Joanna Powell Colbert and I co-hosted/co-facilitated a retreat called EarthDreaming June 4 through June 7. It was an opportunity for 17 of us to slow down and pay attention to what Mama Gaia might be saying to us about these times and what we might do about it. Our time together took place at the gorgeous Aldermarsh Retreat Center on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound.
Joanna, Elaine (our fabulous cook), and I arrived at Aldermarsh a day early, on June 3 to settle in. I walked the grounds to re-acquaint myself with the place (I had been there almost eight years prior) and to greet Grandparent Fir, a huge douglas fir that towers over the meadow where Marsh House, the main workshop space, is located. This tree is magical!
On Thursday, we greeted participants as they arrived from various parts of the continent. Then I did a reading for someone, Dana (one of Aldermarsh’s stewards) provided an orientation for everybody, and we all tucked into the first of many scrumptious meals.
In the evening, the group gathered in Marsh House for our opening circle. With drums, voices, rattles, body movement, animal sounds, a flute, and words of welcome, we invoked the seven directions, four elements, Four-Fold Way archetypes, and the best of who we are to be present at and to support our time together. Each of us placed a special object on the altar in the centre of the room, told a short story about it, and declared, “I am now entering retreat time.” Next, we held a round of council on the question, “If the land where you live could tell us something about you, what would it say?” This opened us to knowing one another in a rich way. All of this was framed by Psalm 24 and Psalm 133 from Angela Magara’s Earth Psalms. In the words of the latter, we began to remember “How good it is, how good and sweet it is, when we hold community between us.” We had crossed the threshold into sacred time and space for EarthDreaming with our souls, one another, and the Soul of the World.