Mountain Rising: Our Philosophy
Mountains: we've always been fascinated by them. They represent a reality that's different from the one we're in at the present moment. We can be standing in a sweltering desert while looking at a mountainous ecosystem that, if we were there, might freeze us to death. In this instance, the mountain represents the unknown; inherent danger coupled with the promise of adventure and the hope of a more expansive view.
For many of us, with the observation of a mountain comes active curiosity about what it would be like to stand atop it. Those who are particularly drawn begin to take stock of their gear and their physical health. If those things appear to be in order, plans might be made to climb. From here, anticipation begins to build, and the countdown to adventure begins!
We at Mountain Rising believe in outfitting people for their own climbs. We help people ascertain the quality and usefulness of their current "gear." This might include their beliefs and assumptions about the nature of reality, the role of spirituality in our lives, or how we can use religion to enhance our relationship with our Creator. We might talk about how to access personal power through a process called, "Dying to the Past." Power and totem animals might be discussed or even identified. Shamanic journeying or soul retrieval might be employed. In short, we find that most of us "don't know what we don't know." There are tools that have been available since the dawn of humankind that have simply been covered up. We've been blessed to have been exposed to them, and have been embodying them for decades. It's our job and blessing to help to bring these tools to light and to assist our friends with their skillful and respectful sue of them. By doing this, we help our friends fill in the gaps in their preparation so they can make safe and successful climbs from the desert mundane to the glorious vistas that the mountain naturally provides.
As you study more about who we are and the methods we employ, please keep in mind that the gear you need depends on the climb you wish to make. We've made it possible to go as shallow, or as deep, as you wish. To do this, we've broken our class, ceremony, and retreat offerings into three "tiers" which are delineated under "Tiers," also on this page.
No matter where you want to go, from the simple enhancement of an existing spiritual path to gardening as a soulful practice, to starting from ground zero, on embarking upon a new journey, to deep and authentic Lakota ceremony (for which we do not charge)... we are your "one-stop shop" for eco-centric soulful growth.
As always, please feel free to reach out via email or phone. Please be patient; when we're on Eagle Mountain, cell service is a 1/3 mile walk - and a pretty solid climb - away. We generally check messages daily, but that also depends on the weather.
For more information, please explore "Tiers", "Payment," and "Community" below!
Like any school, we want our students to be in the right place at the right time - for their maximum benefit. It makes no sense to pay for a class for which there's no foundation, yet that is exactly what happens with many other schools. Instead, we respect our clients' time and resources by providing a large curriculum of reasonably-priced classes for our students that start at the most basic levels all the way up to authentic indigenous ceremony and medicine paths. That way, our associates can pick and choose their own foundations and work on embodying the lessons that come from our classes. Once they feel they have it down cold, we then encourage them to sign up for the next class.
So, where do "Tiers" come into play?
We start most of our clientele on Tier 3. The majority of our offerings are found at this level. (For a partial list of Tier 3 classes, click HERE.) These are classes that we teach away from Eagle Mountain - the property where we live. Instead, for these classes, we travel to your town, or nearby. This makes it easier to fit soulful education into your already busy life schedule without taking time off work, finding a place to stay, etc. But the best advantage is that you begin - or continue - to build a foundation for ceremonies and classes that are truly life-changing. Make no mistake; we've heard that our Tier 3 classes are also life-changing (check the testimonial page HERE). But for those who feel called to teach or to do medicine/healing work, or to simply go deeper, we offer Tier 2 classes and ceremony, including a lighter version of the indigenous vision quest that we call a "Wilderness Vigil." Some examples of these Tier 2 classes and ceremonies are found HERE.
Finally, there are a handful of people that feel called to go deeper still. We don't have as many offerings in this category. After all, we're talking about the top of the pyramid here. Moreover, Tier 1 opportunities tend to be in a single category: the Sun Dance path. For this path, we cannot take money (see "Payment" below). While it's true that Redtail, in particular, has been given the authority to introduce people to these ways, it's our opportunity to present them in a traditional manner, only. This means using "wopila" rather than the monetary recompense we're used to receiving. It's more difficult to navigate, but we feel it honors the spiritual tradition more completely.
One of the best examples of a Tier 1 event is a Lakota ceremony called, "hamblecheya." Traditionally known as a "Vision Quest," when done traditionally it is experienced in solitude without food or water for four days. Besides this, there is significant preparation that can take up to a year or more. For most people, this is more than they need. But we are ready to assist if the call comes. And we do it in a way that honors centuries-old tradition.
