In 20 years of participating in retreats, workshops and women’s circles as both participant and staff I can tell you this retreat was like nothing I’ve encountered before. Not only is the retreat in a gorgeous location, we are fed amazing food every meal and meet amazing soul sisters.
This is profound work and Sera is masterful in creating and holding the container. However, our Souls are the ones creating the perfect experience each woman is seeking. My soul wanted quiet, rest, dancing, singing and painting. I listened to my Soul’s callings and she held me when I cried. What became so clear during this retreat was the many ways I have rejected parts of myself without realizing it.
And here’s what I know now... There is a place within my being that knows love and experienced acceptance like never before. I offer love to myself every day now. It is the deepest nourishment I have ever felt and feels ever present. I have finally come home to myself.
This work is life affirming and life altering. Sera weaves her soul’s magic, wisdom and guidance throughout the retreat, touching on real life issues that will move you to tears and open your eyes and heart to a new way of relating to both yourself and the world.
My experience at Soul Fire was deeply internal, personal, profound and extremely difficult to articulate. Mama Earth, my Soul, those of my sisters and Sera prepared and held the safest, most sacred space I have EVER entered! Our souls frequently communed without words. I am so privileged & honored to have witnessed the courageous WORK and transformation of my phenomenal soul sisters. I am so blessed to have been held, loved, supported, protected and KEPT by these beautiful, bad-ass women! They are forever, deeply entwined in my heart of hearts.
Before Soul Fire, I had done soul work with my Soul and felt I knew her. At Soul Fire, I realized what I had experienced was like a single ice cube if my lady is a giant iceberg. I discovered the beauty, vastness, intensity & power of my Soul in this beautiful, holy soul-space. I communed with Mama Earth and re-membered. I began to trust Mama & my Soul with ALL of me. The journey was unpredictable, messy, painful and terrifying but it was also beautiful, hilarious, exhilarating, healing, glorious and full of peace.
Returning to everyday life has been a plethora of emotions & challenges. I find my way by stepping back, returning to Soul Space, remembering the trust & guidance I found there and listening to my Soul. I have not conquered all of my demons and there have been no big outward changes in my day to day life circumstances. Yet, I am more authentically and organically ME. I am embodying my soul, healing, growing – BECOMING -bit by bit. I am grateful beyond words for Soul Fire.
- Deby B
Soul Fire for me was a reminder. Within the soul space held by Sera and her Red Lady, I remembered my soul. I remembered that I am not only human, but also Divine, with a sovereign soul that was patiently waiting for me to remember her, to embrace the innate feminine wisdom she holds, and to embody our connection.
From the moment I remembered my Divine sovereign soul, I knew I would never again turn away from her. You see, our souls do not turn away from us, we turn away from our souls, and when we do, we forget our power and our purpose. It is time to return to our souls, it is time to remember.
I made a sacred vow to my soul and consecrated our connection when I submerged my naked body in the Ivy River. As I emerged from its waters, I could feel all of the ancestors who once resided on that sacred land beside the riverbank witnessing me in that moment. I then heard the words, "never the same again, never more me in this life", and they became my Soul Fire mantra, describing the complete transformation I experienced during my time spent with Sera and her Red Lady.
Sera is able to hold space for others, without ever making it about her ego, and this in my opinion is a rare gift in today's all too often ego-driven spiritual circles.
So I say to each woman reading this, if you need a reminder that you are not only human, but also Divine, with a sovereign soul who is just waiting for you to remember, to reconnect, and to rise, then by all means, do yourself and this Mother Earth of ours a favor and get your ass to Soul Fire! You'll never be the same again, but will never be more authentically you.
From My Divine Sovereign Soul to Yours,
"I wasn't sure what to expect when I applied to Soul Fire, I only knew that I had to. I trusted Sera and honored her work, and it seemed like a natural next step. In retrospect, I see that it was all my Soul; all Her. My Soul was in the driver's seat, knowing what I needed; that Soul Fire was where She wanted to be revealed. And oh my goodness, was She ever! The experience at Soul Fire Retreat transformed and impacted me in ways that are hard to put into language. I feel like, with the group of women (now my forever-bonded soul sisters), along with the magnificent and beautiful nature, and Sera's brilliant and compassionate guidance... I was unearthed. My essence became felt and known and set free. It was gentle and breathtaking and unmistakably powerful. It was the most real I think I've ever felt. I merged with authentic me; with HER. And my life since that time has been a grand journey of The REAL. If you feel called to go, there's a reason. Summon the bravery to make it happen!"
I knew how real this was, how raw, how powerful, how natural... how it should be and will be... forever my life and soul has come to the surface of life. Present, not hidden. Right here, right now and will never hide again!
Thank you my soul, my love. We are here now... to rejoice in our rebirth, our connection, our devotion. I appreciate your perspective. We both have a difficult time ahead of us but we have the necessary tools to endure the storm and grow from the transformation.
We are carrying an eternal flame that we need to protect from going out so that we can help kindle the fire in others. That is Soul Fire Sisterhood. We have been entrusted by the Universe to protect this sacred flame... and knowing how important it is to keep it going... we are firekeepers in a metaphorical sense.
- Mary Jo
What we cannot accomplish alone we may accomplish together.
Soulfire brought me into the option of connecting with my soul & mama earth in a 100% authentic, real, deep way in this lifetime. This was Relationship building with a capital G.O.D. goooooood. Not all of it was pretty – humans are messy. Between all the feels, it was, is, and remains Real. My capacity for emotional depth and breadth has altered forever for the good.
This sisterhood of amazing humans was truly a full measure of cross-pollinating soul-seed germinating doulagardeners that support(ed) the (re) birth of my soul into this life with a resounding dance induced sweaty aaahhhhh…. Sera brought the container for the infinite space to us, supported by the Blue Ridge Mountains and a river full of life.
Now is the deep, inviting, loving, and challenging, work of building the soul space with my home, my daily life, my loves, our world – connecting the dots across it all. Because the laundry is real, our challenges don’t go away while we are gone. Yet, my branches are unfurling. I have more connection to my body, my worth, and my voice, myself. Habits don’t change on a dime, but roots are planted and with self-care, watering, and enough sunlight my trunk will increase its strength and reach into the future with love .
I want you to know that you are loved. Whoever you are. This world has arms big enough to wrap around the entirely to you and all your pieces throughout eternity. She is waiting and she is the most beautiful courageous deep embodiedness you will every meet. Mama earth is waiting for you to say hello.
Soul Fire was Beautiful. The beauty was magnified in the lushness of Bend of Ivy, in the deliciousness of Dava's cooking, in the simplicity of our lodgings, in the wealth of wisdom shared by my Soul sisters and in the startling presence held by Sera.
Sera and her Lady held a container so palpably powerful that you felt safe, accepted and encouraged to be You. I felt open and ready to experience whatever my Soul presented to me. I am ever grateful to have been a part of something truly extraordinary.
My Soul regards this experience as a true initiation into a new way of Being. With Her. She and I, Together. In a more conscious and experiential way. Together navigating the way forward. I don't know exactly where we are going. But She does. All is unfolding. Am I uncomfortable? Do I still get scared? Yes. Was I uncomfortable, unsettled and confused sometimes at Soul Fire? Yes. But now there is a richness that permeates me. A sense of belonging that continues to grow. This is gold to me. Belonging. Not belonging, feels like one of my core wounds. But taking shape within me now is this knowing. I do belong. With Her. Moment by moment, I continue to come Home to Her.
SO... if you chose to attend Soul Fire, be prepared to be challenged, unnerved, shaken up, let loose. To laugh, cry, scream and dance your ass off. To dive deep, contemplate, and experience the natural world within you and around you at every turn. AND be embraced by a love you may not be too familiar with but have longed for all your life. Make no mistake, this retreat is a gift and a reckoning. Be Brave. Behold Yourself. Behold Others. In Truth.
At first, making the decision to attend Soul Fire was a no-brainer. Of course, I would attend. It was the next logical step in my journey. Then....doubt started to creep in...
I had read Sera's books and resonated with what she said on so many levels. I, too, was part of the "new age movement" and had learned all about channeling other energies. I had relied on this practice in my business and I loved it!
Then I took Sera's Shift Network class....
It opened me up to a new way of thinking and communicating with the Spirit realm. Communicate with my own Soul???
So, I tried to talk to my Soul.... and I got NOTHING! What was I to do? Where was my guidance? I was in a huge state of confusion!
As I dove deeper into the decision to attend Soul Fire, I read the testimonials from so many Soul Fire Sisters. I was touched on such a deep level...crying through early every testimonial. I knew the answer was Soul Fire, but I was so scared! What if I got there and I still couldn't receive communication from my Divine Soul?!
I knew my body and Soul were pulling me to Soul Fire, but I was still uncertain about communication with my Soul.
The week of the retreat was magical, to say the least.
All of the women were Amazing! Every person's roommate seemed to be Divinely selected. We were all a perfect fit! The meditations were powerful and eye-opening.
And, my Divine Soul communicated with me. She revealed so much and helped me understand myself on a deeper level.
Was the integration with her easy? Yes and No.
She was and always has been more than willing to be connected to me...Integrated With Me. At Soul Fire, I more fully recognized how I have not included Her in my daily life. All of that has lead me to where I am today, so it's still perfect.
I can say, without a Doubt that Soul Fire is the signal most important thing I have done in my life! Is life easier? Well...there are still trials and tribulations, but I am more informed than I have ever been (when I allow myself to be informed).
I see things with a greater awareness.
I feel and Know more Love in my Life.
I am more Aware of the little things that happen around me.
When challenges arise, I process them in a much better way.
Dear Sister, if you are ready for your life to Change, attending Soul Fire is the best thing I can recommend.
Sending you So Much Love on your Journey!
Soul Fire was life changing for me in a way that I couldn’t have imagined. It connected me to an inner strength, inner guidance and an understanding about my Soul’s journey that I don’t believe I could have accessed without my experience with Sera and the incredible sister-women who attended.I came to the event with no expectations, just an open mind and heart. I was pleasantly surprised that I walked away filled with such unbelievable insight and empowerment.
For me, as a woman of color and a woman over 50, there is so much conversation about "sisterhood" and "tribe" that sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. Oftentimes, those terms get used, but their essence is not felt by everyone, unconditionally. This experience broke through any of the layers of superficiality that might exist in other groups and took us deep into a soul-level realm of healing and connecting that felt ancestral, wise and deeply divine. I will never forgot the life-altering magic that took place over those incredible days. I "met myself" at Soul Fire and "met" other women at their deepest levels too.
Another very important aspect of Soul Fire for me was that it was not about Sera. Other types of personal development work I've encountered have a guru-worship feeling attached to them which is off-putting and unhealthy in my opinion. I felt the exact opposite at Soul Fire. I truly believe that Sera is the embodiment of an old soul "way-shower" whose commitment it is to shine a light for us to discover our own inner greatness. At Soul Fire, I was introduced not to someone else's ideology - but to my own internal guidance system. I caught a brilliant and beautiful glimpse of my truest and deepest self. And I plan on continuing to grow in that understanding with the support of this beautiful community of fellow soul seekers.
- Karen C.
Woman of the fire,
Let us be raw.
Charred with vulnerability,
Burning in naked truth.
Her love is thick and oozing. It stings and bites and preys. If you care not to know the delicate thrill of being truly alive, turn away now. We do not hold back anymore. So this is your warning; enter if you dare. Tear open your heart; lay your body on the earth sobbing and tender. Storm and thunder and shatter every wall you have built around your Soul. She will drink the blood straight from your veins. She will kiss every tender molecule of your skin until you finally feel how truly loved you are. But do not worry now, my Lioness. Do not start to overthink it. You and I, we are meant to feel like this: loud and wild in a world of quiet lies. Grateful for every breathe. Dancing on every street corner. Be weird with me! Be wild with me! And let us soak in all that this universe has to offer,
- Kate J.
My Soul Fire was LIT
The spirit of this journey began the very moment I heard the “yes” inside and committed to go. I experienced profound immediate effects. My Soul’s voice became more distinct in the crowd of my internal dialogue. She didn’t become louder, nor did she change in any way. As a result of honoring Her, She was simply no longer drowned out by everything and everyone else.
My capacity to listen and follow through grew in tenacity, depth and courage. I felt a sudden deepening and profound sense of permission to trust myself. Something REAL and something BIG was transpiring, and I hadn’t even gone yet.
I knew it was Sera holding the field of this consciousness. I felt her SOUL’s intention and devotion within it all, and that amplified my TRUST in her and the retreat. I also felt a growing anticipation and excitement for the time we would share in the space together.
I had no idea what to expect, but felt a calm knowing that I would walk through (or minimally crawl, or possibly dance) and it would change me, and that it would be …beneficial.
I choose that word, beneficial, because it’s favorable and good, but also grounded and tangible. Like my Soul.
But then I just gotta say, holy fucking fire. That’s truly how I sum up my experience.
I felt a deep, tender invitation and permission to drop everything, and to listen to my Beloved Soul with my whole body and infinite heart’s devotion. I was all in.
All the disparate streams of my life converged into the clear, central, loving, embodied being of me. I will be forever grateful. I bow in reverence for this experience.
That week in the woods was basically an exquisite culmination and pivot point. I could (and do) say “before Soul Fire” and “after Soul Fire” when speaking about my life now.
