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Awaken Your Jaguar:
The Art of Shamanic Counseling & a Day-long Vision Quest
October 19, 20, 21 with visiting shaman Jeff Nixa

Join us for an incredibly potent, magical, and unique weekend of awakening your jaguar: the innate wildness, power, resilience, and navigational capacities of your heart.  Aho!

Jeff Nixa is one of my most favorite people, a veteran healer and shamanic teacher, and also one of the most loving and helpful humans you’re likely to encounter.  We met some years back, at a 2-year shamanic training with Sandra Ingerman, and I couldn’t be more tickled or delighted to welcome him to meet our community!  Jeff, a powerful shaman and respected author, is making pilgrimage to us for a powerful weekend of soul transformation, shamanic visioning, and practical life way-finding skills designed to clarify and activate your unique medicine for the world.   Jeff makes even the hardest challenge or complex teaching seem easy, with gentle humor, deep listening, a super-practical toolkit, and some really neato modern-day wisdom.

We’ll first learn the art and skill of fire talks (shamanic counseling sessions), and then venture into deep nature for a day of vision questing in the heart-opening Marin headlands. The weekend will benefit newcomers to shamanism, as well as experienced practitioners, with innovative teachings and actual outdoor nature-based experiences that you will not find in conventional ‘hotel shamanism’ programs.   Welcome to the Bay, Jeff!

Meet Jeff

Jeff Nixa JD, MDiv., is the author of The Lost Art of Heart Navigation: A Modern Shaman’s Field Manual. He comes to us from the heartland of Minnesota, and is the founder of Great Plains Guide Company, an array of shamanic healing and education programs that include fire talk counseling sessions, seminars, outdoor retreats, and a shamanic apprenticeship program.

A veteran spiritual guide with 30+ years professional work in health care, counseling, and ministry work, Jeff began walking the shamanic heart path in 2009 after a life-changing vision quest experience in northern Michigan.  Jeff has been a professional associate with Crows Nest Center for Shamanic Studies USA, is a graduate of Sandra Ingerman’s shamanic teacher training.  He has studied with the Harner Foundation for Shamanic Studies, healers in the Peruvian Amazon and the Andes Mountains, Oglala Lakota elders on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and Cree elders in Alberta, Canada. Jeff is an experienced wilderness backpacker, paddler, sea kayaker, and year-round cyclist.

Path of the Heart: Weekend Overview

The focus of all three weekend events is the shamanic Path of the Heart, an ancient, nature-based spiritual methodology for finding one’s unique purpose and power in the world and bringing that to life with confidence, joy, and artistry.  

Friday’s evening introduction, shamanic journey and book signing will be at the Women’s Building in San Francisco, and the Saturday and Sunday workshops will both be hosted at the Point Bonita YMCA, in the stunning Marin Headlands, just north of San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge.  Sunday will close around an evening fire, looking out over the Pacific.

  • 10/19 Friday evening: Meet with Jeff, Introduction to the Hearth Path, and book signing
  • 10/20 Saturday: Shamanic Fire Talks: The Lost Art of Shamanic Counseling (vegetarian lunch included)
  • 10/21 Sunday: DayQuest: A day-long vision quest experience in Nature (vegetarian dinner included)

FRI NIGHT: Meet Jeff and his book, and Learn About The Shamanic Heart Path  

Fri Oct 19 at 6pm-9pm
Intro talk & book signing
The Women’s Building, San Francisco
$25, books available for sale at event

Join us for an informal gathering to chat with Jeff and hear about his transformation from conventional healing roles in health care, counseling and ministry to becoming a respected shamanic teacher and practitioner.

Jeff will share an overview of the Path of the Heart, an integration of ancient shamanism and Jungian soul psychology perfectly aligned to the urgent personal, social, and environmental needs of our times.  

No other healing tradition today offers the nature-based healing tools of shamanism for breaking our modern trance of distractions, “hurry sickness,” and soul loss that keep us from knowing what we want, coming fully alive, and moving forward in life as artists of the soul.  Jeff will be signing books after the workshop.


SAT. WORKSHOP: Fire Talks, The Art of Shamanic Counseling

Sat Oct 20, 10am-7pm
Point Bonita, Marin Headlands
$695 package: both Sat & Sun, (22% discount)
$444 Sat only, lunch included
RSVP required, below

Join us in the beautiful Marin headlands for this day-long exploration of shamanic “fire talk” counseling practice: a structured, strength-based approach for exploring the spiritual heart, laying out a vision for one’s life, and addressing the barriers to living out that vision with confidence and power.  Fire talk methodology integrates the time-tested ecospiritual practices of ancient shamanism, with modern Jungian/soul psychology, and treasures from Jeff’s own life, travels, and teachers from North and South America.

