Listening to the Land, Dancing our Goddesses

Last week I hosted my ninth retreat at Aldermarsh. With such a magical number, the powerful 3×3, it should come as no surprise that in many ways it was the best, most powerful retreat so far. I experienced this for myself as a teacher / host / priestess, and I heard from many participants that they went deeper and had the most transformative experience that they’d ever had on retreat.

Council circle, sharing stories, epiphanies, and wisdom.

Four women in particular were initiated into a deeper level of service to their sacred callings, not by me, but by the land herself and by the container of the retreat experience. Deer, Rabbit, and Coyote showed up unexpectedly to underscore the call. It was a profound moment for all of us in circle in Marsh House to see each of these animals in turn emerge from the brush into the meadow near us at a particularly appropriate moment.

After leading nine retreats, I feel like I am finally getting really good at it. Every retreat, and every participant, is a teacher. That’s one reason I spend so much time in re-entry mode, reflecting on the retreat.  I sort through things that went very well, things that were a surprise, things that could have been improved, personal messages for myself, and glimmers of which way to go next.

Oya and Athena had a strong presence at this retreat!
Oh how we loved nestling into the heat and darkness of the cordwood sauna on a cold spring night, then emerging into bright moonlight, sparkling stars, and raucous frog song.

I still believe that the main purpose of going on retreat is to get away from your everyday life in order to refill your well, to slow down, and to practice radical self-care. But I am coming to see that — at some retreats and for some people — it’s much more than that. It’s a true time-out-of-time, a magic circle, a place between the worlds where transformation happens. It’s where we pray for the land and receive messages from her, where we create a new culture by practicing circle process, where we reach out in compassion and healing as we hear each other’s stories, where the ancient deep feminine archetypes come alive in each one of us, where we emerge not only refreshed but changed.

latisha teaching
Latisha Guthrie took great delight in teaching us to listen the plant people, and guided us into making a magical “Elixir of Aldermarsh.”
elixir of aldermarsh
I sat in silence for over an hour, just listening to the marsh, as the flowers and plant people absorbed the sunshine for my flower essence / elixir.
herding cats
Herding cats for a group picture! Photo by Latisha Guthrie.
sisterhood and sunshine
Three enjoying a little sunshine and sisterhood.
Marsh House welcomed us at dusk. Photo by Karen Karlovich.
Jennifer, HP of Dance
Jennifer Lucero-Earle guided us into dancing our Goddesses on Saturday night. Sublime!

It is said that “what happens between the worlds affects all the worlds.” We each go home, taking transformation with us, planting it in our own communities, nourishing it, and awaiting a fruitful harvest.

This is how we change the world.


(If you think you might like to join us at an upcoming retreat, please sign up here for the Early Bird List. The retreats have been selling out quickly. Thank you!)

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