Because of Soul Fire, because of being ALL IN, because of Sera, because those precious SOUL SISTERS who walked in that fire as my companions, within a secluded period of one week, hidden in those green hills, I awakened to my Life.
with boundless and infinite love of creation,
- Ronit Ashkenazi
Before Soul Fire I had felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff. Just standing there. With a strong desire to jump. But a fear holding me back. Soul Fire was taking the leap! Jumping into the abyss and just trusting that my wings will carry me. And they did. Literally.
Soul Fire has this perfect alchemy to facilitate the most powerful, deep, brave, courageous work. For me, Soul Fire was about climbing into the places that held me back and breathing fire onto them until they became gateways for transformation. It was an invitation to face the places of pain and resistance within that I had avoided for a long time. It was about reclaiming my power and using it, fully, in service of Love. It was about deep and profound connection. It was about Love - raw, real, deep, true Love! It was about learning to receive again. Reclaiming my exiled and repressed parts and welcoming them home. Self forgiveness in the face of past betrayals. Vulnerability in the pure, embodied sense of the word. It was about showing up and letting myself be seen. Fully and deeply. No more hiding! It was about saying YES to Love and YES to Life!
As the week unfolded I fell more and more deeply in Love with my Soul. Her presence. Her beauty. Her fire. Her gentle, yet strong power. Her pure devotion to Love and to me. This meant falling in love, deeply with myself. Again and again.
I have so much Love and gratitude for everyone who put their Soul into this retreat. To Sera and her Red Lady who just ooze with integrity and whose fiery and humble presence invited us all to show up and let our Souls lead the way. Sera, your magic is powerful and your Love infinite! To Jess, Tara and Athena for the steadfast, oh so safe, loving space that was held with such exquisite care and created the sacred container of this retreat! To Mama Earth for her unconditional, loving, wide open invitation to be held and nurtured through the process! To my Soul Fire Sisters, thank you for your courage and your brave work! Witnessing your personal evolution, and our collective rebirth, was an honour. And, to my Soul. Thank you. YOU made this possible. I know that now......
Since that magical week I am learning to live in better alignment with my Soul. Things have had to be rearranged in life in order to make space for Her bigness. That which no longer serves is being shed. And it is a hard, painful, yet empowering process. I'm also more aware of when I'm out of alignment so that I can re-calibrate and come back home. We get to just keep coming home. Over and over again. To ourselves. To our Souls. And it's easier now when I find myself in the pain of misalignment because I have these beautiful Sisters doing the work alongside me. And I can tap into our Love in any moment. One intentional breath can take me back to the magic. And with that I feel less alone. I have an entire Sisterhood beside me. Brave, beautiful women all doing the work together.
Soul Fire is not just a week long retreat. It's an invitation into an eternal Sisterhood. One that you have actually been a part of for eternity. And one that feels oh so good to come home to.
With so much Love and all of my Soul,
Before I left for Soul Fire, my dad asked me what I hoped to get out of it. I told him it was going to be the best thing I’ve ever done and that I would make lifelong friends. He laughed, a little worried about my high expectations. But I just knew. And yes! It was the best thing I’ve ever done, and I made lifelong friends.
I went to Soul Fire when I was feeling inexplicably trapped by my life. I was longing for something unnameable. I felt like the stirrings of a thrilling awakening were just under the surface of my numbness. Soul Fire led me back into myself and ignited my fire, and I will be forever fucking grateful.
Over the retreat week I gently and then forcefully started remembering who I really am and finally received the permission, guidance, time, companions, and ironclad safe space to BE who I am. I practiced receiving. I received unspeakable gifts from the land, the other women, from Sera and her warrior team. The words I wrote during that week and the women I spent that week with are so deeply precious and profound; my heart still swells with love and gratitude and disbelief.
The retreat itself was flawlessly orchestrated; the week unfolded lovingly, slowly, hilariously, magically and with sacred intention. And by the end--BAM! All the women in our circle were volcanoes erupting with their fiery, raging, brilliant souls.
Logistics were handled flawlessly and with total flair. I cherish Sera and her outstanding support team. The retreat center was charming and comfortable. The homemade food was delicious, plentiful, and deeply nourishing. The masseuse Christa was transformative and healing. The land at Bend of Ivy was so enchanted and supportive it blew our fucking minds. The other women ranged in age from 18 to 70-something. They were amazing. We laughed a LOT.
Sera guided our soul reclamation process with ease and humor and a massive, otherworldly expertise. She just KNOWS. She did things for me that I can’t explain to you; you’ll just have to experience it for yourself (if you’re open and brave enough to receive). She and her support team guarded and protected us in a way I have never experienced. It was the only reason I was able to GO there for the first time in my life. I felt safe.
My experience was deeply private and hard to explain, but I want to try. I finally smashed the walls I had spent so many years building up and I felt my soul flood in. I welcomed in the primal and mysterious parts within me that I had been avoiding, stuffing deep down inside, turning my back on. I felt my royalty and my power expand beyond my body, beyond the building, and beyond the earth. I flirted and laughed and played outside with my soul body. I crossed into the fairy realms and got lost and remembered where I came from. I vowed to spend more time in woodland creeks, where my soul feels most at home. I saw and felt the solidarity and shadows of the women who walked in the dark woods before me and the ones who will walk after me. I connected to the earth and the river and to all the scary, beautiful, tragic truths within me that I needed to hear. Always a little lonely as an only child, I finally found the sisters I have longed for and knew I deserved. I finally stopped fucking around in regret and excuses and fear, and allowed myself to be a dancer again. After years of infertility, I wrote a letter to my future baby’s soul under the full moon and sobbed until I could barely breathe.
I am still trying to integrate my experience and my reclaimed magic and my soul into my daily life. I’m not going to soften it; that week and the months following have been fucking brutal. Reuniting and embodying my soul came with a seismic wave of excruciating pain and loss for parts of my life that I loved fiercely but knew I could no longer return to. I feel like I am painstakingly realigning my life, and on good days I feel relief and trust in this process. On bad days I feel confused as hell. As I navigate all the uncertainty and grief, Sera has given me the tools I need to check in with my soul and course-correct on a daily basis.
I have never felt so solid on my two feet and in my body. I am learning that I can do hard things. I feel excited because I get to be ME for my whole life, and I'm a badass. I have felt inside how worthy I am and what I am capable of. At Soul Fire, I unleashed my power and magic. There are witnesses.
– Quinn P
Soulfire was a week of quiet reflection, deep connection, lots of tears, laughter, dance, beauty and revelation.I was afraid it wasn’t for me, but I went, after my soul revealed its desire. I feel that I grew and remembered the me I had forgotten. It was not easy for me to be there. There were moments in which I wanted to flee, but I stayed. It was just what I needed, but it wasn’t easy; some of the best things never are. I know it was different for everyone there. At some point I felt a peace that I haven’t felt in a very long time.
Coming back to this reality was very hard for me and still is at times, but I recently went through something difficult and felt that the reason I made it through intact was due to that very precious week with Sera and my soul sisters. The lodge and food were also amazing!!!
I want to be back at Soul Fire.
I want to wrap myself in the embrace of Her, as She is There.
I long for Soul Fire Retreat again and again, like a deep first Soul Love.
It is All That.
Lusciously all that
A LOT of retreats.
Yes ma'am a lot.
And there are so many that are good
I know, have a felt-sense knowing, of the "noise" - on some level - extra instruments and chords that just don't need to be there,
a sense of unnecessary filling-in at most "retreats".
This ain't no regular retreat sisters
And here is the deal: this is not about "selling" Soul Fire by vilifying anything else
not at all.
But it's important
really important to say
This. Place. - Soul Fire Retreat Place - Is. Only. The. Soul.
I write this (and it's taken awhile to do so......and I write a lot)
with tears streaming down my face
the Love IS So Real There.
You will know.
Your body will tell you so.
Your body will say "yes" or "no"
the humble truth from me is
each and every day I miss Soul Fire Retreat
and the brilliance of my Sisters, there.
In a world rich and ripe and running-over with personal growth work
and feminine capitalism
and opportunities for meaningful work
there is nothing like Soul Fire Retreat.
My life is full of meaning and meaningful work
and was before Soul Fire.
being at Soul Fire - being with Sera - experiencing her and Her - actually lifted the veil of mundane,
There is Magic that I simply didn't believe was real,
and experience in my body
to be real, so real
and it's the most sovereign, spacious place.
I want every single woman to have this gift
I want it for the young women too.
I wish I could smear my prayer-bead-tears of Gratitude
for all the women of Soul Fire Retreat
for the magical land
all over these words I write
and they could be received as an instant blessing
that the Soul Realm is always waiting, ready and sweetly beckoning us all
with our own swan song
to come home to Her
I can honestly know of no more sacred ground
more sacred well
more sacred space
more sacred Sister Teacher
and Soul Fire Retreat.
If you are reading this
I want you to know it too.
Deepest blessing to you
- Jenny T
Soul Fire was nourishing, exciting, heart-breaking, real and raw in all the right ways. I felt seen, heard, and witnessed on a deep, soul level by people I had only known for days. Soul Fire is a place where you can leave behind who you “should be” and get the opportunity to taste, feel, and see the real you. Sera opens the door for you to reignite the fire in your soul. The fire of my soul is alive and strong again, and I am forever grateful. If you’re thinking about doing Soul Fire - do it, you and your soul deserve it.
My experience at Soul Fire Retreat 2018 was nothing short of the most authentic, profound week of awakening to my truest self, my very own divine soul. Truth is, I believe, for the first time in my 56 years of life, I met my truest human body self too, and found out, I fucking love her too! I am loving this new way of being on the planet, living as an embodied soul, letting my beloved Soul lead the way. This was no spiritual, heady experience for me, though, I am very familiar with spiritual awakenings. It was deep and raw and real, like the earth; an organic awakening to my Soul and her body.
Through, simply being her very authentic self, true to her soul and true to her human, while facilitating our session, Sera assisted us, me into the opening of our heart center so wide that divine love, who is our divine soul, who is our truest essence, stepped forward to connect with me. And this was the beginning of my present journey to being restored to my soul’s story.
Soul Fire experience on the sacred grounds of Bend of Ivy, for me, seemed to take place between worlds, where the veils are thin, allowing us, allowing me, to intimately meet, hang out, love and dance with our Souls. My experience was a pulling back of a veil within my own heart that had been separating me from my own Divinity. Who knew, Her first words spoken to be on the very first Soul Fire session, “Be & Burn,” would become the most beautiful way of life; a Phoenix way of life, for sure.
- Susan D.
Get your Soul and Ass to Soul Fire!
You will be Nourished, Tested, Held, Loved, Seen, Pushed and given EXACTLY what You and YOUR Soul needs.
The unseen worlds provided to you in the space so Eloquently created by Sera, her Divine Red Soul and Lady, are the richest, deepest and most profound I have ever experienced within ANY group setting…..TRULY!!!
The level of Wisdom shared, the laughter, the tears and Joy still resonate within my Being months later. The Land and Sisterhood sing within me still. The unfolding continues with Grace and Intensity. Soul Fire is and always BE in Me.
You deserve to come back home to YOU and YOUR SOUL. You deserve what is REAL. You deserve to Experience Your Heart and Being Fully.
Get Your Soul and Ass to Soul Fire!
Love you with all my being,
- H xo
Since I came back from the retreat, I have been asked many times what it was like. What did you do? Was it like a yoga retreat? Did you meditate a lot? What kinds of exercises were offered? What did it bring you? What did you gain?
I smile in response. Those questions take me back to that place, and once again I am sitting in circle with all the beautiful women, I am listening to the sound of the river, I am smelling the delicious food that I am about to eat…It is so hard to put it into words. How can one explain the mystery?
But, here is what I can say:
For quite some time I had been on a journey. A deep, dark, intense journey within me. At some point, I sensed I was being guided towards something…and started to feel that in order for to go further, I would need support. So, I began to look for women’s circles and retreats to attend. I went to a couple of circles. It did not feel right. I looked at some retreats. On paper, they all offered what it seemed like things that I could like and gain. It made sense. However, they were not making me feel.
You see, although I couldn’t describe exactly what I was looking for, I knew it was not something that could come from learning new techniques or practices or studies. I knew it was MORE. Something more essential. More real…above all, somehow, I knew how I wanted it to make me feel – in my body.
So, I remained open.
And, then, I found the Soul Fire…
I found it (or it found me) a week before the scheduled date. As soon as I saw it, shear fear took over me. An unreasonable fear, not less real for that. I did not have to reflect or inquire, I knew beyond reason that it was for me to go.
What? You felt shear panic and that was how you knew it was calling you?
Yes. You see, by then I had attended a fair amount of workshops, therapeutic sessions and all kinds of self-knowing practices throughout my life. So many that fear of them, of what might come up or happen was not something that those kinds of things would trigger in me. Don’t get me wrong, in the journey that I mentioned that I had been before Soul Fire, fear was constantly making an appearance. And every time serving me as a masterful teacher. So, when it ringed through me as I contemplated the red words in Sera’s website, I knew I was about to face a profound experience. One that could bring me immense liberation.
I knew it was time to surrender. To surrender for real.
Well, what better place to go through it than in a safe space, with other fierce women, eating nourishing food, held by sacred land and being guided by someone you already trust, in your core, even if you haven’t meat in person?
