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River of Ancient Wisdom

RETREAT. DISCOVER. HEAL. IN THE CATSKILLS.

BLUE DEER

CENTER

2012 programs


Table of Contents 5

Letter from the Board of Directors

6

The Love that Takes Care of the World by Eliot Cowan

8

Ukilái: A Retreat for Men with David Wiley & Mark Gionfriddo

9

Men’s Journey

10 Shamanic Healing Camp:

Five Days of Deep Change with Eliot Cowan & Staff

12 An Interview with Tata OmeAkaEhekatl

Erick Gonzalez—on the Cosmic Mystery of 2012 by Buffy Aakaash

13 Mayan Spiritual Teachings for the

Dawning of a New Era with Tata OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez

2 :: www.BlueDeer.org

14 Forming Spiritual Community

in Turbulent Times with Sobonfu Somé

15 Excerpt from Falling Out of Grace

by Sobonfu Somé

16 Connecting to the Divine Natural World:

An Introduction to Plant Spirit Medicine and the Roots of Shamanism
 with Eliot Cowan

17 Eliot Cowan Shares His Story

20 The 8th Annual PSM Conference 22 Sacred Partnership with the World:

Living with Totem with Eliot Cowan

24 The Blue Deer Dances with Sacred Fire

by Sharon Brown

26 Sacred Fire Community REunion 2012:

Celebrating Deep Community

29 Plant Spirit Medicine Healer Training,

18 Fireball: Celebrating our Elders 


19 Shamanic Healing Camp:

30 The Music of Life:

Five Days of Deep Change 
 with Eliot Cowan, Jaime Velez & Staff

20 Advanced Plant Spirit Medicine Class

Session One with Eliot Cowan & Alison Gayek

An Exploration of Healing in the Sufi Tradition with Ustad Nizami & Melissa Clare

31 Flowers of the Heart:

Sufi Master Musician Ustad Nizami Heals with Melody by Zan Jarvis

32 Supporting the Blue Deer Center 33 Scholarships 34 Program Registration 34 Commuter Participation 34 Cancellation Policy 35 Lodging and Meals 35 Visiting Us 35 Getting to the Blue Deer Center

with Eliot Cowan & Alison Gayek

(845) 586–3225 :: 3


Table of Contents 5

Letter from the Board of Directors

6

The Love that Takes Care of the World by Eliot Cowan

8

Ukilái: A Retreat for Men with David Wiley & Mark Gionfriddo

9

Men’s Journey

10 Shamanic Healing Camp:

Five Days of Deep Change with Eliot Cowan & Staff

12 An Interview with Tata OmeAkaEhekatl

Erick Gonzalez—on the Cosmic Mystery of 2012 by Buffy Aakaash

13 Mayan Spiritual Teachings for the

Dawning of a New Era with Tata OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez

2 :: www.BlueDeer.org

14 Forming Spiritual Community

in Turbulent Times with Sobonfu Somé

15 Excerpt from Falling Out of Grace

by Sobonfu Somé

16 Connecting to the Divine Natural World:

An Introduction to Plant Spirit Medicine and the Roots of Shamanism
 with Eliot Cowan

17 Eliot Cowan Shares His Story

20 The 8th Annual PSM Conference 22 Sacred Partnership with the World:

Living with Totem with Eliot Cowan

24 The Blue Deer Dances with Sacred Fire

by Sharon Brown

26 Sacred Fire Community REunion 2012:

Celebrating Deep Community

29 Plant Spirit Medicine Healer Training,

18 Fireball: Celebrating our Elders 


19 Shamanic Healing Camp:

30 The Music of Life:

Five Days of Deep Change 
 with Eliot Cowan, Jaime Velez & Staff

20 Advanced Plant Spirit Medicine Class

Session One with Eliot Cowan & Alison Gayek

An Exploration of Healing in the Sufi Tradition with Ustad Nizami & Melissa Clare

31 Flowers of the Heart:

Sufi Master Musician Ustad Nizami Heals with Melody by Zan Jarvis

32 Supporting the Blue Deer Center 33 Scholarships 34 Program Registration 34 Commuter Participation 34 Cancellation Policy 35 Lodging and Meals 35 Visiting Us 35 Getting to the Blue Deer Center

with Eliot Cowan & Alison Gayek

(845) 586–3225 :: 3


letter from the

Board of Directors

The dawning of 2012 invokes fear and concern amongst many who are aware of the precarious situation of our planet. The Mayan calendar, the predictions of Nostradamus, climate change, and presidential elections all stir the mind. The Blue Deer Center offers a remarkable space for the heart: healing, nature, and authentic wisdom traditions. Our elders have told us that when we find the place of stillness within, we will hear the river of ancient wisdom speaking to us and guiding us to a place of peace. . . a place of healing. To step onto the land is to enter a natural sanctuary where the waters, the air, and the people warm our hearts and connecting us to one another and the Divine. Many generations ago, a river of ancient wisdom, called Saskawhihiwine, confirmed this land’s healing energy to a traveling shaman by forming a perfect circle in the water. Since 2005, the Blue Deer Center has offered programs of healing, welcomed ancestral teachers to guide us in new yet ancient ways of living, and initiated the Home Project, which will invite a set of core providers to live in residence on the land. Located in the beautiful Catskill Mountains, we invite you to attend the many gatherings, teachings, meals, circles, and fires that are offered throughout the year.

Our elders have told us that if we can find a center of silence, we can begin to hear the river of ancient wisdom speaking to us and guiding us to a place of peace and balance, a place of healing. 4 :: www.BlueDeer.org

2012 begins with a winter men’s retreat and then a special program of Mayan spiritual teachings with OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez. We are blessed to have the continued presence of our teacher Eliot Cowan, a Tsaurirrikame (elder shaman) in the Huichol tradition, and our first core provider in the Home Project. Eliot makes his summer home at the Blue Deer Center and offers myriad teaching and healing opportunities throughout the year. We encourage you to connect with these and other teachings, as well as taking time to connect with the precious land. If you’ve been to the land, you already know the gift of this place. If you’ve never been, I hope one of this year’s programs calls you home, as the peoples of this land were called home those many years ago. I am filled with gratitude to serve as a Board member, to work with so many others in bringing forth a vision of healing and the voice of authentic wisdom. I look forward to seeing you here! In peace, Patrick Hanaway, On Behalf of the Blue Deer Center Board of Directors

(845) 586–3225 :: 5


letter from the

Board of Directors

The dawning of 2012 invokes fear and concern amongst many who are aware of the precarious situation of our planet. The Mayan calendar, the predictions of Nostradamus, climate change, and presidential elections all stir the mind. The Blue Deer Center offers a remarkable space for the heart: healing, nature, and authentic wisdom traditions. Our elders have told us that when we find the place of stillness within, we will hear the river of ancient wisdom speaking to us and guiding us to a place of peace. . . a place of healing. To step onto the land is to enter a natural sanctuary where the waters, the air, and the people warm our hearts and connecting us to one another and the Divine. Many generations ago, a river of ancient wisdom, called Saskawhihiwine, confirmed this land’s healing energy to a traveling shaman by forming a perfect circle in the water. Since 2005, the Blue Deer Center has offered programs of healing, welcomed ancestral teachers to guide us in new yet ancient ways of living, and initiated the Home Project, which will invite a set of core providers to live in residence on the land. Located in the beautiful Catskill Mountains, we invite you to attend the many gatherings, teachings, meals, circles, and fires that are offered throughout the year.

Our elders have told us that if we can find a center of silence, we can begin to hear the river of ancient wisdom speaking to us and guiding us to a place of peace and balance, a place of healing. 4 :: www.BlueDeer.org

2012 begins with a winter men’s retreat and then a special program of Mayan spiritual teachings with OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez. We are blessed to have the continued presence of our teacher Eliot Cowan, a Tsaurirrikame (elder shaman) in the Huichol tradition, and our first core provider in the Home Project. Eliot makes his summer home at the Blue Deer Center and offers myriad teaching and healing opportunities throughout the year. We encourage you to connect with these and other teachings, as well as taking time to connect with the precious land. If you’ve been to the land, you already know the gift of this place. If you’ve never been, I hope one of this year’s programs calls you home, as the peoples of this land were called home those many years ago. I am filled with gratitude to serve as a Board member, to work with so many others in bringing forth a vision of healing and the voice of authentic wisdom. I look forward to seeing you here! In peace, Patrick Hanaway, On Behalf of the Blue Deer Center Board of Directors

(845) 586–3225 :: 5


exactly what Lungkata proceeded to do. He killed the emu, cut it into pieces and began to cook it over a fire he had hastily built.

No matter who you are and where you live, you have an indigenous soul. Your ancestors lived and died in the ways of indigenous love for thousands and thousands of generations…

The Panpanpalala Brothers had lost the emu’s tracks but saw the smoke of Lungkata’s fire. They hurried over and asked Lungkata if he had seen their wounded quarry. Lungkata, hiding the dismembered emu, said he’d seen nothing. The brothers moved on. Moments later they found the emu’s tracks and immediately worked out what had really happened. Lungkata, guiltily aware of his deceit, ran towards his camp, carrying as many emu pieces as he could. In his hurry he dropped most of them, leaving a conspicuous trail of lumps of meat. At Kakaga Tjunta, literally “Emu’s Thigh,” he dropped a huge drumstick, which remains there in stone. He dropped other pieces west of Mutitjulu, forming a maze of large rocks.

Love

The

that takes Care of the World

by Eliot Cowan

[Stories are much more than words. They have a life of their own, often with a sacred message to impart. In this continuation of an article printed in our 2011 catalog, Eliot Cowan further illustrates, through stories, the value that indigenous knowledge offers to people living in the modern world today. —Ed.]

Here is a teaching story, a remembering of the Anangu people of central Australia. To decode the story, the animals should be understood as representations of certain human traits: Lungkata, the blue-tongued lizard, had come from the north, burning the land on the way, showing the people how fire is necessary to maintain the country. The Panpanpalala Brothers – crested bellbirds – had been out 6 :: www.BlueDeer.org

hunting and had speared and wounded Kalaya, an emu. The large bird ran off towards Mutitjulu where it intersected with Lungkata the lizard, who was out hunting. He saw Kalaya still moving but with a spear through its body. Lungkata knew that the wounded bird belonged to other hunters and it would be dishonorable for someone else to kill it off and eat it. Yet this was

The Panpanpalala Brothers caught up with Lungkata as he started to climb Uluru towards his camp. The Brothers built a great fire beneath the slow fat lizard as he struggled upwards. Lungkata choked on the smoke and was burnt by the flames. He fell down and his body was shattered in many pieces. The smoke and ash from the fire still coat this part of Uluru’s steep slope where the remains of Lungkata’s body lie. Notice that the bellbirds are moving as family, but Lungkata the lizard is alone. This is a way of saying the Panpanpalalas are in relationship with the world, while Lungkata is isolated and just looking out for number one. His selfishness drives him to take something that doesn’t belong to him: the emu who gave itself to the bellbird brothers. He then abuses the gift of fire; instead of demonstrating benefit to the whole country he cooks the emu to benefit himself at the expense of others. But the fire itself betrays his presence and exposes his misdeeds. The fire that was given to keep the country in balance destroys him and his selfishness, and the country is kept in balance in an unexpected way.

