ALL SOUL’S RETREAT AT WHITE FEATHER RANCH October 30-November 2,2014

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Our four day gathering here at White Feather Ranch for All Soul’s weekend was all that I had hoped for and more. Ultimately twenty two women came together to create the event, many of them grandmothers, mature, wise, gifted, and compassionate.

My hope had been to generate together a chalice of light, consciousness, and courage in face of the intense and fear-filled times we live in and to realize and honor our common spiritual resource, the Eternal Feminine. It was a hope that our striving for the good would be inspired and exponentially multiplied by those souls working from the spiritual world and then we could be go out into the world renewed and empowered with community spiritual strength far beyond what any of us can do alone. We were so blessed. We began the first night with honoring the heavenly Sophia, expressed in the starry heavens. The entire day had been clouded over and there seemed little chance to see the stars as we had planned, but we piled in the back of the pick up and took two loads out to the front pasture hoping for the big view.

Then the clouds parted. The night was exquisite, with a half moon, the air clear, warmed and mellow. Wispy white clouds, like gossamer veils, opened in a cosmic choreography to reveal one constellation after another, the Queen, Pegasus, the Dipper, The Lyre, the North Star. The great cross of Cygnus the swan was the last unveiled to shine overhead in sparkling splendor. We sang. I played the accordion and we danced and laughed and celebrated in the moonlight.

The days unfolded with deep and thoughtful presentations of inner work needed to sustain in hard times, the cycles of a woman’s life, being a grandmother, adult children relationships and especially connecting with those across the threshold. All the days we shared sumptuous meals so lovingly prepared,and our new friendships and warm connections with one another. One among us brought the Jewish ritual of Shabbat for our Friday evening meal, her lovely voice saying the ancient prayers inviting the Shekinah, Holy Feminine presence of God, into our midst. ”A new table prepare for Her, a lovely candelabrum sheds its light upon us.” are ancient words that describe this. The darkened room had only the light of the many candles on the table that reflected on those surrounding it. I was awed at the beauty of those faces in the candlelight, aglow with warmth, character, etched with the individuality and fruition of lives well willed and gifts given. They shone like a Rembrandt painting of Holy ones. I was deeply moved in the blessing of what we were creating, and it It went on.

The next day we rejoiced and sensed the great sigh of the Mother Earth as the first healing rain had fallen all that night and day after the long, long draught. We then celebrated All Soul’s evening with poetry, song, dance and prayer and solemnly lit candles as the names of the beloved ones across the threshold were sounded into the hushed room. Our sense of expanded community was palpable. We ended with washing of the feet, tending to one another, body and soul, in respectful nurturing accompanied by many songs and a final group hug to carry us into sleep.

Sunday, All Soul’s Day (and also my mother Lola’s birthday), we further enriched the themes and dedicated the new labyrinth with stones we all brought to honor loved ones on the other side. The intention was also to create a ceremony of healing for the earth after the huge and devastating wild fires here last summer. I was surprised and delighted to see many of the small stones brought were shaped like hearts. Right at the labyrinth entrance, a lovely woman, whose beautiful daughter had died, placed a large stone with the declaration, “In the name of Mother’s love forever!” Oh, mother’s love and the heart. Yes, we touched the heart of it all. Our hearts so often broken, laid open by the intensity of life in this mortal frame and the parting of loved ones. Our hearts, wrenched and honored, mended, touched, renewed, expanded with healing through the universal Spirit of Love. My thanks go to all who came, my gratitude accompanies their life journeys on those feet we cared for together, walking with woman’s wisdom into the world with grace, courage and hope.