Although my better judgment told me not to set high expectations, especially since I didn’t even actually know what I was looking for, as you can see, I had them. I could feel, from deep inside me, that something profound was going to come from it.
I was right.
I needed it – the entire experience. It was not an easy one. It was raw, intense, messy, beautiful and magical. And as I danced with all of it, I was guided into surrendering. There I found it – I found what had been missing, what I had being longing for. I felt Her.
What did you gain? What was the purpose of it?
Before the retreat, I had already been dancing with my soul, already walking towards her and understanding (mostly mentally) that she is my beloved and the most important thing – more important than knowing what will happen in life, success, results, this or that.
However, that is completely different from actually experiencing it as truth in you. Embodying her, feeling this realness with all your senses…that is just a magnificent moment – beyond words.
It can be so hard for us to actually open ourselves to it. But, it is worth everything.
So, if you are here, reading my words now, contemplating this decision, I invite you to listen carefully and tenderly to your heart. There you will know, beyond reason, if Soul Fire, at this time, is calling you. If it is, welcome!
- Mariah Antunes
When you know, you’ll find your way to Soul Fire. It calls you. It beckons you. It beckons your Sister Souls together. It chooses you, you don’t choose it. Listen. Listen to Her. You’ll know when the timing is right. Your Soul will call to you. She will guide you to the retreat and guide you through the experience. When considering whether or not to apply, separate out the noise, the mind and your ego’s chatter and get centered and consult with Her, go deep within to feel the knowing, or the hesitation. If it’s not there, the knowing, the calling, then continue doing your work in other ways. She will tell you when the time is right. She will call for your fiery Soul in another time, in another way to reunite with your sisters to remember, to create, to release and to rekindle the bonds.
If She does call to you now…
…for the most profound and fiery of experiences. One that will bend all the rules, defy a mind-based understanding but She will feel at home, at peace, in love, full and complete. She will show you the way. Listen to Her along your journey. Listen to your Sisters. Listen to Mama Earth. The wisdom, the joy, the fear, the pain, the tears, the play, the fun, the laugher, the anger, the frustration, it will all be there. If you let it, if you dig deep and go there, jumping in with your whole bad ass sassy self, the experience will dig deep, uproot what needs to be uprooted to connect and re-bond you to Her, to your Sisters. It will help you remember everything, so you never forget again in this lifetime.
(I had so many insights, deep connections to my Soul (Gold) and made more progress in a single week on embodiment and connection with Her than I have in my entire 42 years. It was the best week of my life!!!!!!)
And then, afterwards, everything that isn’t in alignment with Her will shake loose from your life. It will be a bumpy, glorious, messy ride. But what unfolds afterwards is nothing short of extraordinary…if you allow it. It is one that aligns your life circumstances and experiences with that of truth and loving support and alignment with Her. No greater gift can be held in this lifetime, in your human’s experience.
And if you’re not ready for Soul Fire…
…it’s okay. Heed that message; don’t disregard it. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong. The right time will come in the perfect synchronicity that it was meant to… listen to Her and let her guide you through what is right for you and what She needs. You won’t be disappointed.
Forever and in loving, bright shiny Soul-fieriness,
Holy fucking shit. This retreat is the BOMB.
Set off an explosion of Divine Love within me for my Soul -- our reconnection was absolute bliss.
Triggered a chain of fireworks in my mind -- challenging what I thought was true, what I thought was possible, what I thought Soul-led living was or would be. To be honest, it was (and is) totally wacky, hilarious, challenging, necessary, fun, sacred, sensual, and exhausting at times.
Blasted me to new levels of awareness, insight, and dimensional realities -- beyond time and space and all the rest, yet fully here and now, embodied.
Annihilated the need to continue searching, working, trying to Be or Do anything other than Live my Truth and Live my Love for my Soul.
Expanded my awareness of what Divine Love coming through Me, as Me, feels like, looks like, creates like, lives like, loves like.
As for the after-effects, what has settled in my body, mind, and psyche is deep peace, deep trust, deep connection, deep Love, deep reverence, deep feeling, deep transformation, deep transmutation, deep re-membering, and a sense that my life is forever altered in the best way possible. I Am Here Now.
I wish all the same for You.
“This retreat was unlike anything I have ever experienced (and I have been on many women’s retreats). Soul Fire took me to a place I longed to be and yet never could quite find. Sera’s gentle, yet CRAZY FREAKIN POWERFUL guidance guided me to my own Sovereignty. At times it was dark and uncertain and others were blissful and magical. But ALL of it was natural, organic and mine. This was a new kind of empowerment that I had never felt before. And will always be with me. I feel more at home in my Body Being and in my life than I ever have. The women that were at Soul Fire will forever be my Sister Souls. They provided me with a fierce and protective love that I feel each woman needs to go in to herself this deeply. Soul Fire to me was not a week long women’s retreat, it is an enlivened portal that will continue to live on. Something I always have access to. If that weren’t enough, we were surrounded by the most beautiful natural environment that supported me deeply on my journey. Couple ALL of that with scrumptious food and TONS OF LAUGHS AND FUN. If you feel the inner call, I recommend this retreat to you Dear Sister Soul, as each woman that has been to Soul Fire Before you will be right along side you cheering you and your Soul On. I am forever soulful grateful to Sera and the work She is doing in the world. It is needed now more than ever!
Love a Woman With Her Soul on Fire.
It's either your Destiny to attend SoulFire, or it isn't. Your Soul knows if you're meant to be there, meant to join with a specific tribe of women and weave together the alchemic tapestry of the Divine Feminine. I wish I could tell you your Soul is ready, that you're the one who will make the circle complete, but I can't.
What I can tell you, is that if you find yourself in the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounded by sisters you never knew you had, then dive in. Hold nothing back. Surrender to Sera, to Gaia, to your own Divinity. Cause mama, if you don't, She will know and She will bring you to your knees.
For me, SoulFire marked the complete and utter dissolution of who "I" was. I went in with all my preconceived notions, my conditioning, my acculturation and I came out an empty vessel, a seed, an embryo.
I can feel my future self growing inside me. She is strong, wise, loving and fierce. She is all these things because she allowed herself to be fully rent, torn apart, shattered, incinerated and from that comes the woman I am weaving into being.
I feel her deep in my belly, she whispers to me, "Beloved co-creatrix, stay open, FEEL everything, suck the marrow from your life. Feed me your joy and your sorrow. Your agony and your ecstasy. I want it all."
Are you ready to allow yourself to open to that kind of Love? That kind of Truth? That kind of Fire? Then by all means apply and She will provide exactly what you need.
PS- If you find yourself walking through a meadow that leads to the river and happen upon a tree that looks like a Yoni, hug her. Hold her. Find pleasure in Her. She is my mother and has much to offer.
Deep bows to you as you make your way to the woods...you are blessed indeed.
Its taken me a while to put words to my experience at Soul Fire. It was an experience I'll never forget, but forever cherish. It was the first time my Soul had full permission to be expressed...and that in itself almost scared me.
Throughout the retreat, I was pretty introverted. My Soul wanted me to get to know her without distractions. I sometimes moved into the company of others cause I was unfamiliar with my Soul...her bigness....her divine beauty.
I wondered why I was never loved before in this space with her so present. I had a lot of bridging to do for all the years I abandoned her to the voice of others.
At Soul Fire, I let her play and take me on journeys in nature I would never have fathomed. I felt like we were dating and that I was being courted. I was falling in love..with my divine essence. And at the same time afraid of all she was and questioning if it was my ego playing games with me.
As the days went on, she got louder. I could hear her better and feel her aliveness pulsating deep within. Surrendering to her felt deeply erotic and sacred.
She would guide me to do things that I never would imagine myself doing, but somehow ending up right where she wanted me in order to set her free and stand alongside me.
Sera was a facilitator like no other. She held space in such a way that was humbling yet potently powerful. She knew how to pierce our resistance, pulling out our own power to drop us in to parts of ourselves we never dared to go previously. She made it safe and was the pinnacle model of what honouring the sacred looked like.
I will never forget my experiences at Soul Fire, but as I returned home and time passed I realized that’s exactly what it was - Soul Fire.
Even though I didn't feel as connected to all the women when I was at the retreat, it was the coming together after that continued to deepen and mark this sacred sisterhood between a tribe which no words can define. The work continues and the space is held and the love is so divinely sweet between this community. It's like our Soul's made a pact to each other and Mother Earth herself as a collective consciousness of fierce feminine energy to step into the biggest parts of ourselves and shed all that which no longer serves the suppression of the soul so we can serve the world with a force far greater than we ever imagined.
This experience will always be regarded as a monumental contribution to my Soul awakening.
Soul … Fire …. Is itself a testimony to Us. I would even go so far as to say that it is its own Dimension of Time & Space lead lovingly and courageously by Sera and her team, and is deepened each year by Us, the ones who hear the call and show up. I could not quite fathom the complete Awe of being present with these Women at Soul Fire. My Soul had forgotten, She had forgotten how complete She could feel. She has forgotten how much love and connection she could witness and be apart of. She had forgotten how to see and feel all of the Love and hold it just tight enough so that it could be free again. And the flood of remembrance was the most unstoppable thing I had ever felt, and still continue to feel. Every time someone spoke, or every time someone looked at me or shared I just sank deeper and deeper and deeper into Soul Knowing until I started to remember what Home actually felt like, again. This type of revealing to this level depth is not possible in isolation, the hum of Whole Soul Experience is totally where it is at. The journey of the Soul is that of ecstatic co-creation through connection and truth and whatever stories we have told ourselves about what we need or how ‘spiritual work must be done’, the connection of being with other woman at Soul Fire in a safe and truly truly truly emerging space is way beyond spiritual work. It is authentic, earth based, soul smacking, tear jerking, getting down and going exactly where you need to go even if you don’t want to go there through the salty tears and soggy tissues. Oh and that’s another thing, forget what you want or what you think you want, that probably aint gonna happen, because the magic takes over and there is little you can do except go with it. If you are reading this, from my Soul to Yours, if you want to know what it feels like to be held by your own Soul, if you want to feel Her warmth, her Shaking, her Love that has never ever waivered, if you want to dare to say things you have never said out loud for fear of shame, then it is possible Soul Fire could be for you.
A memory from my younger self resurfaced over and over again, until finally I got the hint. I can still see and feel the soft pulsing thing on my eleven year old lap, watching it draw it’s final breaths rhythmically. The rabbit, along with cans and squirrels, had been target practice for teenage boys gifted with guns for Christmas. I had found the rabbit dying on the forest floor after I had chased the boys out of the woods, reprimanding them for their careless and selfish cruelty. Shot in its abdomen by a BB, the soft brown rabbit still rests in the memory of my hands, hanging between being half alive and half half dead. I took the bunny back to my house and put a Bandaid over the place of entry the BB had left. I remember feeling helpless to control this life and death force that I knew so little of. Nothing had ever died in my lap before. I stroked the soft fur while sitting on my front stoop untilI knew only death was left. I carried her like a baby back to the woods. I found a burrow, the kind trees make at their roots when they fall, and placed her body inside as far as my arms could reach. It has been the helplessness that I felt from her dying that I have not known what to do with all these years.
It is in this memory that She called and came for me, in the form of a wounded animal, to travel once again to a place beyond the hedge where we sense the skewing of a border from overhanging trees that creep close but are trimmed back and the sounds from animal language land with enjoyment on our ears but whose fluency is never attained. Past this hedge to the place where the bramble thickens and footpaths dissolve. There is no worn-out way to travel any longer and only a soul’s inner constellations can guide you further into the forest depths. Here I recognized, above all else, how tame and reckoned I had become since my fearless youth.
At the edge of the Ivy river, I brought the essence my youth's soft fur and the brown eyed hare back to the woods to die and die again. I hoped in the death there would be enough of a resurrection to forgive myself for not being able to save the innocence from all that was to follow soon thereafter. To my surprise, the memory held not a resurrection but an an invitation. An invitation to meet anew a place of unkept growth and untamed flame. Oh, odd to bring such fire in humble form! But She knows me, more than I knew Her then, and knows I wouldn’t have answered the door any other way.
It was not in an earthen grave I died in that day, but one with fiery liquid walls. With my head submerged, eyes closed and awkward body bobbing in the current of the Ivy River, She spoke and said:
“I want to inject you into my veins! The water that flows over you has moved mountains and carved valleys from violent storms. These are the same waters that flow through you! I want to pull your hips to my stones and lick the wounds tucked in the caverns of your soul. It is here that I desire you the most. With naked breasts exposed to the sky, turn your gaze and look up, Beautiful One, and let me be your Singing Heron flying overhead. I’ll whisper a love song as I pass, our love song, in your ear. I don’t think you have ever heard it before. I am the resinous tears from the Pine and Panther’s teeth drenched with hunger that penetrate your womb. Let me be your tears and your hunger. The green apple that drops my scent onto your closed lashes while you sleep is the scent you have longed to offer the world. The roots from My trees weave an underground tapestry that is hung in an upside -down cathedral built to honor our union. Let me carry you across the threshold of this cathedral. There’s no need to wipe your feet at the door.
And it is you, soul of my Soul, that I desire above all! You will not leave me unchanged, nor I you. You will emerge from my waters with me holding your old skin. I have longed to drip from your new flesh and evaporate into the sun from your shoulders. Your hair will be drenched with my essence, hands puckered from time soaking in me, and your feet washed, kissed with the fluid of rebirth.
