where we will gather with
to replenish and refresh ourselves,
drinking deeply from the sacred well
of Nature, Spirit, Creativity & Community.
When: August 8th – 12th, 2018
Where: Aldermarsh Retreat Center, Whidbey Island, Washington
Led by: Joanna Powell Colbert, creatrix of the Gaian Tarot
Theme: Foundational Practices of the Gaian Soul Compass
Dear Beautiful Ones,
I hope you’ll join me and a circle of lovely women in August 2018 at our Gaian Soul Retreat. We’ll replenish and refresh ourselves with creativity, contemplation, and community. We’ll connect with Mama Gaia as she dresses up in her high summer glory. We will immerse ourselves in the foundational practices of the Gaian Soul Compass, which support you in living a soul-centered life. These are practices I’ve done on my own and taught for decades, and they form the core of all my other retreats and programs.
I hosted my first retreat in September 2012, and five years later, my March and September retreats sell out quickly to retreat alumni. I’ve designed this August retreat as an introduction to the Foundational Practices of the Gaian Soul Compass, especially for those who are retreating with me for the first time. These practices are:
Air :: Wisdom Council & Journal Writing
Fire :: Ceremony
Water :: Tarot Play
North :: Sacred Art-Making
Center :: Nature Connection & Communion
Aldermarsh Retreat Center on Whidbey Island is a magical place, where the nature spirits are quite alive and present. August is one of the most beautiful months of the year in the Pacific Northwest, with mild weather and little-to-no rainfall. And Whidbey Island is a jewel, with luscious beaches, woods and meadows for you to explore, and small towns full of art galleries and cafes when you’re ready to shop.
Participation in this program is recommended before attending a March or September alumni retreat.
>>> Registration will open in November 2017.
“Trust Joanna to hold the space, to hold the sacred, and yourself; then trust yourself to hold the possibility that you can enter the space, touch the sacred, and know yourself better than you did before.” Christina Baldwin, author of “The Circle Way,” “Storycatcher,” and “The Seven Whispers.”
“I honestly cannot recommend this experience highly enough. The location is gorgeous, the wildlife is extraordinary, the food is fantastic, the property itself is welcoming, and the women who make it all happen are extraordinary humans. I always come away inspired, empowered, nourished, and ready for life in a new way. If you are looking to gather with brilliant women and dive deeply within, this is for you. Joanna Powell Colbert is a model of how to create intentional gatherings that heal and transform.” Heatherleigh Navarre, Boston Tea Room, Ferndale, Michigan
“I love the authentic connections that are made possible in the safety of Aldermarsh. I love crossing the magical bridge that makes me feel I am a priestess of Avalon. I love hearing each other’s truths and stories within the comfort of the Marsh House — those walls hold many secrets. When I left, I felt energized and connected with a powerful group of women. A treasure, a filling of the well, and done so consciously, and with great love.” Michele M., Lummi Island, WA
“This retreat is about giving yourself a deep soulful breath to let go and be held by nature and encouraged by a group of women who are both students and teachers. If you can surrender to the rhythm, you will discover your inner artist-healer-muse, all the while sharing stories with women who listen with open hearts and minds.” Jennifer Lucero-Earle, Seattle, WA
“Coming to this retreat was embarking on a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage to commune with kindred spirits, a pilgrimage to sacred land, and a pilgrimage to rediscover lost parts of myself. I found all of that and more. There was deep exploration, and there was joyful laughter and play. We nourished our spirits, and our bodies were nourished with wonderful food. We held the land in reverence, and the land held us.” Robin W., Murfreesboro, Tennesee
At our Retreat, there will be:
- Tarot play, to invite deep wisdom into our circle.
- Guided nature practices for connecting deeply with Mama Gaia.
- Contemplative walks on the beach, and through the woods, marsh, and meadows.
- Time alone and time together.
- Sacred art play (for artists and non-artists alike!).
- Wisdom sharing in council circle, using the principles of the Circle Way.
- Gentle movement and dancing.
- A ceremony to mark Lammas, the Festival of the First Harvest, and glean its wisdom for our lives.
- Scrumptious, locally-sourced, hand-crafted meals by Elaine Nichols.
- A massage therapist available for appointments.
