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Altai 2006


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Altai Mountains of Siberia 2006!



Entering Beli Bom village

Between August 16-31, six hearty souls from all over the USA joined SEN trip leader, Bill Pfeiffer, for what was billed as a trip of a lifetime.

By all accounts it was. Upon arrival in Barnaul from Moscow the group mainly traveled south, with a little westward trip to Ust-Kan. (See map on SEN website) towards the Mongolia border. The purpose of the trip was to deeply immerse in a remarkable wilderness area and in its Native inhabitants’ culture and spirituality. In so doing, we all aspired to have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a human being at this critical juncture in human history and to cultivate the consciousness of sustainability. It turns out that this kind of learning can be fun and even ecstatic.

For Bill, there were several teachings that wove together and deepened his own understanding of why this kind of trip is important. In his words: “We were able to let go into an experience of ‘enoughness’ with life as it presents itself. We realized that we were so filled with the Earth’s blessing and beauty within us we were not craving stuff, busyness or other people to do that for us.”

In general, the Altai people emphasize the central importance of relationships. They seem to treat every guest as if they were extraordinarily special, which of course, they are.


Kelbek ( with topshur) and family


Looking west from White Stone Cave


After 5 years of working with SEN, Danil Mamyev, became our main partner in the Altai. He took two weeks off of his job as a regional land use planner and became our guiding teacher. Danil’s style and energy express a state of equanimity; everything is rising and passing away so although we can feel great joy and tremendous sorrow we don’t need to get attached to these mind states. They will change like the weather. He told the group  These expeditions give me the opportunity to share my beloved land in way where I am not restricted by the usual professional obligations and formality.




                   Altai elder with Hasita


The participants' testimonials speak best to the power and insight that came from this journey.  What follows are a few snippets:

Traveling to Siberia was fascinating and different than anything I have ever experienced. My heart now understands the incredible importance of preserving Altai indigenous culture. The Altains teaching, which is really a way of life, is how the Earth talks to us. They are SO connected, spiritually and physically. I did not think I could experience the way humans related to nature as during the Neolithic or even Paleolithic times (and with the added wisdom of these contemporary Altains evolving consciousness) but I did.  They helped me FEEL what it was like to live in those earlier times. It was really comforting to experience this ancient time before the 'separation'.

-Hasita Nadai

I also feel empowered to go back to my classroom and my life to create/refine and bring to life the vision of a place where an emphasis on the Earth is the focus of my teaching.  I’ve needed to find balance within me in order to move forward, and this trip has helped me do just that.  I am immensely grateful for all the wisdom shared and the opportunity to delve deep into my soul.

- Susana Moening

I never wanted it to end.

- Frank Weigle


Susana and Frank by campfire





There was a light, a spirit that was turned on within me. I hope to spread this light (in whatever form it may take) with others. It has helped me to open up to nature and listen to nature. Nature is willing to help me on my journey. [The artist], Erenda’s picture of the Altai spirit breathing the gift of kaichi (shamanic throatsinging) into the man has inspired me to ask Spirit for my gift and how I shall manifest this gift for future generations.
                       - Charline Souffrant


It was a great trip.  I feel nourished, content and full. [One of many] highlights was the way our group came together, sharing, caring, laughing, learning. The little ceremonies Bill did at the beginning and end and throughout were really good. For future generations, I plan to work even more consciously and deliberately for the Earth.

 -Harriett Crosby


Sara with friend


I feel that Sacred Earth Network has located a wonderful group of support, who not only make sure that things run as smoothly as possible, but also bring such a joyful and loving presence to our experience. I am bringing home first a deep sense of commitment to make a difference.  I believe that I can bring together deeply dedicated souls who may be able to help one another in protecting valuable sacred lands and culture.  The Altai is such an important and grand area. It must be saved.              

-Sara Caile

As Sara demonstrates, falling in love with a place makes you want to protect it, like protecting a child from danger. Two of the participants have become active defenders of the Altai.  This is one of those external benefits that we do not actively pursue but allow which becomes a validation of running a trip with a more receptive, 'we'll-just-see-how-things-unfold,' attitude.

Maybe you want to join us for Altai Expedition in July of 2007 and beyond!?


Obaa (large cairn) near Kosh-Agach


Bill (far left) and group in Red Square


                        Places visited in August 2006                           



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