I have loved you for eons and eons more to come will I love you more still! I have longed for your soul to find her home in your body, and for your body to join My Body. We are together for such a brief time on this place called Earth. Let’s make the most of it.”
And with that, I walked from the river but still feel the wetness from Her kiss on the back of my neck. I offer this experience knowing She knows you and will speak to you with words and memories for your ear and your ear alone. But sweet soul sister, I, too, will be with Her, and singing with the heron, cackling with of the crickets, unfurling with the passionflower, raining on the dance, and licking the sky with a fiery tongue in honor of your soul. Soak in the waters meant just for you.
All my love
When I read the invitation from Sera to apply for the retreat, my whole body vibrated and I became nauseous. Nauseous because I knew I had to do this, that it would take me deep, and that I would never be the same again. I was elated and ‘scared shitless,’ at the same time. If it’s right for you to be at Soul Fire, you’ll just know it. If you know it and you’re scared, go anyway – listen to your embodied, vibrating, nauseous soul and go!
Before arriving, I wondered about some of the practical aspects. You might too, so here’s a quick summary: the food was so delicious (even with my wacky dietary requirements, I was beautifully nourished!); the sleeping arrangements are reminiscent of a college dorm (fun to do that again after so many years☺); there is ample time to rest, relax, and process; Asheville is a charming, artsy town and easy to travel to/from.
Bend of Ivy Lodge is a perfect setting for Soul Fire…the garden, brook and pond, hills, river, labyrinth, and retreat center building…so many places to sit or walk with nature, to relax or meditate. Lovely…
I was 63 years old when I attended Soul Fire. I expected to be with women mostly in their 50s and 60s, but it turns out I was the oldest participant and the youngest was 29. Sera mentioned a woman age 93 had attended a previous retreat. 63, 29, 93…it didn’t and won’t matter. The soul is ageless.
I went to Soul Fire for just that, to stoke the fire of my soul. That purpose was accomplished in spades! But I also received an unexpected bonus: a community of soul sisters, and friendships that will endure. So much love and support…at the retreat and beyond. What a gift!
Soul Fire changed me forever, across all dimensions of time and directions of space. It changed me fundamentally, who I am at my essence. By being there, I made a decision -- to blaze away the superfluous and ignite the high octane fuel within me.
If you participate in Soul Fire, prepare to burn! It is intense, but self-regulating. You can take it as deep or shallow as you want…you can simmer or become a raging inferno. But realize that by being there, you’ve made a decision to burn at some level. And you’ll be a different person by the time you leave.
You’ll be in very good hands. Sera – wow!, an amazing, powerful, gentle, fierce angel guide…such an effective container, vessel, and transmission all wrapped up in one strong, fragile body. Tara and Jessica – strong, caring women who helped Sera hold the space intact, no matter how intense it got.
Immediately after returning home, I began having dozens of profound, highly symbolic dreams, and continue having them now, five months later. I found a Jungian dream analyst nearby (trained by Marion Woodman, no less!) and together we are exploring the guidance my soul delivers to me on an almost nightly basis. My soul burns and my spirit blazes hotter with each passing week. Soul Fire fanned my soul embers into white hot coals. I am forever changed…and for that I am very grateful.
Crossing 50, my greatest desire was to develop a solid connection to some true source of inner guidance, something beyond my small self; something perhaps connected to whatever Divine Ground of being holds us, that would enable me to live out my years as an expression of this Ground. Despite all sorts of work on myself I had failed to find (or listen to) an enduring Inner Guide. The Soul Fire Retreat helped me realize this desire. Not only did the work spark a relationship to my Soul, but delightfully, rooted me firmly and forever into the soil of Mother Earth in a way I did not understand was possible or deeply longed for. Perhaps they were both there all along, guiding, protecting, ensuring that even the more difficult phases of my life served to hone or pare in an essential way? Whatever the case, Soul Fire, in all its magical, mysterious, organic beauty introduced me to the guidance and love within and all around me.
Sera, herself, is the perfect guide. An awe-inspiring mix of power, grace, wisdom, humanity and truth, without a shred of ego. This remarkable and rare combination is what enables us to realize our own truths, embrace our own wisdom, grace and humanity. Sera and her support team, Tara and Jessica, created a safe but charged container for our eclectic group of women to come alive and birth some eye-watering beauty. Although I have never been much of a “group” person, and at times struggled and learned about myself in the reflection of that fire, the collective experience and connections with these Soul Sisters will stay with me for a life time. If you are called, take heed! This is a passage, not to missed, into the rest of your life.
It’s hard for me to write this testimonial. I’m not quite sure what to say. It’s like the experience was beyond words, beyond being able to describe. It was way more subtle and simple than I could have anticipated. And the shifts so much deeper than I think I can fully grasp, even now, six months later.
Things have changed and will change in ways I don’t think they would have if I didn’t go to Soul Fire. And yet the changes so far.... they’ve not been dramatic and external. I haven’t denounced my daily life, moved house, changed career… I’ve become me, but more of me. Not “Me 2.0, newly upgraded version! Wakes up at 5am to do yoga and meditate before work every day! No longer gets addicted to Netflix shows! Only eats certified organic, home cooked meals!”
No. Just... me.
A more embodied me. A far less anxious me. A me who doesn’t compromise as much of my Soul and soul and integrity as before… but in such a quiet and subtle way I almost don’t notice it until I realise that pre-Soul-Fire me would have said yes, or compromised more... (don’t get me wrong, I still ignore my Soul Voice, and I’m still developing and growing in belief, strength and trust of Her voice and Her guidance, but somehow the connection is more solid now, I feel Her guidance behind my decisions much more strongly, but it’s so subtle, sometimes I only notice it when I’m alone again, reflecting...)
And I guess I trust myself more. I realise that sometimes I don’t understand what I’m doing, or why.... but I check in and I feel that yes, this might not make sense yet but yes, this is what I’m meant to do in this moment. And later, maybe on reflection, or maybe after something else has happened I understand why I was doing something that didn't entirely make sense to me at the time.
I almost knew I was going to Soul Fire the second I started to ask if it was the right time for me to apply (I didn't actually manage to finish asking the question before I felt my Soul urging "YES! YES! YES! DO IT! APPLY, RIGHT NOW!")... it felt like one of those inevitable life moments that was pre-decided, and there was a click of things aligning as soon as things started to be set in motion. I tried not to go with any expectations, and in a lot of ways I had absolutely no idea what to expect, which helped. I was terrified going, and excited as well. Go open, be honest, let your shadow stand right there beside you, holding your hand, let yourself be exposed and know you're safe to do that, and let the Soul Work begin. We need it on this planet. And have fun.... It's scary... it continues to be scary.... but it's okay, as well.
For me, Soul Fire was a Soul Union; a reunion of the highest order. After almost a decade (or perhaps lifetimes) of searching for and reclaiming the fragments of my ruby red Feminine Soul, I came to the Soul Fire Retreat to remember how to invite the Divine Masculine to dance with me and my Soul. It was a profound healing that soothed even the outermost parts of my Being into a remembering.
Whatever it is your Soul is in search of, She will usher you into the place of finding it. What Sera has created in her offering of The Soul Fire Retreat is a most-safe place to vulnerably, honestly and nakedly remember and reclaim what is yours for the taking. This "taking" will be entirely and totally up to you.
Soul Fire was a radical opportunity to dive deep into the Divinity that ties my SoulBeing to Mama Earth to Higher Divine Feminine Power to the Greater Good, then back to my SoulBeing.
Soul Fire cracked open my human existence to reveal my gooey, resilient, golden Soul center that has been simmering like gumbo for thousands of years. A gumbo with the most familiar, yet undiscovered of flavors.
Soul Fire was a truly freeing experience to be both a Human Being and a Divine Being with a tribe of women who have been connected from ancient times, merging in beautiful and unexpected ways that allows us each to grow, accept, and be authentic with who we truly are, who we’ve been in the past, and who we will be in the future.
Soul Fire was a transformative experience led by such a powerful, humble, accepting, fiery being whose delicate outer shell will leave you marveling at how such a dainty vessel can hold such scarlet strength. Sera will push you, love you, play with you, teach you, hold space for you, give you light, and warm the darkest pieces of your Soul in the safety of rich red Divine Feminine Power.
Soul Fire will pull you deep into yourself, position you perfectly in order to see your most fearful of fears, your brightest lights, and your most solid gifts for the world. From this perfect position you will not only see these glorious aspects of yourself, but also see a group of women who surround you in support, acceptance, and knowing that each of you have ended up in this place, at this time, with each other and Sera, your radically powerful guide, in order to heal, grow, and thrive. This is truly an opportunity to flourish.
Soul Fire is not for the light hearted, it is not simple, or flowery. It is especially not for those who are living through ego in the persona of spirit. Soul Fire is nitty gritty, humbling, and a little rough at times. This is a healing experience that resuscitates the Soul, nourishes the authentic, and brings light to the deepest of wounds. And in the same breath gives space for those deepest wounds to be soothed and enter the healing process.
Soul Fire is an opportunity to dig down into your authentic truth, your authentic goals, your authentic Soul so that then you can show up in the world as a more expansive, capable, free being.
Soul Fire is a leap worth taking, but with the understanding that there might be one hell of a free fall on the way down and a graceful dance of a running start once you land back on Mama Earth. For this free fall is a powerful force of healing and self discovery. If you are considering taking this jump, then I encourage you to get quiet and listen to your most grounded intuition. If then you still feel called to jump, you damn well better jump, Sister. You Soul is waiting. You are ready.
With Golden Light
2016 Soul Fire Testimonials
"I remember getting the first pull, the one that came with vertigo and butterflies in my stomach. I remember the first whisper, the one that came from a very familiar place within and said “go for it!” And then, doubt, worry, questions. Those also came from a familiar place, one that’s heady and human and doesn’t trust many people or experiences.
So I said to my Soul “if this is something you truly want us to do, send me a signal”. I wanted a specific signal, one that my rational human mind couldn’t doubt. I asked to see red roses if the answer to attending the Soul Fire Retreat was yes. That day, as I was driving back from a class from Marshall, NC (same city the retreat was going to take place at, but hey that wasn’t in the list of requested signals) I saw hundreds of red poppies just dancing in the wind on the side of the road. I just laughed at the irony. I had forgotten the great sense of humor my Soul has. With those red poppies she confirmed, once again, who’s the real orchestrator here. And reminded me that as long as I keep an open mind, we’ll always be able to communicate with each other.
And that’s when I realized Her intention for us to go on this retreat: to be able to communicate like we used to when I was a tiny human. Before I started paying more attention to my head and “the real world problems”. Soul Fire retreat allowed me to experience my relationship with my Soul at a whole other level, deeper and sweeter than ever before.
And what can I say my Soul orchestrated a magnificent experience for us. One that was intimate and profound, rooted and playful, sensually grounding. It felt like coming home to the one and only place I truly belong.
The location was magical and Mother Nature was in her glory with our group of 20 wild women dancing on her lap. A perfectly weaved aquelarre where we all got to be our truest selves. No judgement, no spiritual ego just the souls of a bunch of witches getting together hauling at the Moon and calling in the storm.
Sera is an amazing hostess and facilitator. She gave us space and was there for us at the same time. No bullshit, no ego, no guru flair. Which I love and appreciate very much. It hasn’t been easy for me to trust human guidance in my soul searches, I feel it’s a very personal experience and sometimes I rather follow my own inner compass. I’m really glad Souleli took us on this retreat and that she picked Sera’s Red Lady to host us on this reunion. The women in the group were the perfect companions for this experience and I believe the threads of this tapestry we formed were consciously created by our collective souls.
We got to eat some delicious foods, share stories, laugh hard, cry, dance, play, dig. All of our needs were met, they even made our poop smell good.
I feel like Souleli and I just came back from an unforgettable exotic trip through the depths of the earth and our inner roots and we got to remember what it feels like to be in a deep relationship with the Her.
It’s been 3 months since we’ve been back and I must say it’s been a beautiful ride. Not always easy or as conscious as I’d like it to be. I still get lost in my humanity most working days but I was able to reorganize our priorities. Soul oriented priorities. Fuck all the well intentioned ego priorities my human self continues to try to get me to be mesmerized by.
I see everything with a different filter now, and it looks fucking amazing. Red clear. Thank you so much for the elegant facilitation of this amazing experience.
"Magic-making, Mother Mary gazing, world-quaking, ass-shaking, Kali-spanking, courage-inducing, gut-wrenching, Oracle-booming, roomie-loving, anthem-rapping, Innocence-drumming, subtle and hit-you-over-the-head shifting, chocolate French kissing, freeing, safe-containing, naked revelation, fearless exploration, mask-stripping, breast-baring, Soul-following, Sister super glue bonding, mountain-held, Love-fed, Angel-massaged, tree-protected, wind-whispered, Soul-danced, river-birthed, rain-dancing, earth-hugging, barefoot-walking, body-rooting, Heart-pinging, Love-flowing, gutting, cutting, releasing, healing, Self-revealing, shining, snotty-crying, thunder-cracking, rain-pouring, goats and fish and dogs and spiders, messy, dirty, fire-breathing, poo-pourri-ing, filthy-mouthed, sweet-talking, courageous, open, warrior-brave SOUL.
