Michael Meade Workshops
Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements in Life

According to ancient myths, there are two agreements each soul must make upon entering the world.

The First Agreement binds the individual to a destiny that becomes the soul’s great project in life. Second Agreements involve each person in distinct limitations of fate, family, culture and history. If the First Agreement is not lived in some fashion, the soul can suffer a “fate worse than death.” On the other hand, fate requires that a person experience life fully and suffer the troubles and concerns of the time in which they live.

Often a person must accept a particular fate in order to find a meaningful destiny. Finding one’s destiny involves a pilgrimage to the center of the deep Self where the dream of life speaks in mythical tones. The “wild card” in each soul agreement involves the roles played by Eros and love, for “without love the work cannot progress.”

This workshop features poetry, stories and discussion, an exploration which seeks to find aspects of the “bigger life” as the modern world narrows possibilities and culture polarizes.
Seeking Healing, Wisdom, and Beauty in Troubled Times
An evening of story, song and discussion

It used to be said that each person is a philosopher at heart, each elder a carrier of some form of medicine and every soul a living repository of beauty.

A name for this presence that unites wisdom, healing, and beauty was Sophia, formed of the Greek roots — “philo” and “sophe,” or love and knowledge. Living philosophy thus involves the love of knowledge as well as a knowledge of love, and healing occurs where those two coincide.

Before a light bulb became the common image of sudden inspiration, Sophia was the dove of understanding which would descend on a person as they struggled along the road of life. This bird of wisdom flew on two wings, one dark and one light, for it knew both the gifts and the wounds of life, it traversed both the heights and the depths before it came to rest in the human soul.

Thus, healers seek the wound to find health and wholeness, and those who would be wise enter where the world seems darkest. For, healing, wisdom, and beauty ever seek to be reborn from the struggles with illness, ignorance, and blindness. Sophia returns where the human body with its struggling soul becomes conscious again of inspiration, wholeness, and the breathing presence of the divine.

In that sense, real knowledge blossoms forth from the earth-dark roots of a genuine life lived fully out from the mud of truth. Wisdom, whether taking form through the healer, philosopher, or artist, combines insight with experience, clarity with grace, vision with maturity.
The Return of Sophia: Seeking Healing, Wisdom and Beauty

A name for the presence that unites wisdom, healing, and beauty is Sophia, formed of the Greek roots – “philo” and “sophe” or love and knowledge. Healing, wisdom, and beauty seek to be embodied as we struggle with illness, ignorance, and blindness. Love and knowledge emerge when we become conscious and inspired toward wholeness. Real knowledge blossoms from a genuine life lived in the midst of daily challenges. Learn with acclaimed author and storyteller Michael Mead how Sophia became the name that represented the highest qualities of the soul, the presence of wisdom and its companionship with healing and beauty.
Leaping Between the Horns
Modern Dilemmas, Mythic Sense, and Ancient Imagination

Amidst the “crisis of imagination” and the radical disorientation of mass culture, myth intones its age-old speech to the inner reaches of the human soul. Within the soul the Old Mind dwells with its mythic imagination and unending inspiration. The exact medicines for the dissociations characteristic of Western culture lie in finding again the archaic continuity of the Old Mind and the hidden unity of human imagination.

Yet, finding the way requires being lost, for it is the “lost soul” in each of us that would find again the “dimensions of the mythic mind.” Only those willing to suffer the uncertainty and tensions of being “betwixt and between” can arrive at the place where a sudden leap or shift makes a renewal of life possible. Such a leap makes “mythic sense” when nothing else makes any sense. Such a leap leaves common sense behind yet involves being in touch with the concrete world of the senses. Such a leap depends less on blind faith than on accepting sudden spiritual impulses.
The Branches of Mentoring, the Roots of Elders
An intensive day-long workshop

The Branches of Mentoring, the Roots of Elders offers orientation and training in the core ideas and purposes of mentoring. The word “mentor” refers to “lived knowledge”; it comes from an old myth in which Mentor acts as guide and teacher using inspired ideas and a keen knowledge of survival.

