The First Certificate Program in
“You carry Mother Earth within you.
She is not outside of you.
Mother Earth is not just your environment.
In that insight of inter-being,
it is possible to have real communication with the Earth,
which is the highest form of prayer.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh -
Introducing the first certificate program dedicated to the practice of spiritual guidance in reverent conversation with a sacred, living world. Traditional spiritual direction is often taught as a companioning relationship — rooted in guiding others to listen to the Sacred through the joys, questions, and griefs of life, and to connect more deeply with Divine Reality.
But how can we listen for the Sacred without also listening to the land?
Eco-Spiritual Direction is an emerging, yet ancient practice that honors the vital role of nature in human transformation and helps to provide a spiritual foundation for ecological justice. Eco-spiritual direction draws on a more ancient and holistic understanding of what it means to be guided by Spirit — fully in collaboration with the living world.
Training for Eco-Spiritual Direction includes all the basics of a traditional spiritual direction program, but is rooted and shaped by deep ecology and the wisdom of our physical and mystical relationship with Creation. This formation process is a unique, first-of-its-kind program that combines the powerful eco-spirituality experiential program of Seminary of the Wild Earth in partnership with STILLPOINT, the leading spiritual direction training center out of California which has been training people to companion others in their lives of faith, spiritual practice and action for forty years.
A Beautiful Partnership:
There is a one year track for trained spiritual directors to earn an Eco-Spiritual Direction Certificate and a two year track and certification for those seeking full training as a spiritual director with an Eco-Spiritual Direction emphasis.
2023-24 COYOTE COHORT IS FULL!
NEXT COHORT BEGINS
Soul companioning with the more-than-human
Why Eco-Spiritual Direction is Emerging Now
We are living through an ecological and cultural unraveling where many people are feeling fear, confusion, grief (and even hope) that extends beyond their own human stories. And there are few who can help them to integrate both their interior spiritual experience with our collective cultural and ecological realities.
This is a time when a new kind of spiritual guide is needed — The EcoSpiritual Director is a companion listening for the diverse voices of Mystery in conversation with an alive and interconnected planet. The living world is the ultimate guide into the mysteries of life and the soul’s unique path. An eco-spiritual director simply helps others recognize Spirit moving through the incarnate world. It is within this deepening and widening recognition of Earth's sacredness that a sense of fundamental belonging, purpose, and transformation becomes possible.
As you discern a call to spiritual companionship, committed to deep relationship with all others -- both human and more-than-human -- you are considering an urgently needed vocation at a critical time in human history. By offering others a sense of deeper interconnectedness and trust in the wisdom of creation, you are not only supporting them on their personal journey, but also restoring a fundamental bond between the wider human and more-than-human communities. It is a practice of relational belonging to a world that calls us into communion, and of helping others step more fully into their own wholeness and unique life paths.
Do you feel called to a vocation of holy conversation?
Discerning a Call to Sacred Conversation
EcoSpiritual Direction is a ministry of holy (and wholly) listening, the foundation of conversation. This breakthrough program was created for the wild ones who have heard the whispering call from Earth and Spirit to restore the great conversation. The program honors and encourages all diverse expressions of faith.
This program is for those who :
Have noticed that people naturally open up to you. "I've never told anyone else this before" has been heard many times throughout your life.
Experience the Sacred most deeply in relationship with the natural world.
Have a sense of calling from the land, your community, and from deep within your soul to offer spiritual companionship in conversation with the living world.
Are sensitive to the inherent wisdom each person carries on their own journey, as well as to issues of social and ecological justice.
Sense that now is the time for a commitment to your own wild spirituality, and a willingness to explore your own depth, shadow, and gifts.
Or, perhaps you are already a spiritual director, seeking a more expansive and wholistic framework for your practice and your own personal spiritual development.
For Those Seeking Certification as a Spiritual Director
A two-year training in the art and practice of spiritual direction within the eco-spirituality paradigm.
For Those Who Are Already a Spiritual Director
A one year track for trained and practicing spiritual directors to expand your practice in relationship with the natural world.
Framework for the Journey
This program spirals inward with the material of Seminary of the Wild Earth, focusing on the interior journey of rewilding your spirituality and deepening your embodied and intimate connection your particular place, your unique soul's journey.
In the spiraling outward, it is a training that combines ecological wisdom, eco-spiritual practices, and spiritual guidance skills to equip you with the foundational tools to support others on their journey in connection with an alive and interconnected planet.
Experiential and deeply honoring of all spiritual traditions (and no tradition), the program is ecumenical, expansive and inclusive, a wild seed bed for the work of Spirit in sacred conversation with the living world.
Gifted teachers and experienced guides support you in your journey. Small peer, "kinship groups" will become a core community of kindred spirits.
You will receive monthly eco-spiritual direction sessions with your kinship group Guide throughout the first year and mentoring in the second year
Weekly "seedings" (teachings) along with interactive, embodied, and the more "feminine ways of knowing" or heart-intelligence to listen to the Sacred presence in and between all things. An integrated curriculum of wandering invitations, dreamwork, journaling, readings, conversations, imaginal journeys draw you into your own journey to be present with others in theirs.
With the gentle support of guides and peers, you will be offered regular, ongoing opportunities to practice the art and skills of eco-spiritual direction in the second year of the program (or the fourth module of the first year if you are already a practicing spiritual director). With regular practice, you will leave the program confidently rooted in the practice of eco-spiritual direction.
