Seminary of the Wild Earth 2
2022-23 Wild Starlings Cohort
For graduates of Seminary of the Wild, holders of EcoMinistry Certificates
You've been through the program already. You've stepped into your wild call. You're ready for a deeper engagement in a safe but uncomfortable container (not too safe!) with the familiar accompaniment of like-hearted companions, weekly invitations, and
This is an opportunity to re-visit the four modules of Seminary of the Wild, only in a new way. You've changed
Throughout history, spiritual leaders are invited by the Sacred, by God, to go into the wilderness to remember their identity, listen for their calling, and engage in intimate conversation with the Holy present in the land which speaks (which is what the Hebrew word for wilderness also means).
The breathtaking dance of starling murmurations is a beautiful icon for the movement that is emerging. Wild spirituality is a movement of collaboration and reciprocity, a reformation emerging in our culture and our religions. It is a movement that calls us into intimate relationship with our own souls, with one another, and with the whole wide world at this pivotal time of transformation.
a threshold crossing
Is this for me?
The Eco-Ministry Certificate program is open to anyone who feels called into service to what Joanna Macy calls the Great Turning, the time we are experiencing now: upheaval and unraveling alongside emergence and restoration. It is for those who understand that the core of our ecological and cultural challenges is a spiritual problem that organized religion is not going to solve.
You do not need to consider yourself to be a pastor, a Christian, or even a "spiritual leader," and most participants are not. The old dominant story of a destructive, hierarchical, power-over culture is crumbling. What is emerging is still unknown. We cannot know what it will look like yet, but, in the fellowship of like-hearted souls, we are here to journey together into the cracks of mystery. The new story is emerging in very local, very particular, quiet ways. It is emerging through us.
The Eco-Spirituality Certificate is not a training program, per se. It is a "wild seed bed," a new kind of seminary, that invites you to honor and nurture the seed of vision growing louder inside you, urging you into service to the largest beloved community we can imagine.
to inspire new growth
from a long line of guides leading the way
nature-based curriculum from centuries of edge-walking spiritual ecologists
of like-hearted souls
a similar path
from gifted guides, spiritual directors, elders to support what longs to bloom through you
Leaning into More Feminine Ways of Knowing
ReWilding work is not new. Streams of spirituality deeply connected with all systems of life on earth flows through all religious traditions, even Christianity. Often associated with the divine feminine, an ecologically alive spirituality has been has been mostly buried and lost within our dominant cultures. The Eco-Ministry program is rooted in the wisdom of these ancient streams of Christian mysticism and Celtic spirituality as well as practices of contemporary spiritual ecology.
The program includes readings from some of the most prophetic voices of our time, guides holding space for your unfolding vision, invitations to enter into intimate relationship with your home Place and wild soul, and a community of like-hearted friends supporting you to show up as an "old growth human" (a Martin Shaw term!) through the process. Most importantly, we rely on practices to listen deeply to the wisdom of the dandelions, birds and clouds outside your door.
There is less talk about God and theory and more opportunities to encounter Divine Presence directly, and that in relationship with the natural world. The Eco-Ministry journey primarily relies on a set of non-dominant (ie: more feminine) ways of knowing such as dreamwork, contemplative wanders, embodied Earth-based prayers, imaginal journeys, poetry and writing, art and sacred council, ritual and ceremony. Grief work is essential to any growth and is foundational in the course. Experiential rather than didactic, seedings and invitations to wander and wonder are offered bi-weekly that attempt to break open old ways of thinking and birth new stories within you and ways of being.
WEEKLY ONLINE GATHERINGS. The modules meet weekly on Wednesdays at noon, pacific time. Every other week, participants meet in smaller "greenhouse groups" to share from the heart their wanderings
SEASONAL ZOOM INTENSIVES. Each module begins with an intensive offered at or near the quarter-days of the Celtic calendar, celebrating the center-point of each season. The intensives are an opportunity for extended time to wander and devote to the work. Intensives gather on Zoom at noon PST Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the beginning of each new module. (dates listed below)
TRANSITIONS BETWEEN MODULES. An online ceremony at the end of each module invites participants to cross a threshold into the next module. There is a weeklong break between modules.
Module One: PLACE
Belonging to Place as a Communion of Subjects
ZOOM SESSIONS: October 26, 2022 - January 18, 2023
HOLIDAY BREAK: December 14 - January 4
SAMHAIN INTENSIVE: November 4-5, 2022 (online)
Thomas Berry roots the core of our culture's (and religion's) problems in the spiritual disconnection from the rest of the alive world. So, we begin our journey with practices, conversations, and exercises that reconnect us in an I-Thou relationship with the natural world.
