Frequently Asked Questions

About The Way of the Circle, and our Centre.

How do I know if The Way of the Circle Centre is for me?

Imagine connecting with your heart. What would it be like to invite your heart to reveal to you what it desires? What does its desires look like, sound like, taste like, smell like, and feel like?

Those who are called to our centre sense a deep inner heart yearning. The calling can come to you through your dreams, visions, questioning, or like the voice of Mother Earth calling you home to yourself and your soul family.

Our whole being, made up of heart, mind, body and soul, yearns for unity. This yearning can be expressed through many different feelings and experiences. Are you experiencing such a feeling?

Do you have a deep desire to activate your potential, gather with a heart centered community, and connect with Mother Earth? Are you willing to transform old beliefs and attitudes that keep you from living the life you dream of? Are you interested in creating miracles in your life and learning to trust your inner guidance? Do you desire to know your true purpose on Earth, stepping fully into the power of who you are?

Lyanne Fortin shares how she knew she was called in The Journey to my Heart.

Through the awakening heart, we realize our connection to the greater circle of life, guiding us to discover the immensity within. Are you ready?

What is The Way of the Circle?

The Circle is a ‘way of living’ for those who are called to value their greatest gifts and true held power. Through The Way of the Circle we discover the truth of who we are and the unique contributions we have to share, fulfilling the needs we perceive in our world.

Jan Beaver shares about the magic of The Way of the Circle.

The Way of the Circle is a response to those seeking connection, safe passage, peaceful resolutions, encouragement, support, love and acceptance.

Do you offer shamanic retreats?

The Way of the Circle Centre was previously known as Canadian Centre for Shamanic Studies. As shared in the stories of our evolution: Coming Home to the Way of the Circle & Imagineers of a New Dream, shamanism played a major role in helping us build the foundation of our centre – making us who we are today. Over the years, our shamanic community was organically guided to expand beyond the term ‘shamanism’ into a more universal reach and language.

The core universal elements that we specialize in providing retreat experiences for are: The Circle; The Heart; Nature; Community. Our Heart Foundations retreats are comprised of a beautifully diverse group of heart centered individuals from a variety of cultural and spiritual backgrounds.  During a retreat, participants may feel called to share a personal tradition or practice with the retreat group. This may include (but is not limited to) shamanic practices. We welcome all universal learnings that come through our diverse circle culture, nourishing love, peace and unity.

How are the Heart Foundations different from the previous shamanism retreats?

In The Way of the Circle, we acknowledge that each participant has wisdom to contribute, through their questions and needs, their heart yearnings, their gifts, and their unique life experiences and backgrounds. At a Heart Foundations retreat we each bring a ‘piece’ of the circle puzzle –  that when pieced together – co-creates the unique unfolding of our group retreat experience.

These retreats are facilitated by a group of mentors, alongside Martha Lucier (co-founder), whom have gone through all four seasonal Heart Foundations, and through ongoing WOC mentorship training.

Martha shares, “I learned through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and for many years facilitated a Two Year Advanced Shamanism Training, where I taught people how to do extraction healing, soul retrieval and different kinds of shamanic healing methods and techniques. What was at the root of everything was to help people connect. Connect with their hearts, connect with each other, connect with the earth, and to work together to co-create a new dream. How this has evolved is I stopped teaching that two year training in 2013, and a circle of graduates came together for a year in the Way of the Circle to co-create a new training called the Heart Foundations. It is not teaching people shamanic methods of healing; it is very much an alchemical process where everyone brings something, whether they know it or not, to place in the sacred container of our circle. Everyone is there to both give and receive. What we bring together and co-create ends up being the perfect formula for what each of us needs, and exponentially it heals, rippling out to affect human consciousness. It’s a very effective formula in helping us to change old patterns of beliefs, to help us learn more about what our gifts are, what our reason for living is, and to help us unravel from those things keeping us from being who we are meant to be in the world. We then take this circle template back with us into our personal lives and begin using it in our families and in our communities.” READ THE FULL STORY: Imagineers of a New Dream

The circle invites a multi-level experience, where participants of all backgrounds and experience levels gather in the shape of unity to share and receive equally, dissolving the old structures of hierarchy and the ‘teacher – student’ dynamic.

How does The Way of the Circle help me in my daily life?

The Way of the Circle helps us discover and activate the value of our true purpose, so that we may live an extraordinary life of vitality, harmony and balance.  As a circle community we learn about how to dream the world we desire into being, as we hold sacred space to support each other through the changes and growth in our individual lives.  We learn how to take heart-lead action through living in ceremony, allowing us to respond to the greatest needs we perceive in the world.

Vanessa Brown shares how she integrates the Way of the Circle in Living Ceremony.

In the practice of the Way of the Circle, we embody our heart’s wisdom, exercising our spiritual roots, so that we can be vessels of service manifesting love, peace and unity on our planet.  The Way of the Circle can help us in our lives in all ways imaginable…and beyond!

What is the itinerary of the retreat?

We do not offer fixed itineraries for our retreats, for the reason that we intentionally leave room for the inner guidance and wisdom from all participants to help co-create the group experience. In this circular way, we adapt the unfolding of each retreat to meet the individual needs of participants, while tuning into the cycles and rhythms of the seasons, allowing us to respond to the greatest collective need we perceive at that time.

Jacynthe Villemaire shares about her first retreat experience in The Unexpected: What to Expect at a Circle Gathering.

How is The Way of the Circle different from other kinds of healing retreats and methods ‘out there’?

