An Invitation to Register

Here is our announcement of a new class of the Orphan Wisdom School.

We deeply appreciate and respect your patience with this. We’ve been asked thousands of times about it, and you honour our work by doing so.

Here we give you the information you’ll need to make an informed decision about attending the new class. May it’s brevity be welcome as you make your way through the details. Included are a few caveats, and a few clarifications of the arrangement we’ll have with you during the sessions, financial, philosophical, logistical.

It is in your interest to read all of these registration details carefully before writing us for more information. We’ve tried to think of all of the possible questions so that you have everything necessary to register available to you here.

It is important to us that you know that our school is not a certifying institution that will qualify you, authorize you or notarize you or graduate you or diploma you or complete you to do anything you’re not doing now. You won’t be a death doula, or a life doula, or any kind of doula. The school is not in any way an extension of the material in Die Wise, or in anything else Stephen Jenkinson has written.

You will be a scholar. That is all.

As such, you’ll participate in a kind of disciplined inquiry that has no completion, no end, no conclusion. Our principal subject will not be your life, inner or outer, nor ours. It will be the unauthorized history of the psycho-historical accident, the tragi-comedy called America. Not the people, not the country. The story. The allegation.

We are committing ourselves to attend, perform and deliver four sessions of this new class. After that, there is an ongoing graduate class that you can join. After the end of the first session, it is very unlikely that new people will join the class.

Our commitment to the four sessions is non-negotiable, provided we are spared to do it. This is the same commitment we ask of those who join. The payment schedule, the cancellation policy, the gravitas of the endeavour reflect this reciprocity.

Commitment:  “to give in charge, entrust,” from Latin committere “to unite, connect, combine; to bring together,” from com “with, together” + mittere “to release, let go; send, throw” – In other words, we’ll be thrown together in this thing, for its duration.

Obviously, then, registering and paying the tuition isn’t a matter of you doing any spiritual window shopping, or checking things out to see if this is for you. We’re doing the school for you, because you’ve asked us to and because we believe in it. You don’t know what’s going to happen, what we’re like. We don’t know what’s going to happen, what you’re like. We’re even. Once you decide to pay, in full, you are in for the duration. When we accept your payment, we are in for the duration. That’s our covenant.

Please read the full description of the school, preferably slowly and carefully. That is all the information you and everyone else will have with which to decipher and decide. No one will receive additional, inside stuff. At least, not from us.

People will be registered on a first come/first served basis.

Based on past years’ experience, we are not relying on paying by cheque via mail. It’ll take a while, and the likelihood is the class will be full by the time we receive your payment and registration.

You will only have a seat in this class when you have paid in full, for two sessions, the first and the fourth. You’ll pay in full again prior to the second session, and again prior to the third. You will have already paid for the fourth session when you register.

There are no refunds, no partial refunds.

If you pay the tuition, and if we accept your payment, you are in. Please don’t use your payment as a way of ‘saving a seat’ or ‘keeping your options open’, or thinking about it. There are no saved seats in this school. Think about it hard. Then, if you are serious and you still want into this class, given all this pressure, read your way to the bottom of this page, follow the ‘Register Online’ instructions and complete the online registration. In that order.

In the likely event that the class fills to capacity, we will cease accepting payments. Given our limited (off-grid) infrastructure, a full school class is +/- 110.

Should you wish to study with Stephen Jenkinson outside the School format, we’ll be doing the following: a 3-5 day Die Wise Seminar, July 10-12, 2020, and our third annual Farm Apprenticeship in July 14-19, 2020; as well as a 2-3 day Money and the Soul’s Desires seminar, winter 2021; a 3-5 day Die Wise Seminar, winter 2021; a 3-5 day Come of Age Seminar, winter 2021; a 3-5 day Cantos from the Dark Road Seminar, spring 2021; a 3-5 day Matrimony seminar, early spring 2021 based on the book that Stephen is in the midst of writing now, and we’ll offer our fourth annual Farm Apprenticeship in summer 2021.

