Read About It

I use this page to offer insights and teachings from myself and others. Check here also to learn about news in related fields.

Fran - to add a new "Musings" post:

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Seasonal Celebrations

Learn about the seasonal celebrations through AllTogetherNow!

New Beginnings

The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.

- Pablo Picasso

I recently saw this quote and shared it on the Vermont Wilderness Rites Facebook page because it speaks to the core of what we strive to offer through our programs.  We do not promise answers to those questions but we do invite participants into a listening relationship with the natural world where they are offered a mirror of their own true essence.  Within that essence, often born of both troubles and joys, lies your gift. Knowing and claiming what you uniquely carry for some greater purpose is what animates, motivates, enlivens.

I am particularly excited about the new programs being offered because they are being created and guided by the next generation of guides who personify Picasso's words.   Rooted Action is the first example. The guides - Erik Gillard, Hannah Morgan, and cara barbero live the work.  It is not a sometimes thing: their commitment to the land we live on, to the community that surrounds us, and to the wider world filled with beauty and angst is who they are and how they live.

The Embrace of Nature was offered virtually during the pandemic and is  now offered in "real-time."  The small groups that met online in the past year explored nuances of an embrace that were not in the original imagining of what was possible.  The territory grew as we took questions out on the land - sometimes right outside our doors -and returned with stories of desire, vulnerability, longing, and hesitation.

I am finding it difficult to sit at my computer for very long.  The garden calls loudly to be tended and harvested.  I would rather weed, create berms, and clean the goat shed than clean the house!  I prefer snacking on berries and pea pods to fixing a meal.  That said, I will strive to write a weekly reflection on the emerging ideas and programs. Individual guiding, coaching, and ceremony are always available in person, by phone, or virtually.

From a Wildly Green Vermont,

Fran Weinbaum

Organizations i recommend checking out

The following are some like-minded organizations we've been following:

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.

I love this song

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.

Our Covid Guidelines Updated November 22, 2020

Currently, all of our programs and services are being offered remotely using Zoom. We hope to return to in-person programs in 2021.

We have developed protocols to protect participants, guides, and the community from COVID 19. Because state guidelines are changed weekly based on health data, our guidelines and expectations will be reviewed and updated as needed. Examples of new procedures include requesting that people travel to programs in individual cars whenever possible, no group kitchen, daily temperature checks, statement of no COVID 19 symptoms or contact with someone with COVID 19 14 days prior to a program, social distancing in all group activities, and personal protective equipment.

Protocols will be given to each participant at registration and updates as necessary.

If an in-person program cannot be safely held and needs to be canceled, full refunds will be given.

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

Wild Mind by Bill Plotkin
"Wild Mind" 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