‘Onde existe uma grande dor, existiu antes um grande amor’

‘Onde existe uma grande dor, existiu antes um grande amor’

Em Setembro o Mount of Oaks vai acolher dois eventos muito especiais

4-10 de Setembro – evento residencial com a Fourthland com o título ‘ O Olho do Vento’ The Eye of the Wind –

e de 19 a 22 de Setembro teremos o evento ‘Rital de trasnformação de mágoa em gratidão’ com Kedar S Brown – Transforming Grief into Gratitude Ritual.

O nosso querido amigo Hajo Müller, que criou a ligação com Kedar S Brown escreveu uma reflexão a que chamou  ‘Onde existe uma grande dor, existiu antes um grande amor’.

Ele escreve sobre a sua própria experiência de participação no ritual e abrange os tópicos de dar espaço para a mágoa, conectarmo-nos com os nossos ancestrais, sobre o poder do ritual e sobre o movimento da mágoa para a gratidão – um movimento da dor para o amor.

Partilhamos enquanto forma de encorajar todos aqueles que estejam a considerar participar e convidamos a entrar em contacto e a registarem-se please get in touch and register. 

Onde existe uma grande dor, existiu antes um grande amor

 por Hajo Müller

Fogo, água, tambores e uma visita aos ancestrais. Um relatório de uma estadia de quatro dias nos bosques, a conexão com os falecidos, esperança e o quanto de emoção podemos encontrar numa pedra. E sobre o grande crescimento que surge de um ritual de mágoa.

 

Eu estou pronto. Aproximo-me do Mike e dou-lhe um toque no ombro, este é o sinal acordado. Ele sabe o que fazer. Ele conduz-me ao limite onde o nosso mundo acaba e o mundo dos mortos começa. Juntos entramos na esfera dos ancestrais. Estou numa floresta no noroeste de Inglaterra, é de noite, mas eu perdi todo o sentido de tempo. Um fogo está a arder, o rio próximo corre. Consigo ouvir tambores e uma estranha música de consolação Africana. Com a excepção do Mike e da Jenny, eu não conhecia nenhuma das vinte pessoas presentes e passou um ano desde que os conheci por acaso. Estávamos na pequena ilha Escocesa de Iona a visitar um mosteiro fundado há cerca de 1400 anos atrás. Soa a um tempo muito longo, no entanto o ritual que estamos a experienciar hoje é milhares de anos mais velho. E embora eu nunca tenha visto estas pessoas antes, sentir-me-ei ligado a elas toda a minha vida, pois todos nós vamos cruzar aquele limiar entre os mundos material e ancestral. E regressar de novo.

 

A minha Avó – o meu ancestral

Durante a tarde preparamos o local para o ritual. Escavamos o local para a fogueira, marcamos os limites com pedras e ramos, velas e flores, construímos um portal de entrada para área do outro mundo e criamos um altar para os ancestrais enquanto local de memória. I caminho lentamente lá com o Mike, as velas queimam e eu sento-me no chão por um tempo. Um foto antiga a preto e branco em frente de mim mostra-me o meu Avô como um jovem barulhento nos anos 50, baloiçando-se no tronco de uma árvores. Embora eu fosse muito próximo dele, aos 17 anos segurei a sua mão quando ele morreu anos atrás, existem muitas coisas mais que gostaria de ter aprendido dele. Próximo dele está a foto da minha Avó. Todas as provações que ela sofreu – deslocamentos forçados, pobreza, assassinato de membros da família, doença – não a tornaram numa mulher amarga. Isso sempre me inspirou.

Eu não pude acompanhar a minha Avó até ao fim da sua existência terrena. Naquela altura não tinha espaço para o luto pois no tempo da sua morte a minha vida estava preenchida de grandes mudanças. Eu vivia a centenas de milhas de distancia, um emprego desafiante aguardava por mim, uma relocação estava prestes a acontecer, o ir viver junto com uma mulher com quem tinha esperança de começar uma família. Mas isso não aconteceu. A relação partiu-se de forma dramática e demorei algum tempo a superar. Eu record um encontro especial. A minha Avó ficou emocionada quando viu a minha, ainda, namorada pela primeira vez, depois lançou os seus braços à volta do meu pescoço e disse para mim, com a sua típica ternura: “Deus juntou-vos!” Conforme sento-me em frente ao altar realize o quão significativas estas palavras foram para mim na altura. Provavelmente porque eu sempre tive dificuldade em me tranquilizar em situações da vida em que grandes decepções aconteceram.

