WALKING THE SACRED WHEELA Year’s Initiation JourneyAround the Ancient Wheel
*Lessons From the Ancient Ones: The Spirit’s Journey
All the peoples of the Earth at one time honored and lived lives in tune with nature and the elements. They lived in relatively small groups and had simple needs that did not dramatically impact the environment. Civilization and its attendant legacy has given us centralized government, religion, modern education, science and industry – but in the process we have suffered a great loss. We lost our primary relationship to the Earth and its rich heritage of sacred
wisdom. Recently the last remaining keepers of this heritage all over the world have been given signs that now is the time for revealing, sharing, and “re-membering” the wisdom of the old ways.
*The Call of The Great Round: To Understand Balance and Live in Harmony
The predominant mode for learning in modern culture is linear and analytical. Knowledge is broken down into increasingly smaller and supposedly more manageable units. The goal of that process is to understand, predict and thereby control. The hierarchical religions seek to transcend nature rather than revere and therefore be in relationship with it. The ancients taught in rounds. Their learning was organic, unitive and balanced. They understood the need to transcend disintegration. Being dispirited, practicing learned helplessness and alienation are aspects of loss of personal power and loss of relationship with Spirit and connection with the earth. The old ways offered paths to integration and inner strength so that the wisdom gained could in turn be used in the external world for the good of all. Learning in a sacred round lays out for us our deepest and most basic cycles, our most organic rhythms, and our most fundamental yet ever evolving truths. It bridges the physical world and the realms of vision and imagination by embracing the universal web that supports all life.
Walking the Sacred Wheel: A Path of MysteryWalking the Sacred Wheel is presented in a universal sense for all spiritual seekers on a Path. It shares from all the major traditions in an integrated experience of wholeness. It is designed as a year-long walk of discovery. Like all life, we are influenced by the rhythms of the earth. The wheel is divided into quarterly gates and thirteen moons that work in depth with the meaning of each season and the cardinal direction of that season. An opportunity is offered to learn from the natural world how to live in harmony with the seasons, attune to their deep changes, and thus explore and nurture our own inner worlds. Wheel work is a time-honored cross-cultural quest for knowledge and personal strength that predates all known religions, philosophies and psychologies. It is an ancient and powerful form of inner relationship and information retrieval. Four areas are accessed in the process: healing, development of inner strength or empowerment, accessing new or lost knowledge, and foretelling. The key aspect is that on this path one has a direct personal connection with Spirit rather than a mediated experience through a teacher, priest, minister, rabbi, guru, etc. The course presents methods and processes, but it is Spirit that does the teaching. The methods and process are the vehicle through which the necessary relationship is established. This is not a course in shamanism although we use shamanic techniques extensively throughout because they teach us how to be in relationship with nature and therefore in sacred relationship to ourselves and others. And, though Wheel work is a visionary quest in the mystery play we call life, it is not ascetic, nor a colorless way of self-denial; it is full, and earthy, it is sacred and it is fun.
*Creating Sacred Space
Sacred Space is central to the wheel tradition. It holds that in the act of dedicating or claiming sacred space we do indeed create an actual context for contact with the Great Mystery and its aspects. Wheels have a life and power all their own that is supported by the centuries long lineage of many traditions. But the mysteries are not calcified, not frozen in time; they change and grow with the changes that occur in humankind and indeed all life. Every sacred space that is created has its own natural energy or underlying principle and teaching to offer. For instance, in a sweat space dedicated to the work, the “real” heat of the ceremony is a kind of hotness which burns away the things which separate us from the sacred. The ritual circle as sacred space is thus not a place arbitrarily set apart from the realities of the world, but on the contrary is truly aligned with the essence of creation through the coordinates of North, East, South and West. Through each act of sacred space we create, the mystery grows and evolves by our commitment. A corner stone of the Old Ways is to honor unique places of spiritual power. They have a special influence on consciousness. By honoring sacred place and creating sacred space, spiritual power is drawn down to us and to the earth.
