Tag: Divine Feminine

The Power of the Women’s Circle

What exactly is a women’s circle and why do we need it more than ever today?

“The fundamentals of spirituality connect us rather than separate us. Women meeting in circles with a spiritual center are in a sacred space, are practicing and developing compassion when they listen, and are deepening themselves. The more circles there are, the easier others can form. At the same time, each circle adds to collective human consciousness.”
(Jean Shinoda Bolen, The Antidote)

women's circle
Women in circle on the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia

The History of the Women’s Circle

Throughout history, women have gathered in sacred circle. Be it around a fire in prehistoric times, within hushed monasteries of the Middle Ages, in consciousness-raising groups in 1970’s living rooms or online groups in the digital age, women have long congregated to laugh, share, heal, care for children, grieve, and spiritually connect in community.

As someone who has participated in several circles with women of all ages and cultural backgrounds, I value the power, energy, and solidarity that is fostered when women convene. In such gatherings, women can experience a deep authenticity within themselves – a truth or ‘realness’ that is often lacking as we tend to our day-to-day lives and its multitude of roles and responsibilities.

Women’s circles operate on unique principles and values. Within the structure of the circle, there is no hierarchy; each woman’s voice is equally important, her story honoured and received fully. In this sacred space, a collective power is harnessed. And when there is focused intent on healing – individually and collectively – magic happens. The support, creativity, and sharing of ideas that is fostered in women’s circles has the power to translate into something much larger and more palpable. There is a ripple effect that positively impacts society at large.

Why We Truly Need Women’s Circles Today

It could be said that in these transformative times of global conflict and economic uncertainty, the women’s circle is needed more than ever. In the words of renowned Jungian analyst and writer Jean Shinoda Bolen, “When women come together and make a commitment to each other to be in a circle with a spiritual center, they are creating a vessel of healing and transformation for themselves, and vehicle for change in their world”.

It is the Dalai Lama who stated in the 2009 World Peace Summit visit to Vancouver, BC that the world will be saved by the western woman. Though feminine qualities of interconnection, vulnerability, relatedness, and cooperation have historically been undervalued in a patriarchal society which largely celebrates individuality, dominance, and competition, there is a growing sense that a mass planetary awakening is occurring. Despite outward appearances of destruction and decline, human consciousness is evolving at a very rapid pace and, in these shifting times, feminine principles are central – if not essential! – to the new world that is being birthed.

Mooh Hood
Mooh Hood who has led tour to Bali for Sacred Earth Journeys

Mooh Hood, our Bali tour leader, co-founded and and currently sits on its Advisory Council of the Pacific Women’s Circle Association, an organization which for twenty years has held annual Goddess Camp retreats for women in the Pacific Northwest. Mooh now leads women’s retreats on the beautiful island of Bali and, in our upcoming journey, each day will begin with a morning circle. Bali’s peaceful and lush landscape provides the perfect backdrop for women to spiritually connect with their inner selves, and to each other. Women will engage in the creative and artistic process, visit the Mother Temple to connect with the Divine Feminine, and chant at the holy springs.

The Millionth Circle Initiative

Women are increasingly realizing the power and necessity of their leadership on a global scale. In 2000, Jean Shinoda Bolen and several other women were inspired to create the Millionth Circle Initiative, an organization whose intentions are “to seed, nurture, and connect women’s circles, to bring the circle process into United Nations accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the 5th UN World Conference on Women, and to be a means through which women’s circles become aware of being part of a larger movement to shift consciousness in the world.”

There is no doubt that women’s voices are more important than ever, and the circle remains the perfect place to plant the seeds for a new vision for humanity based on love, connection, and compassion.

Ways to participate in a women’s circle: Start your own! If a circle does not yet take place where you live why not invite other women to join with you and start your own! There are many great resources available online to guide you through the start-up process. Visit Sacred Earth Journeys and read through our journey itineraries – many of our journeys include opportunities for meeting in circle with like-minded travellers. 