Mas agora a minha Avó partiu, ela nunca mais poderá dizer-me tal frase sobre outra mulher. A sua confirmação e confiança seria algo que eu sentiria muita falta no futuro. Com a sua experiência de vida, ela sempre m ensinou que tudo pode terminar bem.

Tu és o resultado do amor de milhares.

De repente todos os meus ancestrais estão atrás de mim.

Fica quieto, eles dizem.

Observa e escuta.

Tu és o resultado do amor de milhares.

(Linda Hogan)

 

Dá espaço para a mágoa

 

Neste mundo entre mundos, posso dizer aos meus antepassados ​​tudo o que quero dizer, agradecer-lhes pelo amor que recebi e pedir sabedoria em situações difíceis e decisões futuras. Tudo ainda é muito racional, as minhas emoções estão bloqueadas até que o Mike me diz com a sua voz suave: “Está tudo bem!” E coloca a mão no meu ombro. De repente a minha tristeza é libertada, e com isso as minhas lágrimas. Depois de um tempo indefinido com outros membros falecidos da família, estou pronto para voltar ao mundo dos vivos. Um homem sábio disse–me uma vez: o chamado dos mortos não é para que devamos morrer com eles, mas sim viver com eles! Depois que eu passar novamente pelo limiar, a comunidade acolhe-me com muito carinho. As pessoas rodeiam-me e abraçam-me, deixando-me sentir que meu lugar é (ainda) aqui. Outros usam o ritual de luto pelos pais, filhos ainda não nascidos, suicídios, parceiros, relacões quebradas, oportunidades perdidas ou até mesmo a nossa brutal exploração da Terra. A mágoa é muitas vezes sobre a falta de expressão emocional, seja tristeza, raiva, sentimentos de culpa ou sentimentos de abandono. Às vezes existem assuntos inacabados, choque ou uma simples a recusa em aceitar a morte. Isso pode levar a doença a longo prazo. Hoje à noite, juntos, oferecemos essa dor coletiva que serve o nosso ritual de comunidade ritual e a terra em que estamos. Juntos, é mais fácil permitir a dor, se necessário, gritar, e o sentimento frequentemente reprimido torna-se subitamente suportável.

 

O presente interior

 

Horas depois, depois da cerimônia, voltamos para o acampamento, subindo a encosta à luz das lâmpadas, passando pelas árvores e cavalinhas que já povoavam o planeta antes que os humanos existissem. Eu olho silenciosamente para o fogo por um tempo e depois, exausto, vou dormir. De acordo com a tradição da África Ocidental Dagara, cada pessoa carrega um presente importante (“medicina”) que a comunidade precisa desesperadamente. No nascimento, no entanto, esquecemos em que é que esta provisão consiste e é a tarefa de cada um de nós descobrir e implementá-la. É tudo sobre conexão, com os antepassados ​​e os bisnetos, os vizinhos e os mais distantes, temporal e espacialmente e até mesmo abrangendo não só a espécie humana, mas toda a criação. Todos os seres e elementos estão entrelaçados na grande teia da vida. É sobre atenção plena, respeito pelo outro e seus próprios processos internos. Todos somos originários da água e do fogo: antes do nascimento, crescemos no líquido amniótico no útero de nossa mãe e, por fim, uma faísca causa nosso primeiro batimento cardíaco. 

 

 

Mágoa e gratidão – da dor ao amor

 

O objetivo do nosso retiro é deixar a bagagem desnecessária e alcançar uma perspectiva de gratidão. Isso é expresso nos pequenos rituais que fazemos juntos enquanto nos reunimos em volta das chamas ou da água. Todas as manhãs, uma pequena oferenda é feita ao fogo e à água, em reconhecimento de que todos somos originados por esses elementos. Passamos os meses anteriores ao nosso nascimento no líquido amniótico e, em algum momento da época, uma faísca ou impulso elétrico causa nosso primeiro batimento cardíaco. 

