Last weekend I went to the 'Immerse in Elen retreat' run by Samantha Marks. I have wanted to go on the retreat ever since I learnt who the elusive Goddess was and finally this year I managed to go.
You can find out more about the Goddess in this blog post:http://therockabillypagan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/elen-of-ways.html
On the Saturday morning I made my way to Essex to the outdoor activity centre where this years retreat was being held.
The morning saw a wonderful gathering of like minded women of all ages, seated in a circle and listened to the stories of our connections with Lady Elen. Some rang very true with my own path. We also partook in a powerful path working, thinking about it now gives me goosebumps in a good way.
At lunch time we all gathered in the dinning room for a shared lunch, (so much food!) And I got to talk to some of the other women and showed some of my Wylde Embers boxes I had brought along with me and had some wonderful feedback.
After lunch we got into groups and created incense and invocation oils in honour of Elen and Mala bracelets. We then went into the new 'Temple of Elen' sacred space to learn a chant with the Mala's.
After the walk we gathered some kindling for the fire and spent some time in the presence of a wonderful hollowed tree.
The sun set on a fantastic day and the evening saw the clan come together for (more) food, drink , drumming and singing by the light of the fire.
The moon shone down on us as we made our way back to the cabins we were to call home for the weekend and to dream of running deer and antlers.
The next morning we gathered for a cooked breakfast before taking our drums down to the temple sacred space for another meditation. This one called on the more primal aspects of the antlered Goddess and since learning more about shamanism this really appealed to me and is something I want to look into more.
We were given a few moments to ourselves and I had decided to take my drum down to the hollow tree and do some solo drumming. It was amazing and I decided to make a short film of it.
After this we gathered back into the conference room to make deer leather journey pouches which I really enjoyed making .
In the conference room there was Elen artwork and altars set up.
Also a table with wonderful Elen inspired goodies to buy. I placed some of my Wylde Embers boxes and I was very pleased that many have found new homes!
We had lunch before returning back to the Temple and we were invited if we so wanted, to dedicate to the path of Elen or as priestesses of the antlered road. I had been waiting a long time for this opportunity. Although I have recognised Elen as my Patron I had yet to dedicate myself as a priestess and this seemed the perfect opportunity, surrounded by my other clan sisters and in the presence of a beautiful altar.
I went first. I sat in front of the altar, next to Pristess Sam and donned a beautiful antlered headress. I closed my eyes and sang a opening chant. I wasn't going to do this, it was not planned but it just seemed right.
Several of the clan made their dedications that afternoon, some with voice, others with their heart and it was all so beautiful and very special.
The clan then moved outside for a ceremony which saw us all leave our red Ochre footprints on cloth. A wonderful lasting tangible memory of our time together on the trackway.
This retreat was everything I wanted and more. The connections I made with the other ladies of the retreat were all very special and I had some very profound conversations, especially with my cabin sisters at 1am!
My heartfelt thanks goes to Sam for running the retreat and the tine sisters, Suzi and Julia who helped with making everything run smoothly.
In September there is a reunion where previous retreat attendees gather. I am very tempted!
Thank to Sam for the photos. I didn't take many. You can read her blog entry about the retreat here: