The Goddess of Many Arms- Returning home after Retreat:

Celebrating the Wise Woman Within

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Celebrating the Wise Woman Within Retreat was last week-end at Seven Oaks Retreat Center in Madison, Virginia. 

Amazing and diverse women, ages 54- 84 gathered.  They were brave, honest, open, generous, vibrant, joyful and sad, at times. Coming together to explore our diverse and similar notions of what it means to age, as a woman in America at this time, was nothing short of miraculous, to me. We explored notions of physical, mental and psychological stereotypes and looked to other older women as role models. We read poems, danced, sang, painted and enacted a coming-of-age ceremony crowning us as Queens and Crones. We even coined a new word, combining our Queen and Crone years, into “Qu-rone”.

We dismissed negativity surrounding the image of the Crone as we reveled in her hard- won wisdom. We made vows and read them aloud to each other, of what we will do to fully embrace this time in our lives, what we wished to accomplish and what gifts we have to share with others. 

And we had a bonfire, where we symbolically and collectively ‘burned’ off those things that we were tired of carrying around. 

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There was laughter and there were tears, as we navigated our way through past pain and fear. Everyone contributed and leant expertise to our circle along the way. It was a true collaboration of kindred- spirits. 

At the end of our week-end we exchanged hand-made gifts to one another, which included a snake-skin, a bright dangling wand, a candle, heart stones, amongst others. 

Taking the time away from our lives of teaching, care-taking, parenting, consulting and making the time to re-connect with the glorious nature around us , each other and ourselves, in a safe and supportive environment, was amazing. I  cannot wait to do this again, next summer.

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