Black Sky
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School of Animism
&
Mystery

1. the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena.

2. the belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe.

an·i·mism

/ˈanəˌmizəm/

What is 
Animism? 

Animism is the foundational understanding of our spiritual relationship to the world we live in. It is at the heart of our relationship with the Cosmos. It is the understanding that we exist in a Universe that is made of consciousness. That consciousness is deeply interconnected with our own. We are the fractals of it, the microcosm that is a reflection of the macrocosm. By becoming consciously aware of ourselves, our relationships, and everything that exists, we can consciously affect the world that we live in by shifting our own emotions, beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors.

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Image by Alfred Kenneally
Image by Jong Marshes
Image by Uriel Soberanes

Animists understand that all nature is interconnect and in constant communication

Many people live with a sense of not belonging...anywhere. A feeling that they are too sensitive, too emotional, too reactive, and too intense for this world. In animistic cultures, these people would have been recognized while they were still children. They would have been accepted for their sensitivity and their gifts. And they would have been trained to be the healers of the community. 

In modern society, these people often end up medicated, imprisoned, or institutionalized. Largely, because their gift of being attuned to the deeper rhythms and rifts in the natural and spiritual world we live in were shut down, ridiculed, or outright attacked during their lives. Especially during their childhoods.

Animism provides a deeper understanding for who these people are and for the massively important role that their gifts play in the world. It awakens our senses to the deep and subtle connections that we have to the natural world. As well as to the unseen world. The realms of dreaming and Mystery.

Learning

The Tending the Fires School of Animism and Mystery is dedicated to the exploration of our relationship and interconnectedness with the seen and unseen realms through the exploration of our sensory capacities. Through a combination of tangible, Earth-based skills, meditation and shamanic practices, martial arts, breathwork, storytelling, and ritual, we awaken ancestral knowledge within our students. We help them access the inherent skills they have to experience their relationships with the seen and unseen world firsthand.

We are all inherently wired, as human beings, to experience the many levels of relationship and consciousness we share this world with. By reconnecting our awareness with our sensory abilities, we learn to experience the many dimensions of the world we live in.

This is a process that is necessary for the would-be healers of our times: those focused on healing the spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical wounds that affect them, their communities, and the world.

Image by Kevin Erdvig
Image by Pawel Czerwinski
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Tletl (Fire) is the element that is associated with vitality, vigor, passion, and transformation. Through breathwork practices, martial arts, and fire-making/tending, we learn how to develop a conscious connection to this element within us and in the natural world. In many people, the element of fire is either lacking or in excess. If it lacks a person struggles to find passion, direction, or focus in their life. Too much of it leads to addictions and other self-destructive behaviors. Learn how to tend your inner fire.

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Atl (Water) is the element that is associated with cleansing, emotions, intuition, and memory.  We engage the fluidity of water through meditative and ritual practices, as well as through artistic practices and grief rituals.  Through our blood, water conveys the deepest ancestral memories. It is also associated with the deep waters of consciousness. As such, water is associated with the development of our intuitive abilities. When a person's internal waters grow stagnant, be it in body, mind, or spirit the person begins to manifest dis-ease. These practices help us find balance.

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Tlalli (Earth) is the element associated with grounding, growth, and transmutation. The Earth is our foundation, our literal home. How solid our foundations are depend on the essential values that we use to guide our lives. Grounding practices are an essential part of the spiritual warrior's path. It is essential to learn how to connect with the Earth as a tangible thing, not merely as a concept or abstract. We learn ancestral skills like shelter-building, growing and harvesting medicines and foods, and nature connection and awareness practices to strengthen our connection to the Earth.

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Ehekatl (Wind) is the unseen force that connects and guides all things. Unlike the first three, Ehekatl can only be seen by its relationships. It is the fundamental breath of life that sometimes activates, others sweeps and agitates, others calms and softens the experience of the other elements. Breathwork is essential to the development of our minds, bodies, and spirits. Through conscious breathwork and movement we learn how to bring breath and intention into all of our actions. Where the breath goes, the mind follows. So we use conscious breathing as the foundation of all of our teachings.

TESTIMONIALS

THESE TEACHINGS HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO IMPACT YOUR LIFE IN INCREDIBLE AND EXTRAORDINARY WAYS. HOWEVER, AS WITH ANY LIFE-CHANGING PRACTICE OR TOOL, IT WILL CHALLENGE YOUR COMFORT LEVELS, FEARS, AND AUTHENTICITY.

