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Colorful Flags

Summer Solstice Retreat

Theme: Summer, Serpents, and the Prime of Life:
Gates of Passion and Renewal

 

Retreat Aims:

Celebrating the vibrant energy of the Summer Solstice, embracing the spirit of transformation, and engaging in the passionate prime of life. This retreat invites participants to explore the themes of renewal, growth, and fiery energy through connection with the south, the element of fire, and the spirit of the serpent.

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Calling In:

The Qualities of the South direction, in particular, carries unique qualities and attributes:

  1. Growth and Trust: The South is often associated with the stage of childhood and youth in human life cycles, symbolizing growth, learning, and trust. It represents a time of innocence, discovery, and the early steps toward independence.

  2. Warmth and Nurturing: Reflecting the warmth of the southern sun, this direction emphasizes warmth, comfort, and nurturance. It is a time for building strong foundations, just as the warmth of the sun nurtures the earth and aids the growth of plants.

  3. Vitality and Passion: The South is linked with vitality, enthusiasm, and the vibrant energy of life. It represents the force of life at its peak, full of energy and potential. This direction encourages embracing life with passion and vigor.

  4. Fertility and Abundance: In line with its association with youth and growth, the South also symbolizes fertility and abundance. This is a time for flourishing and expanding in physical, mental, and spiritual aspects.

  5. Fire  Element: Although this can vary depending on specific tribal traditions, some cultures associate the South with the element of fire, which complements its qualities of nourishment, growth, and purification.

  6. Color Associations: Commonly, the South is represented by the color red, symbolizing life force, energy, and passion.

  7. Animal Totems: Animal spirits associated with the South can vary widely, but might include creatures known for their strong relational qualities or nurturing behaviors. For example, the coyote (often seen as a trickster but also a teacher of survival) or the deer (symbolizing gentleness and heart energy).  Additionally the serpent represents the south and summer (see below).

Emotional and Spiritual Qualities: Emotionally, the South is a direction of feeling the full spectrum of emotions, learning to navigate them as part of personal growth. Spiritually, it encourages connection with others and the understanding of one's place within the community and the larger web of life

Invoking the Spirit of the South
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In ceremonies, invoking the energy of the South often involves seeking blessings for growth, support in new endeavors, or the revitalization of one’s physical and spiritual energies. It’s a time for celebrating the richness of life and the joy of being. The lessons of the South encourage individuals to live fully and expressively, making the most of every moment.

Invoking Spirit of the Serpent

In many indigenous and spiritual traditions, the serpent is a powerful and complex symbol often associated with the South direction of the medicine wheel. This association is particularly relevant in traditions where the South is connected with qualities of renewal, growth, and transformation. Here’s how the serpent embodies the qualities of the South in the context of the medicine wheel:

  1. Transformation and Renewal: Serpents are emblematic of transformation due to their ability to shed their skin and emerge renewed. This aligns with the South's themes of growth and new beginnings, symbolizing the shedding of old patterns or ways of being to allow for fresh growth and new opportunities.

  2. Healing and Medicine: In many cultures, serpents are seen as creatures of healing and medicine. The shedding of the skin is also a metaphor for healing, letting go of past hurts, and rejuvenating one's spirit. This is reflective of the nurturing and revitalizing qualities of the South.

  3. Energy and Vitality: The serpent's movement, sinuous and vigorous, symbolizes vitality and the life force. This dynamic energy resonates with the South’s emphasis on the vibrancy of life at its peak, full of enthusiasm and potential.

  4. Wisdom and Knowledge: Serpents are often considered wise beings that hold ancient knowledge. Their connection to the earth is a reminder of the deep, intuitive, and primal wisdom that lies in nature and in the instinctual parts of ourselves, aligning with the learning and growing phase of life represented by the South.

  5. Protection and Guardianship: In some traditions, serpents are viewed as protectors or guardians, which relates to the South’s role in providing a nurturing and safe environment for growth and development. The serpent’s presence can be invoked to guard one’s spiritual journey and to ward off negative energies.

  6. Fertility and Creativity: The serpent's link to the Earth and its life-giving qualities aligns with themes of fertility and creativity. Just as the South is a time of blooming and flourishing in nature, the serpent symbolizes the potent creative forces that bring forth new life and ideas.

  7. Connection to the Earth: Serpents, being creatures that live close to the ground, are deeply connected to the earth element. They remind us of the importance of grounding ourselves in the physical world and our bodies, which is a crucial aspect of nurturing and growth.

  8. Elemental Symbolism: While not exclusively associated with any single element, serpents can embody various elemental qualities, including the transformative power of fire, the nurturing flow of water, and the groundedness of earth, all of which are important in the context of the South in the medicine wheel.

By incorporating the symbolism of the serpent in ceremonies and meditations focused on the South, we can tap into these deep and transformative energies, fostering personal growth, healing, and a profound connection with the natural world.

