Nature, of itself, can be healing.  The desert held violence for me, but here I found peace.”
Spoken by a veteran attending the first Healing Journey.

Welcome to Elderwarrior.com

This website and the Healing Journey it describes is a project of an organization called Healing Through Reckoning and Responsibility

Elder Warrior tradition comes from many long standing traditions: Native American, Roman, Greek, Maori, Islander etc.  The tradition is basic to all of them.  The returning warriors were welcomed, went through cleansing rites, were dined and had their wounds treated. Once that happened, the whole community would gather to listen respectfully to their stories.  The whole community owned responsibility for the warriors, what they had been asked to do in the name of the community and for what they experienced in war. The community claimed full responsibility for the individual actions of the warrior. Thus, the warrior did not carry all the guilt, wounds and weight of war by themselves.  A communal reckoning took place as well as the reintegration of the warriors.


The warriors were welcomed back into the community as Elder Warriors.  They were seen as carrying wisdom and strength for the community.  Consequently violence in the community dropped and the youth of the community looked to the Elder Warriors for guidance, mentoring and courage.

Drawing from all the wisdom cultures, we offer a pathway for this to occur in modern times.  The pathway we have formed is Healing Through Reckoning and Responsibility, which takes veterans and civilians through a guided process of encounter and civilian responsibility taking.

 There is a Way Home

In order for the veteran and soldier to heal, (s)he must walk the journey home with a trusted, listening civilian.  For the civilian to heal, (s)he must open to learning of the soldiers experience.  For the nation to heal, both the soldier and the civilian must heal: the civilian becomes responsible and the soldier becomes the Elder Warrior.

We Believe

Most people believe that PTSD stands for a clinical medical condition called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  We believe that PTSD, as it has been defined by Ed Tick and a number of other authors, is Post Traumatic Soul Distress recognizing that it is primarily a wound to the soul; a moral injury.

We have found that the reintegration process is essential for the healing of moral/traumatic injury.  We have been stunned by the reports from our warrior participants telling us, early in the process, that long standing difficulties like disrupted sleep have gotten better.

Veterans heal when the community cares and supports soldiers on their return.  Active Duty suffer less PTSD and feel more connected when they return. They report feeling that this  makes them better and safer soldiers.

The Civilian Responsibility

We believe that like the military, civilians have a duty to their country. This is a bedrock principle of our organization – Healing Through Reckoning and Responsibility.

The reasoning is this:

    • Those who make a sacrifice for others (military, first responders, health care providers, etc.) pay a personal price for performing their vital function for the citizen(s).
    • Those making that sacrifice act from a solemn pledge to put others before themselves.
    • In functioning for the citizen(s) (performing their duty) those who sacrifice are likely to incur injury to their bodies, their psyches, their relationships, their spirit and soul – the price paid.
    • We believe a covenant naturally exists between the citizen and those performing these vital, highly demanding functions. The covenant can be thought of as a pledge, a bond of care, appreciation and respect. The covenant is reciprocal. Both parties are held in respect and regard and care. Another way of expressing this covenant is to say that both sides have and accept responsibility for each other. The covenant is a “contract,” if you will, with a solemn, personal obligation.
    • We believe that on the Citizen’s side of the covenant with the military there are obligations which include providing training, equipment and support during and after service.

This is where the Veterans/Civilians Healing Retreat provides a unique and much needed opportunity. Our four-day healing journey provides an encounter between warriors and civilians. The civilian can fulfill her/his duty by offering presence, openness, respect and responsibility-taking for the military experiences. Through the guided encounters of the retreat, warriors report feeling heard and received.  Civilians report feeling deeply touched and changed – knowing they have provided and fulfilled a vital and healing function. A deep bond of respect and care forms naturally between the warriors and civilians through the retreat experience.

If you wish to contact us, please use this form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Our next Healing Journey is August 23-27, 2020 at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre. We had a wonderful response to our November 2018 Healing Journey.  

Our program provides scholarships for veterans and their family members. It also includes ongoing research and development.  All donations are tax deductible. 

By Check to: HTRR (Healing Through Reckoning and Responsibility) 1241 Johnson Ave. Suite 307, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-3306

You can support us online by clicking on the Donate button.


You can provide ongoing monthly support for our program by choosing and option and then clicking on the Ongoing Support button.

Healing Through Reckoning and Responsibility
1241 Johnson Ave. Suite 307
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-3306
(805) 316-0218

5013c Non Profit since May, 2016