The mentoring process involves passing on living skills and essential arts for surviving traumatic experiences and the challenges of contemporary life. Through The Branches of Mentoring people can discover and clarify what they have to offer in the way of teaching, guiding, and mentoring others.

Each mentoring situation depicts a story in which both mentor and youth find their own way and even exchange places on occasion. Mentoring involves stories longing to be heard and waiting to be told. For, mentoring is the way the story of culture is fashioned, exchanged, learned, and reinvented.

While mentoring naturally involves the youth of a community it also extends to re-imagining meaningful roles for elders. The role of the mentor can be seen as a bridge which invites youth more fully into life and which prepares “olders” to become elders.

Typical outcomes of this intensive workshop include: a deepened sense of identity as a mentor, awareness of inner resources within individuals and groups, an increased understanding of the spiritual components of mentoring, and a new framework for understanding the living core of community. This process can be applied to existing organizations and agencies, and may be used to fashion new forms for developing community-based projects.

Themes include: Origins of mentoring, Mentoring as natural and instinctive, Genius-to-genius connections, Mutual mentoring, Bridges to community, Making “olders’”into elders, and the elder-youth connection. The Branches of Mentoring benefits teachers, mentors, parents, artists, social activists, and those who work with youth and who value community.
Seeking Spirit, Making Soul
The Road of Wounds and Gifts
A Mentoring Retreat for Younger and Older Men

Conducted by storyteller and mythologist Michael Meade, social activist and poet Luis Rodriguez, West African Spiritual Specialist Malidoma Some, psychologist and meditation instructor Jack Kornfield, human rights activist and community builder Orland Bishop, and other teachers in an intensive retreat that approaches the “practice of living through living practices” of many tribal, traditional, and contemporary perspectives.

Along the road of life the wind of Spirit would transcend trouble and rise above the web of common confusion, yet the soul loves the intrigue of immanent and earthbound things.
So, the struggle and dance continues in which Spirit and soul play essential and opposing parts. Spirit has affinities with fire and air and with the desire to ascend and seek a clarity unavailable amidst the turmoil of the world. Soul involves water, the old pull of the earth, and awkward inclinations to descend where the gravity of life opens to the depths of longing and dark knowledge.

Back and forth goes the dance, up and down swings the struggle which makes the road where wounds attract the attention of Spirit and inner gifts awaken in the soul. Each conflict, be it personal or cultural, secretly creates a crossroads where mythic threads seek to be known and un-healed aspects of the soul require immediate attention. Wherever a threshold can be formed which welcomes the surprise of Spirit and weaves a place for soul, unexpected things can happen and hints of an underlying unity may appear.
The Imaginal Life, the Mythic Edge
The Old Mind and Paths of Awakening
An intensive four-day retreat

Despite the increasing confusion of modern cultures, the “mythic sense” of life waits to re-enter the world at the “living edges” where spirit and soul meet.

The unique story woven in the soul of each person wants to be lived out as a great experiment in life. Threads of genius and purpose exist in everyone, but only become visible when something creative is attempted and the “mythic sense” awakens within. Each life experiment involves spells and blessings, gifts and wounds which reveal where soul and spirit insist upon being known consciously.

The point is to “live life fully,” to follow the surprising pathways where the dream of life tries to awaken in each of us. In this retreat we will separate that which is vital and creative from the corpses of the past, seeking places where the soul carries its initiations, where the inner spirit tries to awaken us further. We will focus on the realm of dreams, the persistent imagination of the Old Mind and the arts and practices necessary for a meaningful life.

Drawing on traditions from many cultures, on psychology of the Old Mind, the guiding language of dreams and life sustaining practices, we will touch the pulse of being and work at nourishing the roots of ’living myth.’

Themes include: Genius and the Dream of Life; The Song of Gifts and Wounds; The Two Arcs, the Three Aims of Life; Accepting Fate, Finding a Destiny; Images That Open the Heart; The Opus, the Real Work, the Whole Life.
For more information about workshops and CDs, please go to MosaicVoices.org