Kedar Brown, o terapeuta e curador que conduz o retiro, tem aprendido esses rituais de várias culturas indígenas por muitos anos, incluindo Malidoma Somé e Stephen Foster, e combinou-os de uma maneira única. A sua experiência, gentileza e prudência moldam a confiança necessária para envolver-se nos processos. Foi surpreendente a naturalidade com que se sentem todos esses rituais. Será porque acedemos à nossa herança cultural arcaica, muito antes das línguas, das tradições, das ideias e dos territórios terem despedaçado a humanidade milhares de vezes? Os participantes têm origens diferentes e são todos ocidentais de pele clara, o que é bastante irónico. Quando saímos depois dos quatro dias, algo cresceu entre nós e é difícil dizer adeus. Na cerimônia de despedida alinhamo-nos com uma pedra nas nossas mãos, olhamo-nos um a um, e batemos as pedras juntas, enquanto nos encorajamos mutuamente pelo tempo que nos espera. A minha pedra ainda tem um lugar de destaque na minha sala de estar.

 

 

 

The power of rituals

Although the retreat was very enriching and valuable, I had no real idea where it would take me. But just as there were signs that led me to this experience, I got reminders again and again to appreciate and recall my experiences. A short time later, at a conference in Prague, I met a doctor who has also worked with Malidoma. In a therapeutic training I was urged to imagine a dialogue with a deceased family member. On an Africa trip, I could watch a traditional mourning procession by night. And then there are all the little things that I have maintained. From time to time burn dried sage, to watch phases of the moon and seasonal changes more consciously. Or just be amazed by the light in the clouds and the bird’s voice in the tree.

Nothing is more valuable than life itself.

And the love that brings life.

One could describe the effect as follows: A door has opened, which has freshly connected me with experiences from my own biography and with what one could call the spiritual family heritage. My attitude towards it has changed: where formerly bitterness and pain were dominant, I now can feel more respect and compassion. That I exist and the way I am is the result of numerous encounters of people and many events. Of calamities and decisions, struggle, courage, despair, faith, hope and love. From this perspective everything feels more whole, maybe even holier. The thought that my grandmother cannot confirm my future partner as the right one no longer feels so painful. I have the reason to hope that my intuition (which includes everything and everyone that I have met) will realize what is good for me.

We are never really alone.

The ancestors never leave us!

The very first Grief and Gratitude Ritual in Portugal with Kedar Brown will take place from 19th – 21st September 2019, hosted by the Mount of Oaks Community.

More information from the author at hajo.mueller@gmail.com

Sources:

Malidoma P. Somé (2004) On the Spirit of Africa.

Stephen Foster & Meredith Little (2012) Vision Quest.

www.RitesOfPassageCouncil.org

www.MountOfOaks.org

 

About the author

Hajo Müller is a certified psychologist and, after starting his career in business and education, today works as a licensed psychotherapist in a clinic in the Berlin area. He is leading a mindfulness-based addiction group. For several years he has practiced yoga, meditation, zen-archery, and studies nature spirituality, Christian mysticism and transpersonal psychology. He is convinced that the rediscovery of old traditions not only enriches us individually, but can also provide healing aspects for our postmodern society.

It would be wonderful to hear any feedback that we can offer directly to Hajo or that we can learn from.

In deep gratitude, emma.

 

From Pain to Love – Grief into Gratitude

‘Where there is great pain, there was great love before’

Our dear friend Hajo Müller, and our bridge of connection with Kedar has written a reflective piece called ‘Where there is great pain, there was great love before’.

He writes of his experience of the ritual that he attended in England and covers the topics of giving space for grief, connecting to our ancestors, the power of ritual, and the movement of grief to gratitude – a movement from pain to love. We will host the grief ritual here – aptly named, ‘Transforming Grief into Gratitude’ from 7-10th May 2020. The value of exchange is 260E for early birds. Here is link to the website of the host, Kedar S. Brown. To register you can follow this link

We share Hajo’s piece as a way of encouraging those who are considering coming to the ritual.

Below are the contact you need to register or book, or simply find out more details.

Where there is great pain, there was great love before 

by Hajo Müller

Fire, water, drumming and a visit to the ancestors. A report on a four-day stay in the woods, the connection to the deceased, hope and how much emotion you can find in a stone. And about great growing out of a grief ritual.

