It’s not easy to find the words to convey the experience we had at our October 2017 healing retreat. So much happened and a lot of it was beyond description, but I will attempt to summarize it.
A diverse group came together from around the world, but with one intention in common: to experience the teachings of the plants, plus community and local wild nature. I’m emotional writing this, so profound was the connection with this group. We had some real characters with us; hearty, open people each on their own soul mission.
The first night
On the first night our guests arrived and we eased them in with some nutritious vegan dinner and an introduction to lucid dreaming plant Artemisia Vulgaris, or Mugwort. Interestingly enough, I had a lucid dream that night for the first time in a long time! A sign of the clarity to come over the next few days, it seemed.
We started the next day off with a sharing circle in which we discussed our spiritual challenges, as well as our intentions for the retreat. This connected people on a human level instantly, and the tone was set for the rest of the retreat.
Shamanic energy healing
We headed down to the deck to do some shamanic energy healing. Rachael gave a little talk on how energy healing works, taught the guests how to protect themselves and then all connected with source before sending their healing vibrations to each other. Afterwards, there were relaxed faces all round, and an even stronger bond established in the group.
High-vibing dance on the bus deck
That afternoon we lifted the vibe with a dance meditation session. Dancing is one of my biggest passions and I always saw this part of the retreat as one of the most significant. Fortunately for me, this group loved to dance… and as it happened on a deck looking out over the valleys from the heights of the mountain, the vibe was so high. They fully embraced the music I had put together, and we celebrated as one.
The breeze whipped through the olive trees, birds soared overhead and we raised our arms to the crystal clear sky while we moved to the beautiful beats. Exhilaration is probably the most appropriate word for what we experienced.
The mushroom ceremony
Rachael started off the evening with a drum journey on her beautiful new shamanic drum. This was new to several of our guests, but they experienced quite a journey through their imaginations.
Our native mushrooms never let us down, and for this ceremony they came in stronger than ever. The silence in the space was testament to the processing happening in the room. Rachael and I sang some of our medicine songs to the group, and played soft music to them. After a couple of hours of this, some of us went out onto the deck to look at the stars. The sky was full of the magical web we’re accustomed to seeing with these plants; the flower of life stretched across the entire horizon, sending us coded messages and blissful sensations.
When the harder work was done, we started to communicate more. The laughter started, the sharing and the musical appreciation. We lifted the vibe with the most beautiful music (our little secret), and most were up dancing, singing and hugging. The vibe was so high that it seemed the roof might come off the dome… and our integration the next day confirmed that all had had a phenomenal evening. Pure love, understanding, appreciation and celebration. It was once again proven that these little plants are a direct line to God. We couldn’t have asked for more.
The next day we took the group on a nature walk. Rachael instructed them on how to select plants that they were drawn to and how to exchange some energy with the plants; the plants would then conspire to make positive intentions happen.
The sun was really beating down on us that day, so a forty-minute walk felt like a forty-mile hike! Nevertheless, the group collected some beautiful petals, leaves and other natural creations, and pretty brews were formulated in conjunction with powerful intentions. The mountain spirit is surely lending a hand too.
Tarot & divination
Tarot and divination has been a powerful part of my life and I often wonder where I would be now without it. I know that energy reading is a gift we all possess, so I teach techniques on retreat. I also have a set of cards I made for people to use as a tool for intuiting, which worked very well for them.
I loved to see how they connected with each other and picked up information using their natural abilities. Just one more rung climbed on the ladder of consciousness… we practiced divination with crystal pendulums, and then moved onto the night’s ceremony.
The cacao ceremony
The day between medicine ceremonies is marked by a heart opening cacao ceremony. I introduced our guests to cacao and its ceremonial use, and then we imbibed. Next we did a guided meditation, some breath work, sound vibration and visualizing for manifestation. Rachael and I sang, read some of our poetry and did some energy channeling through our guests to further expand the heart centre.
At the end of this, the group didn’t want to move from their mats, but I enticed them up with the promise of some high-energy music. Within the first ten beats, limbs were waving around and the meditative slumber was a distant memory. We danced as if cacao was on tap, and at the end we came together under the setting sun for a group hug. A few of us were moved to tears…
The musical session
For the perfect end to a beautiful day, we had a group jamming session. Singing, playing instruments and sharing. We had some talented musicians in the group, from flute players to guitar maestros and singers. It was a pleasure to listen to everyone. We finished up with Rachael administering rapeh, the Amazonian snuff. A good rest was had by all…
To put this ceremony into words is difficult. Huachuma is a fascinating journey with many peaks and troughs. It took quite some time to come on, leaving us wondering if it was playing with us… but it didn’t let us down. A day full of meditation, arts and crafts, laughter and sun gazing ensued. The group was introduced to Amazonian liquid Sananga, administered through the eyes to cleanse the pineal gland and spiritual energies.
As is often the case by the time we hold this ceremony, the group has fully bonded. But just when they think they can’t get any closer, huachuma shows them how much more they have to give. The visions were profound, beautiful and mystical.
The moon was almost full and celestial bodies seemed brighter than ever, flashing red, green and blue. A few of us agreed that we could see rainbows in the night sky. What was ‘real’? We couldn’t say… it was real for us then, we know that much.
As the night came on, we found ourselves laying on the deck sharing more stories and laughter. We were in a state of pure bliss, the direct line to the heavens fully established; nobody wanted it to end, and myself and Rachael were pleased beyond words.
The end came all too quickly
Throughout the retreat, the laughs we’d had were loud and abundant. The jokes, stories, and comical comments flying around had us struggling to breathe from too much laughter. Rachael had even complained that she’d 'damaged her face' from too much laughing.
By the end of the retreat, we were overwhelmed by the profound insights people had received and the love that they had for us and each other. In retrospect, it seems that everyone got what they came for and more.
It’s often tough for us to say goodbye at the end… and this time we really felt that we wished we could live this way 24/7. We love to form lasting friendships with our guests, so their invite to Burning Man festival next year is one we’re seriously considering taking them up on. Thank you all so much for your amazing presence… we love you to the stars and beyond.
More retreat dates are coming soon for next year. Watch this space and sign up to our newsletter to be updated!