Seeing with the Heart, 2023

An Apprenticeship in Core Shamanism

taught by Robert Patton and Tracey Forest

“We need as many shamanic practitioners in the world as possible in these challenging times on the planet.  We need people who can read the signs, talk to the spirits of the land, help heal the souls of our community more than ever.”
—Tracey Forest, Spirit Hollow Director


Year One, Three Intensive Weekends

February 11 -12, 2023
March 25 – 26, 2023
April 29- 30

“As a Seeing With the Heart student, my life was transformed.  The hands-on training and practical experience in core shamanism, divination and healing can lead one (who is ready) to new worlds and limitless possibilities.  I have seen (and performed) miracles.  This stuff is real and bless Spirit Hollow for spreading the magic all around and keeping the teachings alive.”
—Joanne Grisanti, Spirit Hollow friend

For those serious about deepening their spiritual life, understanding the universe & the natural world more fully, and accessing power & guidance for healing self & others, this two-year apprenticeship is tailored to you.

Described as a “life-altering course,” this on-going training offers leading-edge instruction in shamanic techniques and spiritual development in a circle of dedicated people and meets for three weekends on wild land sanctified over years by the spiritual efforts of many,  in the beautiful mountains of southwestern Vermont. The focus is on learning ancient shamanic techniques blended with contemporary approaches.

Core shamanism is non-culture specific, teaching the near-universal techniques that have been utilized by shamans all across the globe for millennia. We have always been very careful not to adopt ceremonies or rituals from any particular culture. Also, we are not training anyone to call themself a “shaman,” which is a title classically bestowed upon someone by others in their community. We instead are training “shamanic practitioners” and “shamanic healers,” with the principles of humility and service at the center of all the work we do.

“The shaman is a social activist on a spiritual level.” – Michael Harner

Set up as a two-year program, apprentices will “graduate” with many tools, including a variety of journeying techniques, drumming and rattling skills, techniques for clearing and extraction healing, soul retrieval training, psychopomp work, working with the elements in a compassionate way, doing group ceremony and performing ritual, becoming intimate with the spirits of the Three Realms and developing a language to communicate and co-create with the spirits of nature directly.

This course was created by Tracey Forest and Ananda Forest, both graduates of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies’ Three-Year Program in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing under the direction of the late and incredible Dr. Michael Harner.  Ananda has since moved on in his life journey, but for the last 22 years, Spirit Hollow has been training shamanic healers and teachers at our beautiful sanctuary deep in the forest.Hundreds of people from all over New England have gone through this apprenticeship and have found their places as guides and healers in many communities.

Is this the right fit for you?  Michael Harner, our root teacher says, “the shaman is social activist on a spiritual level,” and indeed the primary “call” to this work is that nagging pull in one’s soul-spirit-self to be a spiritual activist, to be of service, to help the world to wholeness, to help alleviate suffering and pain.   Certainly, we need as many healers and soul-infused leaders as possible in this unprecedented times.

However, this apprenticeship is not intended for people solely seeking personal healing, although as a side effect, there will be deep insights, releases and profound practices that will help you become more whole.  For people with pressing psychological issues or those in a healing crisis, we do not recommend this course, but instead recommend working with a licensed therapist.

“What’s really important about shamanism is that there is another reality that you can personally discover…we are not alone.”  — Michael Harner

What do graduates say about Seeing with the Heart?

The shamanic tools and insights gained throughout this class will stay with me throughout the rest of my life. The ability to access other-worlds was SUCH a powerful idea that I would have never been able to connect with outside of this class. The education surrounding spirit guides and other various journeying tools have also helped, and with continue to help me throughout life. 

I love the equality of meeting within a circle where everybody shares and is heard. I love that the teachers shares together with the students creating a sense of trust and equality.

Life- changing, Deep gratitude. Connection with spirit and with nature has shifted my reality. I will miss my Saturdays at Spirit Hollow with beloved classmates.

I absolutely loved this training. It was so powerful. So perfectly held. I loved everything about it.

In a spiritual community, through hands-on methods, you will learn the following in Year One:

  • to “journey” into non-ordinary reality
  • to connect with power animals, ancestors and teachers for guidance and healing
  • to understand and participate in the way of council
  • to clarify your soul’s purpose and work toward manifesting it in the world
  • sacred creative expression through song, movement, drumming and/or art
  • to construct and perform sacred rituals to honor, heal & release
  • to incorporate shamanic practice into everyday life
  • techniques of working compassionately with those who have died or are dying
  • techniques of divination to use with self and others
  • methods of working with nature spirits and spirits of place in a respectful and cooperative way
  • extraction healing to remove the spiritual causes of blockages and physical illness

Participants will learn the fundamentals of shamanism and highly effective techniques for helping and healing others and the planet. Most students continue into a second year of study, learning soul retrieval and other intermediate and advanced techniques.

