It was organised by my dear friend Diana, whom I met on last year's writers retreat, who is exploring her feminine energy after coming out of a long yet loveless marriage; she is in an interesting transition phase of her own journey, as were we all are, especially those of us present at the retreat.
The house looked small from the outside, yet when we entered it's Tardis-like space, it was a sizeable house, full of beautiful antique furniture, comfortable beds and sofas, a huge kitchen and the biggest dining room table I think I've ever seen. We each took it in turn, in pairs to prepare and serve the meals; which we then shared around this huge table. It was a joyful experience.
The retreat houses are vegetarian, plus the majority of the women were all excluding a variety of foods from the diets for health reasons, so cooking was an interesting and challenging experience - yet all the meals were healthful, delicious and a feast for the eyes, soul and stomachs!
We took part in 'circles' in the meeting room adjoining our retreat house, the door into this space was through the dining room. It was a space filled with lovely cushions to sit and recline on, and we spent many hours in there taking part in a variety of activities.
We participated in Goddess ceremonies around the Chalice Well head, late one night by candle light. It was such a peaceful and profound experience, the gentle candle light with it's soft aura and glow, silence apart from a few women quietly chanting and singing; it felt so sacred.
We performed a wonderful ceremony at the healing waters pool very early one morning, before the gardens opened to the public, followed by Yoga on the grass under the sacred hawthorne trees, barefoot and connecting fully with Mother Earth.
Several women wept openly for much of the weekend, as they healed and released past stuff that came up for them. But with a group of such supportive and loving women, everyone received support and the nurturing they so needed and deserved.
It felt as though we were living in a parallel universe, completely separate from the rest of the world, cocooned in a womb-like environment which was so safe. It was an amazing time!
On the Saturday, Su and I went to the local supermarket to purchase ingredients for the meal we were due to cook Sunday evening. It felt so alien to be in there and we couldn't wait to leave! We then went into the town and visited the rather large and very impressive health food store, which felt totally comfortable and not in the least bit alien.
One special goddess, Amber, a working shaman, did a group shamanic healing for us, which was a wonderful experience. She used her drumming, rattling and her voice. I'm not sure how long it lasted for, as well all went very deep during this session, which was very profound; we are all grateful to her for this offering. At times it felt like the drumming was coming from a different place in the room to her voice - which of course, wasn't possible! I felt all sorts of things going on in my chakras, but also experienced some 'releasing' in a very physical way. I overheard a number of the women alluding to childhood pain and emotional wounds, so I was asked by Diana to open one evening circle by reading and sharing a short story that I'd written the previous weekend, about healing childhood traumas.
Being back in the 'real world' is feeling quite a challenge, I am very tired and lacking in motivation to unpack my case; but it will all get done in time; I am , after all, processing lots of 'stuff', as we all are. This too shall pass.