In addition to stories there are practices that bring people to remembering; chief among them are healings and rituals. Here is a Huichol story that tells the importance of both. It is told in the first person by an old shaman: Late one night one of my nephews came by my house. “Excuse me for interrupting your sleep, Uncle,” he said, “but my baby boy has been stung by a scorpion and I fear he will not live to see the morning unless you can help him.” I was not eager to go lest I fall off the path to my death in the darkness, but he pleaded with me, so I went. When I arrived I took out my feathers and looked at the child. I saw a kernel of corn in his heart. “That was not a mere scorpion that stung your boy, it was corn. I can see you are not in a good way with Grandmother Corn. Did you perform the thanksgiving ritual for the harvest this year?” My nephew admitted that he had not done the ritual. So I said, “If you will agree to do it right away, I’ll see if I can help the child.” He agreed, so I sucked the corn kernel out of the boy’s heart and placed it in my nephew’s hand. “He should be alright now, but if you need me come fetch me again in the morning.” The father did not return, and his son is a healthy young man today. The old shaman didn’t act out of ideas about love, he acted out of experience. By contrast, Western people today are full of high-sounding beliefs but mostly act like Lungkata, the blue-tongued lizard, taking what doesn’t belong to us and trying to cover our greed with deceit. In the end we will fare no better than the lizard unless we remember the love that makes us caretakers of the world. There are two bits of good news about this: First, there are still authentic teachers of the ancient ways of remembering, and some are willing to show us those ways. And second, no matter who you are and where you live, you have an indigenous soul. Your ancestors lived and died in the ways of indigenous love for thousands and thousands of generations. You are descended from them; their souls live in you. When you hear their wisdom it will resound in you. It will rise up in you. You will remember, and be remembered. (845) 586–3225 :: 7


exactly what Lungkata proceeded to do. He killed the emu, cut it into pieces and began to cook it over a fire he had hastily built.

No matter who you are and where you live, you have an indigenous soul. Your ancestors lived and died in the ways of indigenous love for thousands and thousands of generations…

The Panpanpalala Brothers had lost the emu’s tracks but saw the smoke of Lungkata’s fire. They hurried over and asked Lungkata if he had seen their wounded quarry. Lungkata, hiding the dismembered emu, said he’d seen nothing. The brothers moved on. Moments later they found the emu’s tracks and immediately worked out what had really happened. Lungkata, guiltily aware of his deceit, ran towards his camp, carrying as many emu pieces as he could. In his hurry he dropped most of them, leaving a conspicuous trail of lumps of meat. At Kakaga Tjunta, literally “Emu’s Thigh,” he dropped a huge drumstick, which remains there in stone. He dropped other pieces west of Mutitjulu, forming a maze of large rocks.

Love

The

that takes Care of the World

by Eliot Cowan

[Stories are much more than words. They have a life of their own, often with a sacred message to impart. In this continuation of an article printed in our 2011 catalog, Eliot Cowan further illustrates, through stories, the value that indigenous knowledge offers to people living in the modern world today. —Ed.]

Here is a teaching story, a remembering of the Anangu people of central Australia. To decode the story, the animals should be understood as representations of certain human traits: Lungkata, the blue-tongued lizard, had come from the north, burning the land on the way, showing the people how fire is necessary to maintain the country. The Panpanpalala Brothers – crested bellbirds – had been out 6 :: www.BlueDeer.org

hunting and had speared and wounded Kalaya, an emu. The large bird ran off towards Mutitjulu where it intersected with Lungkata the lizard, who was out hunting. He saw Kalaya still moving but with a spear through its body. Lungkata knew that the wounded bird belonged to other hunters and it would be dishonorable for someone else to kill it off and eat it. Yet this was

The Panpanpalala Brothers caught up with Lungkata as he started to climb Uluru towards his camp. The Brothers built a great fire beneath the slow fat lizard as he struggled upwards. Lungkata choked on the smoke and was burnt by the flames. He fell down and his body was shattered in many pieces. The smoke and ash from the fire still coat this part of Uluru’s steep slope where the remains of Lungkata’s body lie. Notice that the bellbirds are moving as family, but Lungkata the lizard is alone. This is a way of saying the Panpanpalalas are in relationship with the world, while Lungkata is isolated and just looking out for number one. His selfishness drives him to take something that doesn’t belong to him: the emu who gave itself to the bellbird brothers. He then abuses the gift of fire; instead of demonstrating benefit to the whole country he cooks the emu to benefit himself at the expense of others. But the fire itself betrays his presence and exposes his misdeeds. The fire that was given to keep the country in balance destroys him and his selfishness, and the country is kept in balance in an unexpected way.

In addition to stories there are practices that bring people to remembering; chief among them are healings and rituals. Here is a Huichol story that tells the importance of both. It is told in the first person by an old shaman: Late one night one of my nephews came by my house. “Excuse me for interrupting your sleep, Uncle,” he said, “but my baby boy has been stung by a scorpion and I fear he will not live to see the morning unless you can help him.” I was not eager to go lest I fall off the path to my death in the darkness, but he pleaded with me, so I went. When I arrived I took out my feathers and looked at the child. I saw a kernel of corn in his heart. “That was not a mere scorpion that stung your boy, it was corn. I can see you are not in a good way with Grandmother Corn. Did you perform the thanksgiving ritual for the harvest this year?” My nephew admitted that he had not done the ritual. So I said, “If you will agree to do it right away, I’ll see if I can help the child.” He agreed, so I sucked the corn kernel out of the boy’s heart and placed it in my nephew’s hand. “He should be alright now, but if you need me come fetch me again in the morning.” The father did not return, and his son is a healthy young man today. The old shaman didn’t act out of ideas about love, he acted out of experience. By contrast, Western people today are full of high-sounding beliefs but mostly act like Lungkata, the blue-tongued lizard, taking what doesn’t belong to us and trying to cover our greed with deceit. In the end we will fare no better than the lizard unless we remember the love that makes us caretakers of the world. There are two bits of good news about this: First, there are still authentic teachers of the ancient ways of remembering, and some are willing to show us those ways. And second, no matter who you are and where you live, you have an indigenous soul. Your ancestors lived and died in the ways of indigenous love for thousands and thousands of generations. You are descended from them; their souls live in you. When you hear their wisdom it will resound in you. It will rise up in you. You will remember, and be remembered. (845) 586–3225 :: 7


Men’s Journey I have lost my way. My reference point is gone. I have lost my guiding knowledge and direction. I feel an incessant drive that weighs on me. It is all I can do, keeping up with my family, the pressures of my job, earning a living to support my family and myself. Demands placed on me by the society and culture I live in. A world of “haves and have-nots,” change for change sake. Why is the world dedicated to promoting the power of mind … at the expense of everything that lives and breathes…at the expense of my very heart itself?

March 15 – 19

Ukilái: A Retreat for Men

with David Wiley & Mark Gionfriddo The Sacred Fire Community Lifeways program presents Ukilái’s Men’s Retreat. Ukilái (Uh-key-lá-ee) is a word in the Huichol indigenous language that means “a man who has reached a level of maturity and has taken on the responsibilities of spirit, community, and family.” A Ukilái has found his role and place within himself, the community and in the world and therefore is a support for himself and others. There comes a time when withdrawing in retreat is necessary to reconnect to the essential being of the masculine, to discover the navigation of one’s heart, to clear, refresh and renew one’s direction in life. Rather than a class or workshop, Ukilái represents a pilgrimage to one’s soul and masculine kinship in order to bring about a restoration. Therefore participation in the Ukilái retreat provides support on an ongoing basis to one’s vision, direction and relationship to others and the world. $850 David Wiley is a Tsaurirrikame (Elder Shaman) in the Huichol Indian tradition of the northwestern Sierra Madre of Mexico and is a Granicero (weather Shaman) and healer in the Nahuatl Indian tradition of the highlands of central Mexico. In these roles he serves his community as a counselor, community and ceremonial leader along with being recognized as a spiritual conduit for the elemental deity of fire known by the Huichols as Tatewarí or Grandfather Fire. Mark Gionfriddo began his Huichol shamanic apprenticeship in 2003 under the guidance of Tsaurririkame Don Eliot Cowan. In 2011, he completed his initiation and graduation formalities as a Marakame. Mark is also a Granicero, or Weather Worker, in the Nahuatl tradition and has been working together with Don David Wiley on the Men’s Retreat Program since its inception in 2005.

8 :: www.BlueDeer.org

At times I find myself isolated. I try so hard to be the best husband, partner, father, son, and brother that I can possibly be. No matter how hard I try my relationships with the very people I care so deeply for become stressed and strained, they begin to fall apart. These stresses and strains become so very hard to carry around, so hard to speak about. When I look around, all I see is the same look in every man’s eyes. When I sit at home, I pray that I can find a way to move through these feelings. I am ready to breakdown.

There is this feeling that the culture and society I live in is constantly imposing itself on me. These stresses, strains and situations fill my life! Family, career, finances: I feel it all closing in on me.

I have the opportunity to gather with my brothers; gather in retreat, to take action, to move, and reconnect, to open my heart again, to clear, refresh and renew my direction in life, to renew my soul… I recognize that something is missing. I feel disconnected. In my heart, a spark flickers…. I feel this strong need to withdraw from the pressure, the pressure of each day, each day’s concerns. Where do I go to find this warmth, to take some action, to be outdoors? I have the opportunity to gather with my brothers; gather in retreat, to take action, to move and reconnect, to open my heart again, to clear, refresh, and renew my direction in life, to renew my soul and masculine connection to myself, my partner, my family, and my community. Once again, I find myself sitting in a circle; there is a fire. I have a need to sit with my brothers. We set aside the stress. We move into our hearts, we open up to each other, a place that feeds us as men. I feel reconnected, refreshed in being a man. I feel balanced and supported. I am ready to return home to be with my partner, my family, my community, my work, and invite other men to join me around the fire to experience connection to the divine masculine, the heart, the natural world, and to each other. To share the gifts we have received. I have found my way home again! I am grounded in my place and my purpose. (845) 586–3225 :: 9


Men’s Journey I have lost my way. My reference point is gone. I have lost my guiding knowledge and direction. I feel an incessant drive that weighs on me. It is all I can do, keeping up with my family, the pressures of my job, earning a living to support my family and myself. Demands placed on me by the society and culture I live in. A world of “haves and have-nots,” change for change sake. Why is the world dedicated to promoting the power of mind … at the expense of everything that lives and breathes…at the expense of my very heart itself?

March 15 – 19

Ukilái: A Retreat for Men

with David Wiley & Mark Gionfriddo The Sacred Fire Community Lifeways program presents Ukilái’s Men’s Retreat. Ukilái (Uh-key-lá-ee) is a word in the Huichol indigenous language that means “a man who has reached a level of maturity and has taken on the responsibilities of spirit, community, and family.” A Ukilái has found his role and place within himself, the community and in the world and therefore is a support for himself and others. There comes a time when withdrawing in retreat is necessary to reconnect to the essential being of the masculine, to discover the navigation of one’s heart, to clear, refresh and renew one’s direction in life. Rather than a class or workshop, Ukilái represents a pilgrimage to one’s soul and masculine kinship in order to bring about a restoration. Therefore participation in the Ukilái retreat provides support on an ongoing basis to one’s vision, direction and relationship to others and the world. $850 David Wiley is a Tsaurirrikame (Elder Shaman) in the Huichol Indian tradition of the northwestern Sierra Madre of Mexico and is a Granicero (weather Shaman) and healer in the Nahuatl Indian tradition of the highlands of central Mexico. In these roles he serves his community as a counselor, community and ceremonial leader along with being recognized as a spiritual conduit for the elemental deity of fire known by the Huichols as Tatewarí or Grandfather Fire. Mark Gionfriddo began his Huichol shamanic apprenticeship in 2003 under the guidance of Tsaurririkame Don Eliot Cowan. In 2011, he completed his initiation and graduation formalities as a Marakame. Mark is also a Granicero, or Weather Worker, in the Nahuatl tradition and has been working together with Don David Wiley on the Men’s Retreat Program since its inception in 2005.

8 :: www.BlueDeer.org

At times I find myself isolated. I try so hard to be the best husband, partner, father, son, and brother that I can possibly be. No matter how hard I try my relationships with the very people I care so deeply for become stressed and strained, they begin to fall apart. These stresses and strains become so very hard to carry around, so hard to speak about. When I look around, all I see is the same look in every man’s eyes. When I sit at home, I pray that I can find a way to move through these feelings. I am ready to breakdown.

There is this feeling that the culture and society I live in is constantly imposing itself on me. These stresses, strains and situations fill my life! Family, career, finances: I feel it all closing in on me.