100% in integrity, DOWN TO HER MOLECULES. Plus, she knows how to set a fire and keep it goin’.
This is a serious retreat, and you will be reduced to ash, but you will laugh and dance and play, too. Paradoxically, you will do things that scare the shit out of you, but you will feel immeasurably and inexplicably safe. If you are looking to be taught, to take notes, to learn new practices and memorize new concepts; if you’re looking for a path cut by someone other than your Soul: this is not for you. This retreat requires ALL OF YOU, ALL IN, willing to go deep and far with no one’s compass but your own, willing to be stripped bare and vulnerable. This retreat is a Self-guided exploration of Soul, and Sera with her fucking enormous Heart, and her assistants with their strong-ass, compassionate, deeply-rooted Beings, make this possible. Nurtured, nourished, safe, held, with every need met so the important and amazing and joyful reunion with Soul can unfold and be celebrated. I have been to a lot of retreats, and this was the scariest thing I've ever done and by far the best thing I've ever done."
"So, I have put off writing this because I couldn’t quite find the words, and that’s an uncomfortable feeling for me. But Soul Fire is not about finding words. It’s not even, necessarily, about finding something that transcends them. Or is beyond them, or is unsayable, unspeakable. It’s not even about finding something. For me, it was about being found by my Soul, who had much more of a hand than I did in setting the whole thing up. I was nervous and carried by the seat of my pants. I was full of bubbling excitement, anxiety, even a kind of dread. I expected to meet all my darkness, especially what I didn’t want to face. I expected it to be Hard, and Difficult, and full of Angst. I expected it to be demanding, because that’s what I’ve come to expect of everything.
Soul Fire was one of the most undemanding weeks I’ve ever had, this life, or others, because what fell away, what was unimportant, was all the stuff my Soul had been telling me for ages isn’t actually that important. Email. Phonecalls. Texts. Wearing something or not. A week in tune with nakedness, with enjoyment, with simple sensual and non-sensual pleasure, with letting my whole being unfold into Her/Himself/It/Us. And being surrounded by other Souls committed and open to doing the same. And there are no words for that, not because, as before, because it’s beyond them, but because it’s the very aliveness that is also at the heart of words, the Soul of how we communicate and live and are together as women, as human beings. It’s the aliveness, so radiant, so shadowed, at the womb, at the mouth, at the heart, that moved me and shook me at Soul Fire. And She was so Quiet.
Sera facilitates your connection with You, with That. And she does nothing more than that and nothing less. To be a recipient of the Soul Fire Soul Sessions and Rituals is to be a recipient of a profound respect—One that says, you are Enough, and asks you to face all the times you tell yourself you’re not, and see that as a profound Loss, a loss almost to deep for grief. It is a respect that asks you to look back, into and through Yourself for answers, rather than to a leader of a retreat, or a book, or psychic gifts, or spiritual practices, or even what you think. Because You are enough—and that enough includes even the refusal of that Enoughness. Honor Sera, Honor the Work, Honor the other Souls Present. Do so by Honoring You, in your fullness, First.
I send that Love forward to you that brought me to Soul Fire, because something so, so special is happening if you are even beginning to look this way for Love, through Love, at Love. Burn it UP."
"Grab your pants and hold on tight; you’ll be on the ride of your life! The hills, the valleys, the strait-a-ways, all beautiful and magical in their own right. The guide on our journey, Sera (in her lovely impeccable way), kept the reins at the right amount of tension and followed what our souls needed when our souls needed it. A true mystical sprite who sees deeply in many dimensions and who can hold a sacred container like nobody’s business! My mind was confounded, my funny bone was tickled, and my body and Soul were thoroughly nourished. And the food, ahhhh, the food!
I dipped into the pool of love and trust and I emerged naked to the world, naked to myself. Clear, clean, and innocent with a sense of belonging. Wow! What a concept, my Soul matters in this world. My listening ears were turned on, my listening heart was turned on, and my listening body was turned on. I found the ‘Scent of this Woman,’ fragrant, delicious, and sweet while also discovering that I have a soft buttery soul with a crisp, tart flavor. I was able to experience myself as a soul expressing itself in this human form while being able to get in touch with my divine nature. I found that I am safe, that I can be here now, that I can listen and I can trust. I am not alone and I am not an accidental anecdote in this thing we call Life. I matter and I belong and this retreat revealed this truth to me. What a revelation and what a gift!
There were times I could see in the dark, and I could taste the diamond nectar on my skin. I reached into the center of my Soul and was engulfed in a brilliant buttery light that burned away the lies. I reveled in my awkwardness, celebrated my clumsiness, and rejoiced in my saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I found a way to embrace my differentness. I trusted that my Soul knows the Truth and if I simply listen, I never have to be lonely again.
The other Souls, including the beautiful assistants, who were also called to be in this retreat remain forever imprinted in my heart and knowing that they are out there Being their own Souls in the world gives me the courage and love to stay…right here…right now…with my Soul.
On a final note, thank Goddess for the goats! They often turned out to be a touchstone in a sea of confusion and worth the price of admission!"
"The Soul Fire retreat for me, was a huge exercise in letting go of searching for the "right answer" out there and trusting my own inner knowing/voice/Self. It was an experiential exercise in freedom. That was both liberating and maddening. I wanted Sera, really anyone, to tell me how to do this transformation knocking at my soul the past few years. And no one did. Absolutely nada... nothing. The gift of Soul Fire is a very safe container for each woman to enter her own process. And each womans' looks completely different- and remarkably similar.
I was able to voice some things I had never given permission to be spoken. Things I experience deep shame around. My deepest soul wounds. Just looking at them, even discovering them (and they were not what I thought they were!), was a huge gift. Soul Fire creates an opening to move beyond what the mind holds as our story. Things are continuing to bubble up and unfold in ways that don't fit what I thought would arise. Being genuinely open to what my Soul has to say is something that Soul Fire helped to allow.
Soul Fire was not an easy week for me. It was some of the hardest, gut wrenching, soul searching I have ever done. Soul Fire was a part of a much larger soul journey I have been on for the past two years, and I feel will go on at least another year or so. It was such a gift I gave myself... and really helped "unstick" some of the places I could just not move through.
Soul Fire was also one of the most sacred and holy experiences of my life. Sera is a pure host - beautifully weaving a safe container of love with the women present and with the land. She holds enormous space... and calls each woman to hold it for themselves and each other as well. I was astounded at the deep love/tapestry/container that we created and held for each other for very deep soul work to safely happen. I will treasure my time in this sacred container for all of my days."
"I am so immensely grateful for the gifts I received via Soul Fire Retreat. I knew as soon as I finished reading Red, Hot and Holy, that I was on to something incredibly important. It became so clear to me that my soul had no voice. Suddenly all of the missing pieces began to fall into place. The idea that I am here to embody my soul, was so simple, yet so foreign to me. How would I even begin this daunting task? I arrived at Soul Fire excited and unsure what to expect, but with high hopes that something profound and transformational would transpire, and I was not disappointed. Through the deep work that Sera so beautifully facilitated, all of those spiritual clichés that had always felt so out of reach, were finally realized on a deep knowing/sensing/feeling/cell level. No words can truly describe my soul experience. It was a wild, sweet, delicious, messy, wonderful, meme-busting, power-washing, rockin-n-rollin, rough-n-tumble, head-over-heels, BOOTY IN THE SUN, free fallin, to the bone, drunken, raw, blunt, in your face, soul shaking, heart shattering, now I get it, trust-love explosion!! Thanks to Sera, I have met my soul, my guide, and she will be with me always! I am forever changed, born again into soul knowingness. I have been given a most precious gift – the gift of ME. I am humbled and so very grateful. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Sera!!"
"Like so many of the testimonials I read before applying to Soul Fire expressed, it feels hard to articulate my experience there. Words that come flashing through my mind are... sacred ... safe ... held ... To be in a space where I truly felt that each woman was safe to show up entirely, was powerful beyond measure and brings tears to my eyes just writing about it. Witnessing and being witnessed; both. For me, that was the most important part of the retreat and when I think back on it, I can still feel what it was like, the openness, the respect, the care and love that I felt to and from each and every woman in our group. I let some masks down and felt naked and vulnerable and seen and loved! So scary and awesome. And I know this retreat is not "about Sera," but the way she set the tone of the space as sacred, and treated each woman with such tenderness and reverence; it was a kind of transmission for me and something I can turn to access when I feel out of touch with the soft and soulful part of myself that had a chance to open and shine during the retreat. What I walked away with was a feeling of sinking-in. The image that keeps coming up for me is of a gentle rain soaking into hardened earth. I feel more in myself, I feel softer. When I think about the retreat now, two months later, I feel so much love. What a gift."
"I had a rough few months leading up to Soul Fire and barely had a minute to think on it and literally packed at 10 pm the night before coming. My family piled in the car and we headed to the airport. As I said goodbye to them – they were heading to Michigan to visit grandparents – and I to the retreat, I was filled with a light giddiness and a feeling sunk in that I was in for a wild ride! And oh what a ride it turned into.
The first few days at Soul Fire I was overcome with a very familiar feeling/idea/belief – “I don’t belong here”. I was in such awe and admiration of what I was seeing and witnessing, that I couldn’t see what was and is in me. I didn’t raise my hand to speak in group; only speaking when it was my turn around the circle. When, at times, I had something to say, I physically couldn’t raise my hand to speak. I didn’t know how, I didn’t have the experience of speaking my truth and be received lovingly.
While laying on my bed one morning at SF, a very small voice said, “claim her; claim me”. I quickly dismissed this thought and headed to our morning session. It was that very session that I tried to hide; I tried to say words that were true and safe for me.
That’s when Sera said “Is there more?” Those three words have forever changed/rocked/crumbled my world, or the world as I knew it to be.
The mirror was brought out and there in front of the entire group, I whispered words from my soul. They poured out into the mirror and into the eyes of such love. The drum and rattle sounded and as I was claiming her/me, a new imprint was being formed within me. The imprint that I was safe and could be loved and be fully myself. Then…to feel all of that love pressed up against my body, in our SF women’s hug. The imprint was formed, with and by the women of SF 2016!
During our last evening, I intended to stand and dance to a song that I have loved for a very long time. During dark times while living in LA, I would head to the ocean and drive up the pacific coast highway toward Malibu with all my windows rolled down belting out 10,000 maniacs, These Are the Days! I have never sung solo in front of a group and I never intended to do so. As I stood there, she took over. The moves, the song, the voice, was her and she was me and I was her…over and over again, up and down, through me and in me. The woman who couldn’t raise her hand to speak, was now belting out a song. It was the most fun I have ever had, I was free!
I was excited to come home after this magical week. I was thrilled to embrace my kids and husband with my newfound love and voice. Something had been coming through me for months prior to the retreat and landed solidly at SF and even more firmly planted upon returning home – I couldn’t continue to run my business. I never went back to work. It hasn’t been easy – especially in dealings with my business partner. I have had to test the depth of that imprint. It is just a really light trace in the sand at the moment and I am witnessing myself wanting to take the safe and easy way to my soul’s truth.
Lucky for me – or not so lucky☺ – life doesn’t always let us take the safe and easy way out! And…I discovered, that even through internal body shaking and light headedness…I can speak my soul’s truth, and…even if I am not received lovingly…I am still okay. Safety and love don’t come from how I am received by another. It comes from within. This is what is currently rocking my world.
My life has slowed down, I am taking it moment by moment. Checking in a lot. Moving from a space of truth and REALLY noticing when I am not. I was sitting on my couch watching my kids play a game with my husband and kind of just minding my own business and a huge truth dropped in my lap. A feeling really, no words can describe, but I am going to try here. I am meant for becoming. The becoming is the point. Life isn’t in the doing or the being…but in the becoming. With all the mess and tears and laughter and joy. With all the encounters and bumps and projections and irritations and gratitude and love. All of this is designed perfectly for my becoming. For me to become more of me! Now that’s some cool shit to sit with. Thank you Sera, for all of this. My life is forever changed."
Sisters, my advice is simple, yet difficult: be courageous to bare it all. I will admit that I was scared *beyond shitless* to sign up for this retreat. However, I whole heartedly believe that the universe answers our soul callings, and mine was crying out for sisterhood, love and healing.
It doesn't come easy soul sister, there is work to be done. I'd like to write (for dramatic purposes) that dragons will be slayed, but conquering triggers, overcoming demons and traumas come in all shapes and sizes and in all sorts of time frames. Loving yourself, exposing your soul and being open to others is easier said than done. But healing was on the agenda for me and the support and love I received came not only through thorough personal excavation, but also through the loving and safe space our sisters created for one another. Through this receiving, I was finally able to give back the love my soul so desperately wants to share with the world. This love is boundless and eternal, and my hope is that you will feel it radiating and alive in all of your hearts at your retreat.
I am so eternally grateful for the week I got to spend with myself and the other women. Little did I did I know that my soul *knew* all along this would be a reunion of sorts, a coming home, a communion with my long, lost (but never ever forgotten) sisters and our souls.
So come forth. Be courageous to bare it all. The world needs YOU now more than ever. Do not be afraid of the calling ...
