it’s happening again …. and i am getting this invite out early so you can plan very well…
a both/and invitation for you to consider, in this liminal space as we approach Samhain...
both far flung wild abandon and determinedly tenacious efforting
both cosmic day tripper dreamer and reverent focused busy bee
both freedom and devotion
both sacred and profane...
you may know by now that the main reason i postponed my summer 2019 make-to-mend gathering in the south of France, outside Bordeaux, which was focused on the art of botanical bundle dye, is because my beloved bonus dad was very sick and dying and the unpredictability and timing were giving me nerves. so to take a big worry off my shoulders, i postponed the trip to summer 2020 and decided to change the structure entirely. the following is not only an enticement but a complete reframe of the gathering. rather than “guide” the entire experience, or make it specifically dye focused as it was, i am simply offering it in a similar fashion to the way i did last summer 2018, in another area of southern france, as more of an artist/maker residency, because that was so fucking potent and thrilling for all of us involved. also, this way, it’s WAY more affordable. intrigued? keep reading….
so, before i hosted my own artist/maker residency last summer in Durfort, France, where everyone brought whatever they wanted to work on for the week, i attended an oracular, gynocentric, pythonic, path of pollen inspired gathering deep in the heart of the mythic Aquitaine, in a picturesque little village called saint-vivien-de-monségur, in a hamlet named SolHenge by its vivacious caretaker, my lovely friend Sarita. you have to meet Sarita. not only is she amazing but her home, land and gathering space is magnifique.
i have reserved spectacular SolHenge for July 13-18, 2020, for 5 nights and 6 days and i’m tempting you to come partake of a quasi artists/makers residency and wild dreams playground, for a span of time spent both creating and developing a body of your own personal work and time spent at our leisure in one glorious and titillating pursuit of adventure or another. bring your best friend and have the best time. plus, we all have the option of adding a discounted night, before and after the retreat, for a total of 7 nights on the grounds. keep reading…
the only offering i will be guiding is morning physical movement (yoga/meditation/dance based). last summer i got up early every morning and practiced yoga, movement and dance by the pool, or in the barn gathering space, and it was glorious. i will set a time for us to meet and anyone who wants to join me, can. (i have completed a 200 hr ytt but our movement practice will stretch far beyond asana)
if the idea of this lights up your heart and makes your tummy flutter and flip flop a tiny bit, keep reading. i regularly coven with amazing and magical women - there is a core group of us already committed to this summer 2020 experience - and if you found your way here and are reading this with bated breath, i’d bet you are a multi-passionate creative kindred too. i think at this particular point in my life i am still longing to just risk it all and do all the wild things, and one way to lean into mystery and magic for me is to just trust and leap and take the chance on things like this. i know the rest of the women who are called to this experience will come together and join our welcoming and flourishing coven of diverse backgrounds and beliefs, ages and ethnicities, all working in various and differing mediums (more on that below, keep reading.), with ease. also, if you know how i travel or you have traveled with me, you know i wouldn’t just be suggesting we go to any old place. this place is SPECIAL, trust me. you’ve got to experience it for yourself.
here is an excerpt from the original offering description on my website:
SolHenge: there is a timeless wild wood deep in a commune of southwestern france, not too far from the wine laden region of Bordeaux, tucked away in a hamlet called saint-vivien-de-monségur. this spiritual vortex, with its own stone circle, is surrounded by agricultural cultivation, fields of ripening aubergine grape vines, maturing flaxen sunflowers, tawny flourishing wheat, budding ears of maize, pungent ruminant hay and untamed savage gardens overflowing with a riotous diversity of flora and fauna. a creative unsurpassed oasis, SolHenge is rooted in the fabled hydrous Aquitania of old Gaul, a mythic eleanor queendom full of mystery and magic, historically pagan with traditional ceremonies for planting and harvest, still alive today.
the feminine element of water, *the element of ecstasy and unconscious bliss, the deep enjoyment of the heart and the flow of love, will marry us to the fecund land as we go about our dreamy days, making and divining in the barn gathering space, floating, aqueous, clothing optional, in the in-ground pool for hours, sunning on the edge of the teeming fields, feasting under fairy-light strung druidic trees, and sleeping in or out of doors while constellations of heavenly bodies soar and swirl, encircling us.
the quiet 15 acres of secluded woodland valley and private meadows cradle the large rustic French country home where we will stay. classic large bedrooms are shared spaces with single bed accommodations, usually three to a room, and two gorgeous and fully remodeled bathrooms, one on each floor, with luxurious soaking tubs and showers, are ours for the duration.
fresh, nonpareil, local, delicious, seasonal, nutritious, sustainable and hand-made vegetarian meals will be provided and served for lunch and dinner in the garden, by a female chef. morning foods, including local eggs, fruit, and pastries, will be provided and we will use the well stocked kitchen (refrigerator, stove, tea, herbs, coffee and nibbles, with room for your own snacks and noshy items), in the barn gathering space to prepare our own breakfasts, which can be taken languidly poolside, on a woodland picnic, or giving witness to the sunrise and so on.