I have the opportunity to gather with my brothers; gather in retreat, to take action, to move, and reconnect, to open my heart again, to clear, refresh and renew my direction in life, to renew my soul… I recognize that something is missing. I feel disconnected. In my heart, a spark flickers…. I feel this strong need to withdraw from the pressure, the pressure of each day, each day’s concerns. Where do I go to find this warmth, to take some action, to be outdoors? I have the opportunity to gather with my brothers; gather in retreat, to take action, to move and reconnect, to open my heart again, to clear, refresh, and renew my direction in life, to renew my soul and masculine connection to myself, my partner, my family, and my community. Once again, I find myself sitting in a circle; there is a fire. I have a need to sit with my brothers. We set aside the stress. We move into our hearts, we open up to each other, a place that feeds us as men. I feel reconnected, refreshed in being a man. I feel balanced and supported. I am ready to return home to be with my partner, my family, my community, my work, and invite other men to join me around the fire to experience connection to the divine masculine, the heart, the natural world, and to each other. To share the gifts we have received. I have found my way home again! I am grounded in my place and my purpose. (845) 586–3225 :: 9


On a friend’s recommendation and a recent cancer diagnosis [I] signed up. I felt tremendous physical, emotional and spiritual healing from Eliot and his team. He is the real deal, and [I’m] still feeling the blessings weeks later. [I] wish every human could experience Healing Camp. —Barry M., New York

The Camp provides a rare opportunity to experience a temporary village created for the express purpose of bringing Huichol healing to you, because living even briefly within a healthy community contributes to your well-being. The sacred land of the Center will support the Camp, where music and celebration will light up our days and nights, while our wonderful chef and staff ensure you enjoy the right conditions to open yourself to healing. $1,950 [Also offered June 25 – 30 and September 30 – October 5]

Eliot Cowan is the author of Plant Spirit Medicine, and a fully initiated

April 10 – 15

Shamanic Healing Camp: Five Days of Deep Change with Eliot Cowan & Staff

We all yearn to be free of illness. And we long to feel connected… to our spirit, to each other and to the natural world, yet how often do we give ourselves time to nurture that heartfelt yearning? Our lives have become so busy and stressful! We know the pace takes a painful toll, which we try to remedy with healthy food, therapy, yoga classes or meditation. All these approaches help, yet still we wonder, could there be more? Sometimes misfortune—an accident, an illness, the death of a loved one—opens us to look in new directions, to ask new questions: Could the potency and mystery of ancient healing tradition provide medicine for the illnesses and alienation of modern culture? Healing Camp is composed of five days of Huichol Shamanic Healing at the sacred ground of the Blue Deer Center. Through Eliot Cowan’s authentic training and apprenticeship with Huichol Indian shaman don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, you will discover that the medicine of the old cultures runs deep and exerts a powerful effect. Eliot Cowan, a fully initiated Tsaurirrikame (Huichol shaman), has lead over 50 healing camps in the past two decades. Over the years he has gathered extensive experience working with the full spectrum of life events from birth to death. Your stay at Healing Camp includes daily private sessions with Eliot, time for contemplation and reflection, gathering in community around the warmth of the fire, and opportunities to connect with the natural world under the guidance of Justin Starting and Marakame Scott Sheerin.

10 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Tsaurirrikame in the Huichol Indian tradition. He began
 the study and practice of herbalism in the 1960’s and completed a Master of Acupuncture degree with J.R. Worsley in England in the 1970’s. Eliot subsequently apprenticed with Don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, a Huichol Indian Marakame. On the occasion of Don Guadalupe’s retirement in 2000, he ritually recognized Eliot as a guide to shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition. This was an unprecedented honor for a person of our culture. Scott Sheerin is a Marakame and practices shamanic healing in Asheville, NC. He has been on the staff of Eliot Cowan’s healing camps for 12 years. He is also a gifted musician offering healing and ritual music. His recordings are in use around the world helping to spread the energy of heart and fire wherever they are heard. Justin Starting is an apprentice in the Huichol tradition. For many years he has taught the art of building relationships with the natural world through the practical skills of our ancestors. At camp he will offer his program entitled “Touch the Earth”. Linda Felch is an apprentice in the Huichol tradition and a Plant Spirit Medicine healer. As our Healing Camp coordinator she makes sure that everything runs smoothly in preparing for camp and while we are at the BDC.

(845) 586–3225 :: 11


On a friend’s recommendation and a recent cancer diagnosis [I] signed up. I felt tremendous physical, emotional and spiritual healing from Eliot and his team. He is the real deal, and [I’m] still feeling the blessings weeks later. [I] wish every human could experience Healing Camp. —Barry M., New York

The Camp provides a rare opportunity to experience a temporary village created for the express purpose of bringing Huichol healing to you, because living even briefly within a healthy community contributes to your well-being. The sacred land of the Center will support the Camp, where music and celebration will light up our days and nights, while our wonderful chef and staff ensure you enjoy the right conditions to open yourself to healing. $1,950 [Also offered June 25 – 30 and September 30 – October 5]

Eliot Cowan is the author of Plant Spirit Medicine, and a fully initiated

April 10 – 15

Shamanic Healing Camp: Five Days of Deep Change with Eliot Cowan & Staff

We all yearn to be free of illness. And we long to feel connected… to our spirit, to each other and to the natural world, yet how often do we give ourselves time to nurture that heartfelt yearning? Our lives have become so busy and stressful! We know the pace takes a painful toll, which we try to remedy with healthy food, therapy, yoga classes or meditation. All these approaches help, yet still we wonder, could there be more? Sometimes misfortune—an accident, an illness, the death of a loved one—opens us to look in new directions, to ask new questions: Could the potency and mystery of ancient healing tradition provide medicine for the illnesses and alienation of modern culture? Healing Camp is composed of five days of Huichol Shamanic Healing at the sacred ground of the Blue Deer Center. Through Eliot Cowan’s authentic training and apprenticeship with Huichol Indian shaman don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, you will discover that the medicine of the old cultures runs deep and exerts a powerful effect. Eliot Cowan, a fully initiated Tsaurirrikame (Huichol shaman), has lead over 50 healing camps in the past two decades. Over the years he has gathered extensive experience working with the full spectrum of life events from birth to death. Your stay at Healing Camp includes daily private sessions with Eliot, time for contemplation and reflection, gathering in community around the warmth of the fire, and opportunities to connect with the natural world under the guidance of Justin Starting and Marakame Scott Sheerin.

10 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Tsaurirrikame in the Huichol Indian tradition. He began
 the study and practice of herbalism in the 1960’s and completed a Master of Acupuncture degree with J.R. Worsley in England in the 1970’s. Eliot subsequently apprenticed with Don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, a Huichol Indian Marakame. On the occasion of Don Guadalupe’s retirement in 2000, he ritually recognized Eliot as a guide to shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition. This was an unprecedented honor for a person of our culture. Scott Sheerin is a Marakame and practices shamanic healing in Asheville, NC. He has been on the staff of Eliot Cowan’s healing camps for 12 years. He is also a gifted musician offering healing and ritual music. His recordings are in use around the world helping to spread the energy of heart and fire wherever they are heard. Justin Starting is an apprentice in the Huichol tradition. For many years he has taught the art of building relationships with the natural world through the practical skills of our ancestors. At camp he will offer his program entitled “Touch the Earth”. Linda Felch is an apprentice in the Huichol tradition and a Plant Spirit Medicine healer. As our Healing Camp coordinator she makes sure that everything runs smoothly in preparing for camp and while we are at the BDC.

(845) 586–3225 :: 11


OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez, International Coordinator and member of the Great Confederation of the Councils of the Principal Mayan Ajqijab of Guatemala, was initiated into Native sacred rites over a 30-year period with direct participation, teachings, and guidance from various Native spiritual elders from Mexico, North America, Colombia, Peru, and Guatemala. He has worked with Native Elders and Youth Councils throughout the Americas supporting the work of international sharing and preservation of sacred wisdom teachings since 1979, promoting increased cooperation and unity between diverse communities throughout the world.

April 27 – 29

Mayan Spiritual Teachings for the Dawning of a New Era with Tata OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez

The shift of the ages is upon us and we are being called to hold sacred space for ourselves, our families and our world during a time of great challenge. Illuminated by the ancient wisdom of the indigenous Maya is a path for uniting the earth with the cosmos. Revealing spiritual practices preserved precisely for this time, OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez will share his teachings on spiritual warriorship, living from the heart, and the Mayan medicine wheel. We will delve into the essence of the Mayan prophecies and share a traditional fire ceremony, bringing voice to our gratitude and prayers. $525 The fire ceremony will begin at noon on Sunday, April 29 and is free and open to the public. Donations welcome.

Interview with

BA: What does 2012 mean to the modern world in its current state, because it seems like we’ve already started on a downward spiral and I’m wondering what this means in terms of 2012 and the Mayan calendar? EG: Well, for us it’s not new news, you know? This has been talked about for many years. And a lot of preparation’s been done through a lot of the spiritual and elder circles… Nature has already told us that some of these changes were going to happen. And we had, several times, opportunities to prepare for this. So, as we feel Nature changing… it’s not just that the Maya or anyone is saying it… but we are all witnessing it. Most of us are experiencing some kind of strong changes, or we call them natural disasters. Because the observations have been at a galactic level, not on a daily level of what we’re going to do today or tomorrow, like a little calendar, but an awareness that we not only have the daily cycle of the rotation of the sun, but also seasonal. The people are still here, they plant according to the season, according to the rainy season, according to the shifting of the eras, you know? … . And so there are patterns. So, our peoples have been 12 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Tata OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez — on the Cosmic Mystery of 2012

by Buffy Aakaash

talking about this and preparing as much as they can to share to the West… Most of the humans forgot the instructions that we belong to the earth. The earth does not belong to us… If the forest is halfway cut down, and these elementals come in and they continue to destroy the other half, then we’re in a bigger mess. So, this has been said to the west—reminders from indigenous people—and they have not paid attention. And even now it’s a race to destroy the earth. So, our people have been prepared to share what has been called the original instructions given to us. And these original instructions weren’t given by humans or by some religious sect. They were given to us by Nature. BA: So, might this then be a chance for renewal, and if so, how should people go about this? EG: Good question, because that’s what we’ve been sharing. One is that we have to become aware that we are in a changing biological and energetic field… There’s a new frequency that we’re starting to live in. And Nature’s already responding to it. We are responding, but we keep fighting it. It becomes stress,
it becomes unhappiness, it becomes fear.

It becomes acting on our worst fears, so we see more wars, more destruction. We should all be working together to create sustainable communities, to create local environments and industries where we don’t have to travel. Because we don’t know where this thing’s going to stop. If we don’t have the original things—fresh clean water, access to water that is not polluted, land that we can plant, air that we can breathe, and a place to do it, then we’re in trouble. … The levels of the hurricanes, tornadoes, the temperatures, the flooding, the droughts, the tidal waves, the earthquakes are increasing. BA: According to Mayan prophesies, Nature has been telling us for thousands of years that this shift has been on way. What is it about the Mayan approach to time that is so vastly different from the modern western way where we can’t see even a year ahead let alone thousands of years? EG: Well, one is because we live with Nature. Most of our living was outside. Even the temples were not designed to enclose the human perspective, but to enhance the energy field in which the human can interact with the multidimensional worlds. So, in their observation…

we were able to travel and we continue to have those experiences through dimensions. The world is just barely discovering the use of what we call sacraments and sacred medicines, realizing that they’re not the center of the universe… the West is just beginning to really realize that we’re not in control… The ceremonies that we still have for the expansion of the mind, the body, and for the spiritual world is not a new thing… and so we realize we are spiritual beings having a physical experience for a very little moment…. And in the west, they think more and more, stack it up, stack it up, get more money, get more things… and the goal is to get up as high as you can. Without realizing when you run out of resources, when you run out of control, when you run out of everything you were aspiring to that didn’t fulfill you, then the big drop comes. It’s going to be a big drop not only in the environmental balance, but the economic, the social, the spiritual… It’s a natural thing, except humanity didn’t prepare for it. So, they find themselves in refugee camps… and we’re homeless in a beautiful home we call Mother Earth.

