An Invitation to the Woman Soul Gathering
By Chalice Bailey
Many of us have heard the stories, and feel them to be true. How we come into this world from the other side with a gift placed into our hands that is for us to live into and express through our unique and precious life. Some stories speak to the forgetfulness that befalls the infant as she is born into the world, and a lifetime of seeking for her soul’s purpose. Other stories speak to the task of the midwife who sees the newborn’s gifts, and steals them away for safekeeping until the child is ready to leave home in search of her gifts, her medicine, her soul’s purpose.
As the child grows, she learns her role in the family. She learns what is expected of her, and what is not acceptable. She embraces beliefs and values that bring her the positive nods of her peers, and in other situations, she withdraws in confusion from a world that isn’t understanding her, isn’t recognizing her unique spirit, so she hides, pretends, and does the best she can to fit in. This may not be your story, but you have one that is true for you.
The stories of soul work always involve a leave taking and a journey through what has been called the underworld. This journey takes us to places where our experiences live that want to keep us small. Where distorted thinking presents itself as truth. Where hurt feelings and the anger of betrayal have left us frustrated and confused. These stories have been layered over our gift, our personal medicine, and it is through these layers we need to journey. It is for such a journey this Woman Soul Gathering has been created.
Over four days there will be time in small group with other women, and an elder or two in attendance. Your group will turn over the toxic waste that has layered over your birthright. You will have the opportunity to participate in a water cleansing ceremony and continue to deepen into the wisdom of your gift. You will have time for personal walks through the 120 acres of woods and around Lake Flora, for morning meditation and/or journaling, and time for hand crafts so you can bring back with you a talisman of your experience at the Woman Soul Gathering.
Morning circles will begin with time on the four mother drums, singing, dancing, and stretching yourself into the day. You may want to take time in the mornings to ask questions of the Honored Elders, who will also be sharing their wisdom and experience shared with us during our times in large and small circles. The Grandmother Moon Bundle will be opened and stories told, and there will be ceremony and ritual Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights that will take us through the life phases of releasing and letting go, being still and going within, and stepping forward into our soul’s purpose.
Life may seem out of control and chaotic, and that is the birthing ground of creativity. You are invited.
Women of Soul in Circle Together
by Mary Shackleford
The framing for this retreat rests within the beautiful and bountiful space of creative collaboration. It depends entirely on our willingness to lean in and engage; it calls on all of us to plunge into the deepest places we can reach to listen, speak, witness, encourage and share. Each of us is invited to step into the fullness of who we are in this moment and to take responsibility for our desire and commitment to the transformational possibilities we are unearthing for ourselves, each other and life.
The flow for our retreat features a morning circle, which focus will be guided by our Elders in service and what Spirit brings through you. Mornings will also include time for your morning practices, spontaneous dream circle discussions, movement and meditation in the South Lodge.
In the afternoons there will be an invitation to join in small group with an Honored Elder to inquire, explore, share, witness, question and deepen into our shared journey. You may also choose to express your soul’s wisdom through creative handwork and artistic expression. Two of our Honored Elders will be present in the art room to talk with you and provide guidance as needed.
This retreat asks for vulnerability and risk. To that end, we will cultivate a space of clarity, safety and respect. Here are some basic guidelines:
Using The Talking Stick
Our words in these circles are sacred. We honor each sharing and allow the deeper wisdom to shine through by attending to our listening and speaking skills.
- After receiving the talking stick, the person speaking has the right to speak without interruption, and an obligation to speak in a focused way.
- Each speaker takes a brief moment to attune – to allow the inner voice to speak spontaneously with clarity and simplicity. Each person is invited to share in an empowered way what truly has heart and meaning for them.
- Sharing may be cumulative, building on what others have spoken. However, this is done with care to not comment directly on another’s experience, offer advice, fix anything or supersede another’s experience.
- Silence is always honored. No one is required to speak. If one receives the talking stick and does not want to speak, simply hold the stick for an attunement moment and then pass the stick.
- All others listen for the soul, release judgment and hold loving presence.
The time in circle can allow a more intimate sharing that outside of circle feels like an invasion of privacy. We ask you to take care in engaging a woman in her personal story outside of circle.
Use the Drop-Down Menu to view these inspiring and informative writings:
Embracing the Crone — June BlueSpruce
Grandmother Moon Bundle — Barbara James Snyder
Reflections of My First Woman Soul Gathering — deJoly LaBrier
Women of Woman Soul Gathering Write Poetry — INVOCATION
By Mary G.L. Shackelford; A Mother’s Ponderings on the Dawn of Her Daughter’s Birthday by Chalice Bailey; Lunation, Words & Music by Lorraine Bayes
c 1999 LorraineBow Music
Wisdom of Medicine Wheel Teachings: The Four Elements and The Four Directions — Mary Shackleford