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Mount Diablo 2009 Prayer Walk:
Call for Participants & Interest Form

Friday, Oct. 23rd - Tuesday Oct. 27th
Greetings! This invitation outlines the intention, structure, and other logistics for the Mt. Diablo 2009 Prayer Walk. If after reading, you feel drawn to apply, please fill out the questions below and send them to Daniel for sharing with the other co-leaders. There are 12 open spaces for prayer walkers, and the co-leaders will review applications as they are received.

Mount Diablo. As recognized through diverse traditions of pilgrimage and ceremony, different mountains express their own unique qualities, medicines, and personalities. The revered local elder now known by most as Mt Diablo has long been associated by Native Bay Area peoples with Creation and stories of Origin. Despite the last two centuries of colonial amnesia and rampant development, this mountain remains a vibrant place for ceremony, inviting renewal of intimate relationship with local humans of all backgrounds.

Prayer Walk. The ceremony we are calling the Prayer Walk will be a weave of two broad spiritual traditions: meditation (esp. Buddhist approaches including walking meditation and mountain pilgrimage) and indigenous wisdom/shamanic practice (esp. work with prayer and with the spirits of mountains). Days will be spent largely in silence interspersed with periods of council, direct visioning with the spirits of place, and one-on-one meetings with co-leaders.

Each participant will be supported in preparing a prayer bundle that will be brought into the opening purification lodge, kept on or near the walker for the next five days, and returned to the lodge on the final day. These bundles will consist of specific prayers for self, community, and world that are gathered through dialogue and rendered in a physical way beforehand. By circling the mountain nine times (3 x 3 x 3) with our bundles in progressively closer circles we will be both bringing our prayers to the spirit of the mountain for elevation and walking a multi-day meditation on Self, Mountain, and Source.

Progression of Prayer Walk. On Friday the 23rd we will open ceremony with an early morning purification (sweat) lodge in Alamo on the Southwest side of the mountain. After lodge we will walk together 8.5 miles uphill to Juniper campground, our base for the next four nights. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday each day we will circumambulate the summit clockwise on a 6.5-mile loop trail that starts and returns from Juniper camp. On Sunday only, individuals from the larger community may elect to walk with us. Then on Tuesday morning, after we have made three large circles around the summit, we will ascend at dawn with our prayer bundles, circling the smaller summit loop trail three times and culminating with a mountaintop ceremony. After, we will make our way back to the lodge in Alamo for a completion lodge (that return will be partly by car). A rough estimate of total distance walked is 35 miles (9 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 5). We begin early on Friday with lodge and end around sunset on Tuesday with lodge and a feast after.

In addition to the five days in October for the walk itself, we will gather one day a month in July, August, and September to cohere as a group and establish a foundation for meditation and relevant shamanic practices. These gatherings will be open to community and it will be important for group cohesion that Prayer Walk participants make most of them. We will also have an integration gathering in November. All dates for gatherings (July – November) can be found on the calendar of events section of Daniel’s website.

Co-leadership. This event will be a unique collaboration of several different Bay Area teachers, ceremonialists, and meditation teachers. Daniel, Carolyn, and Ginny will co-lead the walk itself and Robin will assist by leading purification lodges and helping with camp meals, etc.

  • Daniel Foor leads ancestor work and earth medicine trainings in the Bay Area. As a ceremonialist and shamanic-oriented psychotherapist, he emphasizes healthy relationships and communities in the context of earth-honoring ways of life. For more info: www.ancestralmedicine.org.

  • Carolyn Clebsch is a fifth-generation S.F. Bay Area native with a deep love for the land. After three decades of Buddhist practice, she was ordained in 2007 as a Zen priest by Joan Halifax, and she has trained extensively with other Zen, Tibetan, and Insight Meditation lineages of Buddhism. plumsnow2@yahoo.com

  • Ginny Anderson, author of Circling San Francisco Bay: A Pilgrimage to Wild and Sacred Places, is an experienced ceremonialist and eco-psychologist in private practice. Her pioneering work with the local mountains has been an inspiration for this event. For more info: www.circlingsanfranciscobay.com.

  • Robin Lysne, author of several books including Heart Path: Learning to Love Yourself and Listen to Your Guides, lives at the base of Mt. Diablo and will pour water for purification lodges to begin and end the Walk. Robin is a sun-dancer and pipe-carrier in the Lakota tradition. For more info: www.thecenterforthesoul.com

Requirements to participate. You need to be physically able and willing to spend five days on the mountain, hiking up to 8 or 9 miles a day in whatever kinds of weather Spirit has in store. You need to have some kind of experience with ceremony and/or meditation and have a solid framework for depth work and introspection. You need to be able to commit yourself to being fully present for the whole event, knowing that your buttons will likely be pushed in some way by other group members and by physical conditions (e.g., heat, cold, rain, soreness, insects, no showers, restless sleep). You need to be basically comfortable with your own Mind/Heart enough to be with long periods of intentional silence through both moving and still meditation.

Cost. The total cost for the five days is $500. That includes camp site reservations, Friday dinner through Tuesday dinner (organic, mostly vegetarian fare), camp supplies (e.g. cooking gear, weather protection, first aid), donations for the lodge leader, and payment to other co-leaders. The cost does not include your personal camping gear or transportation to/from the mountain. If you are able to give a little more that is great, and if you need to pay less, we can likely have flexibility, just talk with us.

Questions for those Considering Participation in the Prayer Walk

    These questions are just to make initial contact; a few sentences should be fine for most. Please answer either on this form or cut and paste to an email and return to Daniel.
  • 1) What draws you to consider participation in the Prayer Walk at this time?

  • 2) What is your prior experience with multi-day wilderness time, ceremony, or meditation retreats? How about things like group therapy, group process, multi-day group events?

  • 3) What concerns do you have about participation (e.g., physical, psychological, financial)? Any concerns about the 35 miles of walking or camping with no showers for 4-5 days?

  • 4) Are you clear that you would be able to participate in the full event from early Friday, October 23rd to evening of Tuesday, October 27th? Please elaborate if needed.

  • 5) What else feels important to let the facilitators (Daniel, Carolyn, and Ginny) know at this time?

Email Ginny at freyjand@comcast.net for further information or to reserve a place.