Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Immerse in Elen Retreat 2013

Inside the Temple of Elen

*sigh* and so another 'Immerse in Elen Retreat' is over.......I'm still coming back down to earth to be honest but wanted to sit and take a few moments to take it all in and share some of the experiences.

This year saw the Elen Retreat move from its home, of four years, at Retreat Farm to a new venue on the edges of Danbury Woodland. Leaving behind Tipi's, Barns and Farmland and moving into heated en-suite log cabins, bigger workspace, ancient woodlands, debut of the Temple of Elen and catering!!!

Our lovely Elen Clan started arriving on Friday evening and once settled in to our cabins we headed off to a local pub for dinner and socialising.
A selection of delicious food from the Griffin

After an enjoyable evening in The Griffin we headed back home to the cabins to bed. Suzi and Julia were this weekends 'Tine Sister' and we rose bright and early to set up the Temple of Elen and the workspace. More Elen Clan began arriving and the start time drew nearer.

We spent the morning in our lovely large workspace surrounded by Elen artwork and with a central hearth. We lit candles for each of us, marking our space in the circle, and lit two special candles for Esther and Sarah who for very personal reasons couldn't be with us. We shared our stories, Elen's stories and journeyed in deep meditation and after a shared lunch (which could have fed us the whole weekend lol) we gathered in our circles....Spiral Heart, Shed Antler and Spiral....to create Incense and Anointing Oil to honour Elen and create Elen Mala Bracelets. We then headed out to spend time in the Temple of Elen and to share as a community learning and chanting the Elen Mantra. This was the first time our portable space had been erected and used for this sacred purpose. Thanks to donations, art sale percentages and generosity from Bell Tent UK  the dream of a Sacred Elen Temple was born, and here this weekend we saw the dream become a reality. 

 Temple of Elen

Altars of Elen's Maiden, Mother, Crone

After time spent in the Temple we headed out into the ancient woodland. We had been SO blessed with good weather and the early evening light was loaded heavy with magic. We wondered the tracks and spent time with the trees and on the banks of the streams and lakes. Everyone had been given a small Confetti Offering Token, biodegradable and loaded with wild flower seeds, to leave as thanks along the way. 

Emma Moon Breeze's Offerings

Jacqueline Honeybee's Offering

We collected kindling for our fire and headed back to site to gather our drums and voices. 

Kindling Collection

Sunny Sunday saw us gather after Breakfast in the Temple. We shared our experiences and feelings from Saturday and we sang the Elen Mantra together with our bracelets. We journey further with Elen of the Tribes and gathered in circles again to create deer leather Journey Pouches. As the afternoon came round we headed back to the Temple and gave those, that wished too, a loving space to dedicate themselves as Priestess's of Elen or walkers of The Antlered Road. WOW what can I say.........its at these times I realise how open and loving the Elen Clan completely are. The love, healing, tears, community and support that radiated with that 5 metre Temple Space was absolutely mind blowing. It humbles me, I feel so blessed to be part of and witness these moments that each of them bring......WOW

We took some time to gather and ground ourselves, then began to create our wonderful 'Footprints Along the Trackway'. Using ancient earth pigments, we started to track our journey as Clan along a piece of natural cloth. This is something I wish I'd had the inspiration to do from the first ever Retreat. We supported each other as we stepped into the Ochre and felt it squidge between our toes, we then stepped onto the cotton trackway and left our footprints/hoof prints (?lol) behind. Marking our journey together over the weekend as Clan Community.

After taking time to sit in circle one last time, to say our farewells and send the love and gratitude we'd built over the weekend, with each other and the wider community. We gently headed home......

Much love and thanks must go to Suzi and Julia, my 'Tine Sisters' for this Retreat. The Tine Sisters idea was born after I realised I can't always be in 3 places at once. So by having sisters, by my side, that I know I can trust and ask to help and support both me and the rest of the Clan over the course of the days, makes things a whole lot easier....especially as we moved into a new venue. So THANK YOU ladies!!!!