I am ready. I approach Mike and tap him on the shoulder, this is the agreed signal. He knows what to do. He walks me to the threshold where our world ends and the world of the dead begins. Together we enter the sphere of the ancestors. A forest in northwest England, it is night, but I’ve lost all sense of time. A fire is burning, the nearby river is rushing, I can hear drums and a strange, consoling African song. With the exception of Mike and Jenny, I have never met any of the twenty people present, and it’s been a year since I got to know them by chance. We were on the tiny Scottish island of Iona to visit a monastery founded about 1400 years ago. Sounds like a very long time, and yet the ritual we are experiencing today is thousands of years older. And though I have never seen these people before, I will feel connected to them all my life, for all of us will cross that threshold between the material and ancestral worlds. And return again.

My grandmother – my ancestor

In the afternoon we prepared the place for the ritual. We dug the fireplace, marked the boundaries with stones and branches, candles and flowers, built an entrance portal to the otherworldly area and set up a shrine for the ancestors as a place of remembrance. I slowly walk there with Mike, candles are burning and I sit down on the floor for a while. An old black and white photo in front of me shows my grandfather as a boisterous young man in the 50s, balancing on a tree trunk. Although I was very close to him and held his hand at the age of 17 when he died years ago, there are many things more I would like to have learned from him. Next to it is a picture of my grandmother. All the hardship she has suffered, forced displacement, poverty, murder of family members, illness, has not made her a bitter woman. That always inspired me.

I could not accompany my grandmother to the end of her earthly existence. At that time there was no space for mourning because at the time of her death my life was filled by big changes. I lived hundreds of miles away, a challenging job lay ahead of me, a relocation was about to happen, moving in together with a woman with whom I hoped to start a family. But that did not happen. The relationship broke dramatically and it took me a long time to get over it. I remember one special encounter. My grandmother was thrilled when she saw my then girlfriend for the first time, afterwards she flung her arms around my neck and said to me in her typical heartiness: “God has brought you together!” As I sit in front of the shrine, I realize how much these words meant to me back then. Probably because I often had a hard time even reassuring myself in life situations when great disappointments had happened before. But now my grandmother was gone, she would never be able to say that sentence about another woman again. Her confirmation and confidence was something I would miss very much in the future. With her life experience, she has always taught me that everything can turn out well.

You are the result of the love of thousands 

Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. 

Be quiet, they say. Watch and listen. 

You are the result of the love of thousands.

(Linda Hogan)

Give space for grief

In this world in between, I can tell my ancestors everything else I want to say, thank them for the love I have received, and ask for wisdom in difficult situations and decisions ahead. Everything is still very rational, my emotions are blocked until Mike says to me in his soft voice: “It’s okay!” and puts his hand on my shoulder. Suddenly my sadness is released, and with it my tears. After an indefinite time with other deceased family members, I am ready to go back, back to the world of the living. A wise man once said to me: the call of the dead is not that we should die with them but rather to live with them! After I pass the threshold again, the community welcomes me very affectionately. The people surround and embrace me, they let me feel that my place is (still) here.

Others use the ritual mourn their parents, unborn children, suicides, partners, broken relationships, missed opportunities or even our brutal exploitation of the earth. Grief is often about a lack of emotional expression, whether it is sadness, anger, feelings of guilt or feelings of abandonment. Sometimes there is an unfinished business, shock, or a simple refusal to accept death. This can lead to sickness in the long run. Tonight, together, we offer this collective grief that serves our ritual community and the earth we stand on. Together, it is easier to allow the pain, if necessary scream it out, and the often suppressed feeling becomes suddenly bearable.

The gift within

Hours later, after the ceremony, we head back to the camp, up the hillside in the light of the lamps, past the trees and horsetails that already populated the planet before humans existed. I stare silently into the fire for a while and then, exhausted, go to sleep. According to the tradition of West African Dagara, every person carries an important gift (“medicine”) that the community desperately needs. At birth, however, we forget what this provision consists of and it is the task of each of us to find out and implement it. It is all about connectedness, with the ancestors and the great-grandchildren, the neighbors and the most distant ones, temporally and spatially and even encompassing not only the human species but all of creation. All beings and elements are interwoven in the great web of life. It is about mindfulness, respect for each other and their own inner processes.

We all originate from water and fire: before birth, we grow in the amniotic fluid in our mother’s womb and eventually a spark causes our first heartbeat.