(845) 586–3225 :: 13


OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez, International Coordinator and member of the Great Confederation of the Councils of the Principal Mayan Ajqijab of Guatemala, was initiated into Native sacred rites over a 30-year period with direct participation, teachings, and guidance from various Native spiritual elders from Mexico, North America, Colombia, Peru, and Guatemala. He has worked with Native Elders and Youth Councils throughout the Americas supporting the work of international sharing and preservation of sacred wisdom teachings since 1979, promoting increased cooperation and unity between diverse communities throughout the world.

April 27 – 29

Mayan Spiritual Teachings for the Dawning of a New Era with Tata OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez

The shift of the ages is upon us and we are being called to hold sacred space for ourselves, our families and our world during a time of great challenge. Illuminated by the ancient wisdom of the indigenous Maya is a path for uniting the earth with the cosmos. Revealing spiritual practices preserved precisely for this time, OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez will share his teachings on spiritual warriorship, living from the heart, and the Mayan medicine wheel. We will delve into the essence of the Mayan prophecies and share a traditional fire ceremony, bringing voice to our gratitude and prayers. $525 The fire ceremony will begin at noon on Sunday, April 29 and is free and open to the public. Donations welcome.

Interview with

BA: What does 2012 mean to the modern world in its current state, because it seems like we’ve already started on a downward spiral and I’m wondering what this means in terms of 2012 and the Mayan calendar? EG: Well, for us it’s not new news, you know? This has been talked about for many years. And a lot of preparation’s been done through a lot of the spiritual and elder circles… Nature has already told us that some of these changes were going to happen. And we had, several times, opportunities to prepare for this. So, as we feel Nature changing… it’s not just that the Maya or anyone is saying it… but we are all witnessing it. Most of us are experiencing some kind of strong changes, or we call them natural disasters. Because the observations have been at a galactic level, not on a daily level of what we’re going to do today or tomorrow, like a little calendar, but an awareness that we not only have the daily cycle of the rotation of the sun, but also seasonal. The people are still here, they plant according to the season, according to the rainy season, according to the shifting of the eras, you know? … . And so there are patterns. So, our peoples have been 12 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Tata OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez — on the Cosmic Mystery of 2012

by Buffy Aakaash

talking about this and preparing as much as they can to share to the West… Most of the humans forgot the instructions that we belong to the earth. The earth does not belong to us… If the forest is halfway cut down, and these elementals come in and they continue to destroy the other half, then we’re in a bigger mess. So, this has been said to the west—reminders from indigenous people—and they have not paid attention. And even now it’s a race to destroy the earth. So, our people have been prepared to share what has been called the original instructions given to us. And these original instructions weren’t given by humans or by some religious sect. They were given to us by Nature. BA: So, might this then be a chance for renewal, and if so, how should people go about this? EG: Good question, because that’s what we’ve been sharing. One is that we have to become aware that we are in a changing biological and energetic field… There’s a new frequency that we’re starting to live in. And Nature’s already responding to it. We are responding, but we keep fighting it. It becomes stress,
it becomes unhappiness, it becomes fear.

It becomes acting on our worst fears, so we see more wars, more destruction. We should all be working together to create sustainable communities, to create local environments and industries where we don’t have to travel. Because we don’t know where this thing’s going to stop. If we don’t have the original things—fresh clean water, access to water that is not polluted, land that we can plant, air that we can breathe, and a place to do it, then we’re in trouble. … The levels of the hurricanes, tornadoes, the temperatures, the flooding, the droughts, the tidal waves, the earthquakes are increasing. BA: According to Mayan prophesies, Nature has been telling us for thousands of years that this shift has been on way. What is it about the Mayan approach to time that is so vastly different from the modern western way where we can’t see even a year ahead let alone thousands of years? EG: Well, one is because we live with Nature. Most of our living was outside. Even the temples were not designed to enclose the human perspective, but to enhance the energy field in which the human can interact with the multidimensional worlds. So, in their observation…

we were able to travel and we continue to have those experiences through dimensions. The world is just barely discovering the use of what we call sacraments and sacred medicines, realizing that they’re not the center of the universe… the West is just beginning to really realize that we’re not in control… The ceremonies that we still have for the expansion of the mind, the body, and for the spiritual world is not a new thing… and so we realize we are spiritual beings having a physical experience for a very little moment…. And in the west, they think more and more, stack it up, stack it up, get more money, get more things… and the goal is to get up as high as you can. Without realizing when you run out of resources, when you run out of control, when you run out of everything you were aspiring to that didn’t fulfill you, then the big drop comes. It’s going to be a big drop not only in the environmental balance, but the economic, the social, the spiritual… It’s a natural thing, except humanity didn’t prepare for it. So, they find themselves in refugee camps… and we’re homeless in a beautiful home we call Mother Earth.

(845) 586–3225 :: 13


Excerpt from Falling Out of Grace by Sobonfu Somé

I love the desert, you know, but I do not go into the desert looking for rain. I accept its dust and heat, and when it rains, I welcome it as a blessing.

May 18 – 20

Forming Spiritual Community in Turbulent Times with Sobonfu Somé

In times of transformation, community becomes the olive leaf, the tool of nonviolent action that moves people toward equanimity, peace, and ultimately a place of support for each of us to do
 our work in the world. But “community”, from an indigenous cultural perspective, is nothing new and has always been the primary basis for the expression of everything important in life. Through ritual and ceremony, Sobonfu Somé will guide us on a journey into the heart of what it means to form community, to be a part of something that has the potential to extend beyond an individual human lifespan. $525
 Recognized by the village elders as possessing special gifts, Sobonfu Somé’s destiny was foretold before her birth, as is the custom of the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso. These gifts were fostered by early education in ritual and initiation to prepare her for her life’s work. Sobonfu’s work has moved African spiritual practices from the realm of anthropology to a place alongside the world’s great spiritual traditions, with a message of profound significance and practical application in the lives of Westerners. She has written two books: “The Spirit of Intimacy” and “Welcoming Spirit Home”, her newest offering, which draws on rituals and practices involving community, birth, miscarriage, and children. 14 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Ideally, perhaps, falls from grace simply shouldn’t occur within one’s community. Once acceptance by the community is there, grace is there. A person is accepted no matter how she performs. Many of us, for example, are close to people who are, let’s say, irresponsible. What they promise, they fail to deliver. They are late. They forget. They do things wrong. Why in the world would we keep such people in our community? We do so because they are included. Because we know how to love them. I love the desert, you know, but I do not go into the desert looking for rain. I accept its dust and heat, and when it rains, I welcome it as a blessing. •

Communities are built on friendships, on soul connections, and in the real world, some friendships break down. This sometimes happens, I think, because what we call friendships are something else. There were two women. They spent a lot of time together, they went out together, they went to movies together, they had dinner together, they shared their stories. Then one of the women got very busy and they couldn’t get together as often. The friendship was still there, she said, she just wasn’t able to act on it. Time passed, and the other person needed help —simple things. She needed, let’s say, a ride somewhere. She needed to call and talk about things that were bothering her. She needed a companion and the other person wasn’t there for her. There was a fall from grace. I believe that in this case the fall out of grace took place early in the relationship, through dishonesty. A person wanted something at a certain point in time. On that day the energy was on and the next day it went off. “I’ll call you when I need you.” In spite of what she said and how she behaved, friendship was never there. This story is common. Many friendships are based upon situations, and once the situation

changes, the friendship ends. I’ve seen that happen many times; most of us, perhaps, are guilty. I see this as a condition of modern society. It has no problem with people who pose, and then hide away and fail to show up when they are needed. •

One thing I haven’t lost is the deep understanding that I am still a person from the village. Wherever I am, I don’t try to behave like I’m not from Africa. I don’t try to pretend that I’m “modern.” This is really bewildering to my friends who have left the village. They can’t understand why in the world I would live in the States and then come back and want to be with these “old people,” as they call them, and not hang out with the people in the city. I tell them the reason why is that the community is necessary for my survival and wellbeing. What would I gain by pretending to be someone else? Whatever that is would be much less than what I would lose. •

So there are a few general rules that help to keep me in a state of grace within the village community that I am usually so far away from: The first is to recognize the community’s importance to my health and spirit. Another one is not to pretend to be someone I am not—to disown or dislike the community that shaped me. I also need to continually check and adjust myself to make sure I am right with my community, rather than expect them to understand things my way. I have to open myself up to their needs and ways and keep relearning, “Oh yeah, that’s the way we do things. This is the way this community operates.” I have to respect that and behave in a way that works for everyone, not just myself. Still I know I will keep falling from grace with my village. Over and over the community sees this, and then they reach out to bring me back again…

(845) 586–3225 :: 15


Excerpt from Falling Out of Grace by Sobonfu Somé

I love the desert, you know, but I do not go into the desert looking for rain. I accept its dust and heat, and when it rains, I welcome it as a blessing.

May 18 – 20

Forming Spiritual Community in Turbulent Times with Sobonfu Somé

In times of transformation, community becomes the olive leaf, the tool of nonviolent action that moves people toward equanimity, peace, and ultimately a place of support for each of us to do
 our work in the world. But “community”, from an indigenous cultural perspective, is nothing new and has always been the primary basis for the expression of everything important in life. Through ritual and ceremony, Sobonfu Somé will guide us on a journey into the heart of what it means to form community, to be a part of something that has the potential to extend beyond an individual human lifespan. $525
 Recognized by the village elders as possessing special gifts, Sobonfu Somé’s destiny was foretold before her birth, as is the custom of the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso. These gifts were fostered by early education in ritual and initiation to prepare her for her life’s work. Sobonfu’s work has moved African spiritual practices from the realm of anthropology to a place alongside the world’s great spiritual traditions, with a message of profound significance and practical application in the lives of Westerners. She has written two books: “The Spirit of Intimacy” and “Welcoming Spirit Home”, her newest offering, which draws on rituals and practices involving community, birth, miscarriage, and children. 14 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Ideally, perhaps, falls from grace simply shouldn’t occur within one’s community. Once acceptance by the community is there, grace is there. A person is accepted no matter how she performs. Many of us, for example, are close to people who are, let’s say, irresponsible. What they promise, they fail to deliver. They are late. They forget. They do things wrong. Why in the world would we keep such people in our community? We do so because they are included. Because we know how to love them. I love the desert, you know, but I do not go into the desert looking for rain. I accept its dust and heat, and when it rains, I welcome it as a blessing. •

Communities are built on friendships, on soul connections, and in the real world, some friendships break down. This sometimes happens, I think, because what we call friendships are something else. There were two women. They spent a lot of time together, they went out together, they went to movies together, they had dinner together, they shared their stories. Then one of the women got very busy and they couldn’t get together as often. The friendship was still there, she said, she just wasn’t able to act on it. Time passed, and the other person needed help —simple things. She needed, let’s say, a ride somewhere. She needed to call and talk about things that were bothering her. She needed a companion and the other person wasn’t there for her. There was a fall from grace. I believe that in this case the fall out of grace took place early in the relationship, through dishonesty. A person wanted something at a certain point in time. On that day the energy was on and the next day it went off. “I’ll call you when I need you.” In spite of what she said and how she behaved, friendship was never there. This story is common. Many friendships are based upon situations, and once the situation

changes, the friendship ends. I’ve seen that happen many times; most of us, perhaps, are guilty. I see this as a condition of modern society. It has no problem with people who pose, and then hide away and fail to show up when they are needed. •

One thing I haven’t lost is the deep understanding that I am still a person from the village. Wherever I am, I don’t try to behave like I’m not from Africa. I don’t try to pretend that I’m “modern.” This is really bewildering to my friends who have left the village. They can’t understand why in the world I would live in the States and then come back and want to be with these “old people,” as they call them, and not hang out with the people in the city. I tell them the reason why is that the community is necessary for my survival and wellbeing. What would I gain by pretending to be someone else? Whatever that is would be much less than what I would lose. •

