In practice – The Four Intentions +1
Within the circle there are four intentions that hold the space together, which when observed, create safety and allow truth and trust to build in this very simple and powerful practice.


• Listening from the Heart
Attentive listening, witnessing. Seeking understanding and accepting others as they are, staying present and centered and when we give full attention, helps another to reach their truth more easily. Beyond ourselves and the other, is the soul of the circle. This is heard from the heart.

• Speaking from the Heart
Speaking our personal story, using "I" statements. Favouring feelings and making as transparent as possible our process. Speaking from the heart doesn't necessarily mean using words – sound, movement, spontaneous expressions from the heart in all forms that are responsibly made are welcome. Even silence itself speaks.

"Speak what will serve yourself, the circle, the highest good"

• Succinctness
Being of lean expression, helps us to attend to what is important, recognise that our truth need not have to be reinforced by repetition, since we are being heard, and as there are often many in a circle, allows time for all to share.

• Spontaneity
Surprise yourself by not planning on what or rather how you will speak. Focusing on your own story while others have the talking piece will reduce capacity to ‘listen’ when they speak. The heart does not plan. Spontaneity encourages playfulness, realness and the "voice" of the moment to be free.


• C

Essential for sake of trust and respect, Confidentiality is the fifth intention held outside of circle times. What is said within the circle, stays within the circle.



When Native people speak they are not talking from the head, relating some theory, mentioning what they read in a book, or what someone else has told them. Rather, they speak from the heart, from the traditions of their people, and from the knowledge of their land: they speak of what they have seen and heard and touched, and what has been passed on to them by the traditions of their people. It is their inner silence that allows them to listen to the prompting of their hearts and to the subtle resonances that lie within each word of a language and which, when uttered, reverberate throughout the world.

– David F Peat –

Blackfoot Physics



Determination to act in a specified way. Anything intended; purpose

The purpose and form of council are by necessity, linked. Apart from the basic council structure which may or may not have prescribed themes, there are any number of derivatives. Some examples are:

Dyad and Triad

The Spiral and Fishbowl

Dream & Vision Councils

Conflict or Restorative Council

Learning & Decision-making Councils

Mentoring, Reflection or Response Council

Children, Family, Relationship Councils

Sound & movement Council

Darkstar or Coyote Council

Storytelling Council



(Old English) Essence, any place or part located at a center. The core, vital or main part. Considered the center of emotions, innermost thought or feeling, mood, spirit or courage. One's disposition, love.


Accountable as being the cause of something


Something said or done in answer, reply or reaction