Imagine living each day feeling the depth of your magic, unfettered.
Imagine reclaiming the power of your words, your stories, your relationship to the natural world, and your ability to do spellwork (your way).
Imagine walking in all of the world every day, whole, liminal, and fully actualized in your embodied knowledge.
Join us for five-day long immersion where we will delve into the potent mythology of the witch while developing your storytelling skills and personal mythology, renewing your relationship to sacred practices, and crafting herbal remedies for the modern world.
In this deep dive, experiential retreat, we will reclaim what was lost during the Burning Times and throughout centuries of oppression, patriarchy, racism, and colonization, and rediscover for ourselves the knowledge and magic of our lineages, stories, bodies, and the earthbody of nature.
We will work with the archetype of the witch as it has been carried through time, incorporating herbal medicine, plant magic, and ritual to support an alchemical process of stepping into the power of a new story while weaving our healing practices, creative work, activism, and personal transformation into the magic of the Great Turning.
The PRiestess,The Rebel, The Witch. The Story of The Witch lives within all of us who yearn to create, heal, talk to plants and stones, tell stories, and sing with the stars.
The Story of The Witch is ours to reclaim.
The Journey: an Overview
Our time together will be an interweaving of story and nature, myth-making and land-dreaming, ancient and undeniably present in the now. We will begin by working with the premise that herbalist Amber Hill puts forth, “You come from a long line of healers, herbalists, and wise women, and you’re very existence on this planet is a direct result of their skill,” delving into not only the archetypal story of the Witch but also our own personal lineages of healing and ritual.
Throughout the weekend, we'll create the space to transform resistance, claim our power, and heal the painful reverberations within us left by legacies of trauma and oppression into creative self-expression and spells of love and justice.
By the the final day, we'll be looking towards the future -- and towards what wise woman Joanna Macy calls the Great Turning -- and focus on how to bring our magic out into a world desperately in need of healing and community.
This journey has 3 main components:
INTIMACY WITH NATURE
Activate your mythic imagination and reclaim your own story. Develop your writing and storytelling skills. Craft the story of your archetypal witch in relationship to the modern world. Delve into sacred storytelling and song sharing circles.
INTIMACY WITH OTHER
Learn the sacred arts of divination, tapping into intuition, and creating ritual for your self and your community. Build sacred practices into your daily life. Immerse yourself in the ancient history and lineage of witches, with an eye on the unique challenges of the modern era.
INTIMACY WITH SELF
Learn local plant identification, herb lore, plant spirit communication, and self care for the modern witch, including hands-on medicine making experiences and responsible, sustainable wildcrafting. Walk away with the confidence to continue crafting your own apothecary at home.
Leah Lamb is a storyteller and creator of Soul Stories. Her stories work with myth, archetypes and symbols as a means for self discovery and connection with community and the environment.
For seven years she worked as a wilderness guide with youth with youth at risk. Her storytelling has taken on several mediums, including launching the Green Channel at the Emmy award winning television network, Current TV, and has written about the environment for National Geographic News Watch, Planet Green, Huffington Post Spirituality & Health Magazine and Fast Company. Leah works one on one with people through the form of Soul Stories, a form of mystical storytelling that allows for people to explore their archetypal structure and examine their lives through the metaphors presented in the mythic landscape.
Leah has been touring The Story of The Witch from coast to coast and is looking forward to this unique opportunity to take a deep dive into working with this story...and how it wasnts to work us...
Her work focuses on strengthening communities, and creates unique gatherings where participants can work within the mythic form of exploring how we are living in the cosmos, and in our consciousness.
Clare is an Earth loving social entrepreneur and inspirational speaker who worked internationally for 18 years facilitating groups, coaching business leaders and creating behaviour change processes within the personal growth sector.
As a Be The Change Symposium facilitator and freelance writer, she worked for three years as the UK co-ordinator for a massive agro-forestry initiative in southern India called Project GreenHands (PGH) before initiating TreeSisters. Through her work with PGH she has distilled the social mobilisation strategy deployed with great success in India, and now turns it towards the mobilisation of women within TreeSisters.