~ Aleya Abdulla and Sacred Earth Journeys

Bali’s Spiritual & Creative Pull: An Interview with Mooh Hood & Lori Goldberg

In March 2015 Mooh Hood and Lori Goldberg will be leading a Women’s Spiritual Art Journey in Bali. Here, we catch up with Mooh and Lori to talk about what keeps drawing them back to Bali and the effect of this beautiful country on their own creative processes. We also delve into what participants can expect from the journey, from a spiritual and creative perspective.

Balinese-2Bdancer-2Bin-2Bdrag

KB: What is it about Bali that captivated you and keeps drawing you back?

Mooh: Bali feeds my soul on many levels. It is alive with devotional rituals from the daily placement of beautiful offerings, to the dance, music, and art that is created for the enjoyment of the Gods and Goddesses. When I experience these unique ways to keep their world in balance – it allows me to make sense of my world as well.

It is rare to be able to witness and also participate in such a rare culture that was created by “the Goddess birthing the world”. I find this constant awareness of their physical world – seen and unseen –the invoking the spirits of nature extremely compelling.

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Interview with Phil Cousineau: The Heart of Ancient Greece Journey

Contest Alert:
Our contest to win 2 of Phil Cousineau’s books is NOW OPEN. For your chance to win a signed copy of The Olympic Odyssey or The Art of Travel Journal simply visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Then, share, like or comment on any of our Facebook posts or retweet any of our tweets this week (February 23-28) for your chance to win one of these fabulous books!
Phil Cousineau is a writer, teacher, independent scholar, documentary filmmaker, travel leader, storyteller and author of over 30 books including the national best-seller The Art of Pilgrimage, and scriptwriter of over 20 award-winning documentary films, including The Hero’s Journey: The Life and Work of Joseph Campbell. Currently, Cousineau is co-writer and host of Global Spirit (PBS), what John Cleese calls the first “internal travel series”.
Phil Cousineau will be leading “The Heart of Ancient Greece: An Odyssey with Phil Cousineau: The Myths, Heroes, Gods and Goddesses, and Sacred Sites of the Classical World, September 21 – October 1, 2014” for Sacred Earth Journeys. This will be a journey full of visits to sacred sites, culture, fine cuisine, storytelling and engaging conversation. For this blog post we caught up with Phil to hear what makes Greece such an appealing destination for him.
KB: What is it that particularly appeals to you about Greece as a destination?
Phil Cousineau: I have been fascinated by Greece since reading the classics out loud, especially Homer, as a boy growing up in Detroit in a house full of books. Ever since it has been in the forefront of my imaginative life because of work in mythology and history. It is the crucible of Western Civilization, as is often said, but also indispensable if anyone wants to understand the history of theatre, poetry, mythology, even sports. On the personal level, I find it one of the last affordable sites in Europe, offering the healthiest food in the world.
 KB: What place or site are you most excited about taking participants to visit on this Greece Odyssey?
PC: Besides the usual sites in Athens, I plan to take the group to Eleusis, a rarely visited site near the capital that was a famous goddess pilgrimage site. I will lead the group to Delphi where we will visit the site of the famous oracle on one of the most dramatic mountains in the country, then down to Olympia, where the athletic spirit began and has been restoried. On the island of Crete one of the highlights will be visiting a 4500 year old goddess temple cave.
KB: One of the focal points of this journey will be the role of the Goddess. Why is the Goddess something you are focusing on and what will participants be taking away with them in respect to knowledge of the Goddess?
PC: If you read the Greek myths, the goddesses were as powerful and omnipresent as the gods. To only visit the sites of the gods and male heroes is to see only half of Greece.
KB: Your book The Olympic Odyssey: Rekindling the True Spirit of the Great Games explores the spiritual dimension of the Olympics, and in Olympia you will be leading a discussion on this topic. What fascinates you about this connection between sport and spirituality?
PC: For millennia people around the world, not only Greece, have played in the deepest sense of the word, and competed, not for bloodlust, but of the ancient Greek belief in arête, excellence. This aspect is mostly forgotten in modern play and modern sport where the emphasis is on winning at all costs. The Modern Olympics has been a first step in trying to revive the true spirit, the spirituality, underneath all athletic competition.
KB: What can participants expect from this journey to Greece that they wouldn’t find elsewhere? 
PC: Everything is different. We will enjoy local speakers, but also write in our journals, sketch, and every evening have what I call a Long Conversation where we actually discuss in depth what we’ve encountered during the day.
KB: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers about this journey?
PC: Yes, I encourage people on my journeys to bring a gift or two or three to hand out to someone special that you meet along the way. Our way of saying thank you to the Greeks, who are known for coining the word xenophobia, the suspicion of strangers, but also coined its opposite, xenophilia, the love or affection of strangers.
Are you curious to learn more about this fabulous journey full of culture, sacred sites and conversation? You can read the full tour description on our website.
To learn more about Phil Cousineau, you can visit his website http://www.philcousineau.net/index.htmor follow him on Twitter: @PhilCousineau.
~ Kim Bridgett

