The Death Lodge

Dec.13-15, 2019
Parker Ranch, Clayton, Georgia, 30525

Every time death comes close to you, if you are prepared and comfortable about dying, the more likely you will be able to take advantage of the transformative powers of death.

People who are familiar with death (their on and others') tend to have a more compassionate view of life. We tend to go easier on ourselves and others. Sitting with Death strengthens your spiritual core, because it brings you face to face with the pent up resentment, fury, hopelessness, unresolved terror, unfinished business and the like, that you need to deal with before you die, so that you can move on to forgiving yourself and others. Then you can allow inner peace to break out and take over your life and relationships while there is still time.

Some people are blessed to become whole before they cross offer.

One of the most profound practices to prepare you for a good death, and a good life leading up to death, is The Death Lodge rite.

People who spend a lot of time with people who are near death, such as caregivers, hospice workers and nurses, know that anyone who is consciously aware of their approaching death is naturally inclined to review their life, asking themselves, "What was the meaning of the life I am leaving?"

Each person's life review process is unique.

The smoothest life to death transitions come to those who have made peace with their life.

In many cultures, preparing to die is the metaphorical fulcrum of the ancient rites of Fall, because as the as the earth's energies turn inward, they provide a natural time and place to face the losses, failures, disappointments and deaths (real or symbolic) of the past. Fall asks whether we will heal from these losses or accept that some things that were broken cannot be repaired. 

In order to proceed toward conscious dying, on your way to becoming a spiritual elder who is aware of how vulnerable and close to death you are at all times, the Death Lodge retreat gives you time to take responsibility for completing as much of your unfinished business as possible before you die.

The intentions of the practices you will follow during the Death Lodge weekend are to help you to live a more authentic life between now and when you die.

Many spiritual traditions share the belief or cosmology about the state of a dying person's relationships at the time of her/his death. The belief is that the state of the dying person's relationships at the time of their death has a profound effect on the quality of the soul's afterlife. 

In other words, doing due diligence death work while you are still alive pays dividends that you collect now and later: it increases your quality of life during the time you have left on earth and soothes your transition.

My First Death Lodge Experience

It was a summer night in 1970. I was a 22-year-old front-seat passenger in a brand new Karman Ghia. This was in the time before seat belts.

Hugh was driving. We had known each other in college. Only a few days before, Hugh had left Vietnam and the army, returned to Georgia and paid cash for the car. He hadn't had time to buy car insurance .

We had just left a mutual friend's party. It was about midnight, and we were on one of the largest overpasses in Atlanta. In dark, blinding rain, we were in the outside lane when a much larger car in the inside lane hydroplaned and slammed us into a guardrail.

The Karman Ghia bounced off the guardrail and skidded across six temporarily empty lanes. We picked up speed that slammed us into the guardrail on the opposite side of the bridge. The impact from that sent our car arching into the air in the opposite direction across all the lanes of traffic. The car doubled back across the bridge, flipping us upside down . 

Up in the air inside the car was like what I later imagined that astronauts experience. There  was no gravity. Without seat belts, Hugh and I floated upside down inside the car. The seats over our heads. Everything happened in slow motion.

On Hugh's journey home from Southeast Asia, he had bought two expensive stereo speakers in Bangkok that he took to the party. Nowy, the speakers floated in slow motion between us on their way out the opening where the front windshield used to be and into the night sky.

Next came the tiny glass pieces of the rear windshield. Then, Hugh slowly placed his hand on my forearm, looked into my eyes and said, calmly, "Try to hold on." 

I remember thinking, 'Nothing to hold onto.'

Our car finally landed on its roof, in the lane we started out on. I did not feel any impact of the force that flattened the car. It slid into a gas station and came to a stop when it slammed into a kerb that held a line of pumps. 

Not having any seat belts saved our young lives. Before impact, when Hugh and were upside down, we were gently tucked into the empty spaces beneath the dashboard.

Seconds later, while we were still inside the car next to the gas pumps, Hugh told me for the first time that there was contraband beneath my seat. He asked me to reach up under my seat and pull out the contraband and hide it beneath my blouse. He motioned for me to crawl out of the passenger side window, take the package into the women's bathroom and hide it in the trash can. 

"I'll take care of the police," said Hugh.

We slid out our respective windows and stood up, unharmed. In the restroom was a huge black trash can full of used paper towels. I locked the bathroom door, emptied the can, placed the contraband on the bottom and threw all the paper towels back on top.

All the while I was doing this, a woman was banging on the door: "Honey, are you alright? Are you hurt? Do you need any help?"

