We all have our stories. Our gift to you is not the telling of our experiences, though they be many, but the extent to which we can help you to find your own path, voice, truth, and authenticity.
Sparrow Hart began his deep exploration of nature and wilderness in 1971 with a 5-month solo pilgrimage through the Cascades and Canadian Rockies — and undertook his first vision quest in 1980. Over the last 30+ years he has studied with a variety of native and non-native “medicine teachers” in the United States and Mexico, and taught and practiced both modern and indigenous approaches to healing.
In 1986 he apprenticed in the art of the vision quest with Steven Foster and Meredith Little (authors of The Book of the Vision Quest), who called him “the best we’ve ever had.” Since the he has led over 150 vision quests in Vermont and the American Southwest, and undertaken over 30 quests of his own.
He is the author of Letters to the River: A Guide to a Dream Worth Living, creator of the Mythic Warrior Training; founder of the annual Men’s Wisdom Council at the Rowe Conference Center; a proud father; and a frequent workshop leader around the country. His work stands firmly in the tradition of “joining Earth and Sky” — bringing spiritual life out of the heavens and into the nitty-gritty issues we face daily — and affirms the importance of the emotional, imaginative, and sensual landscapes (our non-rational capacities) on our individual soul journeys. He is currently in the process of completing two books: one on The Medicine Wheel and the other on The Vision Quest.
Although well-versed in mythology and the sacred traditions of the world, Sparrow’s work comes out of his own experience. His personal journey includes a wide range of shamanic practices; apprenticeship with the Native American teacher, Sun Bear; dream exploration; the twelve steps; psychodrama; inner child work; and a long immersion in the Toltec and Castaneda tradition. His life experience includes a stellar academic career as well a being a building contractor, father, massage therapist, and factory worker.
He’s recognized as having a unique ability to bring ancient wisdom into the present, to translate the perennial spiritual teachings about the connectedness of all life into terms relevant to our modern and personal worlds. In the spirit of “reducing self-importance,” he aspires to embrace the shadow and light of our full humanity, which — coming from the same root as “humus” — means, in both simple and profound ways, to joyfully be a person of the earth.
Most programs offered by Circles of Air and Stone have Sparrow as guide, and for more information about Sparrow, click here. He is often assisted by others, particularly Blase Provitola and River Strong in the men’s programs, and Len Fleischer and Lauren Chambliss in the Elder Quest and dream workshops.
River Strong is a teacher, environmental consultant, outdoor educator, and heart guide. He holds an MFA in creative writing; has published in the Greyrock Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, and Baltimore Review; and has served as the Executive Director and instructor with ArtsReach, a non-profit education organization serving student populations on the Yaqui, Pima, and Tohono O’odham reservations in southern Arizona.
River is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program, and an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, the Adirondack Mountain Club Winter Mountaineering School, and the Appalachian Mountain Club Mountain Leadership School.
Since 2010 he’s participated and co-led men’s programs and vision quests with Circles of Air and Stone. He resides in Amherst, MA with his two daughters, and tries to live by the motto: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.”
, M.A., is a writer, teacher, rite-of-passage guide and dreamworker. A journalist in Washington, DC for 20 years, she moved to upstate New York in 2001 and now works and teaches at Cornell University. Lauren was on the staff at Animas Valley Institute from 2002-2013, where she led vision quests, Soulcraft intensives, dream workshops, and other programs. In the past decade she has led small group retreats in exquisite natural spaces, from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to remote islands in North Carolina and the backwoods of Tennessee.
Lauren has been working with dreams — in groups, workshops, and with private clients — for more than a decade. Her unusual style engages participants with characters and images within their dreams and continues that dance of imagination in nature.
Len Fleischer is a professor of education, a licensed clinical psychologist, and a rite of passage guide. Formerly on the staff of the Animas Valley Institute, he has led soulcraft intensives and vision quests for adolescents, adults, and elders. A practitioner of the “crazy wisdom” school of Tibetan Buddhism, he brings to his work a passion for awakening and transformation.
“There is no greater tragedy than a life unlived; no greater joy than holding to one’s Vision through the blessings and sorrows of life.”
is a professional coach, yoga teacher, and group facilitator. He directs the coaching track of The Mythic Warrior and Four Seasons men’s programs, and since 2007 has worked with clients seeking a wide range of creative and life changing goals to help them live more present, focused, and integrated lives.