Grief Into Beauty: Creating Nature Altars to Transform and Heal from This Year
October 29–31, 2021
October 29–31, 2021
with Day Schildkret
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We’ve all been tested this year. Many of us have been isolated, lonely, and stretched far too thin. Waking up anxious and going to bed worried, many of our relationships have been strained from so much time together, too much time apart, and too much time indoors. We need simple, accessible, and even delightful ways to make sense of this chaos – not by increasing our use of high speed tech, but by slowing down, listening deeply, and collaborating with the living world.

Join internationally renowned author and artist Day Schildkret of Morning Altars to learn how to use nature, art, and ritual to transform, heal, and make meaning from this time. Nature will be our collaborator in accessing creativity and time-tested ways to practice mindfulness, and in cultivating a place-based resilience in the face of change.

Based on the practice conceived and popularized by Day’s first book, Morning Altars: A 7-Step Practice to Nourish Your Spirit through Nature, Art and Ritual, this workshop will guide you through Day’s unique seven-step practice and help you strengthen your skills of wonder, belonging, gratitude, creativity, wholeness and non-attachment. In the mornings we will be in nature, opening our eyes, our senses, and hearts while practicing the first two steps (Wander & Wonder and Place). In the afternoon, we will be making nature altars for all the losses, celebrations and changes that happened this past year, using pattern literacy and symbols to represent our stories. The workshop will conclude with an altar ritual, where we go around and witness each other’s hearts and art.

We will practice:

  • Nature Connection for more calm, embodiment and connection
  • Ritual and Meaning Making for sane-making, deeper understanding and wisdom
  • Creative Expression for finding fulfillment, facing fear and courageous living
  • Relating to Impermanence for skills of mindfulness, non attachment and resilience
  • Wonder for renewing a sense of awe, curiosity and aliveness

In this nourishing workshop, you will learn not only how to craft a nature altar, but also how and why they have been used for thousands of years in cultures all over the world as a resource to move through emotion, make meaning, celebrate life, and connect more deeply with the inner and outer nature of existence. The opportunity to change your life is here, in your grasp.

Students will be moving around the property, working outdoors, and should be prepared with layered clothing and appropriate footwear to offer them the greatest mobility.

Recommended reading: Schildkret, Morning Altars: A 7-Step Practice to Nourish Your Spirit through Nature, Art and Ritual.

Day Schildkret

Day Schildkret

Day Schildkret is an award-winning queer author, artist, ritualist, teacher and is internationally known for Morning Altars, which BuzzFeed calls, “a celebration of nature and life.” For nearly two decades, he has worked with individuals, communities, and organizations to help heal the culture through a meaningful and creative response to personal and collective change.

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Workshop Schedule

Fri 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Sat 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm
Sat 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sun 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

More activities can be found on our open class schedule.

See general schedule information including arrival, departure and meal times.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive, program-specific tuition. Please note that not all accommodation levels are available for every workshop and additional faculty fees may apply.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Accommodations & Tuition

For this workshop, you will register and pay for accommodations and tuition in two separate steps.

First, sign up and pay tuition directly to

Second, click Book Accommodations from this page and enter the password to complete your reservation to stay at Esalen.

Prices for accommodations include your lodging, meals, open classes, and use of the baths and other facilities. View partner program accommodations pricing.

COVID Update

In addition to proof of vaccination, all guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective January 7, 2022 in response to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, all guests and faculty will provide proof of negative PCR, NAAT, or antigen test results at time of check-in. The test must be taken within 72 hours nd results must come from a laboratory or healthcare provider.Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective December 15 in accordance with new guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Health, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022). Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective November 19, 2021, in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are no longer required to wear masks indoors on campus. Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Starting November 5, 2021, due to substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission in Monterey County, a mask mandate established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will go into effect. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival starting September 3, 2021. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Masks are no longer mandated indoors or outdoors, except during massage sessions. Guests are not required to provide testing or vaccination verification before arriving on campus. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

All-inclusive Pricing
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