Grief and Gratitude – from pain to love

The goal of our retreat is to let go of unnecessary baggage and achieve a perspective of gratitude. This is expressed in the little rituals we perform together as we gather around the flames or the water. Every morning, a small offering is made to the fire and the water, in recognition that we all originate from these elements. We spend the months before our birth in the amniotic fluid, and at some point in that time, a spark or electrical impulse causes our very first heartbeat. Kedar Brown, a therapist and healer who conducts the retreat, has been learning these rituals from various indigenous cultures for many years, including Malidoma Somé and Stephen Foster, and combined them in a unique way.

His experience, kindness and prudence shapes the necessary trust to get involved in the processes. It was surprising how naturally all these rituals feel. Is it because we tap into our archaic cultural heritage, way before languages, traditions, ideas and territories have shattered humanity a thousandfold?

The participants here have different backgrounds and are all fair-skinned Westerners, which is quite ironic. As we leave after the four days, something has grown between us and it is difficult to say goodbye. At the farewell ceremony we line up with a stone in our hands, we face each other one by one, and knock the stones together as we mutually encourage us for the time ahead. My stone still has a prominent place in my living room.

The power of rituals

Although the retreat was very enriching and valuable, I had no real idea where it would take me. But just as there were signs that led me to this experience, I got reminders again and again to appreciate and recall my experiences. A short time later, at a conference in Prague, I met a doctor who has also worked with Malidoma. In a therapeutic training I was urged to imagine a dialogue with a deceased family member. On an Africa trip, I could watch a traditional mourning procession by night. And then there are all the little things that I have maintained. From time to time burn dried sage, to watch phases of the moon and seasonal changes more consciously. Or just be amazed by the light in the clouds and the bird’s voice in the tree.

Nothing is more valuable than life itself.

And the love that brings life.

One could describe the effect as follows: A door has opened, which has freshly connected me with experiences from my own biography and with what one could call the spiritual family heritage. My attitude towards it has changed: where formerly bitterness and pain were dominant, I now can feel more respect and compassion. That I exist and the way I am is the result of numerous encounters of people and many events. Of calamities and decisions, struggle, courage, despair, faith, hope and love. From this perspective everything feels more whole, maybe even holier. The thought that my grandmother cannot confirm my future partner as the right one no longer feels so painful. I have the reason to hope that my intuition (which includes everything and everyone that I have met) will realize what is good for me.

We are never really alone.

The ancestors never leave us!

The very first Grief and Gratitude Ritual in Portugal with Kedar Brown will take place from 7-10th May 2020, hosted by the Mount of Oaks Community.

More information from the author at hajo.mueller@gmail.com

Sources:

Malidoma P. Somé (2004) On the Spirit of Africa.

Stephen Foster & Meredith Little (2012) Vision Quest.

www.RitesOfPassageCouncil.org

www.MountOfOaks.org

About the author

Hajo Müller is a certified psychologist and, after starting his career in business and education, today works as a licensed psychotherapist in a clinic in the Berlin area. He is leading a mindfulness-based addiction group. For several years he has practiced yoga, meditation, zen-archery, and studies nature spirituality, Christian mysticism and transpersonal psychology. He is convinced that the rediscovery of old traditions not only enriches us individually, but can also provide healing aspects for our postmodern society.

It would be wonderful to hear any feedback that we can offer directly to Hajo or that we can learn from.

In deep gratitude, emma.

World Cafe: Migrant Opinions

15th June, the team of ‘Mixed Talks’ hosted a workshop using the methodology of World Cafe to explore the experiences of people who had migrated to Fundao. We promoted the sharing of knowledge and creation of a general understanding of what it is important to pay attention to in the context of the creation of the Action Plan for the Inclusion of Migrants. It was great fun to meet new people and hear what matters for feeling part of the local community.

To read the juice of what was discussed on the day, welcome to check out this link. This image below portrays much of what was articulated…many people expressed an interest to meet and explore Portuguese culture, go to events together and in doing so, create a sense of belonging.

Here are some snaps from the dynamic and fun event…

 

 

Many thanks to Njiza and Ricardo, fellow Art of Hosting practitioners- we had a truly inspiring workshop.