At this workshop, you’ll learn:

  • About the origins of the fire talk methodology, an integration of ancient and modern healing wisdom
  • A demonstration of the fire talk process, with a volunteer from the group
  • How to create a safe, structured environment to explore the spiritual heart
  • How to lead a simple yet powerful medicine wheel ceremony to open a fire talk
  • How to sense and articulate a vision for one’s life, moving forward
  • How to identify the specific fears, beliefs, and “dragons” that block one’s vision
  • How to directly connect with, and learn from, the spirits of one’s own deepest fears to gain information, liberation from fear, and vital energy for moving forward
  • How to begin living life as a true Artist of the Soul and enjoy a more joyful, forward-directed life of purpose and service to others
  • How to protect one’s path and progress from negativity, criticism, and real life difficulties
  • How to practice the fire talk process with a partner, and receive supportive help and feedback from Jeff during the learning process.  Handouts provided for continued work at home

This program will be of particular interest to those in the healing and helping fields of medicine, nursing, education, psychology, social work, ministry and pastoral counseling.  It will benefit anyone seeking a soulful, strength-based approach to healing and life-navigation rooted in our dynamic spiritual connection with all living things.  

SUN WORKSHOP: DayQuest, Life Navigation the Ancient Way

Sun Oct 21, 10am-8pm
Point Bonita, Marin Headlands
$695 package: both Sat & Sun (22% discount)
$444 Sun only, dinner included
RSVP required, below

Come experience this day-long version of a traditional wilderness vision quest ceremony.  A vision quest is an ancient spiritual practice to clarify one’s purpose and direction in life, a classic rite of passage common to many indigenous societies worldwide.  This one-day version includes group preparation and support for several hours of fasting and prayer alone in the beautiful Marin headlands, to slow down, connect deeply with nature, receive healing, and get clarity on some question, struggle, or situation in one’s life.  

This workshop is ideal for persons navigating a big decision, a move, a school, work or life transition, a relationship change or loss, spiritual questioning…or anyone just feeling stuck, stagnant or uncertain in life.  This relaxing, safe, and powerful day in nature is the perfect antidote to the epidemic of hurry-sickness and distracted living we all struggle with.

At this workshop you will learn:

  • About the vision quest tradition among various AmerIndian cultures
  • A simple ceremony for welcoming in one’s ancestors and nature 
  • How to prepare for the solo portion of the quest, to include both a wandering time and a sitting time for deep prayer and connection with nature
  • How to formulate a focused intention for the solo time
  • Helpful instructions on safety, navigating, and good relations with weather and wildlife 
  • An outdoor moving-mindfulness practice to enjoy during the solo time
  • Several hours of focused solo quest time in nature
  • Individual support and processing after the solo time to clarify one’s ‘vision’ 
  • Group fire ceremony for integration, support and processing of our quest experiences

Participants are encouraged to fast prior to and during the solo quest time.   

Vision Quest Video

Here’s a wee video from Jeff about vision questing.  Although this is geared for a longer vision quest than our single day together in the Marin Headlands, you’ll get a sense…enjoy!

Testimonials from Prior Vision Quest Participants:

 “The vision quest for me was an amazing adventure.  It truly helped to shift my path in the direction I hoped for without the fear of “what if”!   I loved how it quieted my mind on the mountain and amazingly that chatter has not returned. Thank you again for making this all possible!!!”  -Mary Lou, Arizona

“Jeff’s energy and wisdom have guided us all through an extraordinary process of self-discovery that we will never forget, and will nourish our souls for the rest of our lives. From my work in the corporate world I know how hard it is to pull these sorts of events off, yet you have made it look effortless…with your preparation, your knowledge and experience… and your complete belief in the power of the work you do.”  -Giles Newman, British Columbia

“Jeff’s teachings, guidance and preparation for the vision quest were invaluable.  The amount of stillness during the quest is simply profound. There were times I struggled with my mind, boredom, hunger, and other times I felt immense peace and love towards myself and all beings.  As I ended my journey I couldn’t help but feel a wise old sage had awakened in me, and I feel more connected to all things, people and places. I am forever grateful and forever changed. Thank you.” -Jessica Merwin, Michigan.

RSVP required: join the circle


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