Vermont Wilderness Rites
Vermont Wilderness Rites
Vermont Wilderness Rites Be Still. Listen. What in your life is calling you?
Vermont Wilderness Rites Be Still.       Listen.       What in your life is calling you?


ReTribe supports youth to become powerful, self-realized adults who, together, will foster a “New Culture” built on radical acceptance and connection to self, others, and the earth. 

Radical Joy for Hard Times

Radical Joy for Hard Times is a worldwide community committed to finding and making beauty if wounded places.   Fran Weinbaum is honored to join the "Band" of Directors for Radical Joy for Hard Times.   Visit the Radical Joy website for more information about the Global Earth Exchange.


Quest work in Ukraine

There is a network of guides in Ukraine who are offering quests, retreats and rites of passage. 



The translation of the opening page was provided by Anastasia Khromova


Reconnecting to the Nature is Ukrainian-Russian psychological project of Self-cognition and personal development relying on the resources of nature. The Earth is waiting and always ready to accept who you are! Come and feel the connection!




The School of Human Nature

Czech Republic




Review of Wild Mind A Field Guide to the Human Psyche by Bill Plotkin

The quick review is - READ THIS BOOK. If you are familiar with Bill Plotkin's soul-centered and eco-centered work or were simply intrigued by the title enough to look at the reviews, read it. There is something in Wild Mind A Field Guide To The Human Psyche for you.

The brief review:

I had the honor of interviewing Bill Plotkin for Circles on the Mountain, the annual publication of the Wilderness Guides Council, right before the publication of Wild Mind. It gave me an opportunity to discuss the "field guide to the human psyche" with the author who has also been guide, mentor and colleague within the now international wilderness rites community. I highly value all of Bill's work and found that Wild Mind articulates the foundation of his work in a remarkably clear and usable form. Wild Mind returns explicitly to the roots of nature based work (the four cardinal directions within time and space) and offers ways to deepen our understanding of that work for ourselves or others. Readers who have experience with wilderness quests and eco-psychology will find it both very familiar territory AND new ground. Readers unfamiliar with Bill's other two books will find Wild Mind a good place to start. I have recommended the book to people that I work with as a life coach and wilderness rites guide.

And for those who want a bit more:

Wild Mind is powerful, important, extraordinary, visionary. Bill Plotkin is a master with words, able to be both poetic and erudite in the same sentence. There are a couple concepts that he explores that I found particularly poignant.

There are at least three ways in which someone can be indigenous: culturally (of a particular people or tribe), ecologically (of a particular ecosystem or geographical place), and terrestrially (of Earth), each kind having an essential relationship with the other two. (page 55) As he notes in the next paragraph, "most people today are neither culturally nor ecologically indigenous." Many people come to wilderness rites programs (or therapy, coaching, healing practices) with a sense that something is missing - a yearning, or that they are broken and need to be fixed. It is this connection with lineage, history of place, and connection with Earth that many are seeking. This search leads many to Native ceremony of the Americas or other lands and dangers on appropriation. What Bill's so aptly names is that we all, regardless of how far removed we are by time and distance, from our true ancestors and the land where their bones lie, we can enter into authentic and meaningful relationship with Earth where we are now. It is not only possible, but necessary, and perhaps the only thing that can change the human relationship with the Earth to one of honor and respect.

"Indigenity" is related to one of the core messages in Wild Mind - what needs to exist for a healthy culture: Protect and nurture the environment, "raise elders" who can initiate the young into true adulthood, and protect the the wholeness of individuals. (page 21.) People who live in proximity with each other and in right relationship with the Earth can be the seeds for the future generations. As Wendell Berry says in his poem Work Song Part 2 A Vision, they are the "lives that our lives prepare."

The Field Guide subtitle is apt - Bill offers pictures (in words and maps) of what you are looking for so you can recognize it when you see it and suggests ways to sharpen your tracking skills. What I found most useful within those were the Four Facets of Self - what constitute wholeness. The images they create in the mind and the emotions they elicit are enough to jump start your psyche! The Wild Indigenous One. The Muse and Inner Beloved. The Nurturing Generative Adult. The Innocent and the Sage. Bill provides descriptions of each including what we are most often aware of - when those natural human essences are wounded and not developed. Rather than focus on fixing the brokenness, Wild Mind invites us to develop wholeness. It is strength based, asset development model of the human psyche.

What do I NOT like about Wild Mind? If I have to name something it is the use of an acronym for three dimensional ego - 3-D ego. A trite comment, perhaps, but it sounded gimmicky in the otherwise solid book. I made a point to say it in full every time I read 3-D ego, to feel the weight of it, the challenge in it, the possibility of it.

Thanks, Bill. Waiting for the next book!


This review appears on and  



Ise Oluwa

Ise Oluwa.    I learned this song a few years ago.  It goes straight to my heart and then leaps out into the world.  Listen enough times so that the music begins to sing through you and then keep it humming into the New Year. 




Contact Us

For information and to register for any Vermont Wilderness Rites Programs contact:


Fran Weinbaum

128 Bliss Road

Montpelier, Vermont 05602



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Art Credits


The art work and photographs that appear on this site are copyrighted. Please respect the work and the generosity of the artists and do not copy or reproduce any images on this website.  Contact the artist for more information about purchase or use of their work.  


Photograph in Rooted Action by Zach Reiner found at


Selections from Portraits of Nature by Corinna Stoeffl


Soaring and Leaping Ecstasy are by Jeannie Lindheim


Lady of the Land and Women in Leadership logo drawn for Vermont Wilderness Rites by Sara Grace. 


The Mirror of Nature watermark photograph by Tomasen Weinbaum.


Photographs shown in the Gallery from the October 2012 quest on Green River Reservoir by Arthur Hynes