What Makes a Retreat Sacred?

Interview with Dr. Alexina Mehta, Epic Kauai Goddess Retreat Leader,
April 18-25, 2014.
 
We’ve all taken many trips, and there is certainly plenty of choice when choosing our next vacation or destination. In this blog I want to look at what makes a journey or retreat sacred, and how such a retreat differs to other vacation packages. As the retreat leader for the Epic Kauai Goddess Retreat – April 18-25, 2014, Dr. Alexina Mehta brings wisdom and knowledge to the question of what makes a retreat sacred, and I was lucky enough to interview her for this piece.
 
Dr. Alexina Mehta, Beach in Kauai

KB: What makes this retreat different to other “yoga vacations” – how is this retreat particularly sacred or spiritual?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
First, the location: We’re going to be on Kauai, which is considered to be the most sacred or spiritual of the Hawaiian Islands, the “third eye”, according to many different sources. The lush environment is extremely conducive to a nourishing, goddess vibe, and the Epic Kauai Goddess Retreat is focusing on nurturing and honouring the highest potential that exists in every woman. This retreat is actually an opportunity for women to access that potential while they are practicing yoga and meditation, visiting sacred sites, enjoying healthy food, or just enjoying the spirit of Kauai – all the activities we do will have an element of the goddess weaved in.

 
The focus then is on connecting with the highest expression of the divine goddess that’s in every woman, connecting with the beauty, the wisdom, the different energies of various mythic goddesses and exploring how those energies live within each of us, while finding balance with those different energies. At the same time it’s about having fun, finding relaxation and enjoyment… the island is exquisitely gorgeous and there’s an emphasis on beauty in this retreat – inner beauty and outer beauty.

View over lush Kauai
 
KB: Is a there a particular aspect of the retreat that you’re most looking forward to?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
The group: Thinking back to the last retreat, the most rewarding part was just how much joy we saw people experience. One of the retreat participants commented after 2 days, “gosh it’s been 2 days – it feels like we’ve experienced 10 days, a whole new world” – she was so amazed at how many incredible experiences she had had in 2 days. For me, it’s just being able to witness people see what life is like when you’re living consciously and supporting each other to be the best you can be; witnessing people experience the happiness that comes with doing this kind of retreat.

KB: Can participants take all of that joy, happiness and newfound wisdom back with them after the retreat as well?  

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
Absolutely, and a lot of people felt their lives had changed for the better after the retreat, they had learned a lot of different tools to help them through different situations, they felt more calm, more inner power, more assertive, more inspired, more connected. It’s so rewarding to see people access that higher, divine self that lives within them and see them begin to live from that place as opposed to living from a place of fear or a place of confusion or anxiety, which is a place a lot of people live from. I love helping people find peace and then also joy and fun while they’re at it.