So, whether you're a beginner, an experienced seeker looking to round out her expertise, or as we say, "called," we at Mountain Rising can help you along your path.
Now, why would we show a lightbulb on a "payment" button? Not to dodge my own question, but here's a better one: name a circumstance when an amount is due, yet money is discouraged from paying that amount? Answer: when the amount due is for Indigenous ceremony.
Now that we're thoroughly in the weeds (and so fast!), let's mow out of them.
Since you just read what Redtail wrote on "Tiers" above, you understand that at Mountain Rising, we don't throw people into the deep end on day one. We understand from long experience that the surest way to a "post-retreat letdown" is to introduce people to concepts and ceremonies for which they have an insufficient foundation.
And what is a post-retreat letdown?
You've experienced this, for sure. Let's see if this jogs your memory. You have a peak experience: some kind of transcendental, wow-Wow-WOW! event that, when it happened, shook your world. It changed your paradigm. It felt like a calling. You were changed forever; no more procrastinating! You were going to...
- meditate every day;
- cut out sugar, carbs, cheese, caffeine, and alcohol;
- start a journal (or continue it from your Middle School days);
- and recycle everything...twice!
And you know what? You did it!
For two glorious weeks, that is.
And then...if you're like me... the crash comes. All the good intentions in the world can't sustain the self-promises made in the throes of spiritual bliss. The world - not to mention the force of habit - simply provides too many distractions. In the end, you're left pining for the blissful joy of the supernatural realms, even while you feel yourself being pulled back into the familiar routine that you meant to abolish when you signed up for the retreat in the first place!
So, what happened? Lack of sufficient foundation to support the inspiration, to be precise.
Spiritual foundations are created in one way: by embodying them. In other words, it doesn't matter how much you read, how many verses you can quote, or how many Native American songs you can sing; anyone who doesn't consistently embody the energetic principles that underlie the teachings will not be able to keep the vibe as high as they would like, following a peak experience. This comes down to habits, for the student. And for the teacher, it comes down to the wisdom to refrain from throwing a client into something for which they're unprepared.
What does this have to do with money? Well, for one, we want you to spend yours as wisely as possible. That means we give our students ample opportunities to start small and hone their craft - i.e. their habits. That's why we provide intention sessions before major ceremonies, and synthesis sessions afterward. Our intent with these is to give our students the best chance possible to not only retain but integrate their experience. In short, we want to help change lives. No one does that simply hopping from peak experience to peak experience. It's in the valleys - in the regular, workaday world - where we become experts in living a spiritual life.
OK, this is all well and good and brilliant, but why can't certain debts be paid with money?
There's a longstanding tradition, particularly among Native American teachers, that money is not charged for ceremonies. As initiated pipe-carriers and Sun Dancers, we seek to honor that teaching. In short, that means that we do not accept money for TIER ONE events such as:
- Sweat lodges (Lakota Inipi ceremonies)
- Vision Quests (Hamblecheya)
- Pipe ceremonies
Yes, we have to live in this world. Yes, there are plenty of people out there who DO charge for ceremony. Yes, it's easier in some ways. But, for us, we would rather be certain that we're honoring indigenous tradition than risk being yet another cultural appropriator.
That said, reciprocity is important. There are some ceremonies that simply don't work well without a "wopila," which is the Lakota word for "gratitude." It's also the word for "giveaway," a significant part of ceremony. We can give more details in person, but in short, a "wopila" in this context has to do with the person who benefits from the ceremony. He or she is called to make a sacrifice in return for the blessing of ceremony in the form of gifts. The specifics of the wopila vary, but it should be substantial and represent a sacrifice.
This has two components to it.
First, we hope to be able to have 10-12 people living with us permanently at Eagle Mountain. These will be people who have demonstrated the ability to live in rugged, "off-grid" situations at relatively high altitudes. We also require potential cohabitants to be able to demonstrate deep presence, an even temperament, a serious work ethic and have their own "medicine paths" that align with those of the Mountain. A four-wheel drive and a tractor wouldn't hurt. The ability to support oneself is critical. For remote career paths, we have limited internet capability, although it's available. If you think you may fit this bill, reach out.
Secondly, we support other medicine paths and communities all over the Northwest and beyond. For more specifics, please get in touch and we can talk about what you're looking for. In the end, these days are about Connection. We're proud to facilitate it whenever and wherever we can.