In early October, I joined Amanda of Seven Feathers and a group of eight other women for a women’s retreat at beautiful Windhorse Farm for the first annual Wise Women Weekend.
This is the final post, part 3, in a series. Read part 1 and part 2.
How I integrated my retreat experience
Once I returned home, I felt I needed time to transition back to the world outside of the safety and acceptance I felt at Wise Women Weekend. The circle of women I was held by this weekend – it felt like a dream. Did that even happen?
First, I tended to my family, unpack, do laundry – real world life stuff – but on Monday morning, after taking the kids to the bus stop, I took a few hours off just for integration time.
Amanda sent us a little note just to check in on how we were doing after the weekend – just knowing that she deeply believes in the importance of taking time to integrate and time for ritual really helps me prioritize it for myself.
I created my own altar
I wanted my own alter to ground myself and invite more spiritual practice and ritual in my daily life.
Moving around furniture and things in my work space, I created a nook for meditation and a low surface for the altar space. To clear old energy, I opened windows, cleaned, added more plants, and burned sage (a gift from Amanda).
I laid out a beautiful scarf; placed a salt rock candle holder at the centre, with two other glass candle holders to hold beeswax tea lights – for three flames in total; and encircled the salt rock with my flower crown from the weekend.
To create and sit at your own altar can feel grounding, self-affirming and centering. It says I deserve to take up space, my healing has meaning, and my spiritual life is important.
When I feel I need grounding, I might sit at the altar, light the candles, explore the objects on the altar with all of my senses (smell oils, hold rocks, look at plants or crystals), play some music, meditate, pull tarot or divination cards.
I don’t sit at my altar daily right now, but it is in a place I see every day and so I acknowledge that part of myself and remember the breakthroughs I experienced on Wise Women Weekend.
Your altar is not meant to stay the same always – follow your intuition to remove or add things as your inner explorations shift and the seasonal wheel turns.
A ritual from youth
While I was creating my altar, a more than twenty year-old memory resurfaced: myself, as a teenager, in my bedroom, sitting at an altar. I essentially created altars then – I remember candles, incense, drawings, flower petals. I’d often journal there or play guitar. My parents were divorced so I traveled back and forth between their homes – I would sometimes create an altar in my bedroom to carve out a sacred space for myself.
I added tools to my healing toolkit
The timing of this weekend was just so right for me. The experience was transformative in deeply personal ways. It was healing to share some of my pain with this beautiful group. It accelerated some healing and brought some pain to the surface – heavy things that don’t magically become lighter once acknowledged.
It’s all part of the ongoing healing and transformation of my life and relationships. I’ve been experiencing huge shifts – over the last year especially. This awakening is connected to the huge environmental, cultural, and political shifts we are experiencing globally. And there are powerful astrological events happening, too!
As Amanda described it to me, sensitive people are experiencing these shifts on a deeply somatic level.
I believe that healing and personal growth is important work. But a spiritual awakening or healing journey can be confusing – and a guide can be very helpful in facilitating some of that.
Healing is my purpose
My purpose here on earth is to heal – heal myself, my ancestors, my children, and, urgently, the earth – and inspire and support others in their healing through reflection, growing things, connecting to nature, building resilience, mindfulness, self-sufficiency, creativity. . . all of the tools I incorporate in my own healing. And I’m always learning.
The tools I worked with this weekend – and practiced with in a supported environment – will become part of my healing practice going forward. So I’m very grateful for those.
I also have a gorgeous flower crown that is drying nicely that I can wear any time I need to muster some Goddess energy. And my adorned arrow – snapped and splintered and wrapped together with brightly coloured yarn and feathers – planted firmly in a houseplant, rooted in the physical reality of my life.
I found this blog post quite helpful: How to Integrate After The Spiritual Awakening.
The author describes integration as “the embodiment of the wisdom, realisations and revelations that you’ve received during your spiritual practice.”
Some of what I did to integrate on that day was create an altar, spend time in nature, make space for alone time, declutter and cleanse my space, journal, and meditate. Integration is an ongoing process, but this first day helped me carry what I realised on the weekend into my space and my life.
I feel supported on my healing journey
I’m so grateful to have Amanda as a guide on my healing journey. It is especially helpful to learn from her that the hard, confusing, uncomfortable and painful stuff is part of a process that I can choose to enter flow with through practice. I will come in and out of flow, but that’s okay. I need to cultivate compassion for myself and love.
If you’re going through a transition, and could use some support and guidance around that, you would be lovingly and fiercely supported by this Shamaness. Here’s how you can work with Amanda.
To see more photos and read some of Amanda’s reflection on the retreat weekend, visit her blog post The Essence of Wise Women Weekend.
Read Part 1 and Part 2 in the Wise Women Weekend Retreat Series.
Disclosure: This blog series is sponsored content. It is, however, written from personal experience and the opinions are all my own.