School of Lost Borders

I think Lost Borders will continue long after we are gone.
Its continuance will rely on those who see beyond gurus and personal longings 
to who they are destined to be within the karmic consequences of their life. 
Those visions mean nothing if they are not rooted to the reality of everyday life, 
and to the sacred ancestors: We Who Have Gone Before.
The teachers of Lost Borders have come to help us in these times of greatest need.
They have been with us for many years,
not just because they deeply care about the work and the School,
but because they love us
as we love them.

-Steven Foster, 2000

Supporting people in marking transitions has been the heart of the work of the School of Lost Borders for more than 40 years. While the core of the ceremony for wilderness rites of passage has remained unchanged over those years, the organization of the School itself has morphed, evolved, and found renewal through a number of cycles in its history. We are in one of those cycles of renewal now.

As with any significant transition, the current re-structuring of the organization of the School of Lost Borders challenged all of us (guides, administration, and Board) to honestly and unwaveringly look at ourselves as an organization. Starting with an all-guide gathering in Death Valley eighteen months ago, we have been asking these questions: What kind of organizational structure would best enable us to continue offering trainings and vision fasts into the future? How can we make it sustainable?

We’ve all been listening deeply. Many zoom calls. Many emails. Discussions, documents.  The Board and Transition Council (a working council of guides, Board members, and a much-appreciated consultant) began the daunting task of suggesting new forms of governance after months of gathering input. Every new version was brought into conversation with guides, administration, and Board. And so here we are today, presenting our new (and evolving) form.

We are building the School’s governance and operations around the Guiding Council, Board of Directors, a well-staffed Administration, and several other Councils. In the new structure, guides will take on greater responsibility both for the management of their programs and the operations of the School.  Our intention is to listen deeply now and into the future for creative, collaborative ways of working together. 

The most significant change will be the new five-person Guiding Council, which will have different guides rotating on and off to encourage broad representation. This Council will assume the role formerly played by our Executive Directors over the last many years: most recently Petra, and before that, in order, Petra and Joseph, Joseph alone, Joseph and Emerald, and long ago as founders, Meredith and Steven.  We, the new Guiding Council, take a long pause here to say a special thank you to all these people who have so well-tended the center fire of our School. We offer each of them a deep bow.

And we offer a very special thank you to all of our community.  We so appreciate your support during our time of renewal and innovation in this grand experiment.

The Guiding Council
(Betsy Perluss, John Davis, Scott Eberle, Nancy Jane, Kayla Douglass)

The Experiment of Lost Borders

Sara Harris

Once upon a time there were two people. Both had big minds, huge souls, and an even bigger hunger that they shared. The desert called their names and they answered. They first took kids over the Sierras at night in a big school bus. There were no seat belts, no insurance policies. They didn’t know exactly what they were doing or where they were going, but the desert kept calling and they kept listening.
 Something worked. They moved to the high desert and kept at it. Their house began to bulge with ideas, love, people, chaos, and madness, with the desert winds rolling through. They kept at it. It was a hard life, but certainly a meaningful one. People found them, for it turned out the desert and ceremony called to many who were hungry. They kept experimenting, inventing, learning, living this way, and the truth of it continued to call. They even called it a school. It was always an experiment. The Experiment of Lost Borders.
 Decades passed. The land and the people called the ceremony to other states, other countries.  Now forests, rivers, alpine mountain ranges, as well as deserts called. Guides came to enlarge the beating heart of this school. They brought it back from the brink of death more than once, pouring in work, love, learning, struggle, loneliness, partnership, and always their love of the land and the ceremony got them through. They had to learn systems, get insurance, and “become” an entity, territory pretty unfamiliar to some of them. Those who came forward to lead the school worked incredibly hard and made great gains.
Then, in the land, came a great pandemic, scattering to the four directions any plans, programs, travel, and all sense of what had been normal, all security shifted or gone.  Somewhere, coyote could be heard laughing his skinny ass off. “Take this, you organization, you!” The world seemed to turn upside down. The guides worked hard to turn into the skid, to listen deeply, to challenge the structures of their own ways and the ways of the school. 
 In the midst of all this, the guides still knew how to empower their people. The people still came and did ceremony and thrived and grew. The work was still good. 
The school was blessed. It had at its heart the living, breathing ceremony. It had guides who risked storms, dangers and discomfort because they loved this path and how it informed people’s hearts to live as part of and for this earth.  It had a community. It had a deep understanding of birth and death cycles. It already had everything it needed to get through this crisis. It just needed to draw on the bravery of truth with the heart of kindness. It needed to trust the ceremony would survive. It needed to nourish itself as it nourished others. The next chapter has begun, and all of you are integral. 
The Experiment of Lost Borders continues.

Honoring Petra Lentz-Snow

We'd like to thank Petra for the years she has tended the administration of the School with great love and devotion. She has been a voice for the path of sacred partnership with the earth and a fierce advocate of the vision fast ceremony. Her creativity has graced our newsletters, website, and the many emails she sent in response to inquiries. It is with gratitude that we wish Petra the time and space now to flourish in a new phase of her life, while continuing to guide for the School.
Warm Welcome to Jo and Kayla

The Office of Lost Borders is blessed with two delightful and capable women, Jo Botelho (top photo) and Kayla Douglass (bottom photo). Both began assisting Petra many months ago, and they are now the "face" of the School. Their appreciation for the mission of the School, their technical skills, and all-around enthusiasm are providing a firm administrative foundation for the new structure of the School.
Important Election Coming
With concerns about ballots and the postal service, we at the School encourage you to plan your vote well. Unsure about your state's regulations? Go to

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