Suzi and Julia Tine Sisters 

And so I will end this as I started with a *sigh* another 'Immerse in Elen' Retreat is over, but its only 16 weeks till Elen's Equinox Reunion, where I can gather the Clan of 5 years worth of these wonderful and deeply profound Retreats and Workshops. How grateful I am to be able to do this.......I'll leave you with a few words the wonderful Anya wrote about the weekend.

Immerse in Elen Clan 2013

"What a wonderful weekend that was, sharing so much beauty and inspiration in the sunny countryside with my lovely new friends and soul-sisters! We came together from far-flung places, to share our merry-making, deep-diving, life-enhancing new connections ... feasting and crafting ... singing & chanting ... meditating and track-making ... out in the spring-green woodlands, and then drumming & singing as twilight came & night fell, and the fire blazed & the sparks flew upwards to meet the summer stars. That delightful, relaxed feeling is still upon me, that comes from deep sharing from the heart, head and imagination ... mutual support as we wove our stories, dreams and visions, crafted our treasures, made our dedications and left our ochred footprints ... sharing food, fun & frolics in free, female open-heartedness and good humour. This was the best clan-gathering I have ever experienced. I have always longed for a sister - and now, by Magic, I feel I have 20. Powerful, primordial, profound ... connecting us to our distant ancestors and the ancient herds-people and hunters of our land and the far northern forests - quite wonderful!”

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

My Beltane

A 3.30am start!!!!

As I always tell myself....must be mental  ;o) But after making a phone call to the local tourist information to gain Sun Up and High Tide times, yesterday. I found out one of our local Morris Groups  the Maldon Greenjackets Met on Mayday to 'dance up' the sun. Well it would have been rude not to go along huh??? I had no idea the group did this, so was very excited to go along! Suzi, JoJo, Lily, Rain and Lisa decided to come join me too. So with drums, many layers and blankets we headed to Maldon Prom to wait the arrival of the Sun.

It was still fairly dark when we arrived but the false dawn was brewing. So we huddled into a shelter and had ourselves a coffee. The waning moon was still very much in view and sat beautifully on show above one of the trees.

The Morris started arriving, along with fiddle, squeeze box and recorder players, plus a lady from another village with a white pony and trap! Rhiannon's energy brought to the fore too. We had a little drum every now and again....although my drum wasn't very happy about the early start and was REALLY flat. After a couple of dances the sun started to show itself on the horizon, so we turned and watched as it crept up the sky. One of the ladies from the Morris came over to wish us all a Happy Beltane, which was lovely! 

I went and stood on the beach/shore line as the sun emerged and made my own silent honouring before going back to watch a little more of the Green Jackets as they continued to dance up that sunrise. We couldn't have asked for a better morning in all honesty! A bit nippy yes, but so very clear! 

After a little bit more drumming and bidding farewell to the girls, I did my usual morning routines and then took my dogs out onto my land. My usual trackways and lanes. The sun was well and truly up and it was really warm. There such a fantastic amount of bird activity around at the moment, unfortunately as I came out of my house we found a very, very tiny baby bird dead on my cars bonnet. Then out on one of my lanes a brown speckled egg smashed open on the ground but, on a more positive note, the hedgerows are so full of their song. The air was alive and almost crackling with energy this morning and the air so thick with the scent of 'the greening'. That smell of the new, fresh green shoots and leaves that have been warmed by the morning sun, so deliciously fragrant!!!

As I continued my walk I was all of a sudden distracted by a call, a very distinct call....I say distinct because I didn't instantly name the bird but it resonated really deep within me. When I looked up to see what had made it, a Jay flew, no glided above my head. A real moment, I could see him so clearly, each feather and colour and he gently called as he continued  along his journey! 


I now realise completely that the Jay is my totem bird, I have others, but right now he is at my forefront. I must set some time aside to work more deeply with its energy, but they obviously have a very powerful message for me right now. I'm seeing them more and more this year and having stronger and stronger connections every time I do see them. Beautiful, beautiful bird. very, very blessed!