I searched myself to see if I was bleeding. The only wound I could find was a small piece of glass tangled in my left stocking. There was a dot of blood beside it.

I didn't pull it out. I left it there so I could prove to myself that everything had really happened. I also had some tiny pieces of windshield glass in my hair.

When I stepped out of the restroom, a crowd had gathered around the edges of the car. Some women were wailing and praying for the people who had been killed. 

I walked over to what reminded me of a big, flattened sardine can that you open by rolling back a key. I stood there in silence, looking at the car. I felt perfectly fine. I wasn't shaking. My heart was not racing. I didn't have a headache.

A policeman walked over to me and asked me if I knew which hospital the bodies were taken to.

I told him, "They didn't take them to the hospital. We were in that car."

"Ma'am," the officer said, raising his voice at me,"This is not anything to joke about."

I told him again that I had been in the car. Hugh walked up and said, "She's serious. We were in this car," pointing to the flat slab of shiney green steel.

The officer looked at both of us. He put his clipboard on top of a gas pump. He took off his police hat and put it on the clipboard. He got down his knees on the cement next to the pump and closed his eyes. He pointed his head toward the sky and said, tearfully, "Lord, we give thanks to you today for saving these people's lives. And then he kept praying for a while before he stood up.

Later, Hugh and I discovered that as the car was hurtling through the air, we both experienced life reviews.

Hugh said, "I was more afraid of having to tell your father I had caused your death than I was the whole time I was in Viet Nam."

Inside the Weekend Death Lodge Workshop 

You will be supported by a variety of creative opportunities to experience ancient processes designed to help you prepare to cross over when the time comes. 

We will do this through guided journeys, ceremonies to honor spiritual advocates, ancestors, the elements and nature. We will perform a shamanic pose from prehistoric Crete, and we will be lifted up by the support of a group of like-minded people who share many beliefs and cosmologies about dying and death.

All these experiences are designed to empower you and purify your relationships of all kinds. 

We close the Death Lodge on Sunday afternoon with a celebration of death, destruction and creation to honor the approaching winter solstice.

* The Death Lodge rite is attributed to the Cheyenne nation, but so far I have not found any documented connection to the Cheyenne. If anyone knows where this title comes from, I would love to learn more.

Group size: Maximum 20 participants. 

Tuition: $225

Registration deadline: November 13, 2019. 

Please note: this workshop usually sells out early. I highly recommend that you stay overnight at the Parker Ranch BNB. Before booking your room at Parker Ranch, please  contact me first, to make sure that there is room for you in the workshop.

Information about onsite lodging  at The Parker Ranch (recommended)

​Book a room at The Parker Ranch

Group size: Maximum of 22 participants. 

To register before the November 13th  deadline, you may send a deposit of $100 now and pay the balance of $100 before Dec. 5th. Or, you may send the the full amount of $225 now.

 Payment Options

To pay using PayPal, go to and click through. 

Use the following email address, to complete the transaction. If you don't mind, please use the Friends and Family option.

 To pay by check or money order, send payment (payable to Robinette Kennedy) via  postal mail to:  P.O Drawer W., Mountain City, Georgia. 30562.

Click here to learn more about Robinette Kennedy's work:

(706) 746-5485, Ext. 1​​


​​​​​​​Spiritual Retreat: Introduction to Shamanism 

Residential Spiritual Retreat with Robinette Kennedy, Ph.D.,

Clinical Anthropologist and Shamanistic Practitioner

This popular workshop is taught twice a year.

Contact us to get on our mailing list for future dates.

What to Expect in the Introduction to Shamanism Workshop

If you are on a spiritual path, you have probably heard this word, shamanism, before. It is the most frequently used term in spiritual and religious circles today. But what is shamanism, exactly?

The English language has no comparable word for the practices and healing effects of shamanism. The closest that the English language can come to describing a person who practices shamanism is the word, witch, but that term comes up short. For many people in Western culture, there is no one word that accurately describes interacting with spirits and being in sacred relationship with the divine, for the purposes of healing.

If you are reading this, I suspect that you have brushed up against the spirits world before now. Maybe you had a solitary moment in nature when you realized you are not at all alone. Or, maybe you always knew that you could trust your intuition or you've experienced conscious dreaming. Or, maybe you've been curious about the possibilities that there are other, and sometimes better, ways to cope with everyday life than the ones available to a typical American.

The Introduction to Shamanism Workshop Will Give You the Opportunity to:

    Experience safe, non-toxic, diverse, creative ways to perceive reality

    Expand your consciousness

    Generously nourish your relationship with nature and life’s spiritual center


The word, shamanism, is an Anglicized version of the word, samaan, an Evenki word from Central Asia. The concept of a samaan has various meanings. There are countless titles throughout the world, for at least the past 50,.000 years, for the functions that anyone like a samaan performs. 80% of them are traditionally women. (Read The Shaman in the Woman's Body, by Barbara Tedlock.)

