Next Gathering: May 13-18, 2019 - Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada

We are very excited to have our first North American gathering outside the US in beautiful British Columbia. 

Every year members of the Wilderness Guides Council come together to connect, learn from each other, and rejoice in a group of like-minded guides and community members to grow a more powerful network. Whether you have been guiding rites of passage programs for many years or are brand new to the work, we welcome you to our circle. We welcome all - new guides, experienced guides, those offering wilderness experiences of any kind, those who want to support our work, and anyone who wants to gather with like-hearted souls.
 
Here a just a few of the types of offerings you'll be able to participate in at the gathering:
  • Ceremony
  • Time on the Land
  • Large Group Councils
  • Workshops
  • Sharing your work
  • Fellowship with like-hearted humans
 

Please feel free to visit the island’s official website: http://www.saltspringisland.org/   Or you could explore Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_Spring_Island

 
Site Location

The site is located in the southern Gulf Islands in the Salish Sea, located between Vancouver Island and the Mainland. The Salish Sea was formerly known as the Gulf of Georgia and the name change reflects the ongoing dynamic between Canadians as settler people and the indigenous people of this land.

The retreat centre itself is located on the southernmost “mountain” of the island, Mt. Tuam, which means high steep place. To the immediate north lies Burgoyne Bay, a site rich in indigenous history, occupied for at least 3,000 years; the mountain itself features significantly as a powerful place where rites of passage and ceremony was conducted for thousands of years. To the West, is the body of Vancouver Island and to the South, the Olympic Mountains are visible, along with Mount Rainier ( Mt. Tahoma, 'Mother of Waters') in the distance. One may readily imagine the land itself calling for ceremony, a call subsequently heard about fifty years ago by intrepid young Buddhists searching for a retreat center to enable one of the first Tibetan teachers, the venerable Kalu Rinpoche, to establish a continuum of lineage here on Turtle Island.

A place of Eagle, Raven, Turkey Vulture, Flicker, Owl, and a host of migrating songbirds in the spring, it is also home to many Deer, to Raccoon, Mink, Madrone (Arbutus), Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Stinging Nettle, Salal, and even the occasional White Fawn Lily. While the island is occasionally visited by Cougar, there are no predators, no poisonous snakes, and (with the exception of Stinging Nettle) no bothersome plants. It is both wild and gentle. Bugs are minimal.


Even though the land is currently steeped in blessings from some great teachers from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the land itself was sacred long before, and will be long after our human notion of "religion" has returned to dust. This ancient land will hold our ceremony and gathering far removed from any particular religious notion.

Early in our search, we made a very conscious decision to choose a venue that offered intimate connection with the land, rather than the more urbanized environment at a Yoga Center on the island. We think that you will agree with us that the Mount Tuam site is very special. We will conduct most of our gatherings in a meadow site on the land and have access to several indoor venues, exquisite shrine rooms. Hopefully, most of our activities will take place out of doors, as May in the Salish Sea tends to be mild, with average lows around 48 degrees and average highs around 68. Do come prepared, as usual,  for all sorts of weather.

Accommodations
Accommodations vary widely, with many spots for camping, as well as several indoor possibilities. These include rooms within the main building (which was the original three year retreat site), and a number of individual retreat cabins most of which are designed for single persons and can readily accommodate two.

It is important to note that this is a rustic environment, with pit toilets and minimal capacity for showers. Some of the terrain is rough but is all roaded and trailed. There is a solar power system and some wifi service but it should be regarded as minimal.

Meals
Meals are included in the cost of the gathering. Food will be prepared by a chef and her assistants from another retreat center on the island. There will be both vegetarian and omnivore offerings and as usual, every effort will be made to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Travel to Salt Spring
There are three ferry landings on the island, with the closest being Fulford Harbour, from which we will be able to arrange a shuttle service for those who do not wish to bring vehicles. There will be more information about travel options to come.

More information on travel logistics will be sent to participant to help navigate arrival and departure.

Renewal Fast for Members

In addition to the Gathering, we also intend to offer a Renewal Fast afterwards for the first 6 WGC Members that sign up. More information will be available soon. 

Please contact Jason Geoffrion, WGC Netkeeper, with any questions: netkeeper@wildernessguidescouncil.org