the door of our everyday lives and access our own deeper, wilder currents.
The heart of the quest consists of the solo: three days and nights without human companionship in nature, fasting, engaging in personal ceremonies, saying yes to the mysteries of soul, tending the true mythos of your life, praising and grieving, and birthing a vision. Upon your return to base camp, there are three days of reincorporation activities, preparing you to embody among your people what you received on your fast. The last of these three days takes place back at the retreat center or car-camp.
No previous backpacking experience is required. (In fact, many of those who have quested with us have never before been camping or backpacking).
Participants are responsible for their personal camping gear, 3-7 personal lunches, and personal snacks. Details will be included in the preparation materials sent out after registering.
We will be meeting in Durango, Colorado then driving in a caravan to Earthstar. Questers are responsible for their own transportation to Earthstar and then from Earthstar to the backcountry. This Quest will be spending the first night and the last night at the retreat center.
Brian Stafford, MD, MPH
Brian Stafford is a guide to the wilderness of nature and soul. He was called out of academic medicine to serve as a guide to the depths and to serve as an agent of cultural awakening and transformation. He guides with humor, playfulness, compassion, discernment, and a deep remembering of the fullness of what each human life can, should, and was meant to be. A native of Colorado and the former holder of an endowed chair and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, he is an avid outdoorsman, teacher, writer, mentor, partner, and parent. He guides individuals and groups in the Colorado River Basin as well Nosara, Costa Rica, to the place they most long and fear to go - the numinous depths of their soul. Brian currently makes his home in Ojai, California.
Rebecca Wildbear, M.S.
Rebecca is a river and soul guide, compassionately helping people tune in to the mysteries that live within the wild Earth community, Dreamtime, and their own wild Nature. She gently ushers people to the underground river of their greater story, so they may surrender to their soul’s deepest longing and embrace their sacred gifts, live a life of creative service, and rediscover their deep belonging to the Earth community. A therapist and wilderness guide since 1997, Rebecca utilizes her training and experience with yoga, meditation, Hakomi, and somatic psychotherapy to support individuals in discovering and manifesting their soul gifts. She also leads Animas programs and is on the faculty of Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. Rebecca is the creator of Wild Yoga™, a sacred way of breathing and moving, aligned with Earth and Soul.
Earthstar is an Eco-friendly school/community house situated on a beautiful and pristine 160 acres of fertile land hosting a variety of plants, trees, terrain with trails. The property is bordered by US Forrest Service lands providing hiking out the door into the Lonecone National Forrest, offering access to abundant nature,. Indoor and outdoor space is available for meetings, meditations, yoga and exploration. A permaculture farm garden and greenhouse is developing to support the retreat/educational center with farm to table organic foods.