Basically, the term refers to someone who knows the way, who knows how to call the spirits to come and restore balance and harmony (within an individual or in a relationship, a community, a geographical location, the weather, etc.). A samaan sends away negative energy, finds lost souls, heals illness and so on. Such practitioners are still common in many of the world’s oldest cultures. Archaeologists and anthropologists are discovering that European cultures have had ties to Himalayan shamanic practices for at least 10,000 years. 

There is material evidence that 'shamanic' practices in Central Asia have survived intact for at least 18,000 years. In the Himalayas, shamanism may be 50,000 years old or older. Shamanic/animistic practices are not a New Age fad.

There is also abundant evidence in the art and artifacts of prehistoric Crete (7,800-450 BCE) that shamanistic practices were  also part of the first European culture. Himalayan shamans were in ancient Greece. We learn more about that in  the Introduction to Shamaism workshop.

In parts of the world today where 'shamanism' is still active, women and men spiritual healers are still performing ancient rituals that include helping the client to become re-connected with her/his source of spiritual power. Rather than supporting the client's dependency on their allopathic medicine practitioner, shamanism empowers the client through strengthening their relationship with the Source of Life. Shamanism promotes spiritual democracy.

Wherever and however shamanism is practiced, its purpose is always the same: to restore spiritual, psychological, physical, social and even meterological and geological wellness and beyond. It is also grounded in relationships with nature, the five elements, Ancestors and the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

You may not be a shaman, but you may be what my friend, Bhola Banstola describes as a "shaman-to-be." Since I am not from a culture where the word, samaan is commonly used, I prefer to describe what I teach as "shamanistic." Learning reliable, basic shamanistic practices allows almost anyone to experience empowering and enriching ways to bring about positive life changes. When performed correctly, one of shamanism’s most remarkable characteristics is that its healing effects are typically long-lasting.

Some Typical Effects of Shamanistic Experiences…

•    Personal connections with sources of spiritual guidance are strengthened through practice.
•    Your understanding of your immediate situation and your purpose in this lifetime becomes clearer. 
•    Blocks, obstacles, stuck energy, etc. may be removed through shamanistic practices, opening the way for the real, empowered, you to come through.

Overall, the ancient wisdom and basic shamanistic practices presented in this workshop (including journeying, rituals, ceremonies, sacred poses from prehistoric Crete, and more) will clarify how may embody your visionary experiences in your most meaningful relationships—with Spirit, nature, Ancestors, the elements, human beings, and your compassionate, intuitive, creative self.

This workshop is for you, if you are dealing with one or more of the following in one or more areas of your life:

•    Weakness or loss of personal power and/or dysfunction. Nightmares. Anxiety. Panic attacks.
•    Lethargy, physical and/or mental illness, PTSD.
•    Strings of ‘bad luck,’ such as injuries, illness, relationship issues or financial problems.
•    Depression. Isolation/loneliness. Lack of meaning, hopelessness, confusion.
•    Doubt whether or not you are living your true purpose. 
•    Unresolved grief, trauma, fear, confusion, resentment, anger, rage/envy coming from you or from someone else that is affecting you.

During this workshop, you will be given the opportunity to learn how to:

•    Learn how a simple but strong protection ritual and how to create a safe, respectful, sacred atmosphere where healing may happen.
•    Call the spirits of the land, the sacred directions of north, west, south and east and the elements: earth, water, wind, fire (and ether.) 
•    Experience facilitated journeys to the spiritual realms of the Lower, Middle and Upper Worlds (and how to return safely to ordinary reality). Learn how to honor your Ancestor spirits and learn their role in shamanism.
•    Embody, integrate and engage your spiritual experiences and insights and ...
•    Translate your unique visionary guidance into bold, empowering, creative actions in your everyday life, going forward.

Registration Details

Contact Us to make sure that there is a space for you in the retreat. Phone: 706-746-5485, ext 1.  

After you are cleared for take-off, we will hold a place for you while you send in your full tuition payment and book your accommodations. 

Or, send half the registration fee now as a deposit, and send the balance due 30 days before the workshop begins.

Payment Options

To pay using PayPal, go to
To complete your PayPal transaction, use the following email address:

We invite you to use the Friends and Family option.

