Group and 1-on-1 Journeys

In 2013, I Quit My Salary Job In San Francisco

Packed up all my belongings and headed out on a quest for Adulthood Initiation.  At the time I was 26, and having crept over the walls of “societal success,” while looking at the world dying around me, I knew that nothing else in my life mattered, unless I knew why I was here on this planet.   Having recently learned about Adulthood Initaition as a fundament of Indigineous Culture the world over, I surmised that until I crossed that threshold, even as there was no teachers and no clear modern pathways guiding it, there was nothing else to really do.

And so I left, determined not to stop until I found Initiation.

Foolish looking back, but I’m beginning to appreciate the beauty of my fool within.

Years, and after a whole lot of Sychronsitic magic,  I found myself sitting alone in the wilds of the New Mexican high desert, under the baking 100 + degree sun, on my 4th day without food and water.  It my 4th year of Vision Quest in the Lakota Lineage, and a precipice of my Initiation journey.

As the sun rose to mid-day, and red sand beneath me became nearly unbearable to lay on, I began to fade in a way I had not yet in my previous days and years in this ceremony.  Death I knew was near.  Soon enough he came, and we had a wrestle, but by then, I was not much up for the fight, and so, I finally submitted – it was time.

In that moment, as my veils thinned, an instruction came from that otherside, from the place where our old long-dead ones and future not-yet ones reside, and it said,

You are here to Make Human Beings, capable of being in service to the Great Turning.”

Some time later, and with the council of some of my mentors and elders, I understood that “making human beings,” is code for Initiation Work, as coined by my teacher Stephen Jenkinson.

And thus I knew that holding space for Initiation work, especially for the Adulthood Initiation Rite-of-Passage, was my contribution to this life. 

But how to fulfill this instruction?

Some years later, I was sitting alone in a fire ceremony at the top of a small mountain in British Columbia.  It was the start of COVID, and as the world stood still, I prayed for guidance on how to enact my vision. 

Late into that night, again in the veil-thin place between wake and dream, I received a Map of Adulthood Initiation (weaving learnings and perspectives from my previous decade-long Initiation journey – spirit, in my experience, builds on our own efforts).

And since that night, over the past 4 years, I have begun to live this vision, teaching numerous live online Adulthood Initiation classes, leading two year-long group adulthood initiation journeys (one for men, in-person in Northern California and one hybrid with The School of Mythopoetics.)

Additionally, I have guided a variety of clients in 1-2 year long personalized adulthood initiation journeys as well as mentored many others through smaller rite-of-passage experiences.  I also consult for individuals and groups on rites-of-passage and initiation work.

In the fall of 2023, after culminating the two year-long group journeys with Wilderens Vigil Vision Fasts, I took a sabbatical from this work, so as to bring my film, The Village of Lovers, to the world.

In 2024, I am listening to how life wants to move this work and allowing the work to reach for me.

If you feel called, please take my self-directed Foundations of Adulthood Initiation Online Course, and fill out the contact form below and we will be in touch.


“I’ve been on a self-guided journey of personal transformation for several years, following breadcrumbs without a clear path. Those breadcrumbs led me to John, who has filled a much needed void as both mentor and guide. Prior to my work with John I spent a lot of time in deep meditation, cultivating a loving awareness that often felt dissociated from my body and disconnected from my grief, my anger and my vitality. John has helped me anchor down, has supported me through the painful dissolution of my marriage, and has helped to spare me many dead ends on the spiritual path. I’m deeply grateful to John for his wisdom, his courage to challenge me when necessary, and his tenderness in holding me when I feel raw.”

-Rick Ramirez

“Sometimes in life there is a need for someone who is not a parent, a friend or a sibling. Sometimes there is a need to have someone who is part friend, part role model, part spiritual guide. John’s practice of mentoring draws upon ancient tradition while also co-creating something completely unique for you in the present moment. He has helped me create a vision of my future life that marries these two worlds. Over my gap year, I traveled the world, met a ton of new people, and had countless new experiences. All of these were worthwhile on their own, but they were exponentially enhanced by having a person to reflect back to me the trends they were seeing in my journey and the different important milestones to mark. John helped transform this year from a time where I just did some fun things, into a time of intentional personal and spiritual growth that I could celebrate. By helping me name and claim my newfound knowledge I felt more empowered to enter the next phases of my life and incorporate the lessons I had learned in a practical way. Stepping off of the conventional life path and taking time off can be overwhelming and messy, and John was really skillful in helping create a container for me to ensure that I got what I wanted from this liminal time.”

– Lily Datnow

“John is at once both a grounding presence and an edge-pusher in his style of Adult Initiation guidance and mentoring. His Ritual and Initiatory literacy combined with tangible middle-world ideas have helped deepen and expand my life while under his guidance.”

– Trevor Mervyn

“John has a gentle, honest presence that helps me continue to do difficult emotional work rather than avoid it or rationalize.
His approach addresses the whole person and is so much more complete than approaches to healing I’ve encountered in the past.”

– Amy Walsh