Animism and Earth Ritual Practitioner Training

This nine-month training…. in the ancestral lineage repair method developed by Daniel Foor, Ph.D. is for experienced ritualists who are psychologically well and already in relationship with their own ancestors. The work will closely follow the material in Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing.

People drawn to guide ancestral healing work for others may include psychotherapists, activists/community leaders, hospice/death midwives, priests of diverse traditions, and holistic healers. In addition to learning to guide ancestral lineage repair work in an individual context, participants will:

  • Engage in ancestor-focused prayer and invocation, altar tending, and offering practices
  • Learn basic skills for assisting the dying and recently deceased
  • Weave social and earth justice considerations into the practice of ancestral healing
  • Increase personal capacity to engage the ancestors through dreams and synchronicity
  • Receive support for working with ancestral curses, funky spirits, and other toxins
  • Enjoy individualized support for bringing out your personal ancestral calling

Graduates of the practitioner training are expected to then pursue certification in this approach to ancestral lineage healing (see details below) although the pace of that post-training certification process may vary from person to person.

About the Program

Training begins and ends with a residential retreat (six nights, five full days and two partial days). We’ll gather at Highland Lake Cove Retreat and Learning Community in Flat Rock, NC, about thirty five minutes outside of Asheville (all traditional Cherokee homeland). The retreat stewards have explicitly invited the type of land-focused earth ritual work that we’ll be diving into; they’re excited to have us there. Retreat dates are:

  • Monday, October 14 – Sunday, October 20, 2019
  • Monday, March 30 – Sunday, April 5, 2020

The first retreat will cover the five stages of the lineage repair cycle (Chapters Five-Nine of the book) with considerable time devoted to supervised small-group exchanges. The second retreat will explore social and earth justice ritual in relation to the ancestors, deepen with core skills, and include other aspects of ancestor reverence (e.g., tough cases and the limits of ancestral healing, work with ancestors of place, support for the dying). Full, on-site participation at both retreats is required to complete the training.

Participants are asked to arrive for a 7pm-9pm evening session on the Monday evening of each retreat (October 14th and March 30th) and to stay through the morning session 9-11am the following Sunday  (October 20th and April 5th). Unless you’re driving, most will fly into Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) and take a group shuttle to and from the retreat center (some may also fly to Charlotte, NC and take a shuttle up). The Blue Ridge Mountains are amazing in the spring and fall, and the residential setting provides an opportunity to dive deep both with the work and with a conscious community of fellow learners and ritualists.

Between retreats participants will engage in five monthly group video conferences (Nov – Mar), five individual mentorship sessions with Daniel, and one-on-one sessions with other trainees by phone, video conference, or in-person when circumstances permit. Participation in the practitioner training also includes the cost of the Animism and Earth Reconnect Online Course


Participants are asked to all of the following criteria in place by the time of the first gathering:

  • Personal Wellness. Multi-year commitment to your personal healing and wellness (e.g., therapy, disciplined practices of some sort, care for personal relationships and integrity)
  • Ancestral Wellness. Ancestral wellness as evidenced either by being a practitioner of ancestral lineage healing or having healed (as needed) at least four lineages with a practitioner
  • Eco-Love and Literacy. Cultivated respect for the natural world as evidenced by amateur naturalist knowledge/eco-literacy, regular time in nature, and sustained love for the others
  • Earth Ritual Foundation. Multi-year ritual relationships with other-than-humans (e.g., plants, animals, rivers) so you can dive into training to guide others without being a beginner
  • Ritual Leadership Skills. An already established practice in healing arts, ritual, or some form of public leadership such that you can readily apply skills acquired through this training
  • Cultural Awareness. Basic literacy around cultural healing including awareness of histories of colonization, racism, and exploitation as they intersect work with land and spirits of place
  • Ability to Learn. Ability, despite being fabulous, to actually be a student again and to work within the parameters of a respectful and kind student-teacher relationship with me (Daniel)
  • Completion of Animism Online Course. This will be offered again May-Nov 2019 and is one way to establish similar working language for ritual and relating with the others.
  • Calling to Service. A genuine calling that you’ve already embraced to guide community ritual for others combined with enough personal integration to be of useful service to others

Number of applications are likely to exceed the 23 available spaces. Please take the criteria seriously if you want to be considered. Also, please don’t assume you’ll be accepted just because we know each other. If you are shaky in one category or another, just speak to that in the application (see below).

