Francis Weller

Workshop Leader

Francis Weller

Francis Weller, MFT, is a psychotherapist, writer, and soul activist. Author of "The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief", "The Threshold Between Loss and Revelation", (with Rashani Réa) and "In the Absence of the Ordinary: Essays in a Time of Uncertainty", he has introduced the healing work of ritual to thousands of people. He founded and directs WisdomBridge, an organization that offers educational programs that seek to integrate the wisdom from indigenous cultures with the insights and knowledge gathered from Western poetic, psychological and spiritual traditions. Francis’ writings have appeared in anthologies and journals exploring the confluence between psyche, nature, and culture, including "The Sun" magazine, the "Utne Reader", "Kosmos Journal", and "Ruminate". Francis is currently on staff at Commonweal Cancer Help Program, co-leading their week-long retreats with Michael Lerner. He is currently completing his fourth book, "The Alchemy of Initiation: Soul Work and the Art of Ripening".

The Gathering Room


The Gathering Room


Oct 01 - 29 2021


6:00 pm - 9:00 pm



Francis Weller: Soul Work and the Art of Ripening: A Five Part Online Course on the Alchemy of Initiation

How do we become seasoned adults, a true human being? Clearly, this is not a given. Traditionally, this was the work of culture. Through the long labors of multiple initiations, individuals were gradually crafted into persons of substance and gravity. The process yielded someone more attuned to responsibilities than rights, more aware of multiple entanglements than entitlements. They were initiated into a vast sea of intimacies; with the village, star clusters and gnarled old oaks, the pool of ancestors and the scented earth. Through the sustained attention of culture, individuals were ripened into adults capable of sustaining culture: A marvelous symmetry.

We are meant to cross many thresholds in our lifetime, each a further embodiment of the soul’s innate character. Yet for many of us, the failure to complete the first crossing continues to affect our ability to fully show up in our lives. Many of us carry the uncomfortable thought that we are unsure of our place in the world, still anxious about our sense of value and our right to be here. The unfinished business of adolescence haunts us and makes it hard to live into the fuller arc our life longs to engage.

These five sessions of reflection and consideration offer us a rich exploration into the vast territory of initiation. We begin with a premise: initiation is not optional. Psyche/soul will insist on this encounter, even in the absence of culturally held rites of passage. Initiation is an ordeal, a tempering induced by heat and pressure. Heat we have and pressure aplenty. The circumstances of our lives and the surrounding world are the initiatory thresholds compelling us to change. The losses, intimacies, defeats, challenges, illnesses, and breakdowns, internally and culturally, are the prima materia, the material required to activate the movement into our adult presence.

Join us for five compelling sessions of exploration into the essential realm of initiation. Each meeting will explore how psyche/soul persists in taking us to the edge of our own maturation even in the absence of culturally held rituals of initiation. Drawing from the rich lineages of psychology, anthropology, mythology, alchemy and poetic traditions, these conversations will offer multiple pathways into our ripened lives. Utilizing teaching, breakout sessions, writing practices, reflection questions, and exercises between sessions, we will deepen our appreciation for our soul’s continuous call to be fully present in the world.

October 1. Cooking the Soul: The Alchemy of Ripening

October 8. Fire in the Voice: Facing the Predator

October 15. Rough Initiations: When the Bough Breaks

October 22: Baptized by Dark Waters: The Call of Soul into the Underworld

October 29: Love’s Fierce Embrace: The Great Inducement to Ripen