Kauai Retreat, April 2011
 
KB: Who is this retreat open to?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
Women who are open to learning. This isn’t an advanced yoga retreat; the focus is more on using yoga as a tool to access the goddess within. Traditionally that’s what yoga is about:  accessing the divine and allowing the divine to guide life. There are lots of yoga retreats out there that focus more on physical learning but this is not so much that (although we’re going to get some exercise for sure!). Everything is go at your own pace, and that’s really what the goddess is about: being able to recognize and honour your own authentic experience and what’s right for you own body. If you can listen to that experience and your intuition, you can then work with the tools in a way that empowers you, and you can only empower yourself, of course, if you know where you are, where you stand. If anybody feels called to come, if they feel attracted to the retreat, that’s a good sign!

Yoga practice on Kauai, 2011
 
KB: You’re a Naturopathic physician as well as a Yoga and Pilates teacher with a strong connection to the spiritual traditions of India. What does your background and professional experience bring to this retreat, and how will participants benefit from your specific wisdom?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
My experience is quite eclectic. I did teach yoga for several years, quite regularly, and fitness and Pilates, and studied kinesiology and am quite familiar with the physical body. Studying healing through naturopathic medicine and then energy medicine has given me more of a well-rounded approach to healing. The energy medicine side of things gives me an ability to connect people with the sacred side of medicine and the sacred aspect of life. I think that because I’ve experienced Peruvian shamanic tradition and teachings from India, several different aspects in that dimension, I bring ancient and new knowledge to make it accessible. I’m good at simplifying things for people so it can be tangible, useable and practical in their life. Because I’ve studied things in such great depth I have the ability to recognize what knowledge might be helpful for a particular person. There’s an old saying, you’ve got to study everything in great complexity and at the end of the day it boils down to being able to provide simplicity.

Honour Statue, Kauai
 
KB: Your co-leader, Celina Archambault, is a chef and holistic nutritionist – how will having Celina there will be of value for participants?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
First of all she’s just a total delight to be around, and brings a lot of joy to people. Also, she really believes in the power of whole foods so when people come on the retreat they’ll be experiencing a whole food diet, local to Kauai. She’s going to be going to the markets and a lot of food that we’re going to be buying is straight from the source – participants are going to get Hawaiian fruits and vegetables. Being a nutritionist, she’s got a good understanding of dietary requirements for people (including gluten-free) and what makes a well-balanced meal. She’s also very education oriented – she’ll stop to help people understand how she made certain things and how people can incorporate those into their life when they go home. As she’s making each meal she’ll explain all the ingredients, why she chose certain items, and the benefits of the foods for people, so they understand the nourishment of getting real, live foods.

And, of course, our health is directly related to how we eat and how we take care of our bodies, and that just goes hand in hand with connecting to your higher self, and being the best you can be. It’s the best of both worlds – we’re connecting to the sacred  and we’re eating really healthy foods and educating people about good solid nutrition, which they can take back home with them.

To read more about this very sacred retreat, visit the Sacred EarthJourneys website. To read more about Dr. Alexina Mehta or view photos from previous retreats you can visit her blog or websites: http://kauairetreat.wordpress.com, http://www.celebratingthegoddess.com, http://www.dralexinamehta.com. To discover more about Celina Archambault you can visit her website: http://www.languageoffoods.com
 
~ Kim Bridgett

Return to the Sacredness of Maya Oneness

By Richard Jelusich, Ph.D.

The Mayans say: “BIXUBEL” (Bish – u – bel). “How is your sacred path today”?

Welcome to the next cycle. Now that we have passed December 21st, 2012, what are the tools we are to use when entering this cycle of the ‘golden age’?

It is really interesting for me, as I have been speaking about the end of the Mayan Calendar for 20 years, and now to find ourselves on the other side of the calendar! I know that many are asking “So What Now”? The Earth did not end as many thought it would.

Many speak of the second coming of the Christ. The Mayans spoke of the 2nd birth as well—when you are awakened spiritually.

