New Beginnings
All endings are a passage to the next beginning. As 2017 draws to a close, we have a new year to look forward to. And as we consider what resolutions we want to focus on in the new year, it's important to also bring our awareness to the accumulated baggage we need to dispose of. What roles have we carried throughout the year─or, more likely years─that no longer serve us? What burdens do we carry that need to be left behind?
There is a story of a hiker who comes across a man at the foot of a mountain. The man has a wooden raft strapped onto his back. The hiker asks him why he is carrying a raft, as there are no rivers or lakes on that mountain, and the man responds that the raft saved his life once when he was near the sea.
The raft represents all the beliefs and skills that served us at a particular moment in our life, but that have now turned into burdens that we carry on our backs.
It takes courage to leave old, familiar parts of our lives behind─especially when we are not sure of what might come along to replace them. But once we understand that all change─like death─is merely a transition into a different form of life, then change ceases to be so frightening. We can take comfort in knowing that we'll be resurrected, even if we have no clue what our new existence will be like. 
Folk culture gives us the image of Death as the Grim Reaper, a faceless being in a hooded black robe who carries a sharpened sickle and points his bony finger at his latest victim, designating that this poor soul must come along with him to the unknown world of the dead. But the sickle he carries is a tool of the harvest, used to cut the grain away from the stalk so that it can be made into bread to feed and sustain life. If we leave the grain on the stalk, it will grow mold and become useless. Without death, without the harvest, there can be no life. Like the stalk of wheat that contains within it the seeds of future harvests, we also contain within us the "seeds" of our future life. This allows us to shed the fear of death─and change─that haunts humanity.
When a monk enters a monastery, his head is shaved, his street clothes are exchanged for a simple robe, and he receives a new name. Stripped of his identity, the initiate is free to discover who he is becoming. As part of your own initiations, you, too, will have to let go of the outer garments of who you were. This doesn't mean that you go and shave your head, but simply that you drop the façade and relax a bit the finely crafted face that you put on in the morning. Then, and only then, can you discover who else is behind the eyes that look back at you from the mirror.
Once we experience the feelings that surface when we realize that an aspect of our life is ending, we can find a certain perfection to our life right now and see it as the clay of creation. What possibilities lie in that ball of clay? As you knead and shape your new beginning, may you be filled with peace, love and hope!
Your friends and family at the Four Winds Society wish you all the blessings of the season.

The Four Winds Society's 300-hour Shamanic Energy Medicine intensive certification program is internationally recognized as the Gold Standard in its field. Our training combines ancient shamanic wisdom teachings with cutting-edge practices in nutrition, biology and neuroscience to give you the tools you'll need to transform yourself and launch a successful career doing what you love.

Residential Energy Medicine Training
March 1-28, 2018 - California

Residential Energy Medicine Training
July 7-August 3, 2018 - Germany
This program is fully bilingual,  

June 3-10, 2018
Hosts: Dr. Alberto Villoldo, Marcela Lobos and Q'ero Shamans with special guests Deva Premal, Miten, and Manose
Open to all
Explore the wisdom of the ancients in sacred temples in the clouds. Come into harmony with the original sound of the Universe in a feast of music and shamanic wisdom. Sit in ceremony with medicine men and women and receive the rites of initiation of the Earthkeeper.
June 10-15, 2018
Host: Dr. Alberto Villoldo
Open only to participants of Via Illuminata due to altitude acclimation
Journey to Mt. Pachatusan, the legendary protector of the wisdom of the Earthkeepers, the medicine men and women charged with the stewardship of all living beings on the Earth. Ceremony in millenary lagoons, receive the blessings of the ancient masters of this land, and heal the stories from your past.

Lake Titicaca:
Birthplace of the Children of the Sun
June 10-15, 2018
Host: Four Winds Senior Faculty Julie Hannon
Open only to students
Rise anew where the Sun and the Moon gave birth to the first Inca and Coya. Journey to visit the river of consciousness, call on new life at the Temple of Fertility, and step into our becoming at Amaru Muru. Come experience the purity and transformative energy of these power places.

Amazon One Spirit
June 11-16, 2018
Host: Marcela Lobos
Open only to students
Explore the hidden realms of shamanic awareness. Work side-by-side with accomplished indigenous medicine men and women to learn shamanic cosmology and healing maps. Like the jungle jaguar, track a destiny for yourself, and craft an original story for the next chapter in your life.

Women's Medicine Journey:
Awaken Your Shamanic and Tantric Wisdom
September 23-October 4, 2018
Hosts: Marcela Lobos and Monika Nataraj
Open to all women

Discover your true beauty, inner wisdom, fierce wildness and feminine mystery. Bring to life each of the 10 Tantric Wisdom Goddesses through embodied exercises, meditation, and sacred rituals. Tap into the endless transformational well of igniting and harnessing our sexual energy.  
Graduate Highlight: Shaman Stories

In 2006 I went from living my dream as a Wilderness Instructor, to living a nightmare. I contracted Lyme disease, became severely ill, and was bedridden. When my doctors said I would never recover or return to the wilderness, I was devastated. In 2009, I met a woman who assisted my healing with techniques she learned through the Four Winds Society. Everything in my world began to change.
In nine weeks I went from bedridden to moving out West. In five months I was able to hike up mountains, and just eight months later I began my Light Body School Training to become a practitioner. Since then my healing has surpassed my own imagination, and I founded a guide company called Wilderness Wisdom Journeys. I take others on wilderness journeys in a new way inspired by my healing journey. I am healthy, happy, and more fulfilled with my life's work!

Jaclyn Ouillette
Tell us Your Story!
Students and graduates are invited to share the story of their journey and experiences as a shaman with us. Please send 150 words maximum with your full name, picture and email to:
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