InitiationMany modern psychologies work on the premise that the path to health and wholeness is through strengthening the ego. Earth-based spiritual traditions teach us to surrender ego control of the personality. They teach the concept of right relationship to the ego. The process of initiation removes our ego from the center of the universe. When societies abandon initiation rituals, individual egos lose an appropriate means of learning this valuable lesson. Life circumstances will urge the same lesson upon the ego eventually, but often in a painful and disintegrating manner. Even more importantly, the most serious consequence of ceasing initiation practices is the loss of learning about the true nature of maturity. A society has to know what maturity is before it can pass wisdom on. Walking the Sacred Wheel offers a modern form of initiation practices with a special difference. Initiates in many systems undergo a series of profound and dramatic tests or initiation ordeals. Only after many years of deep devotion and practice do they learn or have revealed to them the how and why of the ordeals. In Sacred Wheel work, initiates are guided in a more gradual and moderate way that explains the meanings of the teachings and the lessons to be learned at the time they are presented.
*What the Lessons Cover
Areas covered during the year long process include: initiation and the call; grounding, protection and purification; altars and the setting of sacred space; the web of power and power sites; service and the give-away; the spirit body; naming; the evolution of consciousness; life marking rituals; women’s and men’s mysteries; chanting, toning and power songs; ceremonial objects and medicine piece construction; journeying; power animals; sacred and trance dancing; help from guardians and guides; opening energy centers; fire building; fire walking; the magic of minerals, stones, herbs and plants; story telling and mythic realms; vision quests; praying, healing techniques and foretelling; transitions and thresholds; releasing and transformation; using the Wheel to work with the power of dreams.
**What You Receive
When you enroll in Walking the Sacred Wheel, you will receive an introductory lesson, an extensive glossary of terms and the first 4 lessons that correspond to the moon month of the season in which you sign up. Each lesson is to be completed on a weekly basis. You read the lesson, do the devotional practices daily, construct your ceremonial object(s) for the month, and complete the study guides which accompany each lesson. The purpose of the study guides is not to test one’s memory, for the text is not to be memorized, but to ground the energies of the work. A reorder form is at the end of the first lesson in each set of lessons. That reorder form should be returned, along with the lesson fee, to the Institute so that you will receive your next set of lessons on time. It is important to maintain a continuous cycle of study in order that the progressive energy of the work is not interrupted. You also have the option of having your lessons sent to you automatically each month. Fill in the authorization space on the enrollment application if you prefer this option.
**Optional Quarterly Intensives
At the conclusion of the quarterly seasonal cycles, an optional weekend intensive of personal sharing, ceremony and in-depth learning is offered at ceremonial lands on beautiful Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound of Washington State. Weekend intensives can also be arranged to take place in the area in which you live. The weekends provide an opportunity for you to sit in Council and ceremonial space, an opportunity to experience and facilitate the seasonal rituals, and time for deeper relationship with the power of the elements of the cardinal directions. In the Spring Intensive (the direction of the East) for example, you will experience a purification sweat and be taught the fundamentals of purification facilitation. You will work with the false-self masks, love flutes, and other East elements that give you direct experience with the powers of that direction.
**Sacred Circles Institute offers teaching certification if you wish to continue training into a second year of guide work. To receive credits it is necessary for you to send your completed Study Guides to the Institute at the end of each quarter. You will also be assigned a counselor and given times when the counselor may be contacted by phone for help with any questions or concerns you may encounter. Another purpose the counselor serves is that of a focal center whereby energy from the Institute is cycled to and from the student as s/he completes the study and growth process. You may also send letters to your counselor in care of the Institute. Certification requires attendance at a minimum of 4 weekend intensives during the 2 year completion time. For additional information regarding teaching certification, check the certification space on the enrollment application.
**What Does It Cost?
The financial energy and commitment to this spiritual work is $25 per set of 4 lessons which includes postage costs. It also requires a dedication and commitment to one’s own growth process, in that you must be willing to set your priorities in order to take time each week for the study, devotional and creative processes required for a true student or seeker.
If you wish to be enrolled in Sacred Wheel work, please fill in and sign the application on the enrollment form and return it to us with your check, money order or charge card authorization in the amount of $25. Your first set of lessons will be sent to you immediately. You of course have the right to cancel your enrollment at any time. Due to the cost of international postage, the fee per lesson set for those living outside of North America is $25 plus the cost of postage, remittance to be in U.S. funds via International Money Order. Due to postage rates, foreign students may order multiple lesson sets.