"I don’t know if there’s anything I can say about Soul Fire that you don’t already know, instinctively. But I will say this: I was terrified. Pretty much the entire time leading up to that first meeting. I knew that participating in this retreat was a point of no return, (and now I’m singing Phantom of the Opera in my head). There were things I didn’t want to know about myself, but there were other things I NEEDED to know. It felt like refusing to participate was accepting defeat, somehow. That if I didn’t show up now there wouldn’t be another opportunity. I was really truly afraid of stepping into my power and meeting my soul, but I was even more afraid of hiding from myself for the rest of my life, of feeling like there was more out there but never getting to experience it, of never feeling connected, either to myself or to Her. That quote from Anais Nin has never felt more relevant or personal. ("And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”)
Well, I am here to tell you: It was worth it. Yes it was scary, yes it was painful. But it was also the best decision I ever made. I have never felt more loved or held or SEEN as I did with those women, and I have never felt more confident in who I am, both as a human being and as a soul being. If you are looking for an easy week of meditation and massage, this is not the retreat for you. But if you are ready to crack yourself open and shine a light into all the dark places inside you, then I think this is where you belong. This is work, the best kind of work, the most vital kind of work, and it is more important than ever that we do this work.
Your Soul is ready. You’ve probably already heard her whispering in your ear. These are the mysteries that huddle at the centre of the universe. These are the mysteries that make up the centre of your Self.
If you’re looking for a sign: This is it.
If you’re looking for a reason: YOU are it."
"I am trying to find the right words to describe my experience of SoulFire with Sera Beak and other women in the gorgeous backdrop of some deeply enchanted land. It's a task that will suffer it's inadequacies throughout, for this experience was so deeply felt through my soul and her energetic nuances and frequencies, beyond the time and space of the linear language. Some suggest that the loss of connection to our souls is at the root of so much of what ails our crazy, mixed up world.
For me, this is a resounding truth. For the greater part of my life I have been on this search to know, honor, follow and embody my soul. It's often been a lonely journey, 'cause there just ain't a lot of people that know what the hell I am even talking about. A sad truth.
At the outset of SoulFire there was an application process. I liked that. I knew that each of us were chosen because we heard and were honoring the call from our own souls to be there. Retreats with women can be so fun and delicious, but I wanted and craved something much deeper than an all girl slumber and dance party. That craving had been there for years and remained largely unsatisfied. Magic shit can happen when women gather together in circle.
I knew this experience had the potential to ease the ache in my heart. Did it ever. And more. And more. I just had no idea the magnitude of what was possible.
Profound. Love-filled. Shocking. Surprising. Life-changing. Intensely pleasurable. Ecstatic freedom. Embodiment. Edge walking. These are some of the words that might hint at some of what went down. I promise you though, the words will never even begin to capture this experience.
This is some of what my soul felt during SoulFire……. Deeply honored. Profoundly held. Completely loved. Acutely seen. All this, and some shocking amounts of love pouring through for each of us at all times. My soul remembers this kind of experience, seemingly from a time and place in another dimension. To have it once again, here in this body, makes winning the lottery seem like GMO and wheat filled bread crumbs.
I know that my soul has never felt that catalyzed or honored in this life. It was beyond delicious.
I have had the honor and privilege of working very closely with many "spiritual leaders" in my life (and co-founded a publishing company with one of them). The toll and potential shadows of this role are significant and constant. To do this particular kind of deep soul work with women over a six day period requires some very special skills including a call to service from our own soul and the sacrificing of our time, body, energy, and life force for many months both in preparation and then in integration and completion of the work after the event. Though "completion" may be too narrow of a word, because bonds and energetic connections that have and will last lifetimes, were reignited, remembered and created.
Finally, I want to give voice to what Sera brought to this process..... Some very brilliant conducting of our orchestra of energies. Humongous amounts of humorous humility. Tidal waves of love. Deep soul preparation and honoring for each of us and each of our profound sessions together. Constant protection of our space to keep our container protected from those who would wish we never came into our power so fully, freely and ecstatically. Transparency. Healthy boundaries. And above all else, an ability to have her role be invisible, thereby allowing each of our individual souls to take center stage. That was huge! A "spiritual leader" who did not seek, need or really want any of us to adore her. I have possibly been to hundreds of workshops/events, and have never seen this done so humbly and so exquisitely.
Oh yes indeed, my soul came home at a deeper level. All of our souls did. And they were ecstatic to find their homes again in our bodies. Witnessing a group of women embodying their souls in such a deep way was fucking amazing.
And now comes the monumental task of bringing this alchemical transformation back and reintegrating it into our daily lives. It's all possible and probable, but only with our souls guidance. And listening to our soul is easier than we ever think it could be. And it takes consistent courage. As Carolyn Myss so beautifully articulated "we are mystics without monasteries". We can create that monastery within each and every day....no matter what our life circumstances. My gratitude is immense to you Sera and our 32 fellow soul stalkers. Awomen."
"And so it was that a Red Hot and Holy call went out,
an ancient call, lifetimes in the making and we arrived.
Together they gathered, in a sacred Red Temple, deep in the mountains
and the Red Lady, Sera the Soul Whisperer, Sarah Al Kali
and Warrior Woman Jessica Worked their Magic
An unleashing, a tearing, a rending open of long locked hearts and bodies,
unlike any felt before, cracked open the heart of the Mother
Glitter, fire, tears and Souls came forth
and in the frigid waters we were sanctified anew
We Re-membered ourselves, our sisters, and we made claim to our Souls
In our cosmic coven we were witnessed in all our glory
We stepped forward and Re-membered and we KNEW that we are:
Sweet song-singing, luscious mask dancing, fairy flower pickers
Bootie shaking, big butt lovin’, spiritual gangsta sisters
Bird-house-making, yoni flashing, criminally sensual chocolate eaters
Bracelet beading, body painting, French speaking hand squeezers
Fly spying, moose meeting, two-ridge-crossing mountain hikers
Altar building, let-it-going, soul retrieving, tear-jerkers
Purple, red, silver, black velvet, and golden honey lady lovers
Moon howling, fire loving, lay-on-the-earth mother-fuckers
Country song singing, sugar-daddy hugging, all-over body shakers
Gray bra wearing, no bra wearing, topless, naked sunbathers
Tree speaking, crystal healing, deep dive sexual sovereignty seekers
Pixie perfect, crooked eyed, out-door peeing chicken stock drinkers
Lake loving, teepee sleeping, fire starting hair raisers
Bitch slapping, wise witching, open hearted light bearers
Red rose wearing, hip gyrating, picture-taking woman touchers
Oil anointing, Kali bringing, fuck ya! screaming interference confronters
"Though I am quite committed to deepening my connection to my Soul, I must admit I have an allergy to many spiritual teachers and teachings. Ironically, Sera is an individual who I am deeply fascinated by and curious about, and so I wouldn’t have minded one bit if she continued where she left off in Red Hot & Holy. I would have loved to hear more about her, her Soul, her journey. But she is far wiser and clearer a teacher to put her journey at the center of the retreat. Thankfully, even if I didn’t know better at the time what my Soul and I truly needed, she did and stayed out of the way, showing up entirely in service to our Souls – not her ego. It is rare, indeed, to be in the presence of a teacher/leader/healer/facilitator who is truly present to, and an advocate for, each participant’s trust in her own inner knowing. Sera expertly orchestrated the week to support profound, real, and lasting self-inquiry. I am in awe of Sera’s facilitating gifts, which now influence the way I facilitate my communal writing workshops – and am forever grateful."
"I put off writing about my SF 2015 experience for months, mostly because I simply do not have words to describe what I experienced. But I will try. For me, Soul Fire was a perfect unfolding of light and dark. I went into the Soul Fire experience fully expecting that a lot of my shit would come up, but the retreat ended up going above and beyond my expectations.
I arrived at the retreat feeling wonderfully high from the beautiful summer weather and the lovely setting. I felt ready to "get to work" on reconnecting with my Soul. My type-A, overachiever personality had prepared notebooks, pens, sticky bookmarks, colored pencils and a whole ton of drive and motivation for the experience.
Within the first hour of the retreat, as Sera led a gentle meditation to help us release what was no longer serving us, I promptly ran out of the room and vomited. Gone was my drive, my energy, my perfectionism (and my ability to keep down solids). I spent most of the first day of the retreat in bed - not because of a virus or any obvious physical illness - what happened that day defies explanation (as does most of my Soul Fire experience).
And so began a week of some of the most intense fear and love that I have ever experienced.
If you are interested in attending this retreat, get ready to be challenged in all of the ways that scare you. And loved in all of the ways that heal you. You will be asked - again and again - to connect with your Soul. Sometimes it will be beautiful. Other times it will be devastating.
A few weeks after I signed up for Soul Fire, someone spray-painted a message on the sidewalk outside of my apartment. The message said, "I will set my soul on fire. I'm sorry." I took a photo of the message but soon forgot about it. One week before the retreat, my iPhone had a random technical difficulty that rearranged my photo album so that the photo of the spray-painted message was at the top of my feed.
I didn't think too much of this until after the retreat, when I finally understood the "I'm sorry" part. Reconnecting with your Soul isn't all butterflies and rainbows. There's shit and vomit and shadows and blood and sweat and tears (metaphorically and literally).
Don't expect to leave this retreat with all of the answers. And don't expect Sera to provide you with the answers, either. Sera has an amazing capacity to hold space for you to find your own answers. This is what she will open up for you - but it won't end when you leave the retreat.
I moved to Europe two weeks after Soul Fire (a move that was already planned beforehand, but ended up happening with perfect timing). The lessons and questions that I learned at Soul Fire have been surfacing over and over again for months. Sometimes I doubt myself and feel so alone. Other times I feel connected to a Love that feels natural and right.
What I do know is this: Soul Fire opened a Pandora's box that often scares the crap out of me. It challenged me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It called forth a level of authenticity that is humbling and terrifying and fierce and pure and beautiful. I recommend this retreat to anyone who is ready to connect with themselves on a deep level - a level that will hurt and heal. But you have to be ready to toss out the bullshit and you have to be all in.
I don't know where my post-Soul Fire journey will take me. But I hold the experience close to my heart and still feel its ripples to this day."
"I feel I can’t write about the hugeness, because I have been reduced to atoms. The words now are small and simple - like being reborn and learning to walk and talk anew. I cried, I bawled, I walked in the woods and fucked the earth. I created bonds with others that are unlike any I have ever formed. I felt moments when my heart expanded so far, so large I thought I would burst. I felt raw and open, and yet so held.
But that’s not all of what I wanted to share. What I want to share is the after effects, the ripples in this pond that I am feeling - all the touchstones we received to help us navigate this wild new world. To accept all of ourselves, in our imperfect beautiful perfection. To trust that we were exactly where we need to be, even if it felt we were going backwards. And so huge, so fucking huge - I am learning to trust. To trust that even if I don’t know how it will go, evolve, unravel, it is what I am supposed to be doing. As I move forward in my expression (my Soul said she wanted to experience freedom and express herself thru Dance) I am trusting that each step will land on solid ground. I am trusting that when the fear rises and threatens to drag me down, to give up everything I know is important, I am learning to lean on her to work it thru. To lie on the earth, to turn on the music, to reach out to my soul sisters. I am learning to not be afraid to be ‘by myself.’ I am learning that I am different than each and everyone of the other beautiful souls - and that I belong in that circle with them - so huge. And that we are mirrors of each other.
I am so grateful for the permission Sera created for us to find our own answers, trust our own Souls. It could have so easily been something else, and then we would have been left forever needing teachings or guidance to find our way. Such powerful exercises that stretched us, and bound us, and loved us.
I am learning to listen to my knowing - what that feels like in my body, in my heart. And to question when something doesn’t ring true. So there, in some words that are true words, I write - so you who are reading would know. What that week was for me, continues to be for me. Thank you."
"Layered, ladies. This space, held by Sera and shared with my Soul sisters, is layered in the best way imaginable. And in the layered-ness, everything that week keeps unfolding . . . both in realizations of synchronicities of what happened during that time AND in what continues to be made possible as a result of what was co-created there AND in a deep knowing that SO MUCH MORE than what I can even conceive of happened, is happening, will happen.
And I find myself sighing these deep sighs . . . during that week and since that week. They are sighs of release . . . releasing my gripping and resistance and simply allowing . . . allowing myself to unfold exactly as I am . . . allowing life to unfold exactly as it does . . . all the while with this deep and inexplicable knowing and remembering that THIS, THIS IS WHAT LIFE IS.
That week I had my first remembering and meeting of my own divinity in this lifetime, my first remembering of TRUE LOVE, my first experience of what Love between two WHOLE beings looks and feels like . . . I mean, words just fail to encompass how MASSIVE and DEEP and EXPANSIVE and REAL each of these experiences were. And here I am listing them off trying to convey how big and how worthy this experience is . . . how much I wish such an experience for every woman (and ultimately every being) on this planet . . . how I know, without a doubt, that we are each born to know it and that Remembering it is our right and that in Remembering, we offer ourselves, each other, this planet, and the universe the biggest offering of service we possibly can . . . through offering ourselves . . . our unique essence and vibration that, when combined with all other uniquely expressed essences, makes the universe whole . . . and creates the space for the most true Joy and Love this life can offer.
And all of this happened in a container filled with dancing, grinding, frolicking, cussing, farting, laughing, crying, yelling, growling . . . where sex was no longer a taboo topic . . . and no sadness or anger was suppressed or turned away from . . . and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING was not allowed . . . and love was openly beamed and received.
