The fundamental orientation of this first year of training is to bring a student to the place of being able to guide another person one-on-one, not through imitating someone else and not through having learned an intellectual formula, but through the process of having undertaken their own growth work in relationship with the animals in a profound and serious way.
Respect for the inner guides (often animals) and for the individual being guided are essential precepts. The manner in which this is accomplished is based on non-intrusion on the part of the guide and on knowing how to recognize when they have been snagged by the journeyer’s process and what to do on such occasions.
The guide is essentially a sherpa, who must know the trails and the weather conditions and is available to the journeyer, but does not confuse the person’s journey with their own.
The first year of the training program consists of
- introduction to the seed imagery,
- working with a single inner guide,
- several days of experience working with polarity animals
- work with all seven chakras including learning to guide journeys with multiple inner guides such as in the council of animals and the healing circle.
Deep imagery is the medium used to encounter an inner guide in each chakra. In first year, you will have the time to meet and work with the 7 chakra guides of your personal totempole. When all the chakra guides/animals have been met and journeyed with, they are brought into a council in which they work toward each others growth and health. In doing so they typically raise issues which the person has not previously adequately faced. The person is now supported in doing so by the animal guides themselves. The animals grow and become more supportive of each other and the individual feels a growing harmony and centredness in his or her own life.
The inner support of the chakra animals comes to be deeply appreciated and richly felt. The work is deeply healing and transformative as the animals know how to guide us with precision through the sequence of experiences that lead back to our own original wholeness.
We learn very early to think in polarities and to split our perception into two poles: good – bad, light – shadow, male – female, etc. These inner polarities are in a state of tension that attempts to move towards resolution. If you like, this is Jung’s Transcendental function. Deep Imagery moves towards the resolution of opposites with ease and grace. In a polarity journey we call an animal for each pole of the opposition. Through meeting the animal (or other guide), we get to explore how the polarity originated in our lives. The animal shows us what we need to see and what it needs from us. Eventually we may ask the animals of both poles if they are ready to meet each other. These encounters are often healing and, if the animals desire, can lead to a final merging of the two of them. A new being can be born out of that merging, a being that comes directly out of the aliveness in us.
As in all deep imagery journeys the core lies in the respectful communication with the animals. Through them, it becomes clear how far the integration of the two polarities is possible, in that moment. Polarity journeys are an important step on the way to our aliveness, and often they bring us back to lost aspects of our selves.