Retreat Details and Training Cost

Cost for the six-month practitioner training is $4,200. This includes:

  • Full tuition for both of the six-day retreats
  • Nine personal 60-minute mentorship sessions with Dr. Foor (five between retreats and four in the months after)
  • Nine monthly group video conferences (again, five in the between months and four in the months after)
  • Practitioner training manual for Animism and Earth Ritual work
  • Opportunity to be part of an emergent community of other amazing earth-honoring ritualists
  • Registration in the Animism and Earth Reconnection Online Course
  • All-in dedicated mentorship and backing from Daniel throughout the training period and beyond

This training cost of $4,200 does not include the food and lodging for retreats as some of those costs are variable, and they’re ultimately separate from the training itself. Food is about $240 per person per retreat for 14 healthy meals. Lodging ranges from $125 camping for five days to $250 dorm-style (3-4 per room) to $475 or higher for private cabins. All are asked to stay on site for group coherence. Therefore if you opt for the mid-range (dorm-style) you’ll pay $475 total per retreat, $950 total for both October 2019 and March-April 2020. Combined with tuition this results in $5,150 plus whatever it costs you to arrive at the retreat center each time from your home (typically a flight to Asheville Regional Airport or to Charlotte, NC then a carpool or shuttle to Asheville).

This amount also does not include the post-training supervision sessions during the certification phase of the work (see below for details on that). 

Participants are asked to arrive for a 7pm-9pm evening session on the Monday evening before each retreat (May 8th and Oct 2nd) and to stay through the morning session 9-11am the following Sunday (May 13th and Oct 7th). Unless you’re driving, most will fly into Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) and take a group shuttle to and from the retreat center. The Blue Ridge Mountains are amazing in the spring and fall, and the residential setting provides an opportunity to dive deep both with the work and with a conscious community of fellow learners and ritualists.


Participation in the training begins with submitting a completed application (application link here). Applications will be considered as they are received and at least one of the 23 spaces is still open as long as this is up. When you submit your application, please allow up to a week for us to confirm we have received it. Feel welcome to follow-up after that.

Applicants of other-than-European ancestries, diverse gender expressions (which frankly includes men in spiritual circles), geographic diversity to reach new populations, cultural proficiencies (including fluency in other languages), and/or with a commitment to serving populations who may not otherwise enjoy access to earth-focused ritual will be given some preference. And white, English-speaking American women living in spiritual culture bubbles are still encouraged to apply.

Permissions and Certification

When the training completes in April of 2020, graduates enter into the phase of working toward certification… Requirements consist of….documenting 40 post-training ancestral healing sessions (not with others in the training and at least 10 of which for low-income folks), completing nine professional supervision sessions with Dr. Foor during this period (including three observation sessions), and conducting a case study in ancestral healing (nothing super involved on that). There is no timeline for completing the 40 sessions, and you can charge whatever you want (within reason) for sessions during the certification phase (and beyond).

I charge $135/hour for each of the nine supervision sessions during the certification phase, so that’s $1,215 total. If you charge an average of $75 per session for your 40 sessions during this certification phase, you would make $3,000. My intent is to see trainees prosper while rendering effective service and also to honor my own time and energy in the process.

Certification includes the opportunity be part of an emergent collegial association of ancestral healing practitioners. All practitioners also agree to the Ancestral Healing Practitioner Code of Ethics. For a listing of practitioners (currently all graduates of the first training cohort) who have completed their certification requirements, please see the Practitioner Directory.