Journeys Guided by the Ineffable Earth Energies of Headwaters Outdoor School
Facilitated by Jean Sage
Women’s Elder Rite of Passage
Pioneer Your Personal Pathways to Meaning and Purpose
June 16 – 20, 2022
Headwaters Outdoor School
Includes all meals, evening of the first day through lunch on the last day, and rustic lodging.
Stepping into our elder years requires courage to let go of things that no longer work. We have four immense challenges to face:
- Retirement – what are we retiring from and what do we move toward
- Mentoring – the possibility of applying our hard -earned wisdom as stewards of youth, land, and climate challenges
- Health – maintaining our aging bodies
- Mortality – losing our loved ones and inevitably our own death
These challenges require a new set of attitudes and skills. As we approach the last third of life, we need courage to discover latent talents, and discover new ways to be of service. It’s a time to explore how our life experiences open pathways to deeper meaning and purpose.
With humans living longer and healthier, an elder rite of passage is new territory. There are few road maps or traditions for an elder initiation. We are pioneers, discovering and creating what it means to enter spiritual maturity and to model our wisdom and character for our older children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Jean Sage had the opportunity thirty years ago to study with Angeles Arrien, cultural anthropologist, who created “The Four-Fold Way.” Angeles encouraged people to walk the mystical path with practical feet.
In her book The Second Half of Life she offers eight gates as archetypes to experience the initiation mysteries of elderhood through metaphors and symbols.
- The first gate, The Silver Gate, is opening to new experiences in our lives.
- The second, The White Picket, is the process of a life review, asking what roles we played in life.
- The third, The Clay Gate, is paying attention to our changing bodies and finding peace with its limitations.
- The fourth, The Black and White Gate, alerts us to deepen our relationships in more mature and loving ways.
- The fifth, The Rustic Gate, asks us to discover latent creativity or recreate our life-long creativity with our maturing, wisdom eyes. It’s the gate of contributing to our communities and discovering what might be our legacy.
- The sixth, The Bone Gate, is the best as we have reached an age where we are unconcerned of what others may think. We become our authentic selves.
- The seventh, The Natural Gate, is where we replenish our souls in nature or in silence. Though our beloved mother Earth is in pain, she cherishes healing us if we come to her in silence and reverence.
- The eighth, The Gold Gate, is perhaps the hardest. It is where we begin to practice nonattachment and prepare for our time to leave this beautiful earth and our loved ones.
We will incorporate some of the traditional Headwaters exercises: a code of honor, art projects and a sit spot.
The code of honor in our elder years allows us to explore values that served us through much of our lives, those which no longer serve, and others that become more meaningful. We will write a group code of honor for our elder years and create a group earth art piece. Each person will work with one or more of Arrien’s eight gates of their choice.
You will find a sit spot on the Headwaters land which is rich with a variety of sacred areas, where you will spend time in the mornings and late afternoons after our group meetings to sit quietly in nature and allow the earth to pull you into her rhythm. We encourage you to spend one night or more there as well. The mind calms and allows the inner mind to send gifts of what our soul yearns for in our last stages of life.
Angeles’ foundational principles of the “Four-fold Way” and the eight gates are a guiding blueprint, a starting point for our Elder Rite of Passage.
The Way of the Warrior – Show up, and choose to be present.
The Way of the Healer – Pay attention to what has heart and meaning.
The Way of the Visionary – Tell the truth without blame or judgment.
The Way of the Teacher – Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.
The Elder Rites will be three full days on the land beginning the early evening of June 16 and concluding after lunch on June 20. Cell phones and electronic devices are left at the office or in your belongings, the world is temporarily left behind for you to focus on your inner yearnings.
QUESTIONS? Call Jean Sage: (530) 227-3962
We invite you to join us in June for this opportunity to allow the rich language of the land at Headwaters Outdoor School to guide you into the gifts of elderhood.
What people say about their experiences at Headwaters:
“With the Headwaters Outdoor School I’ve seen more and done more in the wilderness than I’d ever do on my own! From these many wonderful experiences I find my life richer, deeper and stronger for it.”
– Judy Grant, Grant and Associates
“I think sometimes people come along that create a ‘before and after’ for you, and I’ve personally experienced (and watched other people experience) this with Jean Sage. There’s life before I met Jean, and life after. After is much better.”
– Jane Stapleton, Artist