To pay by postal mail (check or money order), send payment (payable to Robinette Kennedy) to: P.O Drawer W, Mountain City, Georgia. 30562. (Yes, the address is just PO Box W)

Still have questions? Send  an email to
Or phone: (706) 746 5485, ext. 1.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Full refund is issued up to 30 days before the retreat begins. After 29 days before the retreat begins, no refunds issued unless someone is waiting to take your place.

Robinette Kennedy, Ph.D., is a clinical anthropologist and shamanistic practitioner. She holds a doctorate in humanistic psychology from Saybrook University. In the 1990’s, Robinette began researching figurines of humans in unusual, yoga-like poses depicted in the sacred art of prehistoric Crete, where she used to live. Since then, she has been presenting unique experiential workshops and expanding upon her ongoing original research into European shamanistic practices. 

Learn more about Robinette Kennedy, PhD 


In our gatherings, you will find a variety of shamanistic/animistic experiences, from those that introduce you to the bare essentials to those that support you as you strengthen Spirit's call, to events designed to enrich your existing spiritual relationship with your ancestors, nature and other spirits.

​We teach sacred practices from ancient and modern Indo-European cultures (some based on my original research) that rely on various uplifting ways to:

Enliven your ability to experience visionary consciousness.
Enrich your dreams and
Renew your connections with the nurturing aspects of your everyday life, Spirit, your Ancestors and nature. 



Upcoming ​​​​​​​USA Workshops:  

Scroll down to learn more about our goals, specific workshop details and information about registering for an event. Still have questions? Contact us.

But first, here are upcoming USA Workshops:

The Death Lodge, December 13-15, 2019 (prior experience required)

Parker Ranch, Clayton, Georgia.

Scroll down to learn more about The Death Lodge ... or contact us for details.​
This is a workshop for people with prior experience with shamanistic practices. 

From time to time I also offer workshops for beginners, "Introduction to Shamanism,"(All levels of experience or none. ) 

Click HERE for details. 

Overview of My Workshops

'Shamanism' or 'animism,' is a worldview based upon the belief that everything is alive, has a soul and is of value. This worldview is as old as the first humans. 

In our gatherings, you will find a variety of shamanistic/animistic experiences, from those that introduce you to the bare essentials to those that support you as you strengthen Spirit's call, to events designed to enrich your existing spiritual relationship with your ancestors, nature and other spirits.

We offer an array of basic, non-toxic, body-based, ancient, visionary practices that will diversify your awareness and help you remember how to safely perceive ordinary life in extraordinary ways.

​We teach sacred practices from ancient and modern Indo-European cultures (some based on my original research) that rely on various uplifting ways to:

  • Enliven your ability to experience visionary consciousness.
  • Enrich your dreams and
  • Renew  your connections with the nurturing aspects of your everyday life, Spirit, your Ancestors and nature. 

The goal of our workshops is to create a safe, respectful, sacred atmosphere where your body's innate ability to enter pleasant, creative states of perception leads you into the dreams and visions that heal you.

During a workshop, at no time will you lose awareness of your ordinary, everyday ego. At all times, you will remain faintly aware of the sounds of the world around you.

We Welcome Participants from All Levels of Shamanistic Experience 

Even in the introductory workshops, you are likely to meet people with a wide array of spiritual experiences. Some of us are brand new to shamanism/animism. Others are seasoned practitioners. All of us have special gifts that the world needs for us to share. Some of us are dealing with serious problems, and none of us is a guru--except to ourselves.

As a Temporary Spiritual Community, We Will Do Our Best to Support You as You:

  • Empower your spiritual consciousness and develop your awareness of how best to share your gifts.
  • Feel safe among a temporary spiritual community that shares your shamanic/animistic awareness and compassion.
  • Discover more meaningful ways to live your life purpose.

When you are awake, full of self-compassion and in harmony with nature, your Ancestors and the spirit world, your well-being contributes to a more peaceful, compassionate and ecologically sane world. This has certainly been the case in my own life, and if what you have read here rings a bell for you, I welcome you to join me.

Workshop Descriptions and Registration Details. . .

To contact me, Click Here

(706) 746 5485, Ext. 1​

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2016 Fall Rites of Passage in Three Different Workshops​,
Each of the events below emphasizes different experiential content based upon the season's main spiritual initiations. You are invited to attend any or all of these workshops--each has different content.

Scroll down for details.


November 4-6, 2016

Introduction to Shamanism

A Residential Spiritual Retreat and Workshop 

Elohee Center

Sautee-Nacoochee, Georgia

Scroll down for details

Overview of 2016 Fall Workshops 

Initiations of Fall are a balancing act that harmonizes inner forces of light and dark, dynamics between universal feminine and masculine energies, life and death, etc. and with your psycho-spiritual connections with nature. When we are in balance, we are a source of balance for the world.