Choosing to belong to the land, rather than land belonging to you is an embodied process of listening, learning, grieving, and unknowing. In this foundational module, we explore our home place through more feminine ways of knowing (dreams, art, movement, imagination, intuition, wandering and wondering), and a portal of grace is opened.
As we develop intimate relationships with the more-than-human-Others of our homes, we build the foundation for the inner soul work and outer acts of love we are being called to bring into the world.
Untaming your Wild Soul in an Interconnected World
ZOOM SESSIONS: February 1 - April 19, 2023
IMBOLC INTENSIVE: - February 3-4, 2023 (online)
We are connected with the world (and our own soul) through our bodies. And yet, our culture tells us how our bodies should look and our religions often tell us our bodies are not important. Reclaiming our voice, our particular wild expression of who we are and what we bring to the world is a matter of incarnated belonging.
The Embodiment module invites you to deepen into your sensuous embodied self, engage with the parts of you that keep you safe (and small) and to invite a new story of belonging for yourself. Nature-based embodiment practices is how we remember that we belong to the land, belong to a family of ancestors that made it possible for us to be here and become a wise ancestor for future generations.
This is a journey of moving in the world deeply connected to your own inner authority, trusting the wisdom of your body, and practicing radical self and other-kindness as you do the work of decolonizing your bodies, your psyche and your spirit.
Module Two: EMBODIMENT
Module Three: SPIRIT
ReWilding Your Spirituality
ZOOM SESSIONS: May 3 - July 19, 2023
BELTAINE INTENSIVE: MAY 5-6, 2023 (online)
Studies, even, have shown that most people, whether they are involved in an institutional religion or not, experience the numinous presence of Spirit when they are relating to nature. And yet, most institutions -- particularly Christianity -- has gradually over the centuries aligned with Empire's rather than the core meaning of religion, which is re-connection (re-ligios = ligament = connector). Humans need religion to remind us that we belong, that we are part of a web of interconnection linked by layers of intimate conversation.
This module is focused on decolonizing our faith. How has our image of God and our practices of spirituality been distorted by the powers of patriarchy, white supremacy and species supremacy? How has Empire severed our perception of connection with the whole and how can we reclaim our place in the mysterious and miraculous wonder of an evolving kin-dom of God?
Stepping into the Call to Embody Your Vision
ZOOM SESSIONS: August 2 - October 11, 2023
LUGHNASADH INTENSIVE: August 4-5 (online)
GRADUATION CEREMONY: October 14, 2023
Mary Oliver asks, "What will you do with your one wild and precious life?" The final module guides you to weave together the silken threads of your journey with the needs in your community and the voices from your particular Place. You may just find yourself called to be "ordained by the wild" to establish new ways of embodying the new story in your community.
We can often minimize, ignore or fear the gifts and vision we've been given. This module is a mirror, an encouragement, a support system to not only name what wants to emerge in and through you, but to courageously and reverently bring it into the world.
After graduation, ongoing connection and support to carry out your vision is available because we need one another!. We are in this together.
WHAT GRADUATES SAY
Graduates from four cohorts of the EcoMininstry certificate program, offered through Seminary of the Wild, share a bit of their experience.
For me, an identity shift happened. It has to do with being a woman who is in touch with the wisdom of the Earth, who is intuitive and wildly indigenous, who is whole, who sees the enchantment and the sacredness all around and wants to share that with the world. I am glad that I am confident in who I am and what I have to bring and give to the world. … Thank you again for giving the space to deepen into this journey.
This program has made me think so much about how the call of the wild is really a call to the deepest authentic self. It is about being and belonging rather than competing or strategizing. I’ve come to think of freedom as, really, the courage to live from your deepest, most authentic self. The self that is wild. That’s what Seminary of the Wild has been immensely helpful for me and I feel so much gratitude for it.
A lot of my journey has been unraveling. Unraveling myself from the patriarchy. Unraveling myself from white supremacy. Unraveling myself from the world that says, "This is how you do it." I feel very grateful for this process that could hold that whole unraveling and unbraiding and reweaving of what is listening to the authentic, inward compass. What does that look like when it's not being defined by someone else? It's been an honor.
Each month we offer a Zoom call for folks who are considering the program. You are invited to enter into conversation with the guides, alumni, and others who are already committed to the cohort. The time allows for questions, curiosities and a chance to meet fellow edge-walkers.
Monthly Group Calls
Because this program (and the new story!) is rooted in relationship, we do not require an application. Instead, we invite a conversation. If you are seriously considering the Eco-Ministry Certificate program, please schedule a short conversation to share some of your story, ask questions and engage in a discernment process with us.
