Sunday, June 7 was our final day together at Aldermarsh. The “official” part of the day was an extended circle that took place over the course of the morning and was made up of seven sections.
First, Joanna asked people to share a meaningful image, insight, or experience they had at the gathering. I’m always freshly amazed and delighted at what stands out for people when they share these things. Second, Joanna invited us to pull a card from whatever deck we had with us to respond to, “What wisdom am I taking home with me from this retreat?” Mine was the 10 of Wands from the Voyager Tarot: personal growth from the wisdom of ancestors, descendants, and the growing things; continued flourishing of life within and around me; more ways to cultivate my Centre so it can bloom and thrive in life-affirming ways; deeper roots and higher aspirations.
Next, some people who had made Ojos de Diosa showed their art and told us something about it, many of them naming their pieces for the first time in our presence. Then guidelines for how to re-enter one’s daily routine after the retreat were offered: listen to the people at home about what occurred there while you were away, share your retreat experience with trusted people in a conscious way (i.e. in a circle-like manner) when you feel ready, place yourself within three feet of the Earth’s surface as often as possible, be aware of mood changes that can indicate grief about no longer being in the retreat environment, journal, nap, take baths, take your time, and so forth.
The fifth component of Sunday morning was a Circle of Blessings, an opportunity for participants to step into the middle of the group, state their year-long projects/intentions from the Callings and Resources activity (see the article about Saturday) and what they need in order to make it happen, and to receive the blessings of everybody else in the room through sound, touch, words, song, laughter, breath, etc. My own intention was/is “more of this” by which I meant offering more full-day, weekend, and multi-day experiences such as retreats that bring together circle process, symbolic tools and processes, time in Nature, and clear intention in service to Life. What I needed/need is to know:
1. What would make weekend or multi-day gatherings (such as retreats) hosted by me magnetically appealing to people?
2. What life-affirming tools, processes, and/or experiences would nourish people’s souls at such gatherings?
We concluded by retrieving our special objects from the altar, stating, “I am now leaving retreat time”, and using our voices, bodies, drums, and rattles to thank the seven directions, four elements, four archetypes, and aspects of ourselves that supported our time together with such care.
After photo ops, lunch, and clean-up, it was time to depart the beauty and magic of Aldermarsh to go forth and embody Earth’s dreams for a better future.