 

Nomadic Creative Residency

The Eye of the Wind comes when you least expect it – it soars over the mountain – to guide you on a different kind of path. A window into another world and a new way of seeing.

The eye of the wind will explore the threshold between our inner and outer worlds, the eyes of our soul and our creative ability to shape our own visions. Going deeper into the element of air – we will explore the journey of the spirit and the creative powers of our “eagle-vision”, the spirit that flies by our side.

During the current transition into the Aquarian age, we are slowly entering a time in which the ‘feminine’ is rebirthing a whole way of being. It is a time of coming into our intuitive wisdom, our authentic power – it is a humanitarian age with sister- and brotherhoods between all species and cultures. It is a time of moving from the ‘me’ to the ‘we’.

This gathering is about receiving messages to other dimensions and allowing nature to speak to us. Using the symbology of the winds as a messenger between humans and the spirit world – the channel between the personal and the transpersonal. The process will explore how we can tune our inner voice to guide the journey of our spirit within the landscape of current global perspectives.

In preparation for the autumn equinox, we will return to the magical planes of Mount of Oaks in Portugal. We will venture into the landscape channelling the messages that nature has to offer us – the sky people, the stone people, the river people, the plant people. We will explore these subtle bodies and the journey of the eagle spirit within us, watching from above as it weaves a tapestry that connects the sky with the waters, the mountains with the valleys. We will enter into a cross-pollination of elements, connecting to our animal selves.

This gathering will re-tune our minds and bodies, and help to carve out a new focused path within over-stimulated environments. It will assist you in finding methods of communicating with the more subtle dimensions of yourself stepping deeper into the mystery and the weaving of majestic weathers within and without

The Eye of the Wind will include daily creative practices alongside yoga, movement, meditation and sharing circles. Every day we will enter into processes of immersive group and individual workshops, with evening ceremonies and sound baths. The gathering will include one to one processes with plant medicine, astrology and movement.

The daily practices will journey deeper into:

The Air element as a gateway to relationships, the sister/brotherhood of all life, our mental vehicles and the creative power of thought. Ether element as a gateway to the relationship between the frontal mind (outer mind) and the higher mind, which is closely linked to the heart centre.

We will be exploring the master glands of the body, the pituitary and pineal glands. We will focus on breath work, entering deep into yogic practices of pranayama

Journeying through creative ceremonies and movement based explorations that allow a new listening to the whispers of our ancestors.

​”Without air no fire can burn, and unless earth and water are properly aerated seeds can not germinate, nor aquatic life exist. Air is related to thought and reason, which help the soul gradually to understand the laws of nature and to work in harmony with them, thereby increasing his comfort and well-being, and developing an appreciation for beauty.”

– Joan Hodgson

​Timeframes 4th -10th September 2019
4th Arrivals and opening evening ceremony
10th Shared breakfast and departures

​Location
We will be hosted by Mount of Oaks a wonderful permaculture community nestled within the Gardunha Mountains. Mount of Oaks is a beautiful place of convergence, micro-climate and refuge, within the district of Fundao, meaning Deep Place, The land, spaces and holding of Mount of Oaks is deeply special, enabling the work we will do together.

Accommodation
We will camp in a simple way in shared bell tents close to nature. This is very much part of the experience of returning to and becoming ensconced in the land. There are lovely compost toilets, wood and solar showers.

​Main body of learning
We are elemental beings. This retreat we will be held over the equinox. We will be focusing on dreaming, creating and nourishing the inner wisdom of our creative well. How tuning to the home within can expand creative potentials and energy for creative projects personally and within the community. The tools that are offered will facilitate you to find your own creative voice, how to enjoy it internally and how to grow this guidance into your own unique flow. Calling on embodied theories and processes from our practice and influenced by process-based psychology, dream work, nature healing and yogic philosophy.

What you bring
The retreat is hosted within a beautiful space with a small group of others. It is this that makes it special. Our gatherings are gently immersive, much like a sacred circle. There will be space for you to spend time alone, with others and bring your skills to the group.

Daily guide
– Each day we will build vital energy through nourishing morning and evening
processes of pranayama, yoga, movement, sound, and deep healing relaxation.
– Morning workshops will seed the intention for each day. Creating a space together to connect with our inner-selves.
– Afternoon process work will lead into a compost time of reflection, inner tuning and restoration. Allowing ourselves to vision new ideas and makings.
– We will creatively move and explore materials, gestures, images, archetypes and improvisation, individually and in groups. Each day will frame stories, sounds and circle sharing.
-Together these processes will cultivate a wonderful unique process of shared landing, to create and expand from.