SAGRARIO RODRIGUEZ

THE GUY WHO ORCHESTRATES THE WHOLE THING IS ONE WHO CAN BE TRUSTED TO HOLD A SAFE SPACE FOR EVERYONE, AND WHO IS SINCERELY INTERESTED IN HELPING OTHERS WHO WANT TO HELP. THEMSELVES GROW AND DEVELOP INTO WHO THEY ARE MEANT TO BE (OR, WHO THEY REALLY ARE? HAH). NO GIMMICKS, SCAMS, OR BULLSHIT. IT'S WORTH THE MONEY.

SYLVIA RIDPATH

IMG_3824.HEIC

Watering the Roots of the World Tree

October 2022
Southern New Mexico
FIRST EVER TENDING THE FIRES SCHOOL IN-PERSON TRAINING

Watering the World Tree is a four day, immerse training into different aspects of what we call embodied animism. It is a journey through the four different aspects of our lives: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

We dive into each of these through a series of hands-on skills and practices. Including: 

  • Breathwork

  • Nature Observation/Awareness

  • Natural Movement

  • Functional Fitness

  • Situational Awareness

  • Martial Arts

  • Meditation

  • Storytelling

Each of the four days, our practices will guide us through a deeper understanding of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves.

 

We pair these parts of ourselves with the elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.

Each day we focus on consciously cultivating our understanding of each element within ourselves and developing our conscious relationship with it.

As we do so, we learn about our unique place in the Cosmos. We find a sense of solace and purpose. We become whole.

Image by Cristina Gottardi

This is a five-day deep dive into the essence of who you are.

DAY 1

Intro to Earth Skills: Nature Connection and Awareness

Breathwork

Martial Arts

 

Teachings on the Smoke in the Mirror: Mirrors and Shadow Work

Story Medicine

DAY 2

Sit Spot: Witnessing the Web

Breathwork

Movement

Martial Arts

Teachings on Huehueteotl: Fire-Making and Tending

Story Medicine

DAY 3

Sit Spot: Spheres of Awareness, Spheres of Disturbance

Breathwork

Movement

Martial Arts

Teachings of the Fire: Fire-Making

Story Medicine

DAY 4

Sit Spot: Gathering the Gifts

Breathwork

Movement

Altar Building

Night Vigil: Honoring the Mystery

DAY 5

Closing Circle

 

Return Home

REGISTRATION

Spaces are limited for this group. In my experience, this allows us to develop a safe, supportive container for each of you in the group. This group is confidential, meaning that nothing that is shared in this group is to be shared outside of the group. That goes for any personal information shared by any of the participants or by me stays in the container of the group. Maintaining the integrity of the container is a shared responsibility by all of the participants.

As a side note, I have found that doing this type of deep, intensive work requires time to process and to integrate. Often, members of our communities don't have an understanding of the transformative power of these experiences. When we share what we've experienced prematurely they can tend to be dismissive or outright critical of our experience. With this, or any other ritual/ceremony experience, it is important to "let it cook." Give the things you learn in our sessions time to integrate in you before deciding to share with others. Otherwise, the alchemical vessel is broken and the work doesn't complete itself.

To register please fill out the contact form below. I'd like to get to know more about you so I can better serve you and the group. Please let me know why you are interested in doing this type of work and if you've done anything like this in the past? Also, I'd love to hear if you have any current spiritual practice that supports your growth and healing. I look forward to hearing from you.

- Oscar 

This course requires some physical fitness and mobility. Some of the practices that we will be doing will require a degree of physical dexterity. In the application packet, prospective students will have to self-evaluate their level of fitness and their ability to perform some basic foundational movements for martial arts and movement training. 

Bridge into the Woods

START THE JOURNEY

CONTACT US FOR AN APPLICATION PACKET

Thanks for submitting!

COST 2400 USD

Once you have submitted your contact form we will send you an invoice for payment. Payment plans are available. Once we have processed your payment, you will be admitted and we'll send you further details on the Zoom group meetings and times.

 

*I will offer two partial scholarships for this program. If you are interested in receiving a partial scholarship, please include that in your Contact Email and we'll send you a separate scholarship application.