the barn gathering space is where we can spread out under shelter and in shade, during the leisurely days and long summer nights, to do whatever “work” we bring with us to do. i will be writing and dyeing, and wandering and dreaming. last summer, in durfort, we had women engaging in writing, painting, art/creative journaling, marbling/rubbings, photography, screenplay writing, nature walks, herbalism, botanical bundle dyeing, naps, market perusing, cultural immersion, daydreaming, communing, wine tasting, museum visiting, etc.
what will you be doing?!!
still with me? read on… please look over all the info here, sit with it, and ask whatever questions arise for you. i am posting this temptation very early, and i know that can both be helpful and hard, but i am going ahead with it as we are less than a year away and this distance of a trip takes time and planning to come together for many of us. we need at least 10 committed people to make this happen and there is room for half as much more. a handful of spots remain. please contact me directly to register, ask questions, feel out and lean into what this summons offers and precludes, so we are in full understanding and responsibility for our experience there together. it’s at sanctuaries like this that i have met the best friends of my adult mid-life and for that i am forever grateful. so i am carrying on the tradition of securing a space for similar alchemy to transform your life. you feel me? try it. you might like it.
to be clear, I am NOT leading, guiding, or teaching anything, besides welcoming you to enjoy morning movement with me. the cost is significantly lower for you (see below) because of this. and in all transparency, i am charging you just enough to cover my costs and time for the small amount of procuring, planning, organizing and space holding i am doing to get us there. the large majority of the cost is to cover Sarita’s fees and all told, the final cost is phenomenal for food and lodging alone, not to mention setting, scene, sensory provocation, life time friendship making, etc.
this is part sleep away camp with wild rad creative women and part artist residency vibe, so you are under no obligation to follow my, or any other, schedule once we’ve arrived but if anyone wants to share rental vehicles, (which is not necessary for getting there, btw, see below), desired preferences should be considered.
at the end of this i will fill you in on my tentative travel plans, as of now, and what needs to happen next…
What: Maker/Artist Residency & Coven, FRANCE, Summer 2020
Where: SolHenge, Saint-Vivien-de-Monségur, Gironde, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France
When: July 13-18, 2020 (full bloom sunflower fields!)
SolHenge is family run and caters to small groups of under 20 folx at a time. because of this, guests receive individualized attention and can be shown an intimate glimpse of France, in a real French home, that most tourists never see. the area is unspoiled and rich in tradition with the villages reflecting centuries of life lived in slow time. you may feel you've traveled back thru time to a place in your dreams, where the surrounding areas are potent with history and diversity. it’s the perfect place to deepen into your understanding of yourself as a maker and/or artist.
you will fly into Bordeaux (usually less expensive) or Bergerac
airfare and transportation to SolHenge is not included (see options below)
consider booking airfare earlier than later, or use points, to keep airfare costs down!
Cost: per person $1345
5 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners, tea, coffee and snacks
Classic large shared bedrooms with single bed accommodations. Also option to sleep outdoors!
Access to two large and fully remodeled spa-like bathrooms, one on each floor, with tub and shower
Option of Bed and Breakfast one night before and one night after retreat, July 12 & 18 at discounted rate (see details below)
Option of Transport to and from Bordeaux or Bergerac airport or local train station at discounted rate (see details below)
Option to rent Sarita’s car at discounted rate for local jaunts
Honesty wine bar or procure your own
Small honesty shop
:: bed and self-serve breakfast is kindly offered to guests for one night before and one night after our gathering. you can arrive on July 12th to partake in the optional B&B arrangement for €50. a dinner is offered on the 12th at €25 and you have the option to stay the night on the 18th as well, for an additional €50, each/all made payable to Sarita Cameron, our hostess, separately. the gathering will end at 4pm on the 18th, and for anyone staying on that extra night, we may be able to arrange for a winery tour/tasting plus al fresco meal at golden hour, at a gorgeous nearby winery, with the best tree swing i’ve ever swung on.
::garden-scape dinner will be served at 6:30pm on the 13th, so if you aren’t coming a day early on the 12th to partake of the separate B&B offer, and to acclimate, please try to arrive by 6pm on the 13th, and as early as 4pm. since this isn’t an entirely guided experience, and many of us are likely to know each other, we will have an informal opening circle at dinner on the 13th.
:: each participant is responsible for their own airfare and travel costs. the closest airports are Bordeaux (usually way cheaper) and Bergerac. SolHenge offers an airport transfer for a generously reduced rate of €50 each way, with at least three people in transport, which is far less expensive than a taxi. for a single person, transport each way is €150 but Sarita consistently works her magic to coordinate drop offs and pick ups so that 9 times out of 10, transport rideshare is possible and way less expensive. transport to and from the train station is also possible. each attendant is also welcome to rent an automobile, alone, in pairs or in small groups, and park in the lot at solhenge, free of charge, but car rental isn’t necessary, especially if you are just planning on going with the flow and laying low most of the time. also, a vehicle will be available for participants to rent intermittently, on site, should you wish to travel to local villages, about 15 minutes away, for supplies and grocery items.
