Who am I?
I am a wilderness and rites-of-passage guide. I am a ritualist. I am a singer. I am a teacher. I am a horse woman. I am an ambassador of the good life. I am an apprentice. I am a gardener. I am a traveler. I am a mystic. I am a swimmer. I am a village builder. I am a guide. I am a lover. I am a dancer. I am a creator. I am a daughter.
I wrote that list on my own vision quest in the summer of 2016. I still feel humbled and empowered every time I read it.
I'm someone finding her way in the world, just like everyone else. I am devoted to this Earth, and I believe that we each carry gifts that are needed at this time. Therefore, one of my primary tasks is to be of service in helping people connect with those gifts, and bring them forward in the world. I choose to do most of my work in nature because it is the most powerful way I have found to connect to truth, beauty, awe, inspiration, emotion, creativity, growth, and resource. I choose to spend time with youth because they delight and inspire me, and because I believe that cultural mentoring is essential to building healthy and thriving communities.
I am inspired by many things, and grateful for many teachers. I am a perpetual seeker and student, and I hope I will never stop weaving the threads of what I learn into my work in the world.
The spiritual life cracked me open and awoke a deep longing, and then the Earth called me home. My work in the world is a constant dance between deep inner work, and grounded ecologically- and community-oriented activism, with a frequent healthy dose of humor, humility, dancing, and surrender. I yearn to awaken hope, authenticity, passion, social justice and ecological responsibility in young people. I aspire to weave psyche and nature back together, while building stronger fabrics of community life back into our cultural frameworks. None of the work feels separate from anything else, and it all stems from that longing: to live in greater alignment with our true nature, in harmonious and vibrant connection with one another and the natural world that we belong to.
Ok, so you want a bio...
Anna Swisher is a community activist, ecopsychologist, conscious dance teacher, permaculturist, youth mentor and Work That Reconnects facilitator. She holds an M.A. in East-West Psychology, and is trained in Ecotherapy and Wilderness Questing, Permaculture, the Work That Reconnects, Indigenous traditions, cultural mentoring, Living Systems theory, Yoga Therapy, JourneyDance™, and Mindfulness Education. She has 10 years of experience facilitating nature-based counseling and mentoring, community activism workshops, girls' and women's circles, wilderness/vision quests and rites of passage, yoga, conscious dance, meditation, and earth-based ritual. She also specializes in working with teenagers and young adults.
Anna has spent recent years deeply studying the work of Joanna Macy and The Work That Reconnects, and sharing it in various communities throughout Europe. She has also been focusing on studying and facilitating dance, movement and ritual as a means of healing and community building, teaching classes and workshops in Ireland. In California, Anna worked with various organizations that offer nature connection and mentoring, rites of passage, nature/outdoor education, wilderness adventure, and nature-based social-emotional learning. Working with high schools, colleges, sports teams and non-profits, she has focused on working with teenagers and young adults to support authenticity and expression, self-awareness and reflection, emotional literacy, nature connection, passion and compassion, stress-relief, team-building and authentic leadership, and social and ecological responsibility. Anna also enjoys guiding transformative nature and wilderness experiences for adults, through dayquests, vision quests, and 1:1 therapeutic work.
During her M.A. program at CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies,) Anna focused on Ecopsychology, Tantric and other non-dual traditions, Indigenous wisdom and Earth-based spirituality, and embodied process and practices for psychospiritual growth. After completing her graduate degree, she focused on teaching yoga and dance, guiding people to connect with their bodies to facilitate inner and outer transformation. She initiated, organized, and led numerous women's groups and vision councils, focused on personal growth and community building. She spent time studying indigenous/shamanic practice, plant medicine, and herbalism. She is now synthesizing these practices with permaculture, ecopsychology, council practice, and The Work That Reconnects (Joanna Macy,) to facilitate transformative group processes that inspire restorative community building and ecologically-minded community design.
Currently, Anna is deepening her engagement with authentic activism, sharing the Work That Reconnects, and exploring dance as a vehicle for social and ecological justice. She is always working to strengthen her capacity as a naturalist, wilderness guide, group facilitator, activist, ritualist, writer and speaker.
She lives between western Ireland and San Francisco, where she focuses on tending the land, building community, and helping develop programs to support regenerative culture, embodied wisdom, and the Great Turning. She loves singing, horses, playing in the dirt, laughing loudly, and hanging out with young people.