So there are a few general rules that help to keep me in a state of grace within the village community that I am usually so far away from: The first is to recognize the community’s importance to my health and spirit. Another one is not to pretend to be someone I am not—to disown or dislike the community that shaped me. I also need to continually check and adjust myself to make sure I am right with my community, rather than expect them to understand things my way. I have to open myself up to their needs and ways and keep relearning, “Oh yeah, that’s the way we do things. This is the way this community operates.” I have to respect that and behave in a way that works for everyone, not just myself. Still I know I will keep falling from grace with my village. Over and over the community sees this, and then they reach out to bring me back again…

(845) 586–3225 :: 15


May 22 – 27

Connecting to the Divine Natural World: An Introduction to Plant Spirit Medicine and the Roots of Shamanism with Eliot Cowan (for Eliot’s bio, see page 11)

Since the beginning of time, shamans looked to nature to understand the realms of wisdom and healing. Drawing on that wisdom today, Plant Spirit Medicine and the ancient shamanic practices give us the tools we need to bring healing to our spirits, bring healing to others, and find our paths for our own soul’s journey. This course is for those who wish to explore the natural world and discover themselves. You may be 
a beginner or a veteran. You may be a healer. You may have no interest in healing. You may consider yourself talented or dense, spiritual or mundane. It doesn’t matter. Whoever you are, you are a child of the world, and your Mother has much to share with you. In this largely experiential course we will delve into: • Believing is Seeing and What You See is What You Get


• The Voice of the Seasons


• The World Forces: Sun, Soil, Mineral, Rain, Growth


• Plant Wisdom and How to Hear It


• Emotion—How Do I Touch the World? How Does the World Touch Me?

• Ancestors, Soul and Spiritual Path

$1100 ($875 commuter rate)


Since the beginning of time, shamans looked to nature to understand the realms of wisdom and healing.

• Learning Plant Spirit Language • Dream and Reality
 • Time Around the Fire

Eliot Cowan Shares Story

His

In 1969, when I was a graduate student in in Los Angeles, I expected to have a glamorous career 
in cinema. One time, tiring of the pace and the pollution, I spent a night in a backcountry canyon, surrounded by silent trees and glowing stars. I was surprised to discover something that should have been perfectly obvious: I knew nothing about the world I lived in. I felt unrelated to plants, animals, sun, dirt, wind and rain, which I suddenly recognized were the support of my life. Had you asked me then I couldn’t have even said what the season of year was for planting seeds, for I was ignorant of ordinary practical things. But this night the world whispered of a mysterious wisdom inside the ordinary and practical. Eventually I would find out that seeds were planted in the spring, but how could I know what the seeds and the springtime know? How did they bring forth the sprout from the soil, or my life from my mother’s womb?

16 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Suddenly it felt urgent to discover the world, to find my place and my belonging, to find who I was, and where I was, and what there was to do. I left graduate school and the journey I took led me, in time, to re-discover and re-introduce an ancient path of healing I call Plant Spirit Medicine. Since that time many have explored the Plant Spirit Medicine path. They learn to speak to the world and they learn to listen. The world, they find out, provides purpose, direction and healing just as it provides food and shelter. The explorers discover they belong to everyday wisdom and magic: the divine natural world.

(845) 586–3225 :: 17


May 22 – 27

Connecting to the Divine Natural World: An Introduction to Plant Spirit Medicine and the Roots of Shamanism with Eliot Cowan (for Eliot’s bio, see page 11)

Since the beginning of time, shamans looked to nature to understand the realms of wisdom and healing. Drawing on that wisdom today, Plant Spirit Medicine and the ancient shamanic practices give us the tools we need to bring healing to our spirits, bring healing to others, and find our paths for our own soul’s journey. This course is for those who wish to explore the natural world and discover themselves. You may be 
a beginner or a veteran. You may be a healer. You may have no interest in healing. You may consider yourself talented or dense, spiritual or mundane. It doesn’t matter. Whoever you are, you are a child of the world, and your Mother has much to share with you. In this largely experiential course we will delve into: • Believing is Seeing and What You See is What You Get


• The Voice of the Seasons


• The World Forces: Sun, Soil, Mineral, Rain, Growth


• Plant Wisdom and How to Hear It


• Emotion—How Do I Touch the World? How Does the World Touch Me?

• Ancestors, Soul and Spiritual Path

$1100 ($875 commuter rate)


Since the beginning of time, shamans looked to nature to understand the realms of wisdom and healing.

• Learning Plant Spirit Language • Dream and Reality
 • Time Around the Fire

Eliot Cowan Shares Story

His

In 1969, when I was a graduate student in in Los Angeles, I expected to have a glamorous career 
in cinema. One time, tiring of the pace and the pollution, I spent a night in a backcountry canyon, surrounded by silent trees and glowing stars. I was surprised to discover something that should have been perfectly obvious: I knew nothing about the world I lived in. I felt unrelated to plants, animals, sun, dirt, wind and rain, which I suddenly recognized were the support of my life. Had you asked me then I couldn’t have even said what the season of year was for planting seeds, for I was ignorant of ordinary practical things. But this night the world whispered of a mysterious wisdom inside the ordinary and practical. Eventually I would find out that seeds were planted in the spring, but how could I know what the seeds and the springtime know? How did they bring forth the sprout from the soil, or my life from my mother’s womb?

16 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Suddenly it felt urgent to discover the world, to find my place and my belonging, to find who I was, and where I was, and what there was to do. I left graduate school and the journey I took led me, in time, to re-discover and re-introduce an ancient path of healing I call Plant Spirit Medicine. Since that time many have explored the Plant Spirit Medicine path. They learn to speak to the world and they learn to listen. The world, they find out, provides purpose, direction and healing just as it provides food and shelter. The explorers discover they belong to everyday wisdom and magic: the divine natural world.

(845) 586–3225 :: 17


June 2

Fireball: Celebrating Our Elders We have come to take this time to remember a few important things. To celebrate our accomplishments. To approach our purpose in life with joy, humor, and love. To dance to our heart’s content. And last but not least, to honor our elders, without whom none of this would be possible. Through this exchange of honoring and celebrating our elders, we find our true purpose, and the wisdom can continue to be passed down. We invite and welcome to our Center a variety of elders who are dedicated to maintaining their traditions. We’ll be featuring the music of Blue Paradox, whose rhythms will echo against the ancient hills and down through the river valley, in sync with our own inner rhythm. There will be time to connect with Saskawihiwine, the great river; to immerse yourself in her wisdom. We will take delight in great “home-cooked” food the Center has become known for. Then, of course, we will gather ‘round throughout the evening and see the flicker in each other’s eyes that begins and ends with the fire. Join us for this special time… and invite your friends and loved ones. See our website for cost & updated information

June 25 – JuNE 30

Shamanic Healing Camp: Five Days of Deep Change with Eliot Cown, Jaime Velez & Staff (for presenters’ bios, see page 11)

See page 10 for program description. This Shamanic Healing Camp will also offer Mayan massage by Jaime Velez. $2,015 [Also offered April 10 – 15 and September 30 – October 5]

Jaime Velez is a Marakame in the Huichol tradition and resides in Tepoztlan, Mexico. On rare and momentous occasions, such as this one, he makes his way to Healing Camps at the Blue Deer Center to offer his skilled hands in the art of Mayan massage.

18 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 19


June 2

Fireball: Celebrating Our Elders We have come to take this time to remember a few important things. To celebrate our accomplishments. To approach our purpose in life with joy, humor, and love. To dance to our heart’s content. And last but not least, to honor our elders, without whom none of this would be possible. Through this exchange of honoring and celebrating our elders, we find our true purpose, and the wisdom can continue to be passed down. We invite and welcome to our Center a variety of elders who are dedicated to maintaining their traditions. We’ll be featuring the music of Blue Paradox, whose rhythms will echo against the ancient hills and down through the river valley, in sync with our own inner rhythm. There will be time to connect with Saskawihiwine, the great river; to immerse yourself in her wisdom. We will take delight in great “home-cooked” food the Center has become known for. Then, of course, we will gather ‘round throughout the evening and see the flicker in each other’s eyes that begins and ends with the fire. Join us for this special time… and invite your friends and loved ones. See our website for cost & updated information

June 25 – JuNE 30

Shamanic Healing Camp: Five Days of Deep Change with Eliot Cown, Jaime Velez & Staff (for presenters’ bios, see page 11)

See page 10 for program description. This Shamanic Healing Camp will also offer Mayan massage by Jaime Velez. $2,015 [Also offered April 10 – 15 and September 30 – October 5]

Jaime Velez is a Marakame in the Huichol tradition and resides in Tepoztlan, Mexico. On rare and momentous occasions, such as this one, he makes his way to Healing Camps at the Blue Deer Center to offer his skilled hands in the art of Mayan massage.

18 :: www.BlueDeer.org

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July 2 – 5

Advanced Plant Spirit Medicine Class with Eliot Cowan & Alison Gayek

Just as no two seasons are the same, there are no two people in need of healing who are exactly alike. Discover and exercise your abilities to provide your clients with the healing they need. Have those pressing questions about how this work weaves through your life answered in a collegial format, with time also for individual study and contemplation in the natural surroundings of the Blue Deer Center. Scheduled to coincide with the Plant Spirit Medicine Conference, you will be able to make your travel plans to allow attendance at both programs. $770 (
$635 commuters) Prerequisite: Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner Training Course

July 6 – 9

8th Annual PSMA Conference This medicine called you. The seed of your practice has been germinating. How do you augment your knowledge, and grow your healing practice so that it becomes the way you earn your livelihood? Cultivating, maintaining, and nourishing the necessary elements that make up a successful practice is at the heart of this conference. Gain some practical tools to propel your practice forward. You will learn: how to structure and create a PSM presentation, put into action ways to manage your daily practice, how to branch out and promote the medicine, identify yourself as a healer…and more. See our website for cost & updated information

Eliot Cowan, author of Plant Spirit Medicine and a fully initiated Tsaurirrikame (shaman) in the Huichol Indian tradition, began his study and practice of herbalism in the 1960s and completed a Master of Acupuncture degree with J.R. Worsley in England in the 1970s. Eliot subsequently apprenticed with Don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, an Huichol Indian shaman. On the occasion of Don Guadalupe’s retirement in 2000, he ritually recognized Eliot as a guide to shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition. This was an unprecedented honor for a person of our culture. Alison Gayek has been teaching Plant Spirit Medicine with Eliot Cowan since 2002. She began studying with Eliot Cowan in 1997 and graduated from the PSM course in 1999. Since then, Alison has maintained a strong effective PSM practice. Alison teaches the PSM Practitioner Training Course, graduate clinical and skills courses, and also works to teach, mentor, and support new graduates as they start their own practices. Alison has continued her healing work through various pilgrimages with Eliot Cowan and David Wiley. She is a Granicera—a Weather Shaman—in the Nahuatl tradition indigenous to Central Mexico

“The Advanced Class reminded me of the complete joy that the Plant Spirits brought into my life. It was a wonderful way to deepen my connection to colleagues and to the endless wisdom of this medicine. It gave me more confidence in my abilities to tend to my clients on the levels of heart and spirit. I’m so grateful!” —A 2003 Graduate

20 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 21


July 2 – 5

Advanced Plant Spirit Medicine Class with Eliot Cowan & Alison Gayek

Just as no two seasons are the same, there are no two people in need of healing who are exactly alike. Discover and exercise your abilities to provide your clients with the healing they need. Have those pressing questions about how this work weaves through your life answered in a collegial format, with time also for individual study and contemplation in the natural surroundings of the Blue Deer Center. Scheduled to coincide with the Plant Spirit Medicine Conference, you will be able to make your travel plans to allow attendance at both programs. $770 (
$635 commuters) Prerequisite: Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner Training Course

