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Sacred Heart Retreat, October 5-8 ~ Questions Answered and Agenda
More information about my upcoming, in-person retreat in the Hudson Valley
I have three spots remaining for the Sacred Heart retreat October 5-8 in the presence of the mighty Hudson River and the Catskills Mountains in New York. The setting will be epic: peak foliage and peak time for transformation, shedding, going inward, and being together on the land with the elements.
I think it’s important to say that I am learning, too. I am not an expert on the Sacred Heart, but I am an expert on subtle processes and I’ve recently been having direct experience of this phenomenal state of being. It feels like I didn’t choose this focus, it chose me.
I knew I needed to convene women this year and I knew the intention for the gathering would be The Sacred Heart. Beyond that, my process has been to listen and feel. This is a potent way to craft a retreat. It requires a great deal of surrender and trust: surrender to what wants to emerge, and trust that there is a blueprint, a greater plan, for our evolution and healing that we can lean into to scaffold the experience—that we can trust to carry us through.
What I am finding about the women who feel drawn to this experience is that they are leaning into an intuition or a desire; saying YES without fully knowing what they are saying YES to! It’s brave. It’s beautiful. And honestly, when you’re headed into something this rare and special, that’s what it takes. There is no map and no guarantee.
This has been one of my mantras for the retreat and in my life as we breakthrough into new ways of being together: stop worrying, start walking…keep walking.
I’ve been asked some great questions about this retreat; questions that make me think about the original impulse for gathering. I want to share some of that here for those who might be called to the work.
What is the Sacred Heart? Is it a thing? It is a thing! Or maybe it’s more accurate to say a place…or a state of being. It has a dimensional quality. It is real. It is something special and different from the way we know the heart and love ordinarily. The name originates in Christianity with a female saint (Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th C) who received visions of this aspect of Jesus’s divine nature along with gospel on the true nature of Love. While the origins are Christian, I am holding it in a trans-lineage/post-lineage way. It may have a particular resonance and origination with Jesus, but it is not so different from the experience of the Bodhisattva realms of Buddhism and the open Heart Chakra that can be achieved in the Eastern Tantras. In fact, legend has it that Jesus spent time early in his life in India where he received initiations and may have learned the tantric practices. Legend also tells of Mary Magdalene having been a priestess in the Cult of Isis and an advanced adept and holder of the sexual mysteries. In a sense, the Sacred Heart is the Judeo-Christian evolution/form of Tantra and specifically, consort practices, i.e. yab yum/karmamudra or maithuna. I have been reconciling my knowledge of Buddhist and Hindu tantric practices and philosophy with this Jesus/Mary Magadalene Sacred Marriage transmission and it all adds up. What is beautiful to me about the Sacred Heart tradition (which was largely obliterated by The Church) is how the entry point to the central channel is through the heart (rather than the sacral chakra). This makes is a gentler experience, though no less powerful in terms of transformative potential. It is a healing place and there is much healing and integration that must be done to “enter” the heart in this way.
Why the Sacred Heart now? I believe humanity is moving into a new era—or trying to. We are in the birthing process, maybe even in the labor process, for the arrival of a new age on Earth: a new culture and way of being. For me, it keeps showing itself as a “Golden Age.” This new age seems to require us to be IN THE HEART. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re currently stuck in the head (at best and at worst—in the lower nature). We intellectualize everything and we feel and know very little. I want to be careful here. I recognize I am making some sweeping statements. I think many cultures around the world are experiencing something like this shift (into the sacred heart) or have experienced it within different cultural, mythological and symbolic frames. I do not claim this is the only one. But, I do believe the Sacred Heart is a way to the future for those who are called to work with it. The Sacred Heart, as far as I can tell, is a transmission which comes with a deep remembering and restoration of Western esoteric spirituality. It seems to be reawakening in the hearts of beings now. Many women have a deep affinity for Mary Magdalene. I believe this is her teaching and legacy. I will be calling on her for support and guidance. I will also call on Jesus, Isis, Krishna and Radha, and other great lovers through history.
