BearMedicine Workshop Plans 2001 – 2001

(This is a letter describing Carol's plans for BearMedicine workshops in Fall, 2001 and for the year 2002).

April 13, 2001
Dear Friends and Visitors to ShamanicVisions,

Greetings. I am mainly on Sabbatical this year but will resume teaching workshops in 2002. However, I wanted to let you know about plans that have developed for BearMedicine workshops this year and next year. If you are not interested in these workshops, but know of someone who might be, please forward this information to them.

You can check this website for other workshops I am doing this year and next. I will be updating this site as plans develop for the rest of this year and for 2002.

Please note the new Introductory BearMedicine Workshop which will be held in California this next September. As with many new workshops, information about this is best spread through word of mouth, friends telling friends. Also, since I'm on Sabbatical, I did not send out an annual brochure this year so am dependent on the good will of others to spread information about workshops that will occur between now and next Fall (when I do my next brochure).
If you are interested in these future workshops, let me know because I am going to collect the names of those to whom I send mailings – sending only to those interested and thus reducing overall administrative costs of postage, brochures, etc. – this is part of my continued quest to keep workshop costs as low as possible.

Be sure that Pirkko Miller knows of your interest since she coordinates the Advanced workshops. (email: PirkkoBear@aol.com)

Future Plans for BearMedicine Workshops: Spring 2001 – Fall 2002

Introductory BearMedicine Workshop
Sept 13 – Sept 16, 2001, Santa Cruz County, California

A three day workshop: "Introduction to Women, Shamanism and Bear Medicine" will be offered Sept 13 – Sept 16, 2001 at Sequoia Retreat Center. This workshop will be taught by Susan Gilliland and Laurie Levon. The total cost (excluding travel) is $415 (double occupancy) or $505 (single occupancy). Whether or not you are interested in taking a future Advanced BearMedicine workshop, if you want to become more deeply and consciously connected with the primary paradigms of BearMedicine, then this is a course from which you would benefit. In addition, it offers the opportunity to be in shamanic Circle with other women ‘walking with Bear.’

Laurie and Susan have worked with me over the last 6 – 10 years. Laurie actually coordinated the very first BearMedicine workshop in Tucson years and years ago. I am truly grateful they have answered the Call from Spirit to do this introductory course. This "Call" and their response was one of the seeds planted by Spirit during our time in Montana last fall. It represents a major shifting in this work. Forming a team together with Pirkko and me, the four of us are now able to extend what we can do both in the introductory work and in the advanced workshops.

A complete description of this workshop, and a registration form can be found at this website by clicking on the listing for this on my workshops home page. Simply go to the "rattle" icon which is where my workshop information is located and you will find the link to this announcement and registration form. You will also find more background information about Laurie and Susan. Or you can contact Laurie Levon at her email address:
evrchgwmn@theriver.com

Laurie can also send you the printed announcement/form about this workshop. Again, I ask if you would be kind enough to let other women know who might be interested in BearMedicine but would be unable to take the Advanced workshops unless they have taken the Introductory course.

For the Advanced Workshops:

Prerequisites: one must have participated in a previous BearMedicine Workshop with me or take the introductory course which will be offered this May. Other introductory courses are planned but this may be the only one between now and the next Advanced Bear Medicine workshop.

Enrollment limitations: I will keep these Advanced workshops limited in size. My plan is to do the Fall workshop at Blacktail and the Spring workshop at Sequoia Retreat Center which is here in Santa Cruz County. I hope to start doing more of my teaching at Sequoia. I have done several workshops there over the past five years and really like the place and the ecology.

Sequoia Retreat Center is a beautiful retreat place with lots of cabins (doubles/singles), good food - located in the Santa Cruz Mountains –. (And last year, two Bears were sighted along the mountain range – Park Rangers also tell us that there is an increase of both Bear and Lion to these mountains and those mountains just south of Santa Cruz. I very much doubt they would be within the "land" of Sequoia – yet they are close in spirit. Hiking trails take you to a waterfall, spacious meadows, and redwood groves…. These places easily lend themselves to connecting with the OldOnes and to ceremony.

Plans for Advanced BearMedicine Workshops:

I am laying the groundwork to offer 2 advanced BearMedicine workshops/retreats a year: Fall (Montana) and Spring (California). The Fall workshop will be longer in days (8 – 9); the Spring will focus on very specific themes/activities and probably be five days.

