Wheels, Spirals and Circles

Day 8 collageTour Launch Date is 31st August!

Wheels of Destruction

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the volume of information and news stories we’re subjected to? Stories evoking an emotional response which can leave us feeling traumatized? Does sensory overload and a feeling of constantly running to keep up with life sound familiar? Some days this feels like the treadmill of our lives set to a soundtrack of daily onslaught of news of climate chaos, violence in unimaginable forms to political mudslinging which doesn’t even address the most pressing issues. Society knows it creates this dis-ease and so offers a host of distractions to take your attention from the things we really should be concerned about. All of this can leave us with a longing, a longing that we often can’t say what is missing.

We have arrived at that scary sci-fi future the one we watched in films which gave us nightmares.  But you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t feel a longing for something more, if you dreamt of lives that are completely in tune with the planet and honor the great webs of interconnectedness with all the other winged and clawed, hoofed and burrowing beings on this planet.

K Duckett

Spirals of Reconnection

When I undertook my Masters Degree in Human Ecology on a weekend exploring Ecopsychology we set personal intentions for a day’s wilderness solo. I sat all day from a hill looking out towards the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Eigg watching the sun come up, move overhead but it was only when we entered into twilight- that magical time of not quite day and not quite night that I had a sense of my grandmother sitting beside me. My intention was to feel a sense of ancestry and she told me that I was a living ancestor – loved, watched and supported by all those who had come before. My ancestors stretching back through those blood ancestors who we knew in life way back through thousands of generations to what she called the bone ancestors the ones we are all descended from. She explained we could ask for their help and ask those future ancestors too – for what we did in the world shaped those generations to come.

Within the layers of overwhelmingness at all the work that needs to be done in this world a  deep longing can sprout, one which is rooted in our soul. While we will explore this theme on the Retreat I use the work of Joanna Macy in her Work That Reconnects to go through a process which allows us to share our joys of being alive on this planet and experiencing life to then expressing the pain we feel, the sorrow and despair at what is happening in the world.

M31_Spiral_Galaxy

I bring in my own techniques in exploring her powerful work and with shamanic journey we will travel to a place where we can ask ask advice of future beings. Coming back into circle we share our messages we received as we envision what that world looks like.  Lastly we will share what we personally commit to doing towards what Macy calls ‘The Great Turning’ we’ll focus on some of our fears around our abilities to carry out that work as well as hearing replies from future beings of that new world.

gce5azpriClick on image for source

Circle Culture

The Isle of Eigg is an inspiring place for this work as we are rooting ourselves in the deep herstory of women, the wise women, the shaman – on an Island named the Isle of the Big Women. This is a sample of one of the days on the retreat and yet each activity from the Stone Planting Ritual to the trance dance Through the Eye of the Cailleach and weaving in aspects of an ancient Celtic culture allows the opportunity  to sink our roots down deep, make new connections as we connect to the spiritual bedrock of this planet and engage with the most Ancient Mothers of this land.

Ancient Mothers Retreat info

Sun Horse, Moon Horse

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Mari Lwyd doll by Jude Lally

Horses mean many things to us from power & freedom to wildness, independence, healing, travel and communication as well as many more. We have honored these wondrous beings since our eyes first saw them, part of us runs free when we watch them galloping with mane and tail streaming in the wind.

This sunday we are exploring the shamanic qualities of horse as we contemplating her magic, mystery and medicine. A day to share stories about mythical horses, to explore the shamanic essence of horse and create your own piece of sacred art inspired by horse.

 

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Mari Lwyd. Image use by permission of Mari Lwyd Larcher

horse info

With stories from ancient folklore and journeying with the horse drum between the worlds on a shamanic journey…

cave horse

In the afternoon we will create  needle felted art piece inspired by symbols, shapes, colors and messages that horse gave to us on our journey. While all art materials are provided I encourage you to bring any personal items you may wish to incorporate into your hanging.

details

Wings or Not Wings?

Bee collage

 

In my preparation for the Blessed Bee workshop (now full) I have been exploring the story of the Melissae (latin for bees), the priestesses at Cybele’s temples in Greece and Rome. Bee’s have been familiars for the Goddess for thousands of years and Cycele’s priestesses were prophets or oracles who entered an ecstatic trance enduced by preparations that included honey. Interestingly the Greek word for this state of transfigured consciousness is enthusiasmos — ‘within is a god” which is the root of our word enthusiasm.

‘In the center of the world, a fissure opened from the black depths of Earth, and waters flowed from a spring. The place was called Delphoi (“Womb”). In its cave sanctuary lived a shamanic priestess called the Pythia—Serpent Woman. Her prophetic power came from a she-dragon in the Castalian spring, whose waters had inspirational qualities. She sat on a tripod, breathing vapors that emerged from a deep cleft in the Earth, until she entered trance and prophesied by chanting in verse’.     Max Dashu

I’m not sure about the wings. I liked the idea of bee’s as messengers between the worlds. Maybe she needs a different style of wings? Somehow hinting at that element of prophecy?