Clare is leading the campaign, but TreeSisters at all levels is jointly held and developed within the circle of core team members. Her passion has always included exploring how patterns of consciousness manifest as behaviours and her primary work is in the creation of processes, tools, courses, and messaging that can access the nature connected essence of woman and activate new forms of leadership. She works on network development, ethos and principles, organisational culture and strategy as they relate to the Map of 5 Choices and behaviour change materials.
She is committed to the creation of an evolving system that learns as it goes and continually models itself upon the flows and forms of living systems. In her own life, her aim is to reclaim balance, to revel in freedom and health and to be 'walking permission' for those who are fed up of being held back, and just want to have a go.
Want to speak with Clare or Leah about if this workshop is for you?
Thursday, February 22nd
Arrive at Bell Valley Retreat in the afternoon, get settled and walk the land -- dotted with oak and madrone -- before we gather for tea and introductions in the yurt. On this day we'll tell the story of the Witch for the first time and begin to tease apart the many layers of this archetype-- ancient wise woman, modern day Tumblr meme, feminist icon, accusation, slur, fairytale, costume. In the evening, after dinner, we'll have our first ritual and open the portal of our work together in a sacred, connected, gentle way.
Friday, February 23rd
This day will begin our regular schedule, with a morning session, lunch, afternoon session, time for rest and reflection, and evening ritual. Weather permitting, we'll go on a plantwalk to learn more about and connect with the trees, flowers, and weeds on the land, and begin the work of delving into our own personal mythologies and lineages. We will also begin to discuss daily practice and working with the different crafts of the witch, such as divination, and exploring our personal story through writing exercises, deep listening, and reflection... searching for our own stories, and the story of our time.
Saturday, February 24th
This day, the centerpiece of the retreat, is an opportunity to go deep into healing and transformation. In the morning we'll work through some of the shadow aspects of reclaiming the archetype of the witch, including grief work, fear, resistance, and claiming our voices from the places where they have gone silent. The afternoon will be an opportunity for reflection or one-on-one work with Riyana and Leah, and then we'll come together in the evening to reenergize, reclaim our power, and reflect on how this work is moving through us and what is possible when we open our hearts in this way.
Sunday, February 25th
This day is focused on rewriting our stories and further delving into storytelling skill-building, writing, herbal medicine making, song, and ritual. We'll begin to look towards the future and the work we are called to do outside of the retreat, as witches, activists, creatives, healers, mischief-makers and visionaries, and talk about integration and creating a daily-practice rooted in fierce self-love that will continue to sustain, heal, and inspire us.
Monday, February 26th
After a cozy breakfast and heartfelt morning ritual, we'll gather our selves, our belongings, our new visions and intentions, unwind from the sacred container we have created, and plan on leaving the land around noon.
Delicious, organic, farm-to-table meals.
Yoga, movement, and song.
Inspiring, guided evening rituals.
Land-based medicine making, herbcraft and plant lore.
Sacred time to integrate & replenish in nature, surrounded by the quiet coziness of the valley in wintertime.
Deep sleep and potent dreaming in starlit-silence, without screens, email, and the daily buzz of city life.
Sweet, intimate community and the opportunity to align with your fellow witch-folk for friendship, networking, collaboration, and mischief.
One-on-one work with Leah and Riyana (by appointment)
Our somatic movement pieces will be led by Stefana Serafina, M.A., who is an embodiment educator and embodied empowerment facilitator. She is the founder of Intuitive Body and Dance, a platform providing women with resources, experiences, and education for returning to their bodies’ inherent intelligence, creative and intuitive genius, and sensuous wisdom. Stefana's work weaves together embodied inquiry and expressive arts approaches, body and nature-centric practices, women’s sensuality traditions, and earth-centered spirituality. Based in the San Francisco Bay, Stefana has been teaching in California, Europe, and Central America since 2009, and, more recently, online. She is the host of The Embodied Way Podcast, and authors the Embodied Way Blog.
AccoMmodations & Food
Bell Valley Retreat Center...
You will be staying at Bell Valley Retreat, a beautiful private ranch with magical mountain pond, swimming dock, and deck for sultry sunny days (though we're much more likely to be immersed in the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof at this time of year -- its a sweet time to go inward and be with story, song, and community).
There are a range of sleeping options, from shared dorms and rooms to your own private room.