In short, that week shifted my whole perspective on myself and life . . . and it’s more fucking real now . . . and it’s NOT always easy . . . and I fucking LOVE it."
"I'm not one for summer camp, hiking, or being "unplugged." I have a deep distrust for anyone who tells me a seminar is "amazing and life changing" but says the actual details of the event are a secret. People who tell me to "just trust them" about the transformation they will provide in my life make me feel deeply unsafe.
Sera Beak however.
This woman created such a space of respect and honor. She held our safety and our hearts in breathtakingly a sacred space. My life is fuller and happier for the week I spend with her--hiking, at a place that looked like summer camp, unsure what would happen next.
Sera created an environment of such deep reverence for ourselves, each other and the community we created.
I've never known transformation to be so loving, soft and gentle. I've never grown from joy. But that week, I did.
And it is continuing to blow me away every day. Finally, deep within me the laughter is greater than the tears. And I have Sera and SoulFire to thank for that reintroduction to the joy that is my Soul."
"You woke something up inside of me and helped me find a piece of myself long forgotten. I could feel such strength, grace, and power when you were near... even when your voice cracked or trembled. There was something BIG and deep that could be felt every time you entered the room. Being with you and your Lady was like being with my best friends and my divine confidantes all rolled into one."
"Thank you Sera for showing up...you truly are ALIVE and have given each and everyone of us this most precious gift of ALIVENESS in a world so filled with numbness...It really does show Love conquers all especially when women celebrate women and unite together as a whole. It feels like you created a Love Bubble that we are All a part of and fed from that is helping/ supporting each of us on all of our individual journeys of Expression...No more playing small...Here is to just simply showing up with much Love and Gratitude and Knowing"
"This retreat was a sacred space of remembering. Remembering who I really am. Remembering how to live from the voice of the Soul. Remembering how to be a woman with other women - how to dance and laugh together and witness and hold one another. Remembering my sovereignty, my authority and how to take my space. I came back a different woman but not the woman I thought I would or should look like. Just more the woman that I really am. And that is one of the best things about retreat with Sera - it's deep, it's sacred but it is so Real. I have done many women's groups and retreats, but have never experienced a group bond stay so strong beyond our time together. Something very unique and special happened there that is beyond words.
I've also never experienced a teacher/facilitator give me and the group so much self-authority and this was HUGE."
"I said in the introductions on the first day of SoulFire that I was in the burning phase of a Phoenix and I was there to see what was going to rise out of the ashes, ready to fly. What I didn't realize was that SoulFire was going to show me deeper and deeper layers that were ready to be burnt, that the burning was going to be supported and loved and lusciously celebrated like never before, and that I was going to rise up and never be alone again.
Here is a little of what it was like to be a Soul Sister in the Circle you facilitated:
I have done countless workshops and sat in so many circles, and I have never experienced facilitation like you provided us before.
You have the most extraordinary way of Being fully present and yet getting out of the way at the same time. There was never a moment that I didn't fully realize that you and your Red Lady and the Board were completely present and conducting the orchestra of our Souls, yet it was as if you were standing in the wings and watching what was unfolding on the stage. There was no feeling of being pushed or pulled, there was simply flow and a complete naturalness. Which completely allowed us to open and ripen as we needed to, and to form the most incredible, supportive and cohesive group.
Sera, all I can offer is that every cell of my being is laughing/crying/dancing/singing/sighing with such gladness that Honey and I have found each other that the details really don't matter at all. While I acknowledge that the Soul path is a hard path, I wouldn't change it for anything.
With so much love and gratitude."
"Here's the thing about going into the Soul: you're going both deeper into what you've always known and always wanted to know, and at the same time, going so much deeper into the mystery, magic, and beauty that brings you simply to awe, and so much more. So while I can't claim to understand all of the side-effects of a Soul Fire retreat, I can claim to know my Soul now in ways that would have been much harder, more confusing, and who knows what had I not chosen this path as a way to Her. When you allow yourself to tap into the space of the Soul, with other women, and Sera's guidance, unique remarkable sparks fly. And by sparks flying I might mean, you hear your own heartbeat. You feel what's past it, what's through it, what's in it. And there, holds so much. It may require courage and bravery, it may require love, but mostly it requires a willingness and a desire to go there and allow yourself to go places beyond and below and inside of your wild dreams. Sera knows how to remind us of the simplicity and profundity of being exactly what we were meant to be, here, on this planet, now. I am so in love with Sera and the work she does and what she has helped create for me; as well as what we were all able to experience together".
"Well, What the fuck…
This retreat won’t be about Sera Beak, although I know I wanted it to when I read the posts about Soul Fire.
This is about YOU.
This about your SOUL.
If you contemplate that phrase as much as I did prior to Soul Fire, then you should keep reading.
Let life love you.
Allow women that are as powerful and fucking amazing than you ever even imagined to take over your universe.
If your ego can’t accept that recommendation, then SoulFire should be put on hold. Period. Stop reading now.
When you leave the retreat, your life will flip 180, 90, 360, 180 degrees, and you will feel like you walked back into human life forever changed and unable to recognize who you were before you left. It is impossible to walk back into human life after Soul Fire as the same woman that you were when you walked in.
And thank God, Jesus, Mary, Sera, Raven, mama Earth, and every other protector for that gift.
What is created at Soul Fire cannot be spoken in words. It is impossible.
Feel into yourself; feel whether you can sustain the pressure and the magnificence.
Feel into who you are now and who you might be post SF.
This is very, very, important.
Do not go to Soul Fire with expectations about Sera (human Sera). You will be disappointed. If you are considering going to Soul Fire for any other reason besides deepening you relationship with your Soul, I beg you to reconsider. Knowing what I know about Sera, I know she would feel the same.
Sera Beak does not promise your answers. She can’t even promise her own. She will share her vulnerability. But you MUST be able to go deeper than vulnerable. You must be able to let go of all concepts of your “human” self in order for your “soul” self to align with the magic of Soul Fire, Sera, and the Board of Directors (you'll know Who They Are at the retreat).
If you are brave enough to spend a week on such sacred land, you will meet women that blow your heart and mind wide open. You will connect with women in a way that your ego might run from, but your Soul fucking adores. This is about you and your Soul. There is no doubt that if you are called to Soul Fire, you WILL know.
And, if you still feel called… fucking do it. It will be the greatest gift you have ever given yourself. You will meet women that blow your fucking socks off. You will remember. You will remember. You will remember. You will begin to meet your Soul.
And then when you reenter into your normal life, you will have a tribe of soul sisters that breathe fire for your continued remembrance.
It is a gift. Don’t take this fucking lightly. Sit with the decision. If you are meant to be in Soul Fire, you will be there. And it will be a rebirth; a sacrament.
Let life LOVE you.
"Soul Fire" by Kristine Backes, Reclaim Your Natural Wisdom blog
"If you are reading these testimonials to see if Sera’s Soul Fire retreat is right for you, pay attention not to my words but to what your Soul is trying to say to you: “Hey! Sista! Wake up! Over here!” Your Soul brought you this far; now that she has your attention, take the next step if you dare.
A word of caution: this retreat is not for everyone. It is not butterflies and birthday cakes. It’s about going down, not up. Embodiment not enlightenment. If you yearn for a deep relationship with Mother Earth, long to be reunited with your Soul, to get to the bottom of what’s missing in your life, if you are tired of the dime-a dozen-spiritual-retreats, which not to diss ‘em, but more often than not are fabulous at the time but fade to wisps of memory back in the real world, then come hang with Sera and her Lady in a magical place, roll up your sleeves and start on the real Work that needs to be done. Your life’s Work. This stuff ain’t over at the end of 5 days, it’s just beginning. Are you up for it? I sure as hell wasn’t but I did it anyway. I would not change a minute of it."
"Bone-shaking. Teeth-rattling. Earth-quaking. Stronger, bigger, deeper. Heart-breakingly beautiful. More practical, profound, simple, nuanced, anti-intellectual, wise, destructive, nurturing, ecstatic, grounded, refined, rude, challenging, easy, solemn, irreverent, profane, sacred, sensible, funny and HOLY than any spiritual practice, book, teaching, workshop or retreat I’ve attended (and I’ve seen more than a few). It’s very, very Red and very, very Hot. And it’s serious shit. So if you’re ready to get funky with your beautiful Soul, dive in. Don’t hesitate. Sign up, buckle up and get ready to come home.
"Scared Shitless" by Belinda Noakes, Belinda Noakes blog
"I am not someone who goes to retreats. I'm an introvert. Sharing makes me want to have convulsions or at best, sweaty panic attacks. Being sequestered, to me, is a euphemism for 'trapped' and lots of women together in an intimate group, frightens me. Women are complex. I should know, I'm one of them. But Sera Beak, her wisdom, her books, the Red Lady resonated with me so much, I overcame my usual IRD (coined by an ex boyfriend); Immediate Refusal Disorder. Let's just say, it ain't easy for me to leave my comfort zone.
I am So Grateful I did. I will never be the same again because I've grown exponentially as a result of the Soul Fire Retreat and the Sacred Land of Feathered Pipe Ranch. I am left with fewer words and much more love.
Thirty women in a room together lead by Sera Beak and her Red Lady is a Divine Mystery waiting to unravel.
Unravel is a good word. I feel unraveled! At first it was like I was in a Cosmic Washing machine with no direction, getting Cosmically put on the spin cycle, followed by another wash, soak and rinse and instead of going in a dryer, I was hung outside on the line to dry...to blow in the Mystical Winds of Feathered Pipe.
Renewed, enriched, with new friends, amazed, grateful, grounded, empowered...these are only a few descriptions of the gifts I received. None of it possible without Sera Beak and her Red Lady. Nothing but good can come of it the experience, a rare guarantee."
"After attending this deeply transformative retreat with Sera, I came to the realization that all my years of spiritual study — the workshops, retreats and trainings — have only just served as preparation for this extraordinary immersion into and with my own Soul. Guided by Sera's wisdom, patience, and powerfully vulnerable presence while surrounded by other courageous, true soul seeking women, I felt safe and called to enter the deepest, most private places within myself for questioning, exploration and insight. For those ready to unwrap the true face of what spiritual practice can be, those desiring to awaken and listen to the voice of their Soul and live according to the guidance, wisdom and love that is always and ever waiting, this is the moment upon which the rest of your life may very well spring from. It was for me."
"After trying many times to simply describe what happened at Sera’s retreat I had given up.
Then, this morning, this came to me and it captures at least some of what I’ve been wanting to say about the extraordinary/ordinary immersion into relationship-with-Soul that happened at Feathered Pipe.
People can talk about strawberries. And they might sound interesting and great. You feel happy for them. Or maybe a little jealous. Or maybe a little confused if you’ve never tasted one.
Then there’s the moment you encounter your first just picked still warm strawberry. Taking it in your fingers, feeling the bumpy texture, bringing it to your lips, sinking your teeth in, that “whoa!” when the juices and the strawberry-ness burst in your mouth and you can hardly believe what’s happening.
At Sera’s retreat, we tasted the strawberries. We nibbled and licked and sucked and slurped and chewed and swallowed. We wiped up the red juices and then spilled them all over ourselves again.
Some were almost unbearably sweet. Some were sour. Some weren’t ready to be eaten but only held in the palm of the hand.
Some brought tears of joy. Longing. Grief for the years of just talking about strawberries without ever tasting one. Some led to that everything’s-changed-now-and-that’s-scary-exciting place. A place of no return.
And yes, we talked about them. Of course we did! But when we did it was with the taste still in our mouths. Our bodies still opening and unravelling and pulsing or contracting, digesting and every cell being nourished while we talked. (Which reminds me … the actual food at Feathered Pipe was great!)
The land fed us, the silence, the kindness of the staff. All of which I’ve experienced at other times and cherish. This retreat was different from those other times.
Okay… enough with the strawberries!
What about now? almost 2 months later? The relationship with my Soul is growing daily.
At times I forget. It’s kind of like falling in love with someone at a retreat and knowing you want to be together forever (in truth can’t ever really be separate again) and having to figure out how to re-do your whole life to make room for that love. And that love is also bringing up every old hurt and loneliness and doubt and pain that was impossible to feel until I could feel it with/as my Soul.
There really are no words to express the gratitude to Sera and all of the women who attended, all our Souls."
"A Soul Fire Retreat is not your momma's gal gathering. Nor is it sitting through meditations, chants, note taking on someone else's idea of spirituality or the way to enlightenment. Sera has a gift of making this beginning journey YOUR very personal "revolution" with her wise and witty, sometimes hard and heavy soulfilled way of discovery. It is not for the faint of heart or someone looking for a quick fix as it is on going and life-altering for the rest of your days. From 23 to 64, we gathered, we cried, we laughed, we danced and we left with confidence in ourselves and our new found sisterhood of Soul. It was magical, mystical, earthy and completely the best thing I have ever done for myself."
"Sera is a reverent Soul in a tiny body with (catchy leggings no less). She has the innate ability to see what the soul wants, and teaches you how to get there. As far as the retreat itself, the phrase that comes to mind is "shit's about to get real", and it does....perfectly."
