Lammas Alchemy Retreat in Galicia 2014
Lammas is midway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox; the turning point of the seasons, where the waning summer element of Fire meets the Autumn element of Water. The Great Work of alchemy is the union of opposites and this transmutation creates a third entity, the Child of the Conjunction, or the Philosopher’s Stone. All alchemy is rooted in nature, as it is through interacting with the elements and developing our awareness of existence beyond ourselves that we find our true selves. This is the theme of our alchemy retreat in beautiful, unspoilt Galicia.
Lammas is the festival of the grain. The name Lammas is said to come from “Loaf Mass,” the celebration of the bread made from the first wheat sheaf of the harvest and shared amongst the community. In Ireland it is known as Lughnasa, after the Celtic Sun King Lugh, who created the tradition of feasting and games at the request of his foster mother Tailtiu, “The Great One of the Earth” and she was a goddess of sovereignty, looking after the harvest.
The origins of Lammas/Lughnasa are unknown, but any occasion celebrating grain and harvest leads us back to the Eleusinian Mysteries, and the reimagining of the story of Demeter the Goddess of Grain, Harvest and Fertility and her beautiful, innocent daughter, Persephone. Persephone was abducted and raped by Hades, the Lord of the Underworld and in her grief and rage Demeter caused nothing to grow while she searched for her daughter. Eventually she found her and Hades agreed to her release. However, Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds while in the Land of the Dead and this meant that she was obliged to return there for a third of the year as Hades’ Queen. Demeter refuses to let anything grow and we have winter until Persephone returns, bringing spring with her.
This is the time to celebrate the power of the Sun and Fire and to be grateful to the Earth for the harvest to come that will feed us through the winter. It is the time to recognise our personal harvest; what have we achieved? What have we learned? What do we have to share with each other? The visible fruits of the land, how the Sun and rain have turned the seed in the Earth into grain remind us of the processes at work in our day-to-day lives. Now is the time to think about the inward journey. For us the alchemy of Lammas lies in the transmutation of fire and water, the Yang and the Yin, heart energy and kidney energy. What do we need to dissolve to encourage this process?
There will be plenty of time for contemplation, reflection and discussion on this alchemy retreat. The area is so peaceful and beautiful. We’ve planned workshops and activities that allow us to work together and develop skills that are practical and useful, that also strengthen our connection to the Earth, from which our sovereignty derives. Fear and stress dissolve when we spend time outside and learn how to take care of ourselves and the Earth. These are skills that fall under the permaculture umbrella, enlightened with mindfulness and flavoured with alchemy! Transformation here does not involve hard work, just allowing the experience of living a more natural lifestyle.
- Introducing Mindfulness and Meditation
- Principles of Gaian Healing and how to make them work in your life
- Making natural shampoo, toothpaste and non-toxic household products that work
- Introduction to Effective Micro-organisms and how to use them to enhance productivity in the garden
- Introducing muscle-testing and how to work with your bodies innate intelligence
- Introducing the Gaian First Aid Kit and making an essential salve and tincture from weeds.
- Nature walks
- Cooking outside (basic alchemy)
This is an outdoor retreat. Most of us don’t spend enough time outside; we’ve lost our connection with the Earth and we need the resonance of the Earth to function at our best and be healthy. The experience of sitting outside, eating outside and even showering outside (with hot water) makes us feel content and strong and able to deal with whatever life throws at us more effectively. It’s why we go camping after all!
“As the sun transforms the seeds within the harvest, I too am able to transform my experiences into new seeds for the future. Lammas assessment helps me to gather the seeds of new directions that I will take with me into the dark of the year. This is the alchemy of Lammas.”
Glennie Kindred “The Alchemists Journey”
It’s hot here in August, but the nights are cooler. We have a tipi in case it gets too hot, or it rains. We have beds and bedding, but you need to bring your own towels. All meals (vegetarian) are included from Thursday evening onwards and we have an honour bar for beer and wine. We’ll pick you up and drop you off at Monforte de Lemos, but you’ll need to make your own way there from the airport. There is a direct train at around 6pm or buses throughout the day, with a change at Lugo. See How to find us for more information.
The price is £250 per person. (12 places maximum – 10 booked.) £100 on booking and £150 by 25th July 2014. Arriving on the evening of Thursday 31st July and leaving on the morning of Monday 4th August 2014.
Use the contact form below for enquiries and we’ll send you the payment details via email. We are contactable by phone, but the reception is unreliable, so please leave a message if you don’t get through and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
UK mobile: +44 788 768 1706 Spain mobile: + 34 616 247 355