A couple of weeks ago I was heading up to Santa Barbara, California for our weekend Goddess Retreat. I had been looking forward to this weekend for weeks and I couldn’t believe the moment had arrived. The drive was a two hour trip up the coast to the beautiful sacred grounds of La Casa De Maria. During my research to find the ideal location, I was recommended La Casa and upon entering the grounds, I knew it was the ideal place.
La Casa de Maria is sheltered within a 26 acre oak woodland ~ sacred land, once inhabitated by the Chumash Indians. Meandering walking paths encircle the enclave revealing expansive views of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. There is a three acre historic and organic orchard and vegetable garden. Produce is grown for the kitchens to serve guests. There is an outdoor stone Labyrinth for walking meditation and a standalone meditation chapel. La Casa is also home to one of the International Gardens of Peace – the Sadako Peace Garden.
So you can see why I deemed La Casa the ideal location. Along with the glorious surrounding nature, labyrinth, meditation chapel, garden, private kitchen, dining hall, La Casa also offers private and shared accommodations, which are suitable for everyone’s budget.
I made it up to the grounds ahead of the others so I could prepare our meeting room. I decorated our room with myrtle, fresh roses, Goddess urns, rose petals strewn around the space and soft lighting glowed from many candles.
Our weekend commenced on Friday evening after a delicious dinner, with a guided meditation. To set the theme for the weekend, we heard poems describing what a Goddess “really is.” Afterwards we did some exercises on self care and how to introduce more self care into our lives. As rest and sleep are a huge part of self care, we ended our first evening before 9.30pm so we could all get a good night’s sleep.
Before breakfast on Saturday, I led a walking meditation through the stone labyrinth. The purpose of a labyrinth is to quiet the mind and recover balance in life. Also, walking a labyrinth encourages meditation, insight, and self reflection and facilitates finding one’s center. Some people come to the labyrinth looking for answers to their deepest questions and others come just to slow down and take some time out from a busy life. The calming effects were certainly felt by me and the others.
Later in the morning, we gathered in our private meeting room and discussed the ancient Greek Goddess archetypes. I asked each attendee to identify with one of the Goddesses and then look to another Goddess they wished to learn from. It’s fascinating to see how as modern women we all come from a sacred lineage and the stories we discovered through the ancient myths brought us closer to our heritage.
Saturday afternoon was devoted to personal play time which included a massage with our Serve The Goddess signature massage oils.
At times during the weekend we gathered to form a circle, to hold hands so we could stop and breathe and drink in the experience. Below you can see a photo of one of our Goddess circles.
Deep connections were formed during the retreat and I’m sure these connections will be nourished and maintained and will linger for a long time to come. As women, we yearn for these types of connections and it’s not until we’re removed from work and family commitments and busy-ness of life, that we realize we’re lacking in these rich relationships.
Another high-light was our evening with Lisa Beck of Lisa Beck Living. We all enjoyed the two hour session of singing, dancing and drumming. Lisa lead us through some easy to follow drum rhythms and dance moves all tailored to invoke the Goddess Aphrodite.
On Sunday morning after another delicious breakfast, we went for a hike into the Santa Ynez Mountains. The trail head was right at the north end of La Casa by the fruit orchards, so we got to see more of the beautiful property along the way. After an hour hike and a shower, it was time to gather in our meeting room for the final session where I unveiled the ancient myth of Aphrodite. In ancient times, Aphrodite was known as a fertility Goddess and she was so much more than the western world has now portrayed…
I had so much great feedback from the attendees and I’ll be sharing more in the next post.
The next Goddess retreat is coming up so I hope you’ll join us. Please let me know if you have any questions and you can leave them in the comments below.
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