Sessions & Dates

The school runs through four sessions. Once registered, you will join a cohort of scholars convening at Orphan Wisdom in the Ottawa Valley on these dates:

  • 1st Session: May 2022 – tuition due upon registration
  • 2nd Session: September 2022 – tuition due by May 2022
  • 3rd Session: Spring 2023 – tuition due by September 2022
  • 4th Session: Fall 2024 – tuition due upon registration

Please take note of these dates as you plan the next couple of years of your life.

School Location

All classes will convene in the Ottawa Valley in eastern Ontario, Canada. Exact directions and location will be provided upon registration completion.

Tuition – 4 Sessions

Your first payment is for two sessions: the first (1st) session and the last (4th) session. You will be asked to pay in full for the second session by January 30th, 2021 and to pay in full for the third session by June, 2021.

Once you have reviewed this registration form, you will be directed to our store link to make your online tuition payment securely by credit card. Making your tuition payment is what secures your spot in the school.

  • Individual Scholar: 1st session July 29-Aug 2, 2020 and 4th session early May 2022
    • CAD$860 x 2 = CAD$1720 +13% tax (CAD$229.92) = CAD$1943.60 + 2.5% Stripe fee (CAD$48.59)
    • Total = CAD$1,998.51 for Sessions 1&4
  • Couples/Family Scholar: Rate per scholar/ 1st session July 29-Aug 2, 2020 and 4th session early May 2022
    • CAD$765 x 2 = CAD$1530 +13% tax (CAD$204.52) = CAD$1728.90 + 2.5% Stripe fee (CAD$43.22)
    • Total = CAD$1,777.74 for Sessions 1&4
  • Student/ Senior (Over 60) Rate: Per scholar/ 1st session July 29-Aug 2, 2020 and 4th session early May 2022. Note: This rate is available for full-time students with valid ID.
    • CAD$665 x 2 = CAD$1330 +13% tax (CAD$172.90) = CAD$1502.90 + 2.5% Stripe fee (CAD$37.57)
    • Total = CAD$1,545.35 for Sessions 1&4

Frequently Asked Questions

Are families/children allowed?

If you mean, can you bring your family and have them hang around the farm while you attend class?: Sorry, no. This is a school. There’s no day care per se, we’re not child care professionals, though it may happen that enough people with young children are coming to warrant organizing such a thing, and that would be welcome. Spouses are welcome, but only as scholars. This is a working farm. For the peace of mind and security of everyone and everything involved, farms don’t have auditors or spectators.

We’ve had newborns, infants, a few toddlers in the teaching house over the years. This has for the most part worked out very well, but it needs flexibility on the part of the other scholars and adaptable good judgement on the part of the parents. So that is a possibility for this class too. Having young parents aboard is good for everyone.

Can I opt out of the meals portion of the tuition?

Sorry, no. This is a package: Teaching and food. We take into consideration food allergies, much less so food preferences. The number of people in attendance prohibits customized food plans. There are vegetarian alternatives. But it isn’t a spa. Still, the scullery royalty will work with you to make the meal part of things work for you.

Can I plug in my cell phone?

No. This is a rural, off-grid, solar-enabled event. We have a well, and moderate water supply. We have no sewers. We have outhouses for the duration of the meeting. It isn’t a well-appointed retreat centre. Please adjust your expectations accordingly. There is no cell phone use permitted while on the farm, which may require you to adjust the expectations others have of you while you are in the session. You might, after some lifestyle modification, be grateful for the change.

Are there work trade options?

Sorry, no. You are coming here to learn, and then to rest, and then to do it again the next day. There is no place in the schedule – not before, during or after the session – that would allow you to work off the tuition.

Are there discounts or scholarships?

We’re not subsidized, endowment-enabled or grant-funded. But neither are we unaware of the fact that being flush and having this opportunity don’t inevitably coincide. We know life happens to people, that disadvantages abound. You would have to make a good case for a scholarship. If you do so, please consider what the word ‘scholarship’ actually means. If you are a senior person on a fixed income and find the tuition a problem, let us know.


If you are a fan of camping there is an appointed zone here for you to pitch your tent. Bring all of your own gear. Camping is $15 per person/ per session. Portable toilets are available on-site, there are no other amenities, only limited solar electricity and no running water. There are potable water jugs on site to keep you well hydrated and jugs and basins on loan for washing in.