One of these workshops will involve a day/night of visioning. One will involve an all night (Sunset to Sunrise) time of transformation: dancing, rituals, stories. The "night of transformation" is very important as this is where we learn how to carry the world when all are sleeping; how to sacrifice our normal habits of rest in order to participate and join with those Powers that turn the world while we humans are sleeping and/or withdrawn from active engagement. How to return energy to Earth from whom we are always taking or receiving.

Visioning: A specific way of "questing for vision" is found among Women Bear doctors/healers and is not your typical one now practiced by most people who offer "vision questing." Although there have been marvelous adaptations of this ancient rite for women who wish to vision quest, it is still derived from the model used for men in tribal cultures. "Thirsting & questing’ is, however, essential work in BearMedicine and I want to introduce this in to my teaching. This rite has been profoundly important to me personally over the years – as it was to our Ancestors (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). The reason we have not done either of these in Montana is because of limited time and using that time to focus on our ‘Caving’ work. I shall probably include this activity in the Spring workshop and do the "night of transformation" in the Fall --- HOWEVER, Spirits will work with me on that decision over the months ahead.

Each of these activities requires a full day and night with preparation and group sharing the day before and after. It is not possible, nor desirable, to have them both in the same workshop – yet both of these are primary rites of passage in BearMedicine.

The reason I am going to offer two workshops is so that we may do these particular shamanic activities as well as other new explorations – and there is simply not enough time to do these if I use the model of the 7 – 9 days at Blacktail Ranch.

Participation in both workshops: It will not be required that an individual participate in both although definitely recommended. I am considering whether I wish to make this a two year commitment program – there are pros and cons to that decision. If it is a two-year commitment, one would commit to taking at least one workshop a year. This keeps the Circle growing in terms of continuity and ability to be a container for the powerful work we do together.
As I do more journeying on this issue of time and commitment, I will contact you if you have indicated prior interest; I will share my current thoughts and seek your input.

My anticipation is that the costs for both of these workshops will be roughly $160 - $200 per day. (This varies by the place, number of participants, craft supplies, any change of rates). I give you these figures just so you can have some estimated costs if you are interested. These are all costs excluding travel to and from the retreat centers. These are not a fixed figure although I do not anticipate any higher cost and I shall keep our costs as low as possible. As in the past, Pirkko will be coordinating and assisting me in these workshops. Next year, Susan Gilliland and Laurie Levon will also be joining Pirkko as Assistants. Most likely the number of Assistants with each workshop will depend on the size of the Circle. As I shift into teaching and doing more Advanced explorations, however, it is clear to me that Assistants are needed: both to me and to the Circle. Thus we are working together to build our shamanic team from a rich background of 10 years of working and studying together. Finally, it seems strange to me not to be gathering in the Fall – the first time in ten years I will not be Circling and teaching the Way of Bear. However, I am also thoroughly infused with joy from having these months of Sabbatical --- of questing with Elders, with Spirit, with Bear – it is time for me to open the greater MedicineBundle and see what other teachings wish to be shared when I return from my year’s Sabbatical. I also treasure this time to weave and integrate my experiences through writing. I don’t know yet what other forms my communications will take. I plan to post material on our website – to redo the whole section of the BearCave and related materials. For now, however, I am walking under the Guidance of Spirit’s pacing – listening, responding, exploring.

Other Workshops: In addition to the BearMedicine workshops, at my website I list other workshops or conferences in which I am participating or teaching during 2001. I did have some commitments prior to deciding to take a Sabbatical.

Remember: Those of you wishing not to be sent information regarding future BearWorkshops, please let me and/or Pirkko know. I have no wish to send unwanted workshop information!!!

With joyful anticipation of Circles coming together again
And….hearing the birds out my window
Who are Singing and Awake to Now….
I send you the song of GreatMotherBear
Who is Roaming the Earth
And stirring ‘neath snows in the far distant North…..
The is the time of illusion again
Neither Winter nor Spring
Both Winter and Spring….
Gathering up of our furry robes
Here On the threshold of all possibility
Opening like flowers, seeking the Light
Entering the World….

Love and blessings plenty…

Carol Proudfoot