Fridays, 6-9pm EST

October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Program Cost:


As with our other online programs, the live sessions will also be recorded, so you can participate live AND/OR by watching the recordings.

The info to access the recordings will be shared after you register.The recordings are available indefinitely, so you can watch (or re-watch!) any time.

About The Program

Check out Francis Weller’s articles, Deschooling Dialogues: On Initiation, Trauma and Ritual- Alnoor Ladha Interviews Francis Weller, and The Grandeur of the Soul.

How do we become seasoned adults, a true human being? Clearly, this is not a given. Traditionally this was the work of culture. Through the long labors of multiple initiations, individuals were gradually crafted into persons of substance and gravity. The process yielded someone more attuned to responsibilities than rights, more aware of multiple entanglements than entitlements. They were initiated into a vast sea of intimacies, with the village, star clusters and gnarled old oaks, the pool of ancestors and the scented earth. Through the sustained attention of culture, individuals were ripened into adults capable of sustaining culture: A marvelous symmetry.

The need is clear: we must cultivate a robust collective of adults whose primary fealty is to the life-giving world upon which we depend. We must be able to feel our loyalties to watersheds, migratory pathways, marginalized communities, and the soul of the world. We must feel the bedrock of our aliveness, and the reality of our wild and exuberant lives. Initiation tempers the soul, drawing out its hidden essence and calling forth the medicine we came to offer this stunning world.

These five sessions of reflection and consideration offer a rich exploration into the vast territory of initiation. We begin with a premise: initiation is not optional. Psyche/soul will insist on this encounter, even in the absence of culturally held rites of passage. Initiation is an ordeal, a tempering induced by heat and pressure. Heat we have and pressure aplenty. The circumstances of our lives and in the surrounding world are the initiatory thresholds compelling us to change. The losses, intimacies, defeats, challenges, illnesses, and breakdowns, internally and culturally, are the prima materia, the material required to activate the movement into our adult presence.

Utilizing teaching sessions, breakout rooms, writing practices, reflection questions, and optional exercises between sessions, we will deepen our ability to respond to soul’s continuous call to full presence in the world.

Session 1. Cooking the Soul: The Alchemy of Ripening
Session 2. Fire in the Voice: Facing the Predator
Session 3. Rough Initiations: When the Bough Breaks
Session 4. Baptized by Dark Waters: The Call of Soul into the Underworld
Session 5. Love’s Fierce Embrace: The Great Inducement to Ripen

Meet the Presenter

Francis Weller

Francis Weller

Francis Weller, MFT, is a psychotherapist, writer, and soul activist. Author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of GriefThe Threshold Between Loss and Revelation, (with Rashani Réa) and In the Absence of the Ordinary: Essays in a Time of Uncertainty, he has introduced the healing work of ritual to thousands of people. He founded and directs WisdomBridge, an organization that offers educational programs that seek to integrate the wisdom from indigenous cultures with the insights and knowledge gathered from Western poetic, psychological and spiritual traditions. Francis’ writings have appeared in anthologies and journals exploring the confluence between psyche, nature, and culture, including The Sun magazine, the Utne ReaderKosmos Journal, and Ruminate. Francis is currently on staff at Commonweal Cancer Help Program, co-leading their week-long retreats with Michael Lerner. He is currently completing his fourth book, The Alchemy of Initiation: Soul Work and the Art of Ripening.