The 2nd spiritual birth has already come! We are already living in it—the golden age and the age of the Sacred Feminine (the heart). So many people are looking for external signs with major physical phenomena, but it is you and I that are changing—from within. Our work is to embrace the subtle forces, the tender heart, and the nuances of our being. Our gentleness, love and compassion: for ourselves and for each other.

We have embarked onto the Golden Age; the Sacred Feminine (heart), where now it is essential to balance with the Sacred Masculine (the mind). And this is the beginning of working as one soul, one mind, one heart!

And now we must learn to use the tools of how to profoundly balance the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine.

 

My dear friend and spiritual brother, Miguel Angel Vergara Calleros, has been teaching Mayan Cosmology for more than 20 years. He was director of Chichen Itza (one of the 7 wonders of the world), is a Mayan priest/shaman and has worked in the ancient oral traditions and ceremonies of the elders for over 20 years as well.

Miguel Angel and I met in the Yucatan, Mexico in 2005 when Sacred Earth Journeys invited me to be a co-leader of their Maya Sacred Path tour program. Since then we have been offering these journeys yearly, for spiritual travelers who desire to know the spiritual essence of the Mayan teachings and cosmology.

I believe Miguel Angel’s message so important that I’m bringing him to Canada and to San Diego for the first time this July, to present his message of balance and the wisdom of Mayan teachings.

Why? Because you and I are externalizing the ancient teachings of how to live in balance of the masculine and feminine principles. The material-oriented way does not fulfill the soul nor provide heightened awareness of the unity of all creation.

As you and I are growing spiritually, our higher Selves are bringing master teachers like Miguel Angel into our lives because we are ready to embrace and live those teachings—ready to learn the tools of how to live now in this golden age.

We now stand at the precipice: now in the great purification as the Hopi’s call it, many things around us are breaking down, whether financial, religious, social, etc., and in many other categories of our life experience. It is entropy, the breaking down of something into its constituent base materials, so it can be rebuilt more harmoniously. And it must be rebuilt in balance; from within.

We find ourselves in an extremely imbalanced world—a world we created unconsciously. This is the point in time the Mayan Calendars predicted. Upon completing a huge cycle of evolution we are now standing together at the precipice. Because we are connected in oneness, we all affect and are being affected by the energies of our universe. It is the time of the Sacred Feminine (heart) and the time to balance with the Sacred Masculine (mind).

 

Now is the time to confront our destiny and accept that we are participants in creating the world we live in. As co-creators our thoughts and actions are deciding what the future will be.

I have asked Miguel Angel to present a conference on the Return to the Sacredness of Maya Oneness. To be conscious is to be present at the quality of the moment. The purpose of this conference is the activation of our consciousness to bring forth a world community of balance, beauty, light, love, and harmony.

Working with the Ancient Wisdom of the Maya, Miguel Angel Vergara will help us raise our consciousness through teachings, ceremonies, meditations, and specific practices, including how to use the energies of the Tzolkin and Haab Calendars.

The Mayan Calendars and Prophecies have important messages and information for us as we enter the Golden Age and pass through this time of great transformation.

From Nov 30-Dec 9, 2013 Miguel Angel Vergara will be leading participants through some of the most important—and breathtaking—Mayan sites in Mexico. On our journey Maya Sacred Path: Promise of the Maya Prophecies Miguel Angel and myself will be working with Maya wisdom from Mother Earth as, together with participants, we create a new alignment between the Masculine and Feminine forces. For more information about this illuminating journey that will help you on your path to a heart-centered life, truly in balance and harmony, please visit this link.

For more about the Return to the Sacredness of Maya Consciousness Conference, Richard Jelusich, Ph.D., and Miguel Angel Vergara Calleros, visit www.lightnews.org or call 1-877-CHAKRA1. Conference dates: Calgary, Canada – July 4-8 and in San Diego from July 11-15. E-mail: info@lightnews.org. For more information about the Nov 30-Dec 9, 2013 journey Maya Sacred Path: Promise of the Maya Prophecies, please visit www.sacredearthjourneys.ca.