July 6 – 9

8th Annual PSMA Conference This medicine called you. The seed of your practice has been germinating. How do you augment your knowledge, and grow your healing practice so that it becomes the way you earn your livelihood? Cultivating, maintaining, and nourishing the necessary elements that make up a successful practice is at the heart of this conference. Gain some practical tools to propel your practice forward. You will learn: how to structure and create a PSM presentation, put into action ways to manage your daily practice, how to branch out and promote the medicine, identify yourself as a healer…and more. See our website for cost & updated information

Eliot Cowan, author of Plant Spirit Medicine and a fully initiated Tsaurirrikame (shaman) in the Huichol Indian tradition, began his study and practice of herbalism in the 1960s and completed a Master of Acupuncture degree with J.R. Worsley in England in the 1970s. Eliot subsequently apprenticed with Don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, an Huichol Indian shaman. On the occasion of Don Guadalupe’s retirement in 2000, he ritually recognized Eliot as a guide to shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition. This was an unprecedented honor for a person of our culture. Alison Gayek has been teaching Plant Spirit Medicine with Eliot Cowan since 2002. She began studying with Eliot Cowan in 1997 and graduated from the PSM course in 1999. Since then, Alison has maintained a strong effective PSM practice. Alison teaches the PSM Practitioner Training Course, graduate clinical and skills courses, and also works to teach, mentor, and support new graduates as they start their own practices. Alison has continued her healing work through various pilgrimages with Eliot Cowan and David Wiley. She is a Granicera—a Weather Shaman—in the Nahuatl tradition indigenous to Central Mexico

“The Advanced Class reminded me of the complete joy that the Plant Spirits brought into my life. It was a wonderful way to deepen my connection to colleagues and to the endless wisdom of this medicine. It gave me more confidence in my abilities to tend to my clients on the levels of heart and spirit. I’m so grateful!” —A 2003 Graduate

20 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 21


July 28 – August 2

Sacred Partnership with the World: Living With Totem
 with Eliot Cowan (for Eliot’s bio, see page 11)

“The modern view is that human beings are the most highly evolved form of life and that other life forms... are inferior to us human beings. The more traditional view is, rather, the other way around...” —Eliot Cowan, from the video, “Animal Totems, Part 2: Forming Practical Relationships”

What if the natural world knew you perfectly well? What if it longed for your particular gifts even before you were born? What if it had arranged to give you what you need to bring forth those gifts? What if the animals were in on this? What if they were wise and aware? What if some of them were interested in helping you? Could Snake be waiting to make your movements more fluid? Might Owl want to help you see what is dark and hidden? Maybe Jaguar can make you fierce when you need to be. Honoring animals as wise elder brothers and sisters, our distant ancestors lived in sacred partnership with the world, receiving what they needed and offering back their gratitude. You can live that way too, for your soul is connected to certain animals waiting to help you. In this class you will identify and cultivate your animal totems, following respectful tradition. You will form partnerships to last you the rest of your life. And you will discover a source of health, relationships, work and self-knowledge you need. $950

Honoring animals as wise elder brothers and sisters, our distant ancestors lived in sacred partnership with the world, receiving what they needed and offering back their gratitude. 22 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 23


July 28 – August 2

Sacred Partnership with the World: Living With Totem
 with Eliot Cowan (for Eliot’s bio, see page 11)

“The modern view is that human beings are the most highly evolved form of life and that other life forms... are inferior to us human beings. The more traditional view is, rather, the other way around...” —Eliot Cowan, from the video, “Animal Totems, Part 2: Forming Practical Relationships”

What if the natural world knew you perfectly well? What if it longed for your particular gifts even before you were born? What if it had arranged to give you what you need to bring forth those gifts? What if the animals were in on this? What if they were wise and aware? What if some of them were interested in helping you? Could Snake be waiting to make your movements more fluid? Might Owl want to help you see what is dark and hidden? Maybe Jaguar can make you fierce when you need to be. Honoring animals as wise elder brothers and sisters, our distant ancestors lived in sacred partnership with the world, receiving what they needed and offering back their gratitude. You can live that way too, for your soul is connected to certain animals waiting to help you. In this class you will identify and cultivate your animal totems, following respectful tradition. You will form partnerships to last you the rest of your life. And you will discover a source of health, relationships, work and self-knowledge you need. $950

Honoring animals as wise elder brothers and sisters, our distant ancestors lived in sacred partnership with the world, receiving what they needed and offering back their gratitude. 22 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 23


The Blue Deer

dances

with Sacred Fire

by Sharon Brown In each of our lives, there are times when we need healing, times when we must step back from the day-to-day to gain guidance from elders or to explore our relationship with nature’s spirits. Blue Deer Center offers retreat, repose and sacred space to nurture these personal journeys. When we return home, we may find things have shifted for us, and that we feel a sudden craving for the warmth of community. We may need the support of others to help us hold the changes coming into our lives. We may feel compelled to be around those who share our growing awareness of subtle energies and of the necessity of connecting with nature. This longing to connect with others can find expression through participation in the Sacred Fire Community, a sister organization to BDC that offers monthly fire circles in over 65 communities around the world. These gatherings, rooted in the experience of the timeless, generous, sacred quality of fire, offer a way to augment the healing and learning brought forth by time spent at Blue Deer Center. It’s been said that one can’t have a spiritual life without community. Sacred Fire Community (SFC) offers a transformative crucible, a place where inner work becomes externalized as we expand our sense of self and of the sacred through our relationships with others. By participating in Community fires and Lifeways programs, rituals and ceremonies that enhance the flow and cycles of life, we discover lives of meaning and purpose. The journey to wholeness expands beyond self and community into global cultural and environmental healing through Sacred Fire Foundation, the third member, along with BDC and SFC, of the Sacred Fire family of organizations.

24 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Sacred Fire Foundation (SFF) visions a world in which all people live in a sustainable, spiritual relationship with our Earth. This is the indigenous worldview, which SFF introduces to a wider audience through Sacred Fire magazine and the Ancient Wisdom Rising gatherings of elders and wisdom keepers. The Foundation demonstrates the relevance of ancient ways to our lives today by offering a fresh outlook on modern culture, calling us to connect with each other and the natural world. The activities of the three organizations are grounded in the wisdom and teachings of the Original Peoples, a way of life that is almost extinct in its original state. Sacred Fire Foundation supports the preservation and continuation of these traditional ways at their source, through small grants and honoraria that acknowledge the necessity of maintaining the teachings as well as the gratitude and respect we owe these wisdom keepers. The Sacred Fire family of organizations nurture each other. Many people arrive at the doors of Blue Deer Center because they learned of a workshop while attending a Sacred Fire Community fire; many people arrive at a Community fire because they read about it in the Foundation’s magazine; the Foundation and BDC share ideas and information about elders whose work is important to the world. Together, we encourage people to experience the healing heart opening and connection that arises from the powerful truth and beauty of living life in creative partnership with Divine.

(845) 586–3225 :: 25


The Blue Deer

dances

with Sacred Fire

by Sharon Brown In each of our lives, there are times when we need healing, times when we must step back from the day-to-day to gain guidance from elders or to explore our relationship with nature’s spirits. Blue Deer Center offers retreat, repose and sacred space to nurture these personal journeys. When we return home, we may find things have shifted for us, and that we feel a sudden craving for the warmth of community. We may need the support of others to help us hold the changes coming into our lives. We may feel compelled to be around those who share our growing awareness of subtle energies and of the necessity of connecting with nature. This longing to connect with others can find expression through participation in the Sacred Fire Community, a sister organization to BDC that offers monthly fire circles in over 65 communities around the world. These gatherings, rooted in the experience of the timeless, generous, sacred quality of fire, offer a way to augment the healing and learning brought forth by time spent at Blue Deer Center. It’s been said that one can’t have a spiritual life without community. Sacred Fire Community (SFC) offers a transformative crucible, a place where inner work becomes externalized as we expand our sense of self and of the sacred through our relationships with others. By participating in Community fires and Lifeways programs, rituals and ceremonies that enhance the flow and cycles of life, we discover lives of meaning and purpose. The journey to wholeness expands beyond self and community into global cultural and environmental healing through Sacred Fire Foundation, the third member, along with BDC and SFC, of the Sacred Fire family of organizations.

24 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Sacred Fire Foundation (SFF) visions a world in which all people live in a sustainable, spiritual relationship with our Earth. This is the indigenous worldview, which SFF introduces to a wider audience through Sacred Fire magazine and the Ancient Wisdom Rising gatherings of elders and wisdom keepers. The Foundation demonstrates the relevance of ancient ways to our lives today by offering a fresh outlook on modern culture, calling us to connect with each other and the natural world. The activities of the three organizations are grounded in the wisdom and teachings of the Original Peoples, a way of life that is almost extinct in its original state. Sacred Fire Foundation supports the preservation and continuation of these traditional ways at their source, through small grants and honoraria that acknowledge the necessity of maintaining the teachings as well as the gratitude and respect we owe these wisdom keepers. The Sacred Fire family of organizations nurture each other. Many people arrive at the doors of Blue Deer Center because they learned of a workshop while attending a Sacred Fire Community fire; many people arrive at a Community fire because they read about it in the Foundation’s magazine; the Foundation and BDC share ideas and information about elders whose work is important to the world. Together, we encourage people to experience the healing heart opening and connection that arises from the powerful truth and beauty of living life in creative partnership with Divine.

(845) 586–3225 :: 25


August 10 – 13

Sacred Fire Community REunion 2012: Celebrating Deep Community Where can you celebrate, dance, play, eat great food…and deepen your connection to the sacred world? At the Sacred Fire Community’s annual REunion, where we rekindle our connection to nature, each other, and our purpose, and then we bring those sparks of joyful, transformative deep community alive as we return home. Open to old friends and brand new ones, this event is your chance to warm up with community in action and to discover the sacredness that provides the deep taproot of the Blue Deer Center and its role in the world. The Center has a special relationship with the Sacred Fire Community, so it’s fitting for the 2012 REunion to be at home, right here at the BDC. The theme, Celebrating Deep Community, showcases the reasons that people can’t get enough of what Sacred Fire has to offer. Beyond the distractions of gadget upgrades and shop-around culture, there’s a strength of relationship that only deep community offers. Are you ready to dive in?

celebrating deep community

Guided by elders and the natural world, enriched by a diversity of lineages and personalities, and committed to wisdom, spontaneity and joy, the Sacred Fire Community has much to offer. Are you longing for something, a connection to Nature and the world around you that’s hard to find in today’s world? Ignite your deep community experience at our 2012 REunion. Play, laugh, eat, dance, touch the sacredness of the world. Dance with all of the emotions of life...together. In this time of great transformation in our world, remember: gathering together changes everything. For specific questions about REunion 2012, contact Paige at sfceventscoordinator@gmail.com | www.sacredfirecommunity.org

ACCOMODATIONS / MEALS

Adults

Teens (13–17)

Children (4-12)*

Double Room with Private Bath

$440

Dorm

$400

$260

$145

Camping

$310

$190

$75

Commuting

$225

$125

$65

Saturday with lunch, dinner, camping, and Sunday breakfast

$110

$80

$40

Saturday only with lunch and dinner

$80

$60

$25 *Children under 4 are free.

