What Folks are Saying
The following are comments from people who have participated in a program with
Vermont Wilderness Rites.
The community where I live in Massachusetts is deeply rooted in a nature connection school called Wolf Tree. The children and pre-teens (ages 6-12) are well served and thriving. But naturally, children grow, and for several years we found ourselves unable to meet the changing developmental needs of adolescents and their parents. That is until we met Fran and Courtney of Vermont Wilderness Rites.
In October 2021, we began a profound, year-long mentorship to create a rite of passage program for girls. Little did we know how valuable and transformational this course would be. Our two Guides did not just ‘lay’ a cookie cutter style program on us as ‘the next step’ after what is already being offered. They walked alongside the four team members, deeply listening to the call we were hearing from the youth, their parents, spirit, soul, and ourselves. Their consultation helped us weave a programmatic response rooted in the land where we live that will grow and change over the years as the needs of community members and the culture change.
These two women are experienced and skilled Guides. They are authentic. Their teachings demonstrate their conscious understanding that “as go the adults, so go the children.” Each one of the four of us received individual guidance, which helped us along our personal developmental path.
We were given specific, practical, place-based tools that are neither time-bound nor dependent on an ongoing relationship with VWR, learning that nature is our Teacher. We were initiated into the Way of Ceremony that will grow with us as we participate in what Fran names “community development through (via) Rites of Passage.”
During the apocalyptic pause of this pandemic, I have been blessed with a perfect healing synchronicity. All around us, the natural world has risen up from her place in the background of our over-busy lives. At the same time, a small group of seekers have been accompanied in monthly gatherings by the close and grounded wisdom of Fran and the Mirror of Nature facilitators, who invite and witness and support our beginners' attempts to live in alignment, with ourselves, and with the living, breathing mentors who stand in our backyards, who flow between banks, who fly to the horizon and bring back their stories. Without this place of gathering and without the simultaneously grounding and expansive instruction each month to go out in Nature, to ask our questions, to bring back our stories, I know it would have been a very different year for me. Instead, the beautiful work of what we've called a Gestation Council has, in the slow way of seasons and cycles, brought me to an entirely unexpected and transformed threshold, one I'm only able to step across because of this subtle and powerful witnessing. It's a transformational journey, perhaps the most important gift any of us could offer or receive.
Nancy Coleman, Ph.D
Author of Wide Open Writing: Embrace Your Creative Genius and partner in the organization of the same name (wideopenwriting.com).
In a world where people have become hyper-connected through their devices more than ever - in many ways not so positive - the quest process is one that helped me deeply feel, explore and reclaim my essential connection to the natural world. It can easily and naturally be part of any spiritual or meditative practice. The power in the practice is that happens not so much through the head, but through the heart, through stillness, and through listening.
- Susan Stuart
Human-centered design consultant and writer
I’ve had the good fortune of being both a participant in one of Fran’s Vision Fasts and at another time apprenticed with her – both times in Vermont. There is no one I would trust more than Fran to design and structure a Vision Fast that allows one to explore the reconciliation of the heart, soul, and mind. Few know how to ask the deepening questions, and few have the courage to design an experience where those questions are asked and received with such relief and encouragement.
Fran’s focus, much as Rumi's, is the integration of the inner and the outer worlds through the venue of an enriching Vision Fast experience. You will not leave this emersion into the natural world without the reawakening of your soul.
Senior Partner, VT Consulting Company
I have spent four days in the woods alone before and have experienced a deep sense of peace, but with Fran's guidance I was able to go deeper without fear and to make contact with that which needed healing. The vision fast I did with Fran lifted me out of a 10-month depression. Fran is a strong and capable guide who inspires trust and faith as well as a tender, loving, and supportive mid-wife to whatever needs birthing. I wish that everyone who is struggling through a life transition could participate in one of Fran's Vision Fasts.
Founder, Soul Flares