Hungry for a circle? Need that face time? Or are you simply Council Curious?

Meet a circle of adults that’s different every month, shaped by who shows up, and what's present in our lives or in the world.  If you’re a council facilitator, let go of that role and be held by another, different container.  Or co-facilitate (see below) and hone your skills. If you know council in another setting – a school, a family, a business – see it anew as you sit with strangers or acquaintances who don’t know your “old story.” It’s hard to explain council, right? Bring a loved one and let the council unfold without description.

Drop-in Council is held on the second Thursday of the month, in Venice CA.

There is a no-pressure invitation to add currency to the Council Training Lift Up Fund, which has assisted three people in the past year alone to obtain the funds to be trained in council.

For more details, contact Kate.



Are you council-trained and wondering what to do with it? Do you get tongue-tied when discussing council with friends and family? Are you part of a group that could really use council? Do you need practice before offering council in your neighborhood, at your kids' school, with your partner? This may be the time to jump onto The Facilitator Path. This offering will accelerate your confidence and skill to generate more circles - for connection, for contemplation, for support, for action, for understanding. Each month, you will be paired with a senior trainer to plan, set up, facilitate, close and debrief the Drop In Council that has convened in Venice for the past fifteen years on the second Thursday of the month. In a safe environment, and with guidance from the circle and experienced trainers, you'll develop the readiness to bring your own circles into being. From time to time, appropriate handouts will be provided. Whether you want to start a book club or a knitting circle, a men's group or a social justice organizing team, build the muscle so that the council training you took isn't gathering dust on a shelf in your mind!

There is a suggested donation for one year of tuition and practice. Nobody is turned away due to lack of funds. Participants must have taken "Council 1: An Introduction to Council" or an equivalent circle practice training. Required reading: Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle's "The Way of Council."  Contact Kate for more details or sign up here.


January 12, 2019, VENICE, CALIFORNIA

Some people want to attend a council training – to learn how to be a facilitator of circles, start on the path to becoming a Council trainer or simply because they wonder what the fuss is about.

If you know what the fuss is about and are hungry to sit in more, longer, perhaps deeper councils – a council that goes more than one round, a council that doesn’t have to stop because time is up, a circle that honors the emergence of collective wisdom -- consider attending this day. We’ll spend our time exploring different Council forms, activities, openings, and closings, and we’ll deepen or begin new friendships. Sign up just to participate, sign up to facilitate the big circle or smaller circles, add your favorite activities to the agenda, request council forms or games you’ve heard of and want to experience.

There will be games, walks and lots of breakouts.

Council trainers receive a 50% discount. Those who have attended a Council training receive a 10% discount.

 Hours: 10am – 6pm. Please bring a potluck dish to share or a brown bag lunch.

Contact Kate with any questions.

Register here.



I am not saying that we should love death, but rather that we should love life so generously, without picking and choosing, that we automatically include it (life’s other half) in our love … It is only because we exclude it that death becomes … foreign to us and, ultimately, our enemy -- RILKE

During this year-long council adventure, we will examine assumptions, face fears, consider cultural mores, discover attachments, explore suffering, uncover life’s meaning and ease the burden on those we love by documenting our wishes, revealing our ethics and philosophy on life, and making life-or-death decisions for ourselves. Along the way, we’ll learn how to adopt healthy practices for our families and how to be midwives for loved ones facing transition.

Council training is a plus but not a prerequisite. An ever-evolving video/audio/reading resource list is available to registrants and the fee covers some materials and an honorarium for occasional guest speakers.


Registration is closed for 2018. To join the waiting list for the next program, please contact Kate.



Imagine connecting your life – body and emotion, psyche and intuition, planning and principles, imagination and spirituality - to the properties, qualities, personalities and lessons of the four shields of human nature.  The shields correspond to the seasons, the directions and the developmental phases of a human life. We spend time each month in council, looking at how the shields that make up a "medicine wheel" are working us, what we can learn from them about ourselves and others, and how a new, yet very old perspective can be a compass point, a framework that can help make sense of our individual and collective journeys. 

This is a perfect introduction for those feeling a rites of passage program (vision fast) in their future or for those who have been initiated and need a reminder of who they have become. Embarking on this journey with others for a full year cycle can also be a meaningful and fun adventure for those ready to dive into nature-based personal reflection or simply desiring to take their council practice deeper.

The "wheelies" meet one Wednesday each month, with a medicine walk held each season on a Sunday morning. The group opens each summer for newcomers and then remains closed for the year.  There is a suggested donation for the 12-session series and nobody is turned away for lack of funds.  It is preferred that participants have taken "Council 1: An Introduction to Council" or an equivalent circle practice training. Recommended reading: Bill Plotkin's "Wild Mind" and Stephen Foster and Meredith Little's "The Four Shields of Human Nature." (See resources page.)

The 2018 Wheel is closed. Contact Kate for more information or to inquire about the 2019 Wheel summer opening date. 


monthly in venice, california and on the l.a. urban fringe

Whether you felt already guided by soul or worried that you had no soul, this might have been the adventure for you. Each month, Soul Dive continued a journey to pay more attention to the voice of the soul as distinct from the clamor of ego or personality, to unearth our greatest gifts through the wisdom, ritual and support of a small but mighty council-based circle. Soul Dive was a collaborative effort between Kate Lipkis and Nicole Willett, her beloved friend, who died tragically on Labor Day, 2018. The above link to Nicki’s program will remain as long as her website is live. We miss your presence, Nic, though you live with us in a million wild and witty ways. We know your soul has chosen a bigger adventure.


May 11 - 12, 2019, los angeles, CALIFORNIA

No other relationship comes close to the one we share with the woman or women who mothered us, or the daughter or daughters we mothered.  It has the potential to make or break us – often both at the same time. Generational differences separate us; familial similarities connect us. It’s a love that can be one of our greatest comforts, supporting us throughout our lives.

In support of Mothers Day, enjoy time alone as well as with your beloved other(s), and with all the women who gather.  Each year, we honor our female ancestors, trace our lineage, examine and revive our family traditions, celebrate the joys we share together, acknowledge the times when we crash and burn, and find new ways to bring ritual, meaning and understanding to this singular bond.

Come enjoy good food, good fun and good nature in an extraordinarily beautiful setting right at the geographic center of Los Angeles!

This two-day non-residential retreat is open to women from puberty to elderhood. It welcomes those who found each other through fostering or adoption and celebrates multi-generational participants.

Your weekend facilitators are Kate Lipkis and her daughter, Phoebe Lipkis. Phoebe is a business consultant living in Seattle.  She supports foundations and non-profits seeking collaborative, systemic change to move from intention to outcome. She loves to make space for the voices of diverse cultures, identities and perspectives to hear each other’s stories -- and to tell their own.

Contact Kate for more details and to receive the first announcement for registration in the new ye