Workshop I  
"The Fall Equinox as a Spiritual Path"

Sept. 16-18, 2016.

Athens, Georgia 

Workshop II 
"Changing Your Life Status"
Oct. 21-23, 2016

Atlanta, Georgia 

Workshop III 
"The Death Lodge" 

Parker Ranch, Clayton, Georgia

Sept. 16-18 Workshop Description and Details

Every season brings its own initiations, but Fall rites of passage are the most important because they illuminate the rituals for all the other months of the year.

While the sun is setting in the west, we are falling away from the innocence of summer/spiritual childhood and down, down into the rapture of the deep.
Darkness is coming, and although there is nothing we can do about that, there are ways we can benefit from it.  Fall is the season, psychologically and spiritually, when it's time to grow up, so that we will be able to do all we can to help all our relations make it through the winter.

By actively engaging in the rituals of Fall, we do our part to keep the circle of life turning. Our actions now feed the renewal of spring and all of nature, again and again, as we travel through the seasons.

In the calendar of the soul, fall is the right time to update the consciousness of the adolescent in each of us, so that we may perceive our roles and responsibilities in life in a more spiritually mature way. 

The tradition of observing an initiation into adulthood this time of year has deep roots. Many ancient cultures that had no contact with each other (indigenous Australians, ancient Egyptians, many Asian cultures, etc.) nevertheless used the same palette of colors: red, white, black and gold/yellow—in their Fall ceremonies. These are still the colors of the four cardinal directions in contemporary native American cosmologies.

These colors remind me of a compost pile with a mix of spent corn stalks, wrinkled pumpkin rinds and fallen maple leaves. Inside the pile, insect larvae are snug in their tiny tents. Seeds buried in dry shrouds appear to be utterly still, even dead.
Actually Fall microorganisms are teaming with life, their essences fermenting as their consciousness sinks into the Dreamtime, where they, like us, are trying to remember their people’s big stories and myths that show the way to the great Fall Giveaway ceremony already in progress.

You are invited to join our circle and begin your seasonal withdrawal into your own darkness, where you’ll encounter your Shadow and the inevitability of death. Together, we’ll embrace these opportunities to be transformed from spiritual adolescence towards a more mature sense of self: a soul reaching for the light of awareness, empowerment and connection with the world around you.

As a participant in this workshop, you will experience Fall initiations, rituals, guided journeys and shamanic poses from pre-historic Crete that yield an abundance of visions, positive physical sensations, interactions with healing images, archetypes and meaningful metaphors, along with information about this process and uch more.

We welcome people of all levels of familiarity with shamanism, or none.


Location:  HeartPath Studio, 160 Tracy Street Suite 2C, Athens, Georgia 30606

Tuition: $200
Dates and Times: Friday Evening, Sept. 16th, 7:00-8:30. 
Saturday and Sunday, September 17th and 18th, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Registration Deadline: September 8th, 2016
Payment Options:
Register now and pay the full amount using PayPal, send a cheque or money order by postal mail, or put down a deposit of $50 to hold your place and pay off the balance before the workshop begins.


Go to 
Click on to Send Money and then on To Friends and Family. 

Send $200 to
This way, there is no fee. 

Cheque or Money Order 

Send the full amount of $200.00, made payable to Shannon Willis, to the address below.

Location:  HeartPath Studio, 160 Tracy Street Suite 2C, Athens, Georgia 30606

Tuition: $200
Dates and Times: Friday Evening, Sept. 16th, 7:00-8:30. 
Saturday and Sunday, September 17th and 18th, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Registration Deadline: September 8th, 2016
Payment Options:
Register now and pay the full amount using PayPal, send a cheque or money order by postal mail, or put down a deposit of $50 to hold your place and pay off the balance before the workshop begins.


Go to 
Click on to Send Money and then on To Friends and Family. 

Send $200 to
This way, there is no fee. 

Cheque or Money Order 

Or, pay a $100.00 non-refundable deposit to reserve your place in the workshop now, and pay the balance ($100.00) before September 2nd, 2016. Use PayPal, or send a cheque or money order, payable to Shannon Willis, to the address below. 

Mailing Address

Mail checks and money orders to: Shannon Willis, 104 Puritan Lane, Athens, Ga. 30606.

When we receive your registration and payment, we will send confirmation and information about how to prepare for the workshop, including a list of suggested things to bring with you.

Want More Information? 

Contact Shannon Willis at or (706) 612-3816 
or Robinette Kennedy at (706) 746 5485