​Course fees
Include workshop materials, 3 meals of organic food per day including delicious olives from the land, natural spring water and hot drinks.

£625 Full Price
£575 Early bird price before 21st June
£525 Limited concession price

Concessions
We want to make our gatherings accessible and can offer a limited number of concessionary places. We are also happy to offer payment plans in which you pay the fee over a few months or over the course of the year,

To apply
Please email us at fourthlandinfo@gmail.com. We will then send you a short application form.

Travel
Flights to Lisbon or Porto and from there travel to Alpedrinha or Fundao on bus or train from where transport will be arranged. We are happy to help with travel routes so do get in touch.

Some reflections from people who joined us for The Weavings of Dragons:

“I was struck by how carefully considered every word and action was on the yoruk. There seemed to be so much effort and care put into everything, it flowed so seamlessly and really felt like slipping into a magical realm. The ritual spaces and circles that were held stirred some kind of ancient memory inside me – Thank you. The oscillation between extremely profound and extremely playful moments was a wonder to experience and a great lesson for life! ” – Residency participant

“Every time I smell a blanket or a sweater I wore during our time together at the mount of oaks a deep calm and a fire-earthness light by an orange and a lemon comes over me. I am so grateful for our time together. For the insights into the other women’s emotions, hesitations and dreams. For our shared laughter and tears. Your and all our wisdom and the courage that emerges in this togethering. This time it has been a lot about accepting my own gifts, stars and foundations. The ancestors have moved to the background, i took center stage and fully enjoyed it. As last time I had met my dragon, this time the eagle came – literally: it followed my words, flew with me over the lake and called me to the oaks bearing its offspring. I feel blessed. And I love you and your work dearly.” – Residency participant

“Highlights of the experience for me were; the gong bath, getting to explore the land a bit more than last time, the food, sharing, the journey with oranges, fire circles, chanting and the honoring ceremony we did with the belly altars – that was incredible. I think beauty was a big part of it for me – the place, the materials, the faces of the other women. You both have such a gift for creating that timeless beauty within which it is a pleasure to enter whatever journey you propose.” – Residency participant

Making Beds

It gets to a certain time of the year and the plants call to be attended to – its like in other seasons its the trees calling to us. When it comes that time for us to sow and transplant and prepare beds and trellises for tomatoes Barbara and I become really active.

This year it was Barbara who took a lead with the sowing and transplanting and she loved it – and so did I!

We fed the seedlings and the transplants with nutrient rich ‘worm pee’ from our production of worms that live happily in the polytunnel.

Here are snaps of some of the work we were up to….

Preparing plants to transplant – they were pretty big before we moved them to their new home – but they were happy in the end!!

And in the main garden more beds got filled with our tomatoes and peppers and chillis we grew from seed…

We had the help of Freddie and his friend Finn to make more new beds near the kitchen which we filled with compost and mulched….

The single chicken we have left, LOVES the compost!

So for now we have a little productive garden, but here are some images of some of the fruits we have already been eating and are looking forward to harvesting…

Many blessings to you all and thanks for taking time to follow our news!

 

the return of the freddie…

Freddie returned for a couple of weeks and he came with his usual bounce and swagger! It was great to see him again and hear about his adventures to rainbow gatherings, visiting projects in the south of Spain and Christmas near the coast.

It didn’t take him long to find his way to the garden and there we harvested fruits and even veg that he has SOWN in the Autumn! Though he was not so thrilled with the quantity of broad beans or onions he harvested, we spoke about the reality that when plants are properly nurtured they can produce more…

He made a yummy french onion style soup!

His friend Finn came and the pair of them worked on a few new beds in the garden – and they did a fine job. My best memory probably from this visit of Freddie was the night we sat around the fire and he shared a story he had composed. A tale of foxes, eagles, rabbits and trees!!

With Freddie there is never a dull moment – and we loved having him here. I was sad not to give him a hug goodbye, as I was not around when he left, but his spirit, like all those who visit this place, part of him stays living in the land.

