Plant Spirit Shamanism: A French retreat

This French Plant Spirit Shamanism medicine retreat is about discovering who we are, what we want from life, and where we are going – and finding plant allies that can help us in this. There will also be time to explore the beautiful countryside of the Pyrenees.

We attune ourselves to and diet the plants each day in order to develop our connection to them and learn how they can assist in our spiritual work. We also undertake meditative practices, quiet time, and time spent in vision (questing) to explore our relationship to the Earth. Through these we slow down to the natural rhythm of life and meet with our allies in dreamspace.

We also learn some of the secret herbal approaches from Haiti and Peru, as well as classical and cross-cultural techniques for working with plants shamanically, drawn from a rich variety of sources. One of these is communion with the spirits of Nature through the vine of souls, and there will be vision ceremonies this week.

The venue for our work is a beautiful rustic farmhouse in the traditional French style, with extensive gardens and its own stream, where the water flows down from seven mountains. It is situated a little distance from the historic market town of Foix and retains a peaceful ambience in the heart of the countryside – perfect for the work we will do here, as well as for just relaxing.

COMMENTS FROM PARTICIPANTS
So the magic still continues despite leaving! I have found myself walking around more slowly, gazing at the few trees and plants there are in London, with a smile on my face. Thank you,
Bean, 2007

Namaste to you all. I thought it appropriate to write today, a week since we all parted. I left feeling much lighter and happier, thinking of all the possibilities that lie ahead, a week later I am still feeling that way. I have been astonished daily and can honestly say, Ross was right, nature IS alive and is talking to us. I feel much more attached to nature and way more in-tune. So nature was saying here, change the way you see things, focus on what you really want, and everything will come back to you in abundance, doors will open and everything will flourish.
Sharon, 2007

Thank you very much for the most wonderful five days. It really felt like the culmination of a lot of work I have been doing over the past two years and the sheer size and scale of my breakthroughs are difficult to exaggerate. Although I had a deep sense of wonder at the new developments when I left (and for a few days when I got back when I felt I was floating through life!), I don’t think the impact of the work really hit until I saw people I knew again. I feel different now – very much alive and very much in tune with what I want for myself and the world. Inside I feel great, in my head and my heart. I guess the key difference is how I feel: I know that the world and I fit perfectly into each other – which feels pretty damn cool. Thank you for enabling these changes.
Ben, 2007

I am sure the pusanga is working!! – I feel lighter, as though all the stuff I have worked through is behind me. As soon as I got to the bottom of my mountain it came alive and I saw the wonder of it again. The lush greens and the energy from all the trees, I realized then that I learnt way more than I realized. I am determined to have a happy life and have gotten to work on that immediately. So, thank you again for a really beautiful workshop.
Sharon, 2007

The group was sincere and supportive. I miss the Pyrenees but will conjure it up when I need strength. Thanks for being patient with me and all my questions.
Teri, 2007

I’m feeling a lot more connected to everything around me and content, happy and relaxed! Lots of love and hugs,
Kirsty xxx, 2006

Just thought I would put a little note up to express my happiness at meeting you all in France. Something that came from that week that has left a strong impression on me is actually nothing to do with the plants specifically, it¹s to do with the people. I was very touched by the openness, honesty, and trust that was present between not only our (human) teachers, but within the group as a whole and our wonderful hosts for the week. Living in a big bad city (albeit surrounded by some v good loving friends) was starting to erode my faith in people and how they treat each other. Thanks to all of you for helping tip the balance the other way. Love and Light,
Ben, 2006

So, how to express what the experience meant to me…well last night I was laying on my bed with my 18 year old daughter, who wanted to know all about what her Mum had been doing. I smiled at her and started to say something about it being a sort of retreat, and then something shifted inside of me, and probably for the first time ever, I really told her what was inside me… I cried and I laughed and I hugged myself with the sheer pleasure of some of the memories, insights and changes I held. She just sat there completely transfixed…it was the most honest conversation I had ever had with her…and to be honest it is probably the best example of what this experience has meant to me. I feel like when I speak with people, in fact in whatever I do, there is a real feeling of communion and honesty that floods through me and I wonder if I will ever be able to bullshit again!!! I feel this is a beginning of something profoundly real in my life and I am so deeply grateful for the experience, and only hope to do it justice.
Amanda, 2006

There hasn’t been one day where I don¹t feel I want to be back there. I have left a part of me there and I take myself back to the little bench by the stream any time I wish. With love and gratitude,
Viola, 2006

For information on this programme of self-discovery and Plant Spirit Shamanism, email kate@thefourgates.com