What is unique about our Heart Foundations retreats is that they are a culmination of what we, as a Way of the Circle collective, have learned in our personal healing paths and various training retreats since 2004. Our community is made up of all who started out as guests themselves, who were called to deepen their growth on the Spiral Path of Learning through various ongoing WOC trainings.

This organically lead our community to then co-create our current Heart Foundations retreats, comprised of the wisdom from their direct experiences. In other words, through the Way of the Circle we offer retreat experiences that are co-created by the circle, for the circle.

Hedy Minten, Gwenith Kikkawa & Karin Watling share about the Song of Unity singing us home.

Our focus is on building and nourishing life-long community through the Way of the Circle, extending far beyond a single retreat experience. Our connections and support systems as circle members continue to build after a retreat experience through ongoing monthly conference calls, community newsletters, and regional social gatherings.

Doug Mannen shares his circle experiencing to help care for The World Drum in The Truth Within.

We specialize in offering intimate sized groups of retreat experiences in the heart of nature, where we can venture and explore the rich teachings of the land on the Northern Edge of Algonquin.  

The Way of the Circle offers a template for a way of living in harmony and balance with all, creating lifelong change.

Can I sleep offsite?

Due to the intimate nature of our group experiences, we do not offer an option to sleep off-site. The dreamy nature of our cabins, the social engagement of being on-site outside of “program time”, and the potential of making a new friend in shared accommodations are elements which contribute to the richness of flow and trust that is built between the retreat group members during the time of their stay.

Daniela Masaro shares about such richness in I Flow.

Can I bring my partner/family member/friend to a retreat?

Certainly.  Many friends and family members attend retreats together, if you are both called to the program.

What if they don’t want to participate – can they just enjoy meals & accommodation?

If you feel called to come to a retreat, this is an opportunity to honour that call. What would it be like to allow yourself to receive the gift of Time? What would it be like to allow yourself to discover the solace of your own sanctuary?

We don’t offer overnight accommodation or meals to guests who are not participants in a retreat program – this allows us to focus on co-creating our group experience.

When there is a strong calling in your heart to attend a retreat, you may experience resisting feelings of fear and doubt in venturing out of your comfort zone, or have challenges presented in relationships or circumstances around you. What would it be like to greet your growing edges with a sense of joyful curiosity and openness?

How can I get to the retreat centre?

For those travelling north or southbound, the Ontario Northland Bus can bring you to the town of South River. For an additional price we can arrange for a retreat shuttle to pick you up from this bus stop and bring you to the retreat centre, a 20 minute drive.

For those traveling east or westbound the Greyhound Bus can drop you off in the city of North Bay. For an additional price we can arrange for a retreat shuttle to pick you up from North Bay  and bring you to the retreat centre, a 1.5 hour drive.

If you are interested in carpooling options, please inquire by email and the retreat coordinator will inquire with the retreat group attending.

Annie Bray shares about her journey of Finding My (Northern) Edge.

Is there Wifi at the retreat centre?

We invite all guests to unplug from technology with no Wifi so that they can deepen their present living experience. As we do so, we plug into our own heart, our self care, our connections with others, and reset our internal rhythms to flow in cycle with nature.

Todd Lucier shares about Unplugging and Digital Detox.

We ask guests to make their final calls in the cell reception of South River before making their way out to the retreat centre.

In the matter that a guest may need to be reached during their unplugged retreat experience, an emergency contact number will be provided to their family or friends so that urgent messages can be received.

Are there any options for financial assistance?

As a circle, we are invested in the ongoing growth and nurturance of our heart centered community. Community members have offered their service through donated gifts from their hearts for fundraising, financial donations, bridging communities, healing work fundraising, funding individual sponsorship, and through volunteer work in the Edge gardens, kitchen, facility maintenance, and creative projects such as the Songlines Album.

We have opportunities for financial support: View details.

Do you offer ayahuasca retreats?

Some who initially contact WOCC with this inquiry may find out their deeper heart calling is connected to what our centre does specialize in – offering support in remembering innate ways to find answers to questions and healing within their daily lives.

Jane Large shares how we are all The Living Keys.

If you came to our website in search of an ayahuasca experience, we invite you to explore our Heart Foundations to find out if these experiences can help answer your deeper heart calling. What would it be like to connect with your heart’s calling? What does your heart’s calling look like, feel like, taste like, smell like, sound like?

These retreats can also help you strengthen the foundation of your being as you prepare for a future ceremonial event or initiation, such as with ayahuasca.

We do not specialize in plant medicines such as ayahuasca; therefore, we do not offer ayahuasca retreat experiences.

Do you offer online experiences or training?

With our commitment to building community in the Way of the Circle, we recognize that the sacred container of the circle is most strongly formed when we gather in person, aligning our whole selves, made up of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. This is where we thrive in offering group experiences. What would it be like to allow for the possibility of claiming your seat in the circle of heart centered community?

While we do not offer online training at this time, we do have a healthy online community that we nourish through monthly e-newsletters with home practices, as well as regular conference calls/videos and social networking for circle members.

What do I bring to a retreat?

Attending a retreat, the most valuable component of what you bring is the dreamer within you. What would it be like to imagine you are the environment that you bring, equipped with all of your tools and experiences?

In the circle, when we are present in our hearts, trusting in the process, connecting to our innate wisdom, we are prepared for anything.

Guests for our retreats receive an email list of specifics of what to bring to according to their retreat theme and season. In general, be prepared to spend time playing outdoors no matter the season or weather.

Have any other questions?

We’d be more than happy to answer any further questions: [email protected] or 888-383-8320 x4