Our Guides

Bill Plotkin, Ph.D.

Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and agent of cultural evolution. As founder of western Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute in 1981, he has guided thousands of women and men through nature-based initiatory passages, including a contemporary, Western adaptation of the pan-cultural vision fast. Previously, he has been a research psychologist (studying non-ordinary states of consciousness), professor of psychology, psychotherapist, rock musician, and whitewater river guide. In 1979, on a solo winter ascent of an Adirondack peak, Bill experienced a call to adventure, leading him to abandon academia in search of his true calling. Bill is the author…

Sabina Wyss, CPCC, MCC

Sabina is a guide for contemporary Quests in the American Southwest and, accompanied by nomadic camel caravans, in the Sahara desert for over a decade. She leads AVI intensives, her own soul centred programs and trains new underworld guides. Sabina is a certified Life Coach (CPCC, MCC) and Holistic Health Practitioner (HMC) in private practice for over 20 years, passionately assisting others in uncovering and courageously manifesting their soul gifts. She is a founding partner of Sage Canyon, a Colorado centre for nature-based soulwork. As faculty of CTI she trains new coaches and trainers. In her work in the U.S.,…

Jeffrey Allen, M.A.

Jeffrey Allen, MACP is a Vermont psychologist in private practice since 1984. He received his graduate training at the Antioch Graduate School, and earlier studied at the University of Colorado. He has led vision quests, wilderness-based retreats and dream work intensives as a senior guide for Animas Valley Institute throughout the United States, Canada and Scotland, as well as his own programs in Vermont. The co-founder of a men’s organization, he continues to facilitate the development of vital groups for men. Jeffrey assists people in finding vital connections with soul, spirit and nature, and bringing their personal gifts into the…

Geneen Marie Haugen, Ph.D.

Geneen Marie Haugen, PhD, grew up a little wild, with a run-amok imagination. As a guide to the intertwined mysteries of nature and psyche, she delights in multidimensional listening, and in offering perceptive questions, ceremonies, escapades and reflections that help expand a sense of our own possibilities as individuals (and as a species), and deepen our experience of participation with an intelligent, animate Earth/cosmos. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth; Thomas Berry: Dreamer of the Earth; Written River; Parabola Journal; Kosmos; Langscape; and The Artists Field Guide to Greater…

Rebecca Wildbear, M.S.

Rebecca is the author of Wild Yoga: A Practice of Initiation, Veneration & Advocacy for the Earth and has offered Wild Yoga™ programs since 2007. She guides people to listen to the mysteries within nature and their bodies and dreams so they can belong to and serve the Earth community. She has been a wilderness and soul guide for decades and has spent most of her adult life in wild places. Rebecca has extensive somatic therapy and dreamwork training and loves to tune in to the mythic stories of humans and the animate world. An Earth lover, activist, feminist, and…

Gene Dilworth, M.A.

Gene Dilworth is dedicated to the project of rewilding the human spirit as an essential dimension of being fully human in these times. By nurturing meaningful relationships with the more-than-human world and facilitating deep inquiry into the mysterious depths of one’s true nature, he supports individuals to discover, re-member and live from the center of their soul-rooted sense of belonging to the world. Gene has been guiding groups and individuals in transformative nature-based experiences since 1986. He has taught ecopsychology and environmental studies at the university level, and has served as an academic administrator and other leadership roles in a…

Mary Marsden

Mary is a soul-centric guide and mentor. She creatively and heart-fully invites people to be in intimate and vulnerable relationship with Nature, Soul and their own multifaceted psyches. Mary is gifted at guiding individuals into their dream worlds, accessing the power of deep imagination, and supporting those who are ready and willing to be claimed by their unique, mystical relationship with the World. She guides with humor, genuine compassion, and a deeply intuitive knowing of the soul journey. With grace, beauty, and fierceness, Mary invites sojourners to discover their unique gifts and to bring them into world – to feed…

Nate Bacon, M.A.

Nate Bacon lives with his family on the east flank of the North Cascades, where he delights in his great fortune of being able to raise his children on the banks of a cold mountain river. A cultural ecologist, wilderness guide, and writer, his work concerns the intertwined nature of perception, language, worldview, and identity. He is dedicated to undermining the psycho-cultural structures of our modern ways of being while remembering our inherent belonging in the world and relationship with all of life. His current writing project explores the mythopoetic relationship between evolution, human consciousness, and the ecological crises of…

Doug Van Houten

Doug (he/him) draws on the wisdom of the natural world, depth-psychology, eco-psychology, dreams, somatic knowing, poetry, and many pan-cultural, soul furthering practices that includes: The Way of Council, vision fasting, shadow work, symbolic artwork, trance dancing and conversations with the more than human world. Doug’s true calling in life is to support others as they uncover their own unique gifts and in so doing, transform their lives in service to what Thomas Berry called ”The Great Work” of our times. Doug is also an ardent beekeeper, a visual artist, a wily wanderer, a dream tracker, an emergent ceremonialist, a heart-centered activist, and…

Sage Magdalene

Sage has a gift for hearing and reflecting the deep stories of many beings. She invites people to thresholds and opens gates between worlds. She has been an educator, artist, dancer, and gate keeper in many ecosystems. Her greatest joy is to hear and converse with the wild others: moon, spider, frog, human, river and stars. She brings a light touch and embodied wisdom to the serious work of transformation.

