FireKeepers at the Crossroads

A 5-Month Program for These Crossroads Times
with both in-person and on-line components

with Sheila Bélanger and Anne Hayden


With the current global crisis of this pandemic, overlaid on top of the climate crisis, systemic racial and class injustice, political upheaval, and immense suffering caused by workwide inequities, we are at a crossroads of never–before-seen–magnitude.  As humans, we find ourselves wrestling with a collective coldness of the heart, where our individual fears, trauma and pain cause us to close off our hearts to ourselves, others and the larger world. Yet many of us feel called to lean in and contribute to this inner and outer crisis. We recognize that we are all in this together and must discover ways to tend our individual fires as well as contribute in some way to address this global crisis.

We need to learn to be fire-keepers at the crossroads, in whatever form is congruent for each person. In the places where our world is cold, it’s time to build the sacred fires of interconnection, not only for our human species, but for all the other–than–humans who share this planet with us and indeed support our very life on it.

At this crossroads, do we hunker down, isolate and choose our own survival over that of others? Do we come to a screeching halt and wait, frozen, for an opportunity to move again?

But a crossroads like this pandemic–and indeed the underlying collision of injustice and climate change– need not be a square, T-Bone, stop-and-start, keep-your-distance, fearful and anxious, either/or kind of encounter.

Imagine a circular intersection, sometimes called a Round-a-bout.  Drivers slow down, pause, pay attention to the flow already happening, note the direction and movements of others, and seamlessly join a stream of others around a circle. One can exit when ready, or stay circling for several or many rounds. Often, sculptures or natural plantings grace the center, adding to the “traffic calming” aspect of Round-a-bouts.

What if the crossroads opportunity that this Coronavirus is offering us is shaped like a round-a-bout, a place of flow, where humans slow down and move in synch with each other?  Some are with symptoms, others are healers and helpers, some wait with patience, others find themselves on the frontlines of what is being likened to a war.

Round-a-bouts are like the nodes in mycelium, the intersections of branching threads of fungi where information, nutrients, and mysterious communication travels and is passed along in numerous directions over incredible distances.

In this place you can join others, circle around a center, sharing movement and resonance, entering and leaving where it is just right for you. Traffic (even the traffic within our nervous system) is calmed, by the slowing down, the pausing, the trees and natural landscaping, or– as we imagine– a fire in the center, being kept by deep-feeling, competent fire-keepers.  This is a place to come together and circle in council at this time.


FireKeepers at the Crossroads is designed to guide and support a cohort of kindred spirits who are committed to apprentice to being a “keeper of the sacred flame” for our world. To be an effective fire-keeper, you must first apprentice to steward your own inner fire at your personal crossroads, so that you know in your bones how to keep the sacred flame for the collective. We’ll explore ways to both steward your individual fire as well as those of the particular collective that you are called to serve.

FireKeepers at the Crossroads program includes:

  • An initial 3-day retreat on South Whidbey Island, Washington to support each person to deepen into the shape of their unique expression of being a fire-keeper at the crossroads in their personal life.
  • After the initial in-person retreat, participants will meet in bi-weekly online fire circles to share and bear witness to one another’s unfolding apprenticeship journey.
  • Monthly suggested practices and tasks to follow the thread of, and deepen the experience of, participants’ individual soul-enhancing work to steward their sacred fire.
  • Two individual mentorships with one of the guides in support of the personal edge-work that accompanies the apprenticeship.
  • A final 4-day retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington to support each person to gather the gifts and carry forward their unique expression of being a fire-keeper at the crossroads in these urgent times.

Like our other offerings, this is a highly experiential program informed by Process Work and Soulcraft™ practices, modern depth psychology, and immersed in ancient and enduring earth-based ways of knowing, the poetic traditions, and initiatory rites. 

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PREREQUISITE: This program is appropriate for those who have engaged with a significant amount of inner work and soul-oriented processes. Participation in any previous program with Northwest Soulquest or Animas Valley Institute or an equivalent experiential program is highly recommended. Contact us to explore your background.

REGISTRATION:   Enrollment is by application. To download an application,
click here.  After we receive your application, we’ll schedule a phone or Zoom call with you. For more information,  contact: 

Once your application has been approved, send a non-refundable deposit of $250 to hold your space.  Once you are enrolled, we’ll send you some journal reflection questions as preparation to step into the program.

PROGRAM FEES: (To be determined)

    • Mail a check, payable to Anne Hayden, to:
      PO Box 181  •  Clinton, WA 98236
    • Pay via PayPal using our email address as the payee:

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Contact us for more information:

(360) 320-5343    •

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We honor the people––past, present and future––of the Coast Salish Tribes,
the Snohomish, the Skagit, the Tulalip and the Klallam peoples,
upon whose traditional lands this work takes place.