Should you require more comfort, you can arrange your accommodations at one of our guesthouses or elsewhere. To stay on the farm, there are two choices: the Orphan Wisdom Guesthouse, at, or with our lovely neighbour, Kaz at her Guesthouse down the lane, at


The tuition fee includes wholesome home cooked meals with as much local organic produce as is available to us, much of it from here, starting with breakfast on Thursday and ending with breakfast on Sunday. Please note that only mugs with closed/ screw lids are permitted in the teaching hall. We offer a few on loan. Once you’ve registered, please let us know of your allergies and dietary requirements (not preferences) to make sure we are able to accommodate your needs. You do not make your own meals here. Meals are served at 8am(ish) breakfast, 1pm(ish) lunch and 6pm(ish) dinner.


Please make your travel plans to allow for you to attend the entire session, arriving on time and not departing early. We will set up our greeting (registration) table and open the gate to welcome you at 5pm on Wednesday July 29th, 2020. We will be able to help you with the lay of the land and facilities here and offer you tea/ coffee. We will begin the session at 7pm in the evening, and we ask that you arrive well fed. We will close the last session by noon on Sunday, August 2nd, 2020.  The evening start time on Wednesday is designed to give you the day to travel and to settle in, for some of you set up camp. The teaching days will begin around 9:15am (perhaps earlier) and end around 1pm for lunch. It is possible that Stephen calls you in to meet again in the afternoon for a few hours or  most likely in the evening 7-10pm. This is a flexible schedule. These are full days. Rest is important.

We are a 2hr drive West from the Ottawa airport and train station and approximately a 4 – 5hr drive from Toronto.  We do our best to arrange connections with other participants so that you can carpool, this is mandatory as there is no parking lot here and we like to consider the impact. In special cases only, we might be able to offer an airport shuttle service for a fee of $80 each direction (to and from airport).  We are in the country, but not the bush, we’re a 25 min. drive from the regional hospital in Barry’s Bay, a 10 min. drive to the next town of Killaloe and approximately a half an hour drive to either Eganville to the east and Barry’s Bay to the west.  Sunday Note: international flight check-in times (usually 2hrs). Please make your travel plans to allow for you to attend the entire session. If you are coming from outside of Canada, you are coming to an author book reading/ poetry retreat.


Complimentary parking is available in clearly marked and designated area only, to maintain good relations with all of our neighbours. Once here, it’s a short distance to walk to the teaching house and to our banquet hall. If you are unable to stroll across the field, approx. a 5 minute even walk, let us know so that we can coordinate a special ride in for you. We ask that all campers park and remain parked for the duration. Car pooling is essential. We can accommodate 15-20 cars at most on the road alongside the farm.

What to Bring, What Not to Bring

Bring whatever you might need in the way of prescription drugs as well as a flashlight/ headlamp, a water bottle, tea/coffee travel mug with lid, season appropriate clothing/ footwear and a fine looking blanket or shawl to wrap yourself in warmth and beauty. We wear our finest for you. You may wish to bring slippers or moccasins for inside the teaching house as we have a ‘no shoes indoors policy’ for all of our buildings. Feel welcome to bring a back-jack – a.k.a canoe chair. There are chairs and benches available as well as some cushions on floor space.

Please: No recreational drugs. No recording devices nor photography permitted. No harvesting of plants.

This is a working farm, not an event space, a home of animals and people and plants that is being given over for a while to this undertaking. All of the etiquette of being a guest in someone’s house applies. Creature comforts will be rudimentary, economy class: it’s a teaching house in a field.

Register Online

Ready? Click the ‘Register Now’ button below. You’ll be taken to our online store. If you’ve purchased items from in the past, then login again, choose the appropriate tuition level, add it to your cart, then complete the check out. If you haven’t made purchases on the site before, then simply choose the appropriate tuition level, add it to your cart, then complete the check out. An account will be created for you during this process. Register only one person at a time in their own unique account so that we receive each person’s details. This will complete your registration. Then we’ll follow up within a few weeks to confirm your meal and accommodation details.

Register Now