Gaian Soul Gatherings will Return in 2024

Aldermarsh bridge, summer

We gather to step off the Wheel of our daily lives into the sacred center. We gather to listen to the land and to each other. We gather to speak and be heard. We gather to open our hearts to others, and to know ourselves a bit more deeply. We gather to offer what we can, and to receive what we may not have known we need.

Come away with me to a magical Northwest isle …

where we will gather with kindred spirits to replenish and refresh ourselves, drinking deeply from the sacred well of Nature, Spirit, Creativity & Community.

The following information describes the retreat held in August 2022. More here.

When:  August 10-14, 2022
Where:  Aldermarsh Retreat Center, Whidbey Island, Washington
Led by: Joanna Powell Colbert,
artist, teacher, mentor, creator of the Gaian Tarot and co-creator of the Herbcrafter’s Tarot.

Dear Ones,

Gathering with open-hearted people on the sacred land of Aldermarsh has been one of the great joys of my life since I began hosting retreats in 2012. It’s been over two years now without a retreat, and how the world has changed. I am personally no longer yearning to “retreat” as much as I am longing to gather in small circles where we can create heart-to-heart connections. With safety protocols in place, I hope you’ll consider joining me at Aldermarsh this August.

We’ll replenish and refresh ourselves with creativity, contemplation and community. (There’s plenty of opportunities for time alone as well as time together.) We’ll connect with Mama Gaia as she dresses up in her high summer glory. We will immerse ourselves in the foundational practices of the Gaian Soul Wheel, which support you in living a soul-centered life. These are practices I’ve done on my own and taught for decades, and they form the core of all my other retreats and programs.

Gaian Soul WheelThese practices are:

  • Air :: Wisdom Council & Journal Writing
  • Fire :: Ceremony & Movement
  • Water :: Tarot Play
  • North :: Sacred Art-Making 
  • Center :: Nature Connection & Communion

Aldermarsh Retreat Center on Whidbey Island is a magical place, where the nature spirits are quite alive and present. August is one of the most beautiful months of the year in the Pacific Northwest, with mild weather and little-to-no rainfall. And Whidbey Island is a jewel, with luscious beaches, woods, and meadows for you to explore, and small towns full of art galleries and cafes when you’re ready to shop.

This retreat is designed for people who have never been on a retreat or gathering with me before, but it is open to retreat alumni too.

At our Gathering, there will be:


  • Tarot play, to invite deep wisdom into our circle.
  • Guided nature practices for connecting deeply with the land.
  • Time alone and time together.
  • Contemplative walks on the beach, and through the woods, marsh, and meadows.
  • Wisdom sharing in council circle, using the principles of the Circle Way.
  • Gentle movement and dancing.
  • A ceremony to mark Lammas, the Festival of the First Harvest, and glean its wisdom for our lives.
  • Sacred art play (for artists and non-artists alike).
  • Scrumptious meals made with love by Elaine Nichols.
  • Giggles and great big belly laughs.
  • Sweet dreams.

COVID-19 Protocols

Everyone who gathers for this event will arrive vaccinated and tested. We will test ourselves again after we arrive at Aldermarsh. For more details on our Covid-19 protocols, please click here and read before registering.

This gathering is limited to 15 people, including staff.

>>> Travel FAQ can be found here.

A few other things to keep in mind…

Shared community living has long been at the heart of our stays at Aldermarsh. Retreatants have always taken turns cleaning up after meals. Since the pandemic began, all retreats are self-hosting.  This means you may also be asked to help carry out trash and other small tasks. We appreciate your help and the community that is created when we take responsibility for being good stewards of the space.

Aldermarsh is not wheelchair-friendly. The terrain is somewhat uneven, with paths that wind through woods and meadows.

Cell service is spotty, and internet access is available only in certain places.

Our gathering is alcohol-free and substance-free, including marijuana and tobacco.

>>> You can find more details about staying at Aldermarsh on our Travel FAQ page.

People are talking …

“I honestly cannot recommend this experience highly enough. The location is gorgeous, the wildlife is extraordinary, the food is fantastic, the property itself is welcoming, and the women who make it all happen are extraordinary humans. I always come away inspired, empowered, nourished, and ready for life in a new way.

If you are looking to gather with brilliant women and dive deeply within, this is for you. Joanna Powell Colbert is a model of how to create intentional gatherings that heal and transform.” ~ Heatherleigh Navarre, Boston Tea Room, Ferndale, Michigan

Christina B

“Trust Joanna to hold the space, to hold the sacred, and yourself; then trust yourself to hold the possibility that you can enter the space, touch the sacred, and know yourself better than you did before.”
~ Christina Baldwin, author of “The Circle Way,” “Storycatcher,” and “The Seven Whispers.”

“What I love about all the retreats is the immense support women share with each other. At this last retreat, the circle felt like an incubator for the rebirth of my Bruja-ness while the Dark Goddess and her snake magic facilitated the transition.

If you are ready to heal in a deep level of love, with women who manage to balance the wisdom of life while never placing judgement, then this is it. The honesty that’s lived in these retreats is incomparable.”  ~ Karen Rosales, Mia Fortuna, Los Angeles, California


“I love the authentic connections that are made possible in the safety of Aldermarsh. I love crossing the magical bridge that makes me feel I am a priestess of Avalon. I love hearing each other’s truths and stories within the comfort of the Marsh House — those walls hold many secrets. When I left, I felt energized and connected with a powerful group of women. A treasure, a filling of the well, and done so consciously, and with great love.” ~ Michele M., Lummi Island, WA

Jennifer LE

“This retreat is about giving yourself a deep soulful breath to let go and be held by nature and encouraged by a group of women who are both students and teachers. If you can surrender to the rhythm, you will discover your inner artist-healer-muse, all the while sharing stories with women who listen with open hearts and minds.” ~ Jennifer Lucero-Earle, Chapel Hill, NC

Loran H

“What I loved about the retreat was the emotional support I received. I didn’t expect to be held in such a loving and caring space. The biggest benefit to me was the healing that took place as I opened up to the restorative powers of circling and the ocean. The retreat was the best thing I’ve done for myself in a very long time! It was truly a dream come true.” ~ Loran H., Sheridan, Wyoming


Gaian Soul Gathering, August 10-14, 2022