Four Fires Imbolc Retreat: Tending the Flames of Inspiration, Passion, Creativity and Wisdom

“Clear days bring the mountains down to my doorstep,
Calm nights give the rivers their say,
The wind puts it hand to my shoulder some evenings,
And then I don’t think, I just leave what I’m doing,
And I go the soul’s way.”    ~ John Moriarty

By leaning our bodies into the support offered by the seasonal comings and goings of Mother Nature, aligning our whole selves with the rhythms inherent in the Bigger Container, we explore the possibility and potential of meeting these natural pulses of life from deep within our own bodies, from within our own psyches. We come home to ourselves, to our own soul story feeling resourced, connected and held from within by embracing a greater story, a Shelter Story that nurtures and supports all life on Planet Earth.

Four Fires offers a somatic journey through the Celtic Wheel of Time, a pathway of indigenous wisdom that evolved from our forebears living in harmony with nature on the Western Isles of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. This series of four Retreats – Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lugnasadh – which may be taken individually or in sequence – are open to anyone who has an interest in exploring the work of BodySoul and its potential in their lives. The Four Fire Retreats offer a gentle introduction to ceremony and ritual, to working with movement, dreams, myth and story, art, clay and journaling. The embodiment aspect of these retreats is informed by the facilitators’ work in Somatic Experiencing and Somatic Movement Therapy, including embryology and developmental movement patterning, while the movement element, most especially the Dance of Three, is grounded in the discipline of Authentic Movement.

BodySoul work holds that since the psyche and soma are inseparable, body and mind might best be explored together in the service of healing and growth. BodySoul involves listening to the body and paying attention to unfolding dreams. In this way, guided by the Self, space is provided for the unconscious to emerge through movement, voice work, painting, journaling, myth and mask making. BodySoul is deeply rooted in the work of CG Jung, as developed by Jungian analyst Marion Woodman, dance educator Mary Hamilton and voice coach Ann Skinner.

Imbolc Soul Story: “Duisigh Duisigh” – February 1-3, 2019

On the Celtic Wheel of Time we have arrived at the cross quarter festival of Imbolc, a potent and much celebrated return of fertility and growth where the seeds of inspiration and potentiality, which we carried with us into the deep of winter at Samhain, stir and ready themselves for birth. At this point on our journey we ask ourselves: “What ignites my passion for life?”

The potential of Imbolc lies in the coming together of the inner experiences of having gone down with the energies of Winter, with a harnessing of those insights and intuitions in service to the external journey calling us as our commitment to life is rekindled. An old Irish story goes that the women of the house went out on Brigit’s Eve and, using socks filled with coals from the hearth fire, they would bang on the earth saying “Duisigh, duisigh” (wake up, wake up), encouraging “an Neart” (the life force) to return to the land, bringing new life into their homes and into the community. At this time of Imbolc, the Caileach becomes the midwife (Brigit) of the (re)birth of her own new life (Brideóg).

Prerequisite: The leaders of this workshop recommend that participants have experience of bodywork and have undertaken or are undergoing some form of therapy.

Four Fires: A BodySoul Journey Through the Celtic Wheel of Time – Through Movement, Ritual Embodied Story and Dreamtime

A series of four retreats, taken individually or in sequence, led by Sally Ann O’Reilly and Abigail Whyte, beginning with Samhain (new moon Birch), November 9-11, 2018 in Tullow, County Carlow, Ireland.

Clear days bring the mountains down to my doorstep,
Calm nights give the rivers their say,
The wind puts its hand to my shoulder some evenings,
And then I don’t think, I just leave what I’m doing,
And I go the soul’s way.
~ John Moriarty

By leaning our bodies into the support offered by the seasonal comings and goings of Mother Nature unfolding around us, aligning our whole selves with the rhythms inherent in the Bigger Container, we explore the possibility and potential of meeting these natural pulses of life from deep within our own bodies, from within our own psyches. We come home to ourselves, to our own soul story feeling resourced, connected and held from within by embracing the bigger story, a Sheltering Story that nurtures and supports all life on Planet Earth.

FOUR FIRES offers a somatic journey through the Celtic Wheel of Time, a pathway of indigenous wisdom that evolved from our forebears living in harmony with nature on the Western Isles of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. It gives participants the opportunity to “tend their own fires” of Inspiration, Passion, Creativity and Wisdom from within.

Beginning with the traditional New Year festival of SAMHAIN, we offer an exploration of ancient stories associated with the Cailleach or Divine Hag of Winter, a primordial goddess also known as the Veiled One. We examine the significance of a new cycle of life that begins with a descent into the otherworld by taking a close look at the Cailleach as creatrice of the physical world. It is She who accompanies Crom Dubh, the harvest god, into the earth for the winter, making occasional reappearances to “hammer frost into the ground” with her sisters.

This is the first of four workshops with details to follow. The following three workshops are:
Imbolc 2019 – February 1-3, 2019
Bealtaine 2019 – May 2-5, 2019
Lugnasadh 2019 – August 23-25, 2019

Prerequisites:
FOUR FIRE Retreats are open to anyone who has an interest in exploring the work of BodySoul and its potential in their lives. These Retreats offer a gentle introduction to ceremony and ritual, to working with movement, dreams, art, clay and journaling. The embodied aspect of the Retreat is informed by the facilitators’ work in Somatic Experiencing and Somatic Movement Therapy, including embryology and developmental movement patterning, while the movement element, most especially the Dance of Three, is grounded in the discipline of Authentic Movement. A willingness to explore body, soul and spirit with warmhearted curiosity while taking responsibility for one’s own process and being respectful of the deep personal work of other participants is paramount. Previous experience working with either of the facilitators or other members of the greater BodySoul community is appreciated, as is personal therapy, bodywork and a willingness to share some of one’s own story within a safely held group setting.

(The accompanying image is from a collection of paintings entitled The Everlasting Ones by artist Jane Brideson. Jane’s extensive collection of work is a celebration of the archetypal gods and goddesses who inhabit the rich mythological landscape of Ireland, Scotland and Wales – http://theeverlivingones.blogspot.com/)

Abigail Whyte

Abigail Whyte is a graduate of the Marion Woodman Foundation BodySoul Rhythms® Leadership Training Program and has facilitated monthly Body Soul groups in Dublin since 2013. She is trained as a Somatic Experience/Trauma Practitioner (SETI) and runs a private practice in Dublin, Ireland. Abigail has worked for 27 years as a Clinical Psychologist with young people and their families in the public health service in Ireland. She is currently involved in training Clinical Psychologists for UCD and Trinity College, Dublin and facilitating BodySoul Workshops for Clinical Supervisors from both colleges.