...igniting our world.
 26 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 27


August 10 – 13

Sacred Fire Community REunion 2012: Celebrating Deep Community Where can you celebrate, dance, play, eat great food…and deepen your connection to the sacred world? At the Sacred Fire Community’s annual REunion, where we rekindle our connection to nature, each other, and our purpose, and then we bring those sparks of joyful, transformative deep community alive as we return home. Open to old friends and brand new ones, this event is your chance to warm up with community in action and to discover the sacredness that provides the deep taproot of the Blue Deer Center and its role in the world. The Center has a special relationship with the Sacred Fire Community, so it’s fitting for the 2012 REunion to be at home, right here at the BDC. The theme, Celebrating Deep Community, showcases the reasons that people can’t get enough of what Sacred Fire has to offer. Beyond the distractions of gadget upgrades and shop-around culture, there’s a strength of relationship that only deep community offers. Are you ready to dive in?

celebrating deep community

Guided by elders and the natural world, enriched by a diversity of lineages and personalities, and committed to wisdom, spontaneity and joy, the Sacred Fire Community has much to offer. Are you longing for something, a connection to Nature and the world around you that’s hard to find in today’s world? Ignite your deep community experience at our 2012 REunion. Play, laugh, eat, dance, touch the sacredness of the world. Dance with all of the emotions of life...together. In this time of great transformation in our world, remember: gathering together changes everything. For specific questions about REunion 2012, contact Paige at sfceventscoordinator@gmail.com | www.sacredfirecommunity.org

ACCOMODATIONS / MEALS

Adults

Teens (13–17)

Children (4-12)*

Double Room with Private Bath

$440

Dorm

$400

$260

$145

Camping

$310

$190

$75

Commuting

$225

$125

$65

Saturday with lunch, dinner, camping, and Sunday breakfast

$110

$80

$40

Saturday only with lunch and dinner

$80

$60

$25 *Children under 4 are free.

...igniting our world.
 26 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 27


“My training and years of

August 31 – September 7

clinical work have convinced

Plant Spirit Medicine Healer Training, Session One

me that the overwhelming majority of our health problems, of all kinds – our physical health problems and our mental and emotional health problems – are caused by pain in our hearts, our spirit, and our soul.” — Eliot Cowan

with Eliot Cowan & Alison Gayek (for Eliot & Alison’s bios, see page 21) It is easy to recognize that plants offer us food, oxygen, and medicines, but less known today is that plants have spirits with wisdom to nurture and heal us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ancient cultures and shamans have known for millennia that the medicine of plant spirits can bring us into balance and harmony, but much of this tradition has been lost in the West. This course brings together shamanic techniques with the ancient Chinese medical philosophies of the Five Elements. As the course progresses, you will • Learn the Chinese Five Element Worldview • Study Pulse Taking • Practice Household Shamanism • Make direct relationship with plants through Shamanic Journeying • Engage in intensive clinical work to hone your Assessment/Treatment skills $2,210 (includes tuition, meals and lodging for week 1 of the course, plus a one-time non-refundable $300 registration fee). $1,895 (Commuter Rate for week 1, includes a non-refundable $300 registration fee)

28 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 29


“My training and years of

August 31 – September 7

clinical work have convinced

Plant Spirit Medicine Healer Training, Session One

me that the overwhelming majority of our health problems, of all kinds – our physical health problems and our mental and emotional health problems – are caused by pain in our hearts, our spirit, and our soul.” — Eliot Cowan

with Eliot Cowan & Alison Gayek (for Eliot & Alison’s bios, see page 21) It is easy to recognize that plants offer us food, oxygen, and medicines, but less known today is that plants have spirits with wisdom to nurture and heal us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ancient cultures and shamans have known for millennia that the medicine of plant spirits can bring us into balance and harmony, but much of this tradition has been lost in the West. This course brings together shamanic techniques with the ancient Chinese medical philosophies of the Five Elements. As the course progresses, you will • Learn the Chinese Five Element Worldview • Study Pulse Taking • Practice Household Shamanism • Make direct relationship with plants through Shamanic Journeying • Engage in intensive clinical work to hone your Assessment/Treatment skills $2,210 (includes tuition, meals and lodging for week 1 of the course, plus a one-time non-refundable $300 registration fee). $1,895 (Commuter Rate for week 1, includes a non-refundable $300 registration fee)

28 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 29


September 21-23

The Music of Life: An Exploration of Healing in the Sufi Tradition

with Ustad Nizami & Melissa Clare How do we find balance and healing in today’s world? The teachings of the Sufis remind us that there are spiritual resources available for everyone, if we only take the time to enter into a peaceful state. This weekend we come together as a group to enter into a deeper awareness of healing in our lives. Meditation practices will be interwoven with music, stories and teachings about healing. With practices using breath, sound and light we will purify and magnetize our being. Drawing on the energy of the Universe, we will increase our healing capacity while recognizing that the source of healing is Spirit. Exquisite music of generations of Sufis will open our hearts and carry us into meditative states. Friday evening’s introductory program will be open to the public on a donations basis An optional third day with Ustad Nizami (Monday, September 24) will be offered for musicians as a special orientation to healing through music: “Healing the Human Heart with our Music”. This program for musicians will include information about the way Sufi music scales correspond to different times of the day, and also interact with our emotions. This is a very big subject! $645 (for entire weekend, including Monday’s “Healing the Human Heart”) $475 (for Friday through Sunday’s The Music of Life, without “Healing the Human Heart”) $325 (“Healing the Human Heart” Monday program with overnight lodging and meals from Sunday evening through Monday afternoon)
 $250 (commuter rate for “Healing the Human Heart” on Monday)

Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami, a Chishti Sufi and seventeenth generation musician, is one of the foremost musicians and music instructors of Pakistan. He masterfully presents a vast array of styles including classical Indian, ghazal, geet, qawwali, bhajan, Pakistani folk and Sufi music. His principal instruments are sitar, vocals, tabla, and harmonium. Melissa Clare met her Sufi Teacher (Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan) in 1971, and then emigrated to the US to live in a Sufi Community, where for 17 years she immersed herself in the teachings, becoming a retreat guide, minister, and senior teacher. From 1987-1994 Melissa directed the Sufi Healing Order of North America, and later became a Plant Spirit Medicine Healer and a Firekeeper under the auspices of the Sacred Fire Community.

30 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Flowers of the Heart:

Sufi Master Musician Ustad Nizami Heals with Melody An interview by Zan Jarvis (with permission from Sacred Fire magazine)

Master Sufi musician Ustad Nizami calls on 600 years of musical history when he plays and sings the classical music of India on sitar, tablas, harmonium and other instruments. He is the 17th generation of a musical family line that started with a court musician who played for Moghul Emperor Akbar the Great. Nizami has played for presidents, kings and queens, but says his music is for all human beings to share in the spirit of healing, love and peace. ZJ: You are doing a workshop at the Blue Deer Center in September. Talk a little about what will go on there. UN: People want to know about this healing music and people want to learn. This music is for humans and I teach them that if they sing a certain line everyday they will feel different. I also describe Sufi poetry. I talk about the instrument, tempo, rhythm. It is like medicine for humans I teach. When people feel a headache, they say, “I need Ibuprophen. I need aspirin for my pain.” Well, I play a scale. Maybe Ibuprophen and aspirin have side-effects, but my music has no side-effects. It’s natural and organic. So, in our workshop, Melissa will talk about the brain, kidneys, the heart, the mind from her way then I will play a scale for (healing of) each organ and teach a line to sing for its health. ZJ: What does it mean to you to play for God, to speak for God? UN: If I am talking without greediness, if I am talking pure and with knowledge to everyone equally, I’m talking a God-given message that you make your peace in the world. You don’t kill. You don’t make enemies between humans. This is the main message of all religions. I don’t know of any religion in the world that doesn’t have that thought. You make peace and love and provide hospitality to poor people without food and medicine. If you are rich with knowledge, you provide knowledge. If you are rich with

money, you provide money for other people. If you are rich in food, you eat a little and provide food for other people. You know music? So you play good and nice music for humans. ZJ: How did you learn to play healing music? UN: I have seen it all my life. My father would play, my grandfather would play and people would be healed. Some people who are arrogant would give a challenge from their ego, but when the music would start, they would be healed completely, tears in their eyes. Or sometimes it would be a child. I would see my grandfather make ablutions, tune his instrument. He would say, “Close your eyes and just feel while I play this music.” Then five minutes, thirty or forty minutes after that I saw they were completely cured. Then they started teaching me the scales for healing. Now I have 44 years of my music life, my experiment. First my heart connects with my music and I feel cured. Then my audience feels cured.

(845) 586–3225 :: 31


September 21-23

The Music of Life: An Exploration of Healing in the Sufi Tradition

with Ustad Nizami & Melissa Clare How do we find balance and healing in today’s world? The teachings of the Sufis remind us that there are spiritual resources available for everyone, if we only take the time to enter into a peaceful state. This weekend we come together as a group to enter into a deeper awareness of healing in our lives. Meditation practices will be interwoven with music, stories and teachings about healing. With practices using breath, sound and light we will purify and magnetize our being. Drawing on the energy of the Universe, we will increase our healing capacity while recognizing that the source of healing is Spirit. Exquisite music of generations of Sufis will open our hearts and carry us into meditative states. Friday evening’s introductory program will be open to the public on a donations basis An optional third day with Ustad Nizami (Monday, September 24) will be offered for musicians as a special orientation to healing through music: “Healing the Human Heart with our Music”. This program for musicians will include information about the way Sufi music scales correspond to different times of the day, and also interact with our emotions. This is a very big subject! $645 (for entire weekend, including Monday’s “Healing the Human Heart”) $475 (for Friday through Sunday’s The Music of Life, without “Healing the Human Heart”) $325 (“Healing the Human Heart” Monday program with overnight lodging and meals from Sunday evening through Monday afternoon)
 $250 (commuter rate for “Healing the Human Heart” on Monday)

Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami, a Chishti Sufi and seventeenth generation musician, is one of the foremost musicians and music instructors of Pakistan. He masterfully presents a vast array of styles including classical Indian, ghazal, geet, qawwali, bhajan, Pakistani folk and Sufi music. His principal instruments are sitar, vocals, tabla, and harmonium. Melissa Clare met her Sufi Teacher (Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan) in 1971, and then emigrated to the US to live in a Sufi Community, where for 17 years she immersed herself in the teachings, becoming a retreat guide, minister, and senior teacher. From 1987-1994 Melissa directed the Sufi Healing Order of North America, and later became a Plant Spirit Medicine Healer and a Firekeeper under the auspices of the Sacred Fire Community.

30 :: www.BlueDeer.org

Flowers of the Heart:

Sufi Master Musician Ustad Nizami Heals with Melody An interview by Zan Jarvis (with permission from Sacred Fire magazine)

Master Sufi musician Ustad Nizami calls on 600 years of musical history when he plays and sings the classical music of India on sitar, tablas, harmonium and other instruments. He is the 17th generation of a musical family line that started with a court musician who played for Moghul Emperor Akbar the Great. Nizami has played for presidents, kings and queens, but says his music is for all human beings to share in the spirit of healing, love and peace. ZJ: You are doing a workshop at the Blue Deer Center in September. Talk a little about what will go on there. UN: People want to know about this healing music and people want to learn. This music is for humans and I teach them that if they sing a certain line everyday they will feel different. I also describe Sufi poetry. I talk about the instrument, tempo, rhythm. It is like medicine for humans I teach. When people feel a headache, they say, “I need Ibuprophen. I need aspirin for my pain.” Well, I play a scale. Maybe Ibuprophen and aspirin have side-effects, but my music has no side-effects. It’s natural and organic. So, in our workshop, Melissa will talk about the brain, kidneys, the heart, the mind from her way then I will play a scale for (healing of) each organ and teach a line to sing for its health. ZJ: What does it mean to you to play for God, to speak for God? UN: If I am talking without greediness, if I am talking pure and with knowledge to everyone equally, I’m talking a God-given message that you make your peace in the world. You don’t kill. You don’t make enemies between humans. This is the main message of all religions. I don’t know of any religion in the world that doesn’t have that thought. You make peace and love and provide hospitality to poor people without food and medicine. If you are rich with knowledge, you provide knowledge. If you are rich with

money, you provide money for other people. If you are rich in food, you eat a little and provide food for other people. You know music? So you play good and nice music for humans. ZJ: How did you learn to play healing music? UN: I have seen it all my life. My father would play, my grandfather would play and people would be healed. Some people who are arrogant would give a challenge from their ego, but when the music would start, they would be healed completely, tears in their eyes. Or sometimes it would be a child. I would see my grandfather make ablutions, tune his instrument. He would say, “Close your eyes and just feel while I play this music.” Then five minutes, thirty or forty minutes after that I saw they were completely cured. Then they started teaching me the scales for healing. Now I have 44 years of my music life, my experiment. First my heart connects with my music and I feel cured. Then my audience feels cured.