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Daily Schedule Outline:

Wednesday Day 1: Arrival and Opening

  • 4:00 PM: Check-in and Welcome Drinks (Herbal Sun Teas - Hibiscus, Mint)Opening Circle

  • 6:00 PM: Dinner – Summer Solstice Feast (menu detailed below)

  • 8:00 PM: Summer Solstice Fire Ceremony to honor the Sun and the Fire Element, Setting Intentions with the Fire Element, Holding Space for Each Other with individual sessions

Thursday Day 2: The Spirit of the Serpent

  • 9:00 AM: Breakfast

  • 10:00 AM: Creative Workshop: Crafting Serpent and Sun Symbols, Journaling and Relaxed Time

  • 1:00 PM: Ceremony

  • 7:00 PM: Dinner

  • 8:00 PM: Summer Solstice Ritual - Celebrating Personal Growth and Passion, Integration

 

Friday Day 3: Embracing the South and the Prime of Life

  • 9:00 AM: Breakfast

  • 11:00 AM: Workshop: "Harnessing the Fire Within - Embracing Change and Passion"

  • 1:00 PM: Lunch

  • 3:00 PM: Journaling Session with Prompts on Renewal and Transformation

  • 5:00 PM: Light Dinner

  • 7:00 PM: Sound Bath with Breathwork.  Enjoying the pleasures of the summer.  

Saturday Day 4: Departure and Integration

  • 9:00 AM: Farewell Breakfast

  • 10:00 AM: Closing Circle: Sharing Insights and Farewells

  • 11:00 AM: Departures

Activities

Activities and Materials:

 

Journaling Prompts:

"In what ways am I ready to transform like the serpent sheds its skin?"

"How can I more fully embrace the fire within during the prime of my life?"

"What does the energy of the south - warmth and light - inspire in me?"

 

Ceremonial Elements:

Fire ceremonies to honor the sun and the element of fire

 

Creative crafts to symbolize personal transformation and renewal

 

Storytelling sessions featuring serpent lore and myths of passion and summer

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Litha
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The Celtic celebration surrounding the Summer Solstice is known as Litha or Alban Hefin. This festival marks the longest day of the year, when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, and the day is celebrated with various customs and rituals that honor the power of the sun and the abundance of nature. Here are some key aspects of the celebration:

Fire Festivals: Bonfires are a central element of Litha celebrations, symbolizing the sun at its peak power. People would light fires and dance around them to honor the sun and encourage its strength.

Nature and Fertility: Litha is a time to celebrate the fertility of the earth, the abundance of crops, and the fullness of life. Offerings of flowers, herbs, and food are often made to the spirits of nature.

Divination and Magic: This time of year is considered especially potent for divination and magical practices. People would gather herbs believed to have strong magical properties when picked on the solstice, such as St. John's Wort and mugwort.

Midsummer's Eve: The evening before the solstice is often celebrated with feasting, music, and merrymaking. It's a time for community gatherings and sharing in the joy of the season.

Sun Worship: Various rituals and prayers are directed towards the sun, acknowledging its life-giving energy and expressing gratitude for its warmth and light.

Connection with Ancestors: Litha also involves honoring ancestors and connecting with the spiritual realm, seeking blessings and guidance for the coming months.

Decorations and Symbols: Common symbols of Litha include the sun, fire, oak trees, and sunflowers. Homes and altars are decorated with flowers, greenery, and symbols of the sun.

Festive Foods: Traditional foods for Litha include fresh fruits and vegetables, honey cakes, and mead, celebrating the bounty of the summer harvest.

Litha is a time of joy, celebration, and connection with nature, reflecting the high energy and vitality of the season.

What to bring:

  1. A song or quote

  2. Your favorite story, which includes summer themes. Could be a folk tale, fiction, poem or fable, could be a visual story like a painting - you chose. 

  3. Recommended books / lifework

  4. Layers for cooler night, comfortable clothes for ceremony

  5. Swimsuit for the pool and jacuzzi!

  6. Items for alter 

  7. A grounding element for journey space

Intention Setting

  1. What would you like to call into your life that you feel is missing at this moment ?

  2. What would you like to release or let go of that is no longer serving you at this moment?

  3. What is already present for you that you would like to amplify / lean into at this moment.

  4. In what ways have I depleted myself, run myself into the ground? Where am I running from and where to? Why have I allowed myself to be so exhausted?

  5. How did my relationship with money first get formed and how does it influence the way I work as an adult? What was the belief system around money and work that I grew up with?

  6. Who is the person I’ve been all my life? What can that person teach me about becoming the leader I want to be? What is the story my family told me about being real, being vulnerable, and being true?

  7. How has who I am shaped the way I lead others and myself? What are the unconscious patterns of my character structure that are showing up in my family and in my organizations?

  8. How might I survive and thrive beyond the heart aches of my life? How might I live in peace?

  9. What kind of teacher and adult am I? What is enough? How will I know when my job is done?

Next Steps:

Make sure you fill out our intake form.

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