What a deep and beautiful experience the Magic, Medicine & Myth retreat was. Seven days of storytelling, harvesting and enjoying plant medicine, powerful meditations and mindful movement all set within the potent landscape of the Scottish highlands.
Surrounded by ancient wells, standing stones, burial sites and ruined forts, the land itself reached into every one of the participants. It gave rise to feelings of the Otherworld being so present, with many strange and interesting experiences, bringing up stories to share each morning. Everyone felt that the forces there were curious and benign, and strong.
It was my first time taking Vanessa’s movement class. Usually I shy away from group movement but as a cohost I knew that I couldn’t. I was so glad I didn’t find an excuse. Based on her many years of working in boxing and martial arts, and with her background in meditation, the movement practice was so fluid and alive. With tea and meditation to begin, we worked through a different element each day and how they can be used as a force within our bodies. I loved the practice! It was challenging but invigorating and I finished class each day with an insight into not only my body, but my relationship with my body and the space I occupy.
Scotland has such an abundance of medicinal plants, and in June we found them everywhere. Pretty flowers in white and yellow, blues and pinks are scattered across the landscape. Gifts not only for the eye and nose, but also for healing the body and the mind. We worked with yarrow, nettle, dandelion, burdock, hawthorn, elder, mullein, rose, gorse, valerian and more. Living in the tropics now I miss the plants from home and am amazed at just how many powerful medicines add their beauty to the hedgerows and meadows.
Each day we worked with stories, both creating our own and discussing traditional fairy tales. The act of creating together was really fun and also brought the group together in a lasting way: we’re still together in an active WhatsApp group, still sharing stories and experiences. It was an honour to tell some of my favourite tales and see them unfold and develop within each guest. Stories are so powerful not only for working with one’s own biography, but as a springboard into cultural and social issues.
The EcoYoga Center itself was a beautiful location and a perfect place to hold our activities and time there. So comfortable and welcoming. The sauna, hot tub and wild bathing in the forest were wonderful, it was such a pleasure to watch the butterflies from the comfort of the hot tub, or watch mama swallows feeding their babies through the window of the sauna. And the food was not only deeply nourishing and beautifully presented, but delicious.
We were so delighted by the retreat and by the feedback we’ve received that we will be offering 2 week long retreats at EcoYoga center next year.