(845) 586–3225 :: 31


Scholarships The Center established a scholarship fund in 2011 to help those in need attend our programs. As donations earmarked for scholarship are received, the funds are allocated. For the 2012 program season, a limited number of scholarships are available to cover up to 50% of program fees (tuition+room+board). Programs with scholarship funds available are noted on the event pages on our website. Priority for awarding scholarships goes to those who have not previously attended a program at the Center.

Scholarship Application and Requirements • Submit a 1-page letter detailing your interest in the specific teacher/tradition and program for which you are applying. Include a brief statement of your financial need. • In exchange for receiving scholarship funds, we ask recipients to submit a written reflection of their experience following the program and the impact the program has had on their lives. Excerpts from this written summary may be utilized by the Center in grant applications and in our marketing materials. Please send your scholarship request to: info@bluedeer.org. If you would like to make a donation to the Scholarship fund, please visit our website.

supporting the

Blue Deer Center

All our efforts have taken root in establishing a home for ancestral traditions. With our current annual giving, Tending the Plants, we have readied ourselves as people return to help us carry on the ancestral ways. This year, the Center staff and volunteers are very focused on reaching out to the region and the world to bring forth the dream that is the Blue Deer. In Tending the Plants, we join together for a common future, in search of a shared understanding of where we are going and how. Our people have a need for sustenance that we can only get from the land. The Center is on the verge of making a very large step into the world. We are tending to the land, facilities, and you—our donors, supporters, volunteers, program participants, and elders—to be part of this undertaking. Program fees only cover a portion of the costs to operate, and the Center needs your help. To learn more about the possibilities for taking part in the Center’s giving programs, please go to our website and click on “GIVE.” In deep gratitude, we would like to thank all of the people from over the years for their unwavering support in providing a home for ancestral traditions. Making a one-time donation, a monthly pledge, or a planned gift is an easy and simple way to demonstrate support for the Center’s offerings. This year, we look forward to working with you to bring the Blue Deer’s offerings into the world. To add your support and learn more, please go to https://www.bluedeer.org/give. Thank you,

Peter Brown, Fundraising Director 32 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 33


Scholarships The Center established a scholarship fund in 2011 to help those in need attend our programs. As donations earmarked for scholarship are received, the funds are allocated. For the 2012 program season, a limited number of scholarships are available to cover up to 50% of program fees (tuition+room+board). Programs with scholarship funds available are noted on the event pages on our website. Priority for awarding scholarships goes to those who have not previously attended a program at the Center.

Scholarship Application and Requirements • Submit a 1-page letter detailing your interest in the specific teacher/tradition and program for which you are applying. Include a brief statement of your financial need. • In exchange for receiving scholarship funds, we ask recipients to submit a written reflection of their experience following the program and the impact the program has had on their lives. Excerpts from this written summary may be utilized by the Center in grant applications and in our marketing materials. Please send your scholarship request to: info@bluedeer.org. If you would like to make a donation to the Scholarship fund, please visit our website.

supporting the

Blue Deer Center

All our efforts have taken root in establishing a home for ancestral traditions. With our current annual giving, Tending the Plants, we have readied ourselves as people return to help us carry on the ancestral ways. This year, the Center staff and volunteers are very focused on reaching out to the region and the world to bring forth the dream that is the Blue Deer. In Tending the Plants, we join together for a common future, in search of a shared understanding of where we are going and how. Our people have a need for sustenance that we can only get from the land. The Center is on the verge of making a very large step into the world. We are tending to the land, facilities, and you—our donors, supporters, volunteers, program participants, and elders—to be part of this undertaking. Program fees only cover a portion of the costs to operate, and the Center needs your help. To learn more about the possibilities for taking part in the Center’s giving programs, please go to our website and click on “GIVE.” In deep gratitude, we would like to thank all of the people from over the years for their unwavering support in providing a home for ancestral traditions. Making a one-time donation, a monthly pledge, or a planned gift is an easy and simple way to demonstrate support for the Center’s offerings. This year, we look forward to working with you to bring the Blue Deer’s offerings into the world. To add your support and learn more, please go to https://www.bluedeer.org/give. Thank you,

Peter Brown, Fundraising Director 32 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 33


Program Registration

Lodging & Meals

Please register for your program on our website or give us a call at (845) 586–3225.

The program fees noted in the catalog and website are allinclusive and include tuition, accommodations, and meals during your stay. Accommodations in either our Main House or Guest House are shared, with two to four people per room in comfortable beds and shared bathrooms. Please bring sheets and a pillowcase for a twin bed and a towel. Please note that linen service fees are $25 for sheets and a pillow case and $15 for towel and washcloth.

The programs listed in this catalog may not reflect recently scheduled events. We reserve the right to cancel any program. For the most up-to-date program calendar, registration information and deadlines, please visit our website. For specific questions and inquiries, please email Linda Felch at info@bluedeer.org or call (845) 586–3225, ext. 4.

Commuter Participation

You will dine on fabulous gourmet fare each day, lovingly prepared by our chef extraordinaire. During registration you will have the option of selecting regular meals or vegetarian meals. With advanced notice, and for a small additional fee, our staff will do its best to accommodate any special dietary needs such as gluten-free meals. Coffee and tea service will be available. Feel free to bring your own snack foods, though with our chef ’s great cooking you probably won’t find yourself hungry! Dinner is usually served at 7pm on the first night of each program, although mealtimes may vary for each individual program.

Many programs offer participants the option of commuter participation. Please visit our website to see if commuter participation is available for your program. Should you choose this option, please be aware that you are expected to participate fully in the program and that you are responsible for your own transportation to and from the Center. Pricing for commuters includes both lunch and dinner, but not breakfast.

Cancellation Policy Certain programs have their own cancellation policies that supersede our general policy. These can be found under individual program descriptions on our website. In the absence of any mention of cancellation, the following policy applies: Cancellation of your reservation more than 14 days prior to arrival entitles you to a full refund less a $50 processing fee. If you cancel 2 to 14 days prior to arrival, your program fee, less a $50 processing fee, will be held for you to use in another future program for up to one year. No refunds or credits will be issued for cancellations received less than 48 hours before a program’s start date.

Visiting Us Would you like to make a special personal visit to the Center? Please call to make arrangements before your trip or plan to visit during one of our monthly open houses.

Getting to the Blue Deer Center We are located in the beautiful Catskills of New York. Please let us know about your travel plans so that we know your arrival and departure times. Driving Directions: See our website for best driving directions from the Albany International Airport, New York City, and Oneonta. Air Travel: The closest major airport is in Albany. Albany International Airport is two hours by car or 3 1/2 hours by bus. LaGuardia and Kennedy in New York City are two other options but require a longer commute. For programs ending before 2pm, we advise taking flights after 6pm. For programs ending after 2pm, we recommend flying the following day. You can reserve a room for an extra night and take the bus to the airport in the morning. Public Transportation: Available from Albany International Airport and New York City Port Authority. We provide free shuttle service to and from the Trailways bus stop in Margaretville, NY. TRAILWAYS (800) 858–8555 • Albany International Airport: Take the Trailways bus (leaves daily at 12:25pm) to Kingston, NY for transfer to Margaretville, NY. • New York City Airports: Take Airport Shuttle to the Port Authority and then the Trailways bus directly to Margaretville. If you would like to carpool or have a ride to offer, please contact Kristina at 845.586.3225 ext 4 or email us at transportation@bluedeer.org. Blue Deer Center: 1155 County Route 6 (also known as County Hwy 6 and New Kingston Rd.), Margaretville, NY 12455. 34 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 35


Program Registration

Lodging & Meals

Please register for your program on our website or give us a call at (845) 586–3225.

The program fees noted in the catalog and website are allinclusive and include tuition, accommodations, and meals during your stay. Accommodations in either our Main House or Guest House are shared, with two to four people per room in comfortable beds and shared bathrooms. Please bring sheets and a pillowcase for a twin bed and a towel. Please note that linen service fees are $25 for sheets and a pillow case and $15 for towel and washcloth.

The programs listed in this catalog may not reflect recently scheduled events. We reserve the right to cancel any program. For the most up-to-date program calendar, registration information and deadlines, please visit our website. For specific questions and inquiries, please email Linda Felch at info@bluedeer.org or call (845) 586–3225, ext. 4.

Commuter Participation

You will dine on fabulous gourmet fare each day, lovingly prepared by our chef extraordinaire. During registration you will have the option of selecting regular meals or vegetarian meals. With advanced notice, and for a small additional fee, our staff will do its best to accommodate any special dietary needs such as gluten-free meals. Coffee and tea service will be available. Feel free to bring your own snack foods, though with our chef ’s great cooking you probably won’t find yourself hungry! Dinner is usually served at 7pm on the first night of each program, although mealtimes may vary for each individual program.

Many programs offer participants the option of commuter participation. Please visit our website to see if commuter participation is available for your program. Should you choose this option, please be aware that you are expected to participate fully in the program and that you are responsible for your own transportation to and from the Center. Pricing for commuters includes both lunch and dinner, but not breakfast.

Cancellation Policy Certain programs have their own cancellation policies that supersede our general policy. These can be found under individual program descriptions on our website. In the absence of any mention of cancellation, the following policy applies: Cancellation of your reservation more than 14 days prior to arrival entitles you to a full refund less a $50 processing fee. If you cancel 2 to 14 days prior to arrival, your program fee, less a $50 processing fee, will be held for you to use in another future program for up to one year. No refunds or credits will be issued for cancellations received less than 48 hours before a program’s start date.

Visiting Us Would you like to make a special personal visit to the Center? Please call to make arrangements before your trip or plan to visit during one of our monthly open houses.

Getting to the Blue Deer Center We are located in the beautiful Catskills of New York. Please let us know about your travel plans so that we know your arrival and departure times. Driving Directions: See our website for best driving directions from the Albany International Airport, New York City, and Oneonta. Air Travel: The closest major airport is in Albany. Albany International Airport is two hours by car or 3 1/2 hours by bus. LaGuardia and Kennedy in New York City are two other options but require a longer commute. For programs ending before 2pm, we advise taking flights after 6pm. For programs ending after 2pm, we recommend flying the following day. You can reserve a room for an extra night and take the bus to the airport in the morning. Public Transportation: Available from Albany International Airport and New York City Port Authority. We provide free shuttle service to and from the Trailways bus stop in Margaretville, NY. TRAILWAYS (800) 858–8555 • Albany International Airport: Take the Trailways bus (leaves daily at 12:25pm) to Kingston, NY for transfer to Margaretville, NY. • New York City Airports: Take Airport Shuttle to the Port Authority and then the Trailways bus directly to Margaretville. If you would like to carpool or have a ride to offer, please contact Kristina at 845.586.3225 ext 4 or email us at transportation@bluedeer.org. Blue Deer Center: 1155 County Route 6 (also known as County Hwy 6 and New Kingston Rd.), Margaretville, NY 12455. 34 :: www.BlueDeer.org

(845) 586–3225 :: 35


Margaretville, NY 12455

For the most current program information and to receive our monthly E-newsletter, including articles and interviews, please visit our website — www.BlueDeer.org.

N ONPR OF IT ORG U .S . P OS TAG E PAID D EN V ER , CO P ER MIT N O. 3280

Blue Deer Center

PO Box 905

Grounded in the wisdom held by the elders, programs offered at the Blue Deer Center enable you to connect more deeply with nature, community, and the heart. The ancestral traditions provide a timeless pathway to emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

BLUE DEER

CENTER

Blue Deer Center is a charitable organization that is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) Blue Deer Center | P.O. Box 905, Margaretville, New York 12455 | www.bluedeer.org


Blue Deer Center 2012 Catalog