Home Upcoming Events Healing Grief with the Sacred Wheel with Cheryl Downey G231052

Healing Grief with the Sacred Wheel with Cheryl Downey G231052

This course is  entitled “Healing Grief Around the Sacred Wheel” for many reasons. The Sacred Wheel and the powers of the four directions are ancient and profound tools for deepening self-awareness and bringing healing balance to the flow of life energies. Movement around the Wheel honors each one’s uniqueness of culture, personality, and faith perspective; and is a powerful non-judgmental guide for exploring and understanding one’s personal energies of grief – whether old or young, experiencing current or past loss, or anticipating future life transitions. The Wheel is meant to move – and so is grief! – and both will do so at the pace that is right for each of us. There is no right or wrong way to do this, as there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

The course will bring participants into the four major healing aspects of their own grief experience by spending a day in each direction: South (Physical/Earth); West (Emotions/Relationships/Dreaming/Water); North (Spirit/Air/Wind); East (Mind/Fire) ending in the Center (Heart). Teachings, reflections and guided visualizations on the land (when possible and weather permitting) are typically 9:00 – noon, followed by lunch and free time until dinner (5:30 – 6:30). On Tuesday we take a field trip to Abiquiu Lake and Rio Chama for our work in the West with Water. There is the additional possibility of traveling on to the hot springs of Ojo Caliente for the afternoon ($50 individual day-spa fee). Evening sessions are typically 7:00 – 8:30pm in the retreat room for circle-sharing and artwork.

In addition to daily journaling, each participant will be creating sacred art ongoing (absolutely no artistic skill or experience needed and no judgement). This year each will break a small pot of their choice in the opening session, and then recreate/regenerate it through the week as their “Healing Vessel.” In addition, each will receive a small blank cotton pouch to decorate and hold symbols of what each is releasing. The Healing Vessel will return home as a reminder of griefhealing that emerges through brokenness into strength and new creation. The “Fire Pouches” with their grief-related symbolic contents will be released to the Sacred Fire for transformation in ceremony Thursday evening.

A note about Friday morning, November 4. 1) All participants must have their bags packed and bed linens stripped and placed in a pillowcase outside their room by 10:00am. (There is time before and after breakfast and our closing session from 9:00 – 10:00 to accomplish this.) Participants who need to do so may use the retreat room for their luggage. 2) The Ghost Ranch shuttle to Santa Fe leaves at 8:30am, for anyone who needs to take it, but the closing session will be missed. Most participants typically have their own vehicles, so do not need the shuttle. 3) The closing session Friday morning begins at 9:00am sharp for blessing ceremony and dismantling the altar in a sacred way so as to be out of our space by 10:00am. 4) A reminder: breakfast is included on the 20th but lunch is not.

There is no pre-requisite knowledge or preparation for this griefhealing work. Participants may be any age (18+) having experienced any loss(es) – including loss of a loved one through death or illness, loss of relationship through break-up or divorce, home, job, career, health, community – and need only to be willing to start their own journey around the Sacred Wheel.


5-Night Program Package Price (Includes Lodging, Tuition and Meals):

  • Private Room – $1,696
  • Semi-Private Room – $1,596
  • Dorm – $1,321
  • Suite – $1,871 to $2,371
  • Campsite/RV – $1,046 to $1,096

*Pricing for Single Occupancy


Please use the options below to find helpful information regarding Ghost Ranch Workshops and Retreats

If you need shuttle service, please reach out to Kevin at White Buffalo Shuttle 831.359.8077 | nivek@cruzio.com

Virtual Events: Payments made for Virtual Events are non-refundable. If you are unable to attend the event, recordings will be made available to you after the event. For events with multiple sessions, every attempt will be made to make the session(s) available to you before the next scheduled session.

In-person events: Written notification must be received no later than 45 days prior to the start date of your workshop in order to receive a refund, minus a $150 processing charge. No refunds can be processed after that time. We reserve the right to announce a change in leadership or cancel any program 31 days prior to the first day of the workshop. In this event, you may transfer to another workshop without charge or we will refund the full workshop payment. (Many participants have found it helpful to purchase travel insurance). If the cancellation is received less than 31 days prior to your start date, your funds can be left on deposit for another Ghost Ranch workshop or future stay during this calendar year, but you must know the exact dates of your next stay. Or you can choose to make it a tax-deductible donation to support Ghost Ranch. This cancellation policy does not apply to January Term.