I also want to work on my masculine? Can I do that if we’re just women? Yes. Working with the Sacred Heart is about balancing and harmonizing the masculine and feminine within and in the world (internal and external). This is subtle, but deep work. All of us have been born into and have grown up in a patriarchy—and it’s left its mark. We’re all dealing with generational and collective trauma. The way the energetic polarities of the cosmos (+/-) have playing out here on earth with humans is a pretty abysmal situation and has been for thousands of years. We’ve hurt each other so much. I’ve been working with my own inner feminine and masculine for twenty years now and I still find all kinds of ways I’ve internalized the patriarchy. The detox process is intense and it may be that there is a limit to what we can do outside the sacred container of the Sacred Heart. Within the Sacred Heart, there are no power games or power plays. There is a lot of fluidity and clarity and wisdom that comes through both polarities and they dance a seamless dance. When we evoke and step into this container and it is held with integrity, our own wounds and imbalances can be seen, worked with and healed. Practically speaking, I will be working to hold a balanced and WHOLE container where masculine and feminine (these are imperfect descriptors and loaded with cultural baggage) are invited to dance and express wisdom as needed. From my perspective, learning to create and embody these Sacred Heart containers is key to our being able to imagine and enact a world beyond patriarchy.
Will you be the only facilitator? I will be the primary teacher and ritualist, but I will be supported and you will be supported by my friend, Rebecca Grossman. We will also have a dance offering from my dear friend and collaborator, Rochelle Schieck. Her Qoya practice is an incredible activation and honoring of Mother Earth and the Sacred Self. Also, I see this weekend being extremely dynamic in terms of where the guidance and wisdom comes from. In a sense, each participant (you) will also be leading and guiding us. We will be simultaneously attuning to each other and the field and listening for guidance, which may come from anyone or any being.
How deep will the process be? Will it be a rejuvenating experience or a hard core transformational experience like being in [plant medicine] ceremony? Ha. I’m honestly not sure because it will depend on who shows up and our collective capacity. Spirit wants us to evolve (with some urgency) and when we step up for that—it will meet us! I like to issue a warning that I have a powerful field and things can get quite psychedelic—healing is inevitable. Shakti is the most powerful energy on the planet and we will be working with it directly. Anyone who attends should be ready for deep transformation and transmutation. This may be challenging in moments, but you will be well-supported. We will also build in a lot of rest and nourishment. In some ways, I’m not as hardcore as I once was…in other ways, my crone is starting to take the reigns ;)
Have you ever done something like this before? I am a seasoned facilitator of group experience and have been leading groups—everything from women’s circles to executive retreats to collective trauma healing—for 25 years. I’m very good at sensing and attending to what is in the group field. But, I have been mostly working with individuals and small groups online since 2020 when COVID uprooted me and my daughter from Brooklyn. This will be my first in-person gathering since, and I’m so very ready for it. I’ve been longing for the special alchemy of in-person process.
I hope this reaches those who are ready for this experience.
Rough Agenda (Subject to Change)
Thursday ~ Invoking the Sacred Heart listening, receiving, making offerings, setting intentions, defining context, culture, container and community, invoking and honoring Nature 3p Arrive 4-7p Opening Circle, Mandala Making, Meditation 7p Dinner 8-9. Myth, Legend, Prayers (optional) Friday ~ Self and Sisterhood assessment of self love, making peace in the body, being with, shadow, resourcing ourselves, knowing and hearing our higher selves, allowing ourselves to be known and seen, nested in the dynamics of the group, the community and the forgotten (in the patriarchy) aspects of sisterhood, trust 8a Light Breakfast 9-12p Movement, Talk, and Meditation 12-1 Lunch 1-4 Afternoon Assignment/Rest/Hike/Free Time 4-7p Afternoon Session, Meditation 7-8p Dinner 8p Fire Ceremony (optional) Saturday ~ Eros/Shakti, Balancing Polarities, Passion sacred marriage, world creation, lover and beloved archetypes, alchemy of longing, bliss and emptiness, the great lovers, surrender and trust 8a Light Breakfast 9-12p Movement, Talk, and Meditation 12-1 Lunch 1-4. Afternoon Assignment/Rest/Hike/Free Time 4-7 Afternoon Session, Meditation 7-8 Dinner 8p. Sound Journey (optional) Sunday ~ Service role of the priestess and queen, sovereignty, responsibility to the whole, inner wisdom and intuition, clarity and direction, bringing the Sacred Heart into the world, commitments 8a Light breakfast 9-11 Movement, Meditation, Closing Circle 11-12p Final Meal Depart
For more information or to express interest in joining us for this retreat, email firstname.lastname@example.org.