“Soul Fire called forth a level of authenticity that is humbling and terrifying and fierce and pure and beautiful. 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. 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. ”
Soul Fire Women’s Retreat
July 23rd – July 29th, 2017
Bend of Ivy Lodge
Asheville, North Carolina
Limited # of participants and by application only
(Blue Ridge Mountains outside Asheville)
This fiery feminine retreat has one purpose:
to help you create a more intimate, dynamic, and radically real relationship with
Your Soul is the Center of your center,
the You of you
– your distinct and sovereign divinity, which is directly connected to
All That Is.
Your Soul is your guidance and grace,
your deepest knowing and your toughest truth,
your best-friend and
Your Soul’s love for you is unmatched by anyone or anything else in this entire Universe.
When you ignite your Soul Fire,
you don’t just believe,
on every level of your being and in every cell of your beautiful body that
You are the One you’ve been looking for all along.
This retreat will be lead by your Soul, but facilitated by Sera
and supported by Jessica and Tara
(Jessica and Tara: the Soul Support Team)
The co-facilitator of this Retreat is Mama Earth.
You will be enriched and elevated by the alchemy of the sacred land.
You will metamorphosize in the cocoon of serene Blue Ridge mountains.
There is a river to swim in, trails to explore, gorgeous land to lay upon, an organic farm and goats (!)
While relaxing and recharging, a Soul Fire retreat ain’t messing around.
Be willing to Go There
After all, you’re not here to play it safe, you’re here to start fires.
Burn baby, Burn
(Blue Ridge sunset from www.daveallenphotography.com)
FOR SERIOUS SOULS ONLY
Soul Fire Retreats are not for “dabblers.” They are for those who are willing to make their relationship with their Soul a priority. We dive deep, burn hot and go right to the core. In order to know who we truly are, we have to face what we have placed in the way of our truth. In order to reclaim our sovereignty we have to admit how we have given our power away. In order to embody our souls we have to say “yes” to all aspects of ourselves (our light and dark, our perfection and imperfection, our humanity and our divinity).
In other words, Incarnating Divine Love on this planet ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s an ever-evolving sacred practice, a never-ending process of surrender, a life-long journey and a radical act of Service. What we do on this retreat is not just for our Soul, but for every Soul in existence.
To be even clearer: Soul Fire Retreats offer no glittering promises or guarantees, like: Happiness! Peace! Health! Hot Sexy Goddess Boom Boom Wow Wow! Finding Your Purpose! Manifesting Your Dreams! Professional Success! Enlightenment!
Our souls have WAY bigger game. (yes, even bigger than “enlightenment”)
To help us “play” in this Holy Field, we need an authentic sisterhood of wild support, mama nature, dancing, devotion, and a ridiculous sense of humor. I’m serious about the humor.
Bottom Line: The Soul path isn’t about getting what you want.
It’s about giving Who you are… without the need for a return.
Because that hole you’ve been constantly trying to fill with everything outside of you,
is finally full with all the Love inside you.
BEFORE YOU APPLY:
1. Ask your Soul if this is the right Retreat for you at this time in your life – and pay attention to signs, dreams, synchronicities, your feelings.
2. Read all of Red Hot and Holy (please read the entire book BEFORE you apply)
3. Read all of the testimonials and blog posts of past participants (down below)
4. Apply: Tell me why you would like to attend this retreat in an email or attached word doc.
Please put time and energy into your application, but don’t worry about spelling or grammar or sounding a certain way. There is no right answer. Just write as honestly as possible. Only I will be reading these.
Send application to: email@example.com (subject “Soul Fire Retreat”)
5. If it’s a match, I will email you back with the logistics.
“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.– Aleli
“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.” – Pam.D
“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. <3.” Anne
“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!” – Kim B.
“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.” – Anita N.
“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!!” – Kandace B.
“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.” – Elizabeth L.
“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.” – Amy G.
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 … Yours truly, Jennifer
“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.” – Azalea
(yes, that’s my red ass)
“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.” – J.H.
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.” – Alyse
“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.” – Bethany
“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.” – M.S.
“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.” – Sarah W.
“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.” – M.S.
“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.” – T.T.
“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” – T.D.
“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.” – M.S.
“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.”
Naomi. And HoneyLove. ”
“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.
Trust.” – Natalie F.
“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.” – Jane Usher
“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.- Belinda N.
“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.” – Sunny
“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.” – Keri M.
“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.” – Briana R.
“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.” – Killian W.
“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.” – HB
“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.” – Lakshmi
A testimonial from the Soul of a part-participant:
“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. *Lux (the Soul of a participant called Tamara)
“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. – L.R.S.
“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.” – Grace
“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.)
Of course, sometimes, what a person *wants* and what a person *needs* are two very VERY different things.
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. – Jeanne C.
“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…
I 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!!!” – Annie
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.” – Belina 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