 Themes for Year Two:

YEAR TWO: Merging and Becoming Indigenous and Becoming a Soul Retrieval Practitioner

You will learn:

  • intermediate journeying and divination skills.
  • how to sink into nature through becoming indigenous. You will connect more deeply with the spiritual aspects of your own dwelling place and develop rituals and create sanctuaries that honor and revere the Earth.
  • deeper levels of communication and co-creation with the Spirits of Nature.
  • the entire process of soul retrieval and be prepared to assist your community in doing this incredible work of love for people, animals, plants and places.
  • You will create masks and costumes of your primary spirit helpers as an initiatory step into greater levels of shamanic awareness for the benefit of others.


Tracey Forest, Director and Co-Founder of Spirit Hollow.  Tracey  has been teaching shamanic healing for almost 30 years and is a graduate of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies‘ three-year program in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing, where she studied directly under Dr. Michael Harner, considered the world’s leading authority on shamanism. Tracey has  200-hour Teacher Certification in Prana Vinyasa Flow Yoga from Shiva Rea and teaches yoga classes throughout at several area yoga studios. Currently, she is enrolled in the Soulcraft Apprenticeship and Initiation Program with  Bill Plotkin of the Animas Valley Institute, deepening her connection to the soul of the Earth and honing her own soul-infused leadership skills, as well as gathering tools to assist the entire earth community during this time of the Great Turning.

Tracey sees private clients for shamanic healing(has done so for the last two decades), conducts Soulcentric Mentoring sessions via video, directs transformational camps for kids in the summer and runs deep immersions for women and vision quests on the land. Tracey lives and works at Spirit Hollow with life partner and son. Tracey deeply believes in the power of nature to heal, teach and connect us as well as the power of the human spirit to open and guide us to our own sacred essences.  When nature and the human spirit meet, alchemy happens and we become more aware, more in tune to our true purpose and more respectful of the Earth and all Her inhabitants.

Robert Patton, Spirit Hollow’s Dreamkeeper, one of the original Seeing with the Heart students and Spirit Hollow board president, has volunteered his time to Seeing With the Heart since 2004, paying forward the rich experience in spirituality that the program opened for him. Sandra Ingerman’s Medicine for the Earth workshop and Greg Besek’s work on death and dying both strongly influenced his path of further explorations and study.  His walk between a full-time job in the mundane world and the shamanic view of the Universe has deepened his understanding of the shamanic role in community as psychopomp to both the living and the dead and to both the wild and urban environment as well.  Over the years, Robert has celebrated rituals and led ceremonies at Spirit Hollow; in 2006, he became an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church. He believes in the journey toward personal, spiritual authority in one’s own life that Seeing with the Heart can begin for individuals and continues to offer his assistance to the classes. He continues his private studies in ritual theory, world mythology and world religion.


Bring your own lunches and Sunday breakfast.  We will be sharing a potluck meal on Saturday night. Coffee and tea will be provided all weekend long. There is a refrigerator for your use. Please bring easy to put together or heat foods (premade might be best) as we will not have time for extensive prep and cooking.

Lodging for Weekend Gatherings:

Spirit Hollow has tent cabins that have cot-style bunks; however, these are only available in the warm months, so for our gatherings for year one (winter months) you can stay slumber-party style in the yurt which is heated by a wood stove (bringing your own bedding and padding; this is a shared space, so if you need more privacy, we suggest you book a room nearby or stay in your own tent).  Our outdoor showers are ONLY available in the warm months.

We do have four outhouses for your use.

There are plenty of inns and Airbnbs for staying in the area.  A few suggested places are here:

We recommend all of the following hotels/motels/inns, all within 20 minutes of Spirit Hollow:

Tuition and Commitment:

 A non-refundable deposit of $200 (applicable to your tuition) is required with your registration, as is a completed application.  The tuition for the three weekends is $750 total.   We prefer you pay the whole fee up front; email Tracey if you need a different payment plan or option.

If you are unable to pay the minimum, but still feel strongly drawn to the program, send Tracey an email in which you outline in detail  your financial situation, what you are able to pay and what work you can exchange to supplement your payment.  We will try to work with you.

This is not a drop-in class; as an apprentice, you are making a commitment to your circle, to your teachers and, most importantly, to yourself.  We ask that you not miss any weekends.


Once your application is accepted, you will be invited to join the circle and make a non-refundable deposit.

Email us at with questions.