Completion of the program with a final five day immersion experience at Ghost Ranch, you will feel equipped with the experience and resources you need to serve your community -- both human and more-than-human with deep integrity. This unique training unlike any other, is completed with a certificate to offer eco-spiritual direction in your unique way and your particular place.
BI-WEEKLY ONLINE COHORT SEEDINGS. Wednesdays 2pm-4pm PST
The EcoSpiritual Direction cohort meets bi-weekly for teachings we call "seedings" meant to invite you to look at the world, your place, and your own soul in an interconnected and something way. A team of gifted, published guides will offer new material to consider and along with the Seminary of the Wild Earth cohort for the first hour.
BI-WEEKLY KINSHIP COUNCIL GROUPS. Wednesdays 2pm-4pm PST
Every other week, participants meet in smaller "kinship groups" to share from the heart their wanderings....guided peer groups, group reflections and support.
SEASONAL ZOOM INTENSIVES. Each module begins with an intensive on the first Saturday following the start of each module. The intensives are an opportunity for extended time to wander and devote to the work. Intensives gather on Zoom 8:30-11:00 am and 2-4 pm PST Saturday with a time of wandering in your Place in between. These Saturday intensives are an all-day commitment, important for immersing into the new module.
DEEPENING INVITATIONS. Every week, there are invitations that include readings, journaling, reflection papers, and -- most importantly -- weekly invitations to wander in your home Place as you deepen into relationship with the more-than-human Others who share your Place. By Year Two, you will be practicing spiritual companionship with your peers and you'll be asked to find two directees outside of the group.
MONTHLY MENTORING & ECO-SPIRITUAL DIRECTION with your kinship group Guide to support your personal and professional process.
FINAL RETREAT/INTENSIVE/CERTIFICATE CEREMONY. A five day intensive (at an additional cost, to be held at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico) is required to complete the certificate program. The program is scheduled for October 2023 for existing spiritual directors after completing the "ReWilding" Year One of the program and in September of 2024 for new eco-spiritual directors after completing the complete two year program.
October 2023 - August 2024
The foundations of eco-spirituality, focusing on the core practices of connecting to Nature as spiritual journey.
September 2024 - June 2025
Focused on the art of heart-centered spiritual companionship in conversation with the sacred voices of the wild Earth herself.
October 2024 OR June 2025
In-person, on-land program completion in the sacred red rock canyons of Ghost Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
YEAR TWO: THE ART OF ECO-SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
Focused on the art of a spiritual direction, learning to help others weave their own stories into the mythic tapestry of the living world.
The second year of the training is a practicum: learning by doing. Students gain practical skills in the art of spiritual direction including practice in the realms of discernment, dreamwork, holding space and other skills of the work that you might learn at another reputable training. The emphasis, however, in eco-spiritual direction training is on the practice of including the more-than-human others in the spiritual companioning relationship.
Through supervised sessions, triads within the cohort, working with at least two directees on the land in your home pace, readings, reflections papers and written verbatims, you will complete the program with a confidence in your own calling and clarity in. how you want to offer your gifts to your community.
Year Two is optional for previously trained and practicing spiritual directors.
On-land, In-person Intensive at Ghost Ranch toward Certification.
Five days in the mythic canyonlands, solo wanderings among the red rocks encountering lizards and sage brush and stars, this final intensive is an immersion into the practice of listening to nature, soul-to-soul, in a relationship of sacred reciprocity.
Through one-to-one and small group spiritual companioning, you will be supervised, encouraged and evaluated in your practice of Eco-Spiritual Direction. Ceremony, dance, grief work, wanderings and the gifts of a supportive community in a truly sacred land.
A certificate of completion will be awarded in a ceremony at the end of the intensive to those who have completed the objectives of the program.
For Those Who Are Already Spiritual Directors
One Year Program + Retreat
Program begins Oct 18, 2023
On-Land Intensive @ Ghost Ranch Oct 2024
$3995 for Year One: ReWilding
$2200 for Intensive Retreat
For Those Seeking Certification as a Spiritual Director
Two Year Program + Retreat
Year One begins Oct 18, 2023
Year Two begins Sept 2024
On-land Intensive @ Ghost Ranch Oct 2025
$3995 for Year One ReWilding
$3450 for Year Two Practicum
$2200 for Intensive Retreat
YEAR ONE: REWILDING YOUR SOUL
Explore your own relationship with an untamed God,
the natural world and your own wild soul.
The path of an eco-spiritual director is learning how to listen. The first year of the program cultivates our senses and the intelligence of our hearts to listen more deeply to the Other – our human and more-than-human kin. The focus is on deepening your own personal spiritual transformation in intimacy with a truly sacred and interconnected Earth.
Following the flow the Seminary of the Wild Earth journey for the first three modules of the first year, you will be preparing to serve others through eco-spiritual direction by journeying into your own depths, while being held and supported within a strong community. The fourth module introduces the integration of what's been learned into the practice of eco-spiritual direction.
On a planetary scale, we are walking beyond the known into the unknown. Throughout the program, there is a focus on sitting within the unknown and listening through our spiritual senses, the heart, and the wisdom of our own soul in an ongoing sacred conversation with the numinous found within all living things.
Previously trained and practicing spiritual directors will be invited to attend the Ghost Ranch intensive in 2024 to complete their certification. They may choose to invest in more training by taking the second year.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.