Last weekend, I traveled with my mermaid sisters to Orcas Island for our annual Imbolc/Brigids Day retreat. We are a circle of women who first gathered together during the Goddess classes I taught in the 90's. They went on to complete the priestess training program I created. I have long since stepped down as "leader" and am glad to be one of a circle of equals. I have many other dear friends locally and around the country — but there is something very special about sharing your soul with a group of women that you have known intimately in sacred space for nearly fifteen years.
We spent most of the weekend talking and listening, cooking and eating, walking and laughing. This year we chose topics for our rounds — Health, Finances, Work/Career, Relationships, Spiritual Path, What We Care About the Most. And at the end, we set goals for the coming year. We would go around the circle by topic and each woman had a chance to speak as briefly or as long as she liked about that issue in her life. Then the rest jumped in with feedback or questions. The process becomes a cauldron for self-discovery and reflection, and I believe we all emerge from the Retreat with new energy and new clarity about our lives.
Joanna's right; no matter what else happens to you, there's something very special about doing magic with women whom you've known a long time, with whom you're used to doing magic, with whom you've entered sacred space enough times to flow comfortably into it. A college of priestesses. And, at least for me, it's empowering to know that there are women who will show up when you need help, tell you to try one more time, enjoy your victories, listen to you bitch about your job/lover/life, bathe your body when you die, call your name at Samhein.
My circle has been doing an annual retreat for several years, but, reading about the Mermaid's weekend, I'm wondering if we could think thing about a longer period of time.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."