:: our incomparable hostess, Sarita, will be on hand to welcome us, join us, nourish us, and she is a powerful witch offering shamanic healing sessions at €50 per appointment. as well, we will likely have the option to book on-site massage at the likely rate of €50-60/hour.
:: i am not certain of the rest of my travel plans just yet. i fully intend to visit Alsace-Lorraine and Denmark to explore my ancestry there, and i’d love to get to Scotland too but that’s a long shot, mostly because i was in france for a month last summer and the mediteranean beaches alone are worth staying at for as long as possible. how can i not go back and just hunker down there?! btw, SolHenge is not far from the atlantic ocean and the mediteranean is just a car or train ride away! also, their are fantastic flea markets around bordeaux so i do plan to hit up as many as possible and we may get lucky and find a few vide-greniers (literally, “attic clearance”), brocantes, or bric-a-brac sales, though these are mostly on the weekends. also, if you are coming ALL the way to france, do consider extending your trip and staying abroad as long as possible. once you've adjusted to the jet lag, you’ll never want to leave. and it’s super easy to get around all over europe with quick flights and scenic train rides. arranging to rent a car before going is super simple and if you plan to check out other areas in France, this may be the way to go. we cruised all over the south of France last summer and it was a blast! once we have a solid coven committed to going, i will get us all gathered on group email and/or whatsapp so people can make arrangements together if wanted. having joint travel plans and a sojourning buddy abroad can be helpful and comforting if you aren’t used to traveling alone, especially in a foreign language speaking country.
and don’t be shy, friends. please email me if this info provokes any further questions or if you’d just like to talk it over we can set up a phone call. i can be reached at email@example.com
some possible excursions from SolHenge or Bordeaux area, if you have a car: nearby night markets throughout the summer, visit Arachon Bay, Saint-Émilion a world heritage site, Périgord Noir: famous caves and picturesque villages, La Rochelle and I’lle de Ré, the Estuaire de la Gironde, Dax, Lacanau and the Médoc, Biarritz, Cognac
and this is some of what i did and was into last summer while there. you could easily do side trips that one could add by extending their time in southern france:
for example, the sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes is a 2.5 hour drive south and is a major pilgrimage site.
there is of course, Mary Magdalene, the divine feminine counterpart and mystical equal of Jesus, and her whereabouts to explore:
("the remarkable woman at the heart of the Christian mysteries ― Mary of Magdala (a small Galilean town north of Jerusalem). Teacher, healer, mystic, divine feminine archetype, apostle, and beloved companion of Jesus of Nazareth, she was eventually maligned by the church as a sinner and prostitute, but her legend has always maintained a strong following.")
a pilgrimage to the "legendary cave (Metaphorical wombs, caves are among the most ancient places of worship of the divine feminine energies) in the Sainte-Baume Mountains, where Magdalene allegedly retired to spend the rest of her life in prayer and contemplation after performing many miracles in the region" is 6.5 hours away.
the fortified medieval town of Carcassone, 3 hour drive, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once a Cathar (a sect of mystical Christians branded as heretics and brutally exterminated by the church in the thirteenth century) stronghold, and Rennes-le-Chateau, (3.5 hours from our house!) the fabled village of Holy Grail lore, where Magdalene also allegedly preached, and nearby Rennes-les-Bains,(3.5 hours from our house!!) home to rejuvenating hot springs and a majestic stone throne known as the seat of Isis that brings mystical activations when you take a turn on it!!! (this was an amazing discovery and we worked for it!)
and the Gorge de Galamus and cliffside hermitage was AMAZING! it is 4 hours from SolHenge but if you are traveling that way before or after, do not miss it! also, we stayed in the old monastery in alets les bains and wandered the crumbling abbey and met many locals and had so much fun. it is a great spot to do day trips from.
if you are an automatic full body YES, please reach out and let me know. if you’re on the fence, talk to me. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. a $345 non refundable placeholder is needed to secure your spot and if you aren’t prepared to pay in full now, we can certainly discuss payment plan options. i need to make payments to Sarita on a schedule so i am perfectly fine with us setting the terms for a payment plan as long as it works for both of us, ex. you could do the down payment to secure your spot and then $ 250/month for the next 4 months, etc. also, if you pay in full now and something comes up for you to prevent you from completing your trip, i will make every effort to help get your spot filled and refundable portion refunded, or you are welcome to sell you spot to another.
if you have any further questions, concerns, or need any help whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
blinking before the chasm, turning toward the abyss, and marveling all the while,