The Rite of Return is a journey to the heart of who you are called to be after military service.  Answer the call for deep healing in the wilderness, separated from society, in solidarity and solitude, to cross the line to your true self.

VeteranRites is excited to announce there will be two Rite of Return ceremonies in Eastern Washington in 2020 as we begin to scale this once in a lifetime opportunity with gradual intention. Please hold space to listen to the call from creator Mark Oravsky below, and sign up on our interest lists under each calendar event.

the land is calling…

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The Veterans Rite of Return is a unique opportunity for 12 veteran participants seeking long term solutions to PTS, Moral Injury, Military Sexual Trauma, Compassion Fatigue, and Suicidal Ideation.

VeteranRites in collaboration with the School of Lost Borders, invites you to step off on a journey as old as humanity itself....

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Upon leaving military service, many of us are caught at a threshold, no longer a Service Member and yet not a Civilian. We are unable to fully “return”, or reintegrate into our communities. The lack of shared experience separating “us” and “them”, stands as a seemingly insurmountable abyss. This chasm between the close bonds and brotherhood we experienced as soldiers and the lonely alienation we experience as civilians can feel impossibly wide. We know the statistics.

We feel it in our bones and many of us have walked the cliff edge between suicide and one more day. For centuries, pan-cultural civilizations and communities have utilized ceremonial rites of passage to welcome returning warriors home from battle. In most cases, elders who had been to war met combatants outside the village. They understood that to re-enter the village too soon, without a proper rite of return or cleansing ceremony could be harmful to both the warrior and the community.

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These elders also understood that once cleansed from battle or service, each warrior carries insight and wisdom from their experiences which are invaluable to the long term survival and sustainability of their community.


Fellow Veterans, it is time to reclaim our Whole Selves. The Warrior,The Veteran, and the member of community.


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It is time to re-establish who we are in this world after military service. The Veterans Rite of Return serves as an initiation for veterans who are looking for a way to reconnect with themselves, their place in the world and in their communities.

The roots of the Rite of Return are pan-cultural, and offer a model of human development that acknowledges the changes and transitions inherent in being alive. It marks an individual's passage from one stage of their life to the next.

Our Veterans Rite of Return is a guided ceremony that is not based in any religion or dogma. It relies on each individual’s background, creativity and unique perspective to "self-generate" a ceremony that is meaningful for their life circumstance and a successful return home.

The ceremony is held in a wilderness setting with trained veteran and non-veteran guides. Participants experience time in community with other vets, four days of solo time, fasting in the wilderness, and a marked return where their stories are shared and witnessed in a“council of elders”. This return marks the beginning of a veteran’s process of incorporating that which they have gained and learned during their time in service and explored in the context of time alone in the wilderness, so they may bring their gifts home, able to participate more fully, in service of their families and their community.

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For more information please contact ryan mielcarek by email at council@veteranrites.org

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