Bell Valley is a majestic setting located in the serene hills of the Anderson Valley. The space is both rustic and elegant, and is truly magical.
The 600-acre venue includes old growth trees, lush gardens, fire pits, swimming pond, varied, unique accommodations and access to over 600 acres of wild California land and more than 5 miles of developed trails to hike and explore. Bell Valley is home to a myriad of wild animals including bobcats, foxes, pigs, turkeys, grouse, quail, and many others, and holds redwood forests, oak knolls,the Navarro River, wineries, breweries, restaurants, and farms.
A note about the season...February has been known to be blessed with the presence of rain. It is a time when the land is refreshed and new life appears. It is a beautiful time to have your senses enlivened by the fresh new growth, and it is a time to wear more layers, to go within, to allow the chill of winter to provide us a reason to gather close...around the fire...
Cozy Communal Space
A cozy spot shared with 6-8 people in the Bunk House. The Bunk House is a freshly renovated space with a separate entrance from the main building, with its own private deck, kitchen, and full bath (with claw-foot tub and shower). The Bunk House’s unique layout centers around an octagonal living room with an open kitchen, creating a space filled with natural light -- it's a great place for a group of friends or women's circle, should you decide to come together. We also have some shared spaces in the Barn, just over the knoll. Includes all meals, herbs and materials, guided workshops and daily ritual.
Deluxe Semi-Private Space
A semi-private room in one of the four original guest rooms in the Toll House, which is a Grand Victorian nestled in the center of the Valley. Originally a stop on the toll road from Boonville to Ukiah (the town “over the hill”), the Toll House served, in later years, as a restaurant, bed & breakfast, and residence. Includes all meals, herbs and materials, guided workshops and daily ritual.
Your own sacred sanctuary in the Toll House: the Porch Room, the Green Room, the Red Room, or the Blue Room. Includes all meals, herbs and materials, guided workshops and daily ritual.
$2000 Support Tree Sisters & The Whale Dreamer
Above and beyond your own private room, this registration choice supports work-trade and scholarship opportunities for activists, single mothers, people of color, queer folk, students, and more. We aim to make this work as accessible as possible to everyone, and enrolling at this rate helps spread the Story of the Witch far and wide into all communities and with people from all walks of life.
Just announced! New Glamping Option in Luxe Bell Tents
Just bring your bag and the rest is waiting for you. You will sleep in a beautiful bell tent on a platform with two twin beds, actual memory foam comfy cot beds-- no air mattresses or thermarests here. Linens, blankets, towels, and pillows are all provided. Tents are stocked with fans, heaters, and bed foot warmers. You will sleep in nature with luxurious comfort. You will have access to lounging indoors around a fireplace, indoor and outdoor showering options, and hanging out in any of our cozy communal spaces during the day as well as enjoying your own glamping deck space.
$975... special discounted rate!
Our kitchen with for the retreat will be Sarah from the Great Kosmic Kitchen, an herbalist, private chef, and teacher who lives in Sonoma County. Sarah has studied herbalism and culinary arts at Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, California and Herbalism, The Florida School of Holistic Living in Orlando, Herb Pharm in Oregon, and apprenticed at Tassajara’s Zen Kitchen. Her food is absolutely divine-- she incorporates traditional methods of cooking, fermented foods, fresh, local, organic ingredients, and herbal healing into every meal. Everything you eat all week is designed to be nourishing on all levels -- heart and soul, mind and body.
Please e-mail us for a copy of the proposed menu and plan to accordingly for special diets. All food is gluten- free, and mostly plant-based, although some meals will include optional dairy and animal-based protein.
The Circle is incomplete without you...
Are you ready to join us?
The Story of the Witch is open to people of all genders, sexual histories, and backgrounds. There are no prerequisites for this retreat, and we encourage folks new to magic, ritual, and storytelling, and experienced practitioners to attend.
This retreat is an immersive deep-dive.
You will have an opportunity to explore your edges.
You will discover, or rediscover, or uncover new forms of magic.
You will have the opportunity to lean into a community where you can explore transforming belief systems and stories that no longer serve you.
There is space for laughter and tears.
You may meet a soul mate. You will definitely find community.
If you're a "yes" to all of that, we would love to have you!
Questions? Inspirations? Did we forget something? Please do contact us below.