"Clearly, you are here because of your dedication to yourself, your soul and Mother Earth. So, you will connect with your soul – if you have not known your soul before, you will feel her presence and hear her. If you have experienced and always followed an inner voice, but not known who it was, you will recognize that voice now and know it is your soul. If you have been in connection with your soul, it will intensify this bond like never before. You will be enriched by this experience no matter what stage you are at. You may struggle during the week, but by the end of the week, there will be a shift. In case you don’t “feel” anything, it doesn’t mean nothing is happening. TRUST that there is. You may or may not make major life changes after this, but this WILL be an experience of a lifetime for you. You will KNOW that your soul will lead you to do what’s best for you. Follow your soul."
"She always tickled my fancy while belting out Depeche Mode in the shower or stomping out Beyonce flash mobs in the streets… then there was that time - in a dark time - her hands cupped the soft, furry face of her beloved dog Potus and electric love filled the surrounding air… the earthiness of truffle salt at her favorite San Francisco restaurant… I kept reaching out, to no avail. Then, when she started going to the ocean regularly, her 'church,' I thought for sure I was in… in her consciousness… but every night she still laid down, alone in her thoughts, a heaviness too deafening for the silence, never realizing the army of gods that hand-formed every molecule of this perfect being.
Be it the thrust of the land's juju: Magical Montana, the alchemy of the earth-shattering beautiful souls called in at that pin-point in time or the ancient wisdom of Sera and the Red Lady… I give props to Divine Timing (the god of gods for us Souls) - the synapses were formed, the foundations poured, the breath everlasting knowledged… she felt the velvet of me and married me. The world is changed as we know it.
Thank you Red Lady for speaking to my human, Tamara. She thinks of you and cries in happiness. She thinks of me and cries in happiness. She skips around thoughts of the retreat and gathers more and more depth and clarity… a knowingness that doesn't fade but grows stronger, raps poetic and expands. Expansiveness and light. She knows now that I am female and that the light was made for her.
"For the last several years, I have taken care of dying patients and their families, and have often felt very helpless. This has driven me to work harder to change outcomes for them and block my pain. But the death and suffering has been very difficult to deal with. There has been a constant struggle inside me between my concept of science and humans as evolved but mortal physical bodies, versus spirituality and souls as eternal divine beings. When I sought Sera Beak and the soul fire retreat, I thought I needed an out and a push. After the retreat, I experienced a shift. I recognized what I have been doing for multiple prior lifetimes, is actually not very different from what I am doing now; providing support for souls - this time, as they exit. Now, I feel content and truly recognize and know that what I thought was separate (my work and spirituality) is actually one and the same thing. I am eternally grateful to Sera, my remarkable soul sisters (I met at the retreat) and the holy land (where the Feathered Pipe rests in MT) without whom/which I would have not experienced this soul-directed unification with life.
"I’ve wanted to write a testimonial for quite some time. I decided that I would write what came to me in the moment and no matter how bad I wanted to edit or remove a piece… I wouldn’t…
In order for this to work I had to get to the heart of why I was writing, otherwise it became an ego fest in my head full of comparing and overthinking. It took some time but I’m sure now. My testimonial is a personal offering, like a note to you, rather than a description of my experience. It’s a way for me to openly share with you what a difference your work and your courageous soul has made for me. My ego edited the bah Jesus out of my experience draft, however, all hope is not lost. So here it is, a few months later than anticipated.
Here is what poured from my heart tonight.
Sadness. The first exercise took me there. Lot’s and lot’s of tears. There was a constant unfolding. I was peeking over the covers and looking at someone who has been with me all of my life, allowing her to speak. The tears came from this place of “ how could I have shut you out for so long?” They came from a place of “oh my god, I am home and I’ve never felt any kind of love like this in my life”. The tears came from “How am I going to be brave enough to carry you and let you work through me after this retreat?” “What if I lose sight of you?”
It was like the death of my old self, the one I was trying to be all this time. I tried so god damn hard to figure myself out and ex out the parts that led to torture or pain.. and oh my god.. to sit in a huge circle of women and invite the very core of me in, the very thing that embodies everything I tried to shape and change on my own about myself was completely perfect. It’s my soul. I’m not alone and I’m not the creator of my life. I’m not the one who sucks at talking because I didn’t learn the right way how to, or socialize or.. My lady is everything I am and if she is everything I am than I must be as good as she is and made in her perfect image.
Oh! Finally I am home. I can rest easy in her arms and know that every step I take, everything I do is originated from a being with far more history than just my 25 years on this earth.
My heart beats so fast because my body knows this truth, my heart like wrenches open in pain and excitement and happiness and passion about this truth.
I don’t know what I can offer the world. I do know that I can connect to her by simply asking and listening. I do know that it is a lifelong relationship that must be cultivated. I do know that I learned to trust my experiences, the sensations, the visuals, the nudge, the numbers, that song on the radio. I am getting to know her language."
"I am an introvert and the idea of spending days with a large group of strangers sharing my feelings and experiences is, to me, the last thing I want to do. (Actually, the very idea makes me break out into an uncomfortable sweat.)
If you feel a tentative tugging inside to break out of yourself, to allow yourself to be the flame and the moth drawn to it, listen. This is the experience that not only gives you permission to do that but encourages you to do so.
If you feel a whisper that there's more to life, listen. This is the gathering where you are not only given permission to listen to your yearning, but encouraged to embrace it.
If you feel like you are alone, listen. And then let the stories of the people here fill that space within you. Because they are telling your stories and you are telling them theirs. Know that being lonely isn't the same as being alone.
And know, deep in the very red marrow of your bones- know deeper than that even- that you are not alone. Know that you and your soul are a love story waiting to be told. Because you are. And sometimes it takes an encounter like this to really experience that.
"Soul Fire And Life Farts: Keeping It Real" by Sera Beak, Rouge Awakening blog
"In July of 2014, I joined Sera Beak, author of Red Hot and Holy: A Heretic's Love Story, and 29 other women at Sera's first-time offering of a "SoulFire" retreat at Feathered Pipe Ranch in Helena, Montana. Others have said it, it truly is amazing how powerful women are when they come together with any given intention; but if the intention is to connect with their veritable souls, "amazing" gives way to "sublimely terrifying." The specific reason this experience is so tough to put into words (and has taken 8 months to toddle off my tongue) is because we were spelunking inner soul terrain; which, as Sera prepared us for, communicates less by linear logic and more by color, images, body sensations, and sometimes very specific words or phrases that allow you to unwrap their full meanings over time. It was cosmically expanding and yet humanly hilarious, full of divine erotic energy and confronting of my greatest fears such as insanity, annihilating despair etc..
But ultimately what we were really doing was allowing ourselves to Love and Be Loved like we are MADE for, like we have always Anciently Wanted. This kind of love can initially bring up an immense amount of anxiety for many of us; and so throughout the week, all around me I would hear women (including myself) letting out deep breaths, emphasis on the exhale. 30 women going "inside" to find out who and what they really are; 30 women stepping into their own soul's Sovereignty and claiming their own inner authority that does not bow to ego (especially "spiritualized" ego!!), parent tapes, books, gurus, and even deities!!! Well, It might bow to them for sure, but It doesn't give them the ultimate "say."
It was crazy, buckWild, divinely weird, and every single woman became bring-me-to-my-knees Beautiful with each passing day as she became more Herself. It's exquisite to watch a human being come into Focus. And truly, it takes a certain letting go of "sanity" as we know it to do this work: it made me understand why divinity and madness have been associated at times.
I found a lottery of Love, Guidance, and fascinating Understandings within myself; and I unexpectedly made a personal (Re)connection with the mystical heart-based lineage of Christianity which has been really special, satisfying, and precious for me. This inner space I'm referring to as "soul" is immeasurably potent.
I have been going through an incredibly confronting and challenging "incubation/waiting" period in the months following the retreat, wanting so badly to concretely see and enact how all of this translates into my Service in the world. When I try to force it, or critique what's happening (or not happening) from my head "figure it out" space, I go into despair...the incapacitating kind. And so I have had to learn the hard way, to soften, I mean really really soften like my life depends on it (because it does); be receptive, Show Up for myself as best I can even in the pit of despair, keep telling myself and Life that I Am Willing To Be Here, with all of my heart, and all of my body and all of my mind so help me Goddess... It's been a sense of learning to breathe under water almost...
talk out loud, even yell, at or to the Divine about how I feel, what's not working, what I want help with...which has started to look like a bit of a head-bobbing freak show because I can't decide if I'm directing my voice up towards the sky, down towards the ground, or curved in towards my chest and internal organs. There's still a little girl in me that fears getting struck by lightning for "yelling at God," but I take respite in the growing understanding that divinity will, 9 times out of 10, choose passion over appropriateness. Plus, I do plenty of exclaiming with glee about things that are working and things that I'm in love with so I figure it balances out. The important thing is that I'm showing up, one way or the other.
I sit sometimes with one hand on my heart and one hand on my lower back, or on my solar plexus, or guts, or between my legs, or under my ass; to literally listen to my body. To literally Hold my self during the Uncomfortableness. I've started to let myself feel how perfectionism can ravage my days and suffocate my heart, my joy, my natural tendency to wiggle my ass. When my back goes out I write a note on the bathroom mirror that says "Breathe and relax, I've got your BACK." If I feel a heavy energy vacuum at the prospect of sitting in front of the computer to write, or driving across town to drop off an application, or taking an exercise walk, I'm starting to learn to back on up off of that "Should" forcer-feeling and tune in to what I DO have the energy for in that moment. I am a baby at this but so far it hasn't failed me. The Road Map really is in my body; it's too good not to be true.
THIS is the work of my warrior. THIS is how I'm saving myself. Tom Robbins was right when he said we are our own dragons and our own heroines.
The eventual result of all this listening to my soul (particularly via my body) and doing things in My Own Way, has been FLOW. Shit working itself out beautifully without me trying so galldarn HARD all the frickin time. I get to enjoy the Unfolding of a day rather than surviving it from a place of exhaustion and depletion. What "flow" really means is getting to be myself and nothing BUTT myself (again, so help me Goddess).
A month or two after returning from the retreat, I wrote and illustrated with oil pastels on a big wall journal that I was being asked to move from "Figuring It Out" into the "Mystery." It may take a really painful briar patch before I'm willing to let that far go, but let me tell ya, so far the Mystery has got a whole lot more style to it than the hammer-head way. The mystery has got some major Soul Swag, if you will 🙂
It is these powerful days that it's so hard not to be attached to, full of what I like to call Soul Glamour and radiant Love. But it kinda feels like my glee is becoming more grounded, and my despair is becoming less dense; like the Glamour and the Grunge are starting to share the same red lotus root and violet halo of inspiration. It reminds me of something a soul-faring friend told me several years ago, that "they" (quantum and astrophysicists? cosmologists?) have found reason to believe that dark matter is actually majorly concentrated light. I have no idea if that's "true" but something about it felt right and magically delicious when I heard it. Makes me think of how staring at the sun makes everything go black...
Gratefully, the Love that was magnified x31 at the retreat has stayed palpable; sometimes even on the anguishing days...it still lets me know it's there, in the form of a song that comes to me, or extravagant support from friends and family, dreams and early morning insight, or just a sweetness in my chest that i feel towards my self. Or one of my faves..in the form of Booty Humor. OR i get knocked upside the head with it and re-Baptized all in one big dose too sometimes (this fairly dependably happens whenever I'm in touch with a Soul Sister from the retreat :). But this Love has been my saving Grace, it is in my cells, and it will only keep growing. Yikes!!!
At times I feel self-conscious of my "intensity," but as far as I can tell, the world is in the mood for More than a Mild-Mannered Transformation and I might as well use my fervor to power those Engines. So, World, you just crawl right up on my lap any time you need something warm and vital and PALPABLE to rest your weary head against..."Come and get your Lo-o-ove!!!"
WARNING: "Attending the Soul Fire Retreat may destroy the foundations of a comfortable life. Best to be prepared for the possibility that something breathtakingly shocking may happen… followed by something so gobsmackingly wonderful, you would never have dared to dream it." - Belinda Noakes
WARNING: "SFR may cause you to get up close and personal with your TRUTH and it may not be what you expected, and may make you want to sprint away as fast as you can... But don't because you will quickly feel the magnificence and love that is all YOU! ( and bonus: the love of all the other amazing women who will share in this amazing week)." - A.C.
WARNING: "Soul Fire retreats can cause major burns, with other possible side effects including shitstorms, sudden career changes, insomnia, seizures of joy, spontaneous dancing, job loss, and more found." - Kristine
WARNING: "Through the Fire you may see a Chasm you must cross in the form of telling your Truth to your Self witnessed by Others. Worry not you will be met at the other side with Light, Accolades, Applauds, Cheers, Smiles, Love, Hands, Hugs by your Soul and the Goddesses supporting you as you successfully arrive at your Destin(y)ation." - S.S.
WARNING:"Soul Fire retreats may cause intense questions and just as intense answers straight from your soul. May cause that strikingly painful feeling you get in your eyes when you step from a dark room into a light room, except you feel it in your heart, and the step is into Love. May cause compassion whiplash: the shock that happens when your mistakes, your hidden places, your darkest parts of your self are met with fierce honestly and the sweetest kind of understanding and Love, rather than the expected, shame, shunning and fear. May cause openness to extreme pain, extreme joy, and your ability to move with BOTH, this will happen as a result of fading numbness and the birth of your deepest Self. May cause deep grieving of the spiritual, energetic, mental, and even physical home that you may find necessary to leave behind in pursuit of a deeper dwelling: your unique way of existing in Love." - Sarah