References: 

The Pythias excerpted from Secret History of the Witches © 2009 Max Dashu

 

Sun Horse, Moon Horse. The Shamanic Horse.

horse collageSun Horse, Moon Horse

Working with the Shamanic Qualities of Horse. 21st August, Asheville, NC.

Horses have inspired us even before our ancestors drew the first horses on cave walls around 30,000 years ago. Spend a day exploring the shamanic qualities of horses – with shamanic journey, art and sharing tales of ancient preCeltic horse folklore.

 

This workshop explores the shamanic energies of horse as we contemplating her magic, mystery and medicine. A day to share stories about mythical horses, to explore the shamanic essence of horse and create your own piece of sacred art inspired by horse.

Storytelling

The pre-Celtic and the Celtic worlds offer rich ancient myths of horses from the ancient White Horse of Uffingdon, tales of Kelpies to the ancient figure of the Mari Lwyd. We will also share tales of goddesses associated with horses from the Roman Epona to the Welsh Rhiannon as well as considering the priestesses of these early horse cults.

 

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White Horse of Uffington

horse info

In the afternoon we will create  needle felted art piece inspired by symbols, shapes, colors and messages that horse gave to us on our journey. While all art materials are provided I encourage you to bring any personal items you may wish to incorporate into your hanging.

details

 

A Retreat to the Edge of the World

 

An Island On the Edge of the World

Eigg is an Island perched on the edge of the Celtic world. The islands to the west are the last land before the vast Atlantic sweeps out to the horizon and the mythic island of Tir na Nog, the lands of the Celtic otherworld. The Gaelic name for Eigg is ‘Eilean nam Ban Mora’, or ‘The Island of the Big Women‘.
Eigg is steeped in legends of Big women – from the Amazon warriors of the Pictish Queen Moidart to a Sheella na gig carving. The body of Eigg holds stories of the great pre-Celtic Hag the Cailleach and on the retreat we will hear these stories and visit these sites in ritual and ceremony.

Click here to read the story of the sculpture above by Trevor Leat

Where is Eigg and How Do We Get There?

The Isle of Eigg is 6 hours journey from Glasgow – but you won’t be doing it alone as you’ll be met in Glasgow Queen Street Station by a team member who will accompany you on your journey to the Isle of Eigg  on one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world. The West Highland way takes you from the city of Glasgow right up to the west coast to Mallaig where you will get the ferry over to Eigg.

On the train journey you pass over the  Glenfinnan Viaduct made even more famous from the featured Harry Potter films. The train ride is a wonderful reflection and chance to sit back let everything go as the train takes you onwards to your retreat through vast open stretches of moorland framed by tall towering mountains and the chance of spotting wild deer. You’ll also pass through Fort William which sits at the foot of the highest mountain in Scotland Ben Nevis. Then as the train arrives on the west coast you’ll see the sea and the outline of the Isle of Eigg and the Isle of Rum.

It’s not uncommon to spot whales, dolphins and seabirds – even Killer Whales on the ferry ride.

The Magic of Twilight

In May for hours after the sun goes down Eigg enjoys long magical twilight’s. Its in these magical hours that mountains which looked like rock and vegetation take on mythic forms. Imagine being on the land at twilight, seeing the first stars come out and then twilight’s paints everything with its magical and transformative touch. You can see the outlines of faces on ills and cliffs – which I like to call the Big Women. It’s in twilight, the gloaming, that people told stories and that the spirituality of these islands was born. It’s the magic and mystery of this time that brings you between the worlds – not quite day and not quite night. Not quite everyday reality and not quite the otherworld – a sacred place with a foot in each world. We will definitely be outside enjoying these twilights, down on the beach as we visit the Cailleach or gather around a rather special fire.

Singing, Storytelling & Crofting

Ishbel MacLeod (above photo) was one of Eigg’s best singers. In this photo she is bringing home peat which is used to burn as a fuel. Eigg has a long history of singers, storytellers and pipers.

I hope to have local author Camille Dressler give us a talk one evening on the women of Eigg as well as hosting a women’s singing group one evening where we can hear songs of the island but also join in!

Eigg has a particular way of farming called crofting – which is only found in Scotland. It’s a form of small scale farming where locals grow their own food and raise hens, sheep and a few cattle. We’ll visit a working croft as well as visit a croft museum which will take you right back to the 1940’s!

Hard to believe – but yes this is Scotland! Glorious beaches to explore with rock pools and beach combing.

The tour launches on 17th August but if you can’t wait and want some insider information click below!

Retreat