Ghost Ranch Scholarship Request

Thank you for your interest in applying for a Ghost Ranch scholarship. The typical scholarship amount is $100-350. We are able to grant more scholarships in the winter, spring and late fall seasons than we are in the summer months. 

You will receive a copy of your scholarship form after you submit it and should hear back from Ghost Ranch about your application within a 10 working days. If you have additional questions, please reach out to Robin Keck, robingk@ghostranch.org.


We understand there are some with special dietary restrictions. In order for us to best serve all, prior notice of any special needs is required.

Because we are a cafeteria style foodservice and our number of guests can be quite large, we are unable to accommodate individual meals for any guest. We are, however, always looking to be sure that we have an option that will fit one or more common and crossover restrictions.

Any severe allergies are taken most seriously, yet we cannot promise there will be no cross contamination in the assembling of products here. We highly recommend some personal option be brought along. We do have a few public refrigerators available, but there is no access to a kitchen or cooking.

We are also unable administer any medication, so please have your personal Epi-Pen” readily available.

We are glad you are planning to visit the ranch, and want your trip from beginning to end to be smooth.We rely on White Buffalo Shuttle for our guests. Kevin Spitzer picks up at the Sage Inn in Santa Fe the afternoon of the first date listed, and returns to the Sage Inn the morning of the last date. His phone number is 831.359.8077. Email is nivek@cruzio.com

The best way to get to Santa Fe Sage Inn is Groome Transportation. They are very helpful in assessing your flight info and getting you on the right shuttle at the right time. 505.474.5696/ groometransportation.com


Click here to see a full list of FAQs

What day/time does the workshop start and end?

In-person workshops begin with check-in at 3:00 p.m. and a ranch orientation in the evening on the first date listed for the course and end at 10:00 a.m. with checkout on the last date listed.

Virtual workshops will have a varied schedule that is identified within each workshop description.

What is the difference between a room with private bath, a room with semi-private or shared bath, and a room with communal/dorm bath?

Private bath refers to the type of bathroom, not single occupancy

Private Bath Room: There is a bathroom in that one room that is not shared between or with any other rooms. The highest rate tier of Ghost Ranch lodging.

Semi-private/shared: There is a bathroom between two rooms that is shared by the occupants of the two adjoining sleeping rooms. These rooms will only be used as family or group suites, not to be shared by unknown neighbors as in the past.

Communal/dorm: There is a communal bathroom/shower in the lodging building and participants will need to exit their room to reach these facilities.

Click here to learn more about lodging at Ghost Ranch

  • The ranch Dining Hall serves three meals a day on a fixed schedule. We offer a vegetarian option at each meal. While the Dining Hall offers gluten-free items and vegan dishes at some meals, we cannot guarantee that these options will be available for each meal.  Let us know about this need in your registration notes. If it is necessary for a guest to eat a specific diet or if a guest has food allergies, the surest option is to bring personal food items to the ranch. There are refrigerators available for guest use in a few common/public spaces. 
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  • Cheryl Downey
    Cheryl Downey

    Cheryl Downey, M.Div., Minister of Sacred Arts, has been guiding and supporting those with grieving hearts for 35 years as a former hospital and hospice chaplain (ordained UCC). Since 2000 she has also trained, practiced and mentored women and men in spiritual healing and the sacred arts from within universal shamanic teachings that empower the wisdom of woman and nature. After retiring from hospice in 2013, Cheryl founded the Sacred Wheel Center for Grief and Healing as a safe “space” for grief-hearted ones to explore the deep mysteries of their grief, to see themselves through their own grief mirrors and to discover the hidden truth and beauty at the heart of their healing.

    Among other shamanic healing tools and sacred arts, the Sacred Wheel is an ancient and simple tool for illuminating and shifting deeply held, blocked or knotted energies within the four basic directional aspects of our grieving self: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. Whether experiencing acute or long-held losses of loved ones or pets, or life transitions such as loss of job, home, physical health, or empty nest, the Wheel turns at the pace you need and can trust. Cheryl has a private practice in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and has led workshops, seminars and retreats, in addition to individual sessions, including a four-day Grief-Healing Spa Retreat. She is the author of “Emerging from the Dark: Grief Around the Sacred Wheel” which is nearing publication.


Oct 15 - 20 2023

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