Until the next time …

May in May!

Friendship is such a thing that you don’t need to see one another for a number of years, but the connection is still there! Deep and strong! That was what we felt when we welcomed May for the first time to MoO this May.

She stayed in the caravan house, where Marcia, Eric and Samuel lived – she made herself a nest in there and relaxed. She participated in the silent retreat, and said it was a great way for her to arrive – then the rest of the week was for laughter, swinging in the hammock, book and poetry reading, painting and walking. We chatted a lot, shared tears and cups of tea.

This was one of her offerings….

May even cooked a meal for 2 pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago! And helped me host a group of journalist students from Lisbon who came to interview us for a project connected to the Journal do Fundao!!

Love you dear lady and look forward to you coming back – maybe bringing that husband with you next time!

Pilgrims Visit

Sebastian and Jens are in the process of walking the Portuguese ‘Caminho’, known as the via Lusitania – the ancient pilgrimage route from Southern Portugal that winds through the center of the country – passing VERY close to us, and joining up with more famous routes in Spain.

On this leg of the journey they walked to Soalheira, the village next to us famous for its good quality cheese. They were on a ‘religious holiday’ they said. They passed by and stayed a night with us in May.

May, a friend from England, a dear friend who came for the silent retreat and stayed on for her own reflection time was here too. Over dinner the 5 of us shared stories of faith and doubt, human questions and dreams for the future….

The next day the beautiful gentleman took time in the in Njango (our rest place by the pond) to practice their contemplation.

We dropped them in Castelo Novo where they carried on following the yellow and blue scallop shells, all the way to Celorico, north of Guarda.

We loved having these two Berlinners passby – seek shelter and food and continue walking their wild paths! This place is set aside made for such encounters of simple hospitality and welcome.

 

Inviting Silence – a gentle encounter

It was an utter honour to hold a weekend of silence with May, Catarina, Barbara and the animals. An honour to walk, eat, sit, be together in the wonder and at times awkward of our internal worlds.

The practice of periodic silence is a feature of our life here at Mount of Oaks. Daily we hold silence in the mornings and it is welcomed to help us tune in to our internal worlds in the midst of nature and our work. The sounds of frogs, the breeze in the trees, the peacocks, woodpecker, hoopo or blackbirds, the sounds of the night and the morning and afternoon, changing as the position of the sun.

During the retreat we rose early, before dawn to welcome the day in silence, to watch the sun grow in the sky….

And walked harvesting herbs, harvesting smells and beauty…

With our hands in the silence we made our harvesting take form and we gave thanks…

And we ate well, thanks to Barbara!

Time slows down when you allow yourself the opportunity to listen and take stock, to encounter yourself in gentle silence. Nothing fancy, just some dedicated time to sit and be still in the company of others being with the same intention.

We shared poems, liturgies and smiles.

And we sat, we lit our candles, followed the simple format or liturgy, and we sat.

And the animals sat with us….

And we appreciated the beauty of place where we were….surrounded by local oaks….

On a personal level I was really glad we were a small and intimate group for this opening gathering of 2019. However, I look forward to welcoming more folk who are interested in a simple and gentle invitation into the practice of silence in August.

Dates for the next retreat are 23-25th August. A suggested donation is 120E, this is if you bring your own tent. We offer the guestroom and tents with mattress and bedding for a little more. Get in touch if you are interested and want to know more!

This blessing we shared together on the final day Barbara left on the table for us to read over lunch….may it bless you as it blessed us.

May the grace of new beginnings enliven your soul with possibility and promises.

May the valley sing to welcome you and the grace of home be yours,

May a river of delight rush through your body and soul, refreshing parched terrain baptizing your spirit anew.

May the towering strength of oak mind your spirit and guard your heart.

May mountains surround you and shelter your life…

And may you find within the mountain of deep peace, upon life’s rough seas, may be held in locked embrace until fear and worry are stilled.

In times of trouble, may the peace and protection of our paths in the woods lead you to wisdom’s light.

May your eyes ever dance the wondered of creation and your gaze hold and heal your loved ones.

May you touch God’s presence in the woods and in the hand of a stranger and life up the lonely to the silence that knows your name,

And there in the stillness, may you know yourself and in doing so, find God.

To book for the next retreat, 23-25th August here is the simple form.