from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Saturday, 27 January 2018

THRESHOLDS at IMBOLC: one-day solo retreat

So I said no new blogs for a while. Here's an exception.

I've been clearing the decks, as they say, this last week, and working really quite hard to do so as I'm DETERMINED to finish this Brittany book before I go off to Iona in early April.

One thing regarding clearing the decks was my sudden decision to stop offering my annual THRESHOLDS day. I've been leading this as reflective practice for 20-something years, and have loved it. Participants have loved it, too, it seems – many come back year after year.

But actually the finding-a-venue, renting it, making fliers, advertising, dealing with admin, giving directions, answering queries etc is exhausting, and I think my time and energy are better spent on the longer projects and retreats I offer; and my own writing. The one day actually ends up being nearly a week, one way and another.

It suddenly came to me that I wanted to offer this as a download, for people to put into practice in their own quiet space, as a one-day solo intensive retreat.

Originally, Thresholds was offered as a day close to the turning year. The last 4 or 5 years it has been offered as part of a residential retreat attuned to the Celtic fire festival of Imbolc, 1st/2nd February, which sits between the midwinter solstice and the vernal equinox. (The material is appropriate to use any time between now and the vernal equinox, so choose your day. I personally think that Imbolc or the weekend immediately following is potent: there's a 'doorway' that opens then.)

At this time in the northern hemisphere – or at least in the British Westcountry – snowdrops are out, catkins are gold-dusted, birds are belting out spring songs, my witch hazel in the courtyard has hung out her fragrant yellow streamers. And it is still cold and wet.

In Celtic mythology, the 'Maiden' aspect of the threefold Goddess (Maiden, Mother, Crone/Cailleach) is just escaping the clutches of the winter king to return to the upper world from the Underworld.

In this day workshop, we attune ourselves to this point in the turning year. The download – 12 pages of intensive material that includes information on Imbolc and the presiding Celtic goddess of this time (Brighid), a relevant story, some practical offerings and several tasks in the form of questions – is designed to make us more aware of aligning ourselves to natural cycles on earth and in the cosmos, at the same time as giving us an opportunity to enquire into our own lives: what needs letting go? What are our intentions for this coming year? How might we make changes that affirm who we are and and where we find ourselves?

I've put decades of skill and experience into this, and thought very carefully how best to 'frame' it for a solo retreat to re-vision the coming year.

If you could do with a guided reflective and restorative day such as this, head over to this page on my website (NB although this is not gender-specific, be aware that we focus on the feminine principle in the material, as Imbolc is her time).


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