Wilderness Guide Apprenticeship

We offer two approaches to a Wilderness Guide apprenticeship. One is when a person is undertaking her/his first quest. In this case, the process of apprenticing calls for the person both to participate in the wilderness ritual itself and step back to reflect on the experience of being an initiator.  That two-hat approach can be challenging, given the depth of the quest experience itself and calls for a maturity marked by reflective awareness.  As an apprentice, you are asking yourself, “What am I going out to mark, celebrate, or confirm?  What is my intent?  Who will benefit from my training, that is, who are my people?”

A second approach is possible when a person has already experienced one or more personal quests. In that case, the apprentice stays in base camp to learn about the process of holding space for questers. A 24-hour solo time might draw you to ask, “What skills and sensibilities do I bring to this role and calling? How might I recognize this calling as part of my vocation?”

Our time focuses on: site selection, screening participants, day walk (purpose and safety), teaching the movements of a rite, preparation of participants in the physical, psychological, mental, and spiritual realms, an approach to four shields of human nature/ecopsychology/ecospirituality, the dynamics of fasting and using taboos, mirroring as the listening process for a quest, self-generated ritual, the shaping of intent, no-trace camping, and base camp practices.

From my perspective, readiness to guide others in a wilderness rite of passage calls for:

  • Identifying your population and screening experience;
  • Logistical skills, including site selection, obtaining necessary permits, meal planning and preparation, and campsite arrangements;
  • Teachings, including nature exercises and self-generated rituals;
  • Creating rituals for preparation, base camp, solo time, and reincorporation;
  • Holding base camp;
  • Mirroring, including hearing at least 10 quest stories;
  • A person will have had at least one personal quest, one base camp experience, and one quest to claim her/his role as a guide for wilderness rites of passage.

Apprenticeship application:  To being the process, send a letter of intention, stating what draws you to become a wilderness guide apprentice.  Please include any experience you have had with wilderness rites of passage thus far.  Include a description of (or better yet, a picture of) a symbol of your relationship with nature, and unpack its meaning for you.  Contact us with additional inquiries.

Cost of apprenticeship only (Sacred Quest additional):  $600, with a deposit of $250 two months prior to the beginning date.  Food costs of $75, plus the first dinner after the threshold time are in addition.