Pete Fonken

Peter Fonken’s guiding is informed by a lifetime spent wandering wild places while listening to and learning from other than human beings. He feels strongly that nature’s wisdom can help us access our intuitive knowing, thereby allowing a reintegration of authentic wildness and a deeper connection with Soul. He is also fascinated with the human psyche and is committed to exploring its nuances. Peter has been a ranger, guide, wildlife biologist, writer/editor, yoga teacher, and graphic designer during his peripatetic journey through life. He has a M.S. in zoology and a B.A. in both creative writing and biology, is the…

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…

Laura Gunion

Laura believes that humans have tremendous potential, much of it hidden and unconscious. As a mentor, wilderness guide and naturalist, it is both her privilege and responsibility to support others as they encounter their true nature. She feels it’s essential that we grow, not only for ourselves, but also to create cultures that will benefit future generations. She insists on bringing the soulful and sacred into daily living. Her curiosity, acute listening, and precise questioning support people in living boldly and courageously. Laura has been a mentor at Wilderness Awareness School since 2002, and continues to love instructing at their…

John Lynch, M.A.

John is a university lecturer, where he weaves outdoor and eco-centric experiences into his offerings. He has degrees in outdoor education & leadership, sustainable communities, and ecopsychology. A sower of soulful seeds, John maintains heartfelt support towards fellow seekers negotiating the terrain of possibilities waiting within the field of nature and psyche. In addition to his work at Animas Valley Institute, he has training and certifications in gestalt practices and dialogical processing. John is an avid adventurer of wild places, professional outdoor educator, musician, wilderness guide and local initiator of soulful practices in his northern Arizona community.

Bruce Howlatt

Bruce was pulled towards wildness at a young age and continues to explore the wilderness of psyche, the deep imagination as well as relationship with the more than human. He is dedicated to helping others explore their own authentic nature so as to further cultivate a deeper relationship to Soul and discovery of the unique genius that they alone carry. Bruce is an ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide, photographer and general all-around mischief maker.

Kate Joyner

Kate serves as a guide to the mysteries of Soul by facilitating the Underworld Journey to Soul, for Animas and through her own body of work. Our modern culture has banished and demonised the primordial power held within our Eros and it’s creative expression. Kate believes that our creative life force energy, once fully embodied, is the revolutionary force that will change the world. She is devoted to creating alchemical journey’s that catalyse the unfurling of the tender and powerful essence of each soul to come forth in service of re-imagining a culture rooted in true love and mythical wildness.

Palika Rewilding

Palika Rewilding has been courting the moon and the wild miraculous blue green pearl to center their ancient Mysteries in our culture and marry her living to them as long as she can remember. As Threshold Midwife she listens and tends the edges and holy cracks for pearls and shadowed gems within the individual and collective psyches and hearts of humanity who ache with longing to recover enchantment with Earth. Tending with compassion, creativity and fierce love she calls forth the Soul sojourner to reciprocity with the Web of Life, in cocreative response ability with the Animate Earth. Palika is…

Laura Blakeman

Laura Blakeman is a catalyst for cultural change who draws from her unique trans-disciplinary background in the performing arts to craft whole-person, contextually-informed learning experiences across the corporate and cultural sectors. She has spent decades working as a somatic educator and experience designer, producing dance events, live art immersions, and experiential programs that center marginalized ways of knowing, doing, and being. She is currently researching and writing extensively on the relationship between complexity, uncertainty, and beauty, and is a co-founder and creative partner at the Wolf Willow Institute. When she is not guiding, she can be found at home amongst…

Sara McFarland, Wild Mind Guide

A Wild Mind Guide for Animas, Sara (she/they) is a healer of the Golden Web of Life, an Edgewalker singing the Frequencies of Soul, a ritualist in reciprocal relationship with the Holy in the Wild. As an improvisational singer, SoulStoryteller, and guide, she creates Fire Silk and Dreams Earth’s Web, in order to weave paths of golden threads into the underworld and between the worlds for others to follow. She tracks the Life – Death – Life energy of transformation and serves as a Death Doula to that which is dying- both in the personal as well as the collective.…

Dan Dolquist, M.Div, Th.M, D.Min, Wild Mind Guide

Dan is a dreamer with a passion of surrendering to the Earth’s intelligence and serving the Dream of the Earth. He is active in rewilding humanity through leading a year long cohort for men entitled “Howl at the Moon,” and with deep structural work in community formation in Longmont, Colorado. Dan studied the wisdom traditions of Christianity with Dr Richard Rohr at the Center for Action and Contemplation, and his doctoral work is in leadership and cultivating imagination. He is the author of two books, including “Finding Your Wild” through Luminare Press.

Bell Selkie Lovelock, Wild Mind Guide

Bell Selkie Lovelock  has been rooting into Cymru for 26 years, rewilding alongside 40 acres of ex- chemical dairy land in a multi- species cooperation called Daear Ydym ni!/We are Earth! Courting the edge where the worlds meet, she resecrates (restores to sacredness those who have been desecrated) land, people, rivers, trees , practices of living, language… Resecrating is the creation of a new indigeny and she has been weaving together hearth and soul for 25 years , with much practical experience of creating strong physical, emotional and cultural ” baskets” in which folks can unravel in order to tend to and make sacred…

Wendy Robertson Fyfe, Wild Mind Guide

Wendy attends and tracks Mystery on the descent to soul. She follows what might currently be considered irrational yet is constant being more associated with remembering the chthonic feminine embodied ways. With a Cailleach’s eye she speaks words and questions who are more like portals into further mysteries inviting and sparking us deeper into the curiosity and wonder of being reshaped rather than = neat solutions and answers. She is a life-time agent of cultural evolution, previously through ways of cultural historian, psychosynthesis psychotherapist with new parents holding a baby on the journey of soul initiation, and associate lecturer at…