Animas Valley Institute

The Animas Valley Institute, founded by Bill Plotkin in 1980, offers multi-day immersions into the wilds of nature and psyche for the purpose of retrieving the unique, mysterious identity hidden in the soul-waters of each life.  Animas originated and continues to evolve a contemporary Western, nature-based approach to the journey of soul initiation — to our knowledge, the first of its kind.  Animas employs the practice of council in all of our programs. We also offer several programs that focus specifically on council.  In our Way of Council and the Art of Mirroring Intensive, we cultivate the core skills involved in council — our capacities for deep listening, empathy, compassion, and courageous sharing. In the same intensive, we also practice the art of mirroring, learning to listen as if our lives depend on it, to detect the magnificence and mythic qualities in our own and others’ stories, and to reflect back the magic of the story and its gifts without interpreting or projecting. In our Sweet Darkness advanced intensive, we explore the initiatory gifts of shadow, projections, subpersonalities, and the sacred wound. During this immersion, we hold a unique form of council that Animas has been developing for twenty years: the Heart Warrior Council, which affords the opportunity to move closer to what we project onto others in the group and to claim back the projection while being transformed by the gift that lies beneath. In our Depth Council Training we explore how to craft council from our soul-rooted identities and, as council holders, how to invite council participants into the underworld descent to soul. Our Shadow Training includes the cultivation of the skills of guiding the Heart Warrior Council.