What authors and thinkers are included in the program?You can tell there is a movement happening by the expanding library of prophetic eco-theological books, networks, poetry, artwork, and the flow of offerings by people who use the language of relationality to whisper from the heart of the divine Presence in nature. We are particularly inspired by elders in the ancient and emerging eco-spirituality world such as Thomas Berry, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Randy Woodley, Bayo Akomolafe, Martin Shaw, Toko-pa Turner, David Whyte, John O'Donahue, Joanna Macy, J. Drew Lanham, St Francis of Assissi, Mary Oliver, John Philip Newell, Annie Dillard, Hildegarde of Bingen, Richard Rohr, Wendell Berry, Christina Cleveland, Mirabai Starr, Bill Plotkin, Tielhard de Chardin, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Meister Eckhart, Matthew Fox...so many beautiful voices to be heard from humans. Reminder, though, that the primary voice is your own, in conversation with the Sacred and with the more-than-human-others in your home Place. (The program strongly suggests a couple books per module and offers shorter essays, TED talks, videos, substacks, podcasts and other ways of learning from new and ancient voices leading the way...but none of them are considered "assignments." Everything is an invitation that strengthens your own inner authority and honors your particular curiosity!)
What do I do with this Certificate?The Eco-Ministry Certificate is a badge on your resume that shows you've committed yourself to the re-integration of ecology and spirituality, for the benefit of the emerging new, more kind and interconnected way of being human. While you will learn by practicing ways of holding ceremony, guiding others into spiritual practices that reconnect us with the rest of the world, eco-theology, dreamwork, imaginal journeying, and other non-linear ways of knowing, this is not a certificate to do some particular job like a wild church pastor or a wilderness soul guide or an eco-spiritual director, though we do offer other programs to pursue these paths. The soul work YOU are called to create is particular to you, your community and the particular non-human others in your place. The seed of vision you've been given by Spirit and Earth, herself, is likely something that has no model in our dominant culture. That's the point. The Eco-Ministry program offers support as you step into the role you are uniquely created to fill, which is definitionally counter to the dominant culture. The status quo requires complicity, not creativity. You will meet resistance. We are changing the public narrative, my friends. We are being called to participate in shifting the values, language, and worldview of a dominated culture dominated by domination into a worldview of interconnection, regeneration, and, well, love.
How much time do I need to set aside for the program each week?The program has been created for people to engage at the level they are able. There are books, but not assignments. There are art and movement practices and podcasts and poems and wandering and journaling invitations. But everything is an invitation. Those who can give more time to the practices, of course, will likely get more out of the program, but past participants have been able to experience significant transformation no matter how many children they have to nurture or jobs they have to tend. But if you're asking about the minimums...the minimum participation is simple: show up and go out. Show up each week. And go out to your wild places at least a half hour each week to wander with the seeding invitations. We all have lives, and it is necessary to miss a week occasionally. That's completely understandable and we encourage full inner authority to decide what is life-giving on a daily basis! All of the cohort gatherings, the "seedings," are recorded and posted weekly, so you can catch up easily. And the invitations are posted each week on a platform called Trello, so you can access them at any time.
Are there any in-person gatherings?At the end of the program, you will be invited to an optional in-person gathering for Wild Ordination. Information about cost and location TBD.
What are the specific dates and times for the gatherings?Zoom calls: Wednesdays 2-4 pm PST Dates for Fall Modules: First Module: Oct 18- Dec 13 (Intensive date 10/21, 8:30-11am PST and 2-4pm PST) Second Module: Jan 3 - Mar 6 (Intensive date 1/6, 8:30-11am PST and 2-4pm PST) Third Module:: Mar 20 - May 22 (Intensive date 3/23, 8:30-11am PST and 2-4pm PST) Fourth Module: June 5 - Aug 10 (Intensive date 6/8, 8:30-11am PST and 2-4pm PST)
Can I make payments? Do you offer scholarships?We are working on becoming a non-profit and raising funds for scholarships. Unfortunately, for now, that means we aren't yet in a position to offer scholarships. However, we do offer payment plans that can span throughout the year.
Victoria Loorz, MDiv
Founder, Center for Wild Spirituality, co-founder Seminary of the Wild and
Wild Church Network.
Teachers, Facilitators and Guides
Emerging from the wisdom gained from the first four cohorts of the eco-ministry program developed by Seminary of the Wild and on the work of Victoria Loorz as glimpsed in her book, Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred, the seedings burst from a range of prophetic teachers at the eco-tones of the wild spirituality movement.
Guides and small group leaders include spiritual directors, eco-guides, eco-therapists, coaches and trauma therapists, many of whom have graduated from the Eco-Ministry program offered through Seminary of the Wild. Their bios will be posted soon!