- Time to relax in the hot tub and in the grass-roofed, wood-fired sauna.
- Giggles and great big belly laughs.
- Sweet dreams.
Want to hear about past retreats?
- Read one woman’s account of her experience at our September 2017 retreat, when we returned to Aldermarsh.
- Read about our September 2016 retreat, when we said farewell to Aldermarsh. (How the Wheel turns!)
- Read about our March 2016 retreat.
- Read about our March 2015 retreat.
- Read about our September 2014 retreat.
- Read about our March 2014 retreat.
- Read about our September 2013 retreat.
Turn off your phone and unplug from the office for a few days, leave the kids in the care of others, let the dust bunnies pile up and the dishes go unwashed.
Give yourself the gift of a time apart, where you can listen to your own inner wisdom with the help of sacred practices like nature connection, tarot play, and ceremony.
“What I love about all the retreats is the immense support women share with each other. But what I LOVED about this last one was feeling like I was respected as a member of a very unique, evolving and caring tribe. I was held by each woman during the final process of my spiritual death and the heartache of not becoming a mother, while I was encouraged at the same time to return to my herbalist path. Like the crystal egg I brought with me, the circle felt like an incubator for the rebirth of my Bruja-ness while the Dark Goddess and her snake magic facilitated the transition.
If you are ready to heal in a deep level of love, with women who manage to balance the wisdom of life while never placing judgement, then this is it. The honesty that’s lived in these retreats is incomparable.” Karen Rosales, Los Angeles, California
“What I loved about the retreat was the emotional support I received. I didn’t expect to be held in such a loving and caring space. The biggest benefit to me was the healing that took place as I opened up to the restorative powers of circling and the ocean. The retreat was the best thing I’ve done for myself in a very long time! It was truly a dream come true.” Loran Hills, Sheridan, Wyoming
“Joanna is a gifted facilitator, and that is no accident. She has taken her years of leading women’s circles and continued her training as a responsible priestess with continuing studies in conflict resolution, how to read the energy of a circle and help it go to the best possible place for all, and how to create a safe space with a minimum of drama and a maximum of trust. I am so honored and grateful to have been introduced to the “Gaian Way” of being in circle. I felt a sense of integration that I didn’t even know I was missing, and my devotional practices are refreshed and enlivened by new ways and ideas. ” Cari Ferraro, San Jose, California
“Joanna has a special gift. She is able to cultivate a space that allows full expression of shadow and light. She holds a circle that encourages woman to show up just as she is wherever she is. But her true gift is in illumination. She has a way of gently fanning the flame of your soul fire so your cauldron bubbles with the spiral smoke that holds the stories of your soul. The kind of illumination that gives you permission to carry on, to rewrite and restore the legacy of your grandmothers grandmothers. Retreat with her leaves you walking in celebration of the witches and goddesses that have long lived within your soul.” Latisha Guthrie, Bellingham, WA
What will we be doing?
One of the days may look something like this:
- A yummy breakfast.
- Morning council circle, a teaching by Joanna, and tarot play.
- A scrumptious, nourishing lunch.
- Sacred art play (fun!).
- A contemplative walk on the beach, or to a nearby labyrinth.
- Maybe a massage!
- A delectable dinner. With dessert!
- Dance of Life or story circle or a surprise!
- Sauna, hot tub, time together, or time alone.
Of course, we can’t plan the magic — all the synchronistic things that happen, the moments of insight and healing, and the bonds that form as the days and nights unfold.
I can promise you that I know how to hold the container for the retreat in sacred space, in such a way that encourages these magical things to happen!
I invite you to connect with your inner guidance, and see if coming to this retreat for replenishment and connection, is right for you.
P.S. The retreat will begin with dinner on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 (although you can arrive as early as noon) and finish up after lunch on Sunday, August 12th.
About Joanna . . .
Joanna Powell Colbert, creatrix of the Gaian Tarot and the Pentimento Tarot, has been an artist, teacher, and convener of circles for over thirty years. She was named by SageWoman magazine as one of the Wisdom Keepers of the Goddess Spirituality movement.
Joanna hosts retreats for women several times a year, and teaches workshops and e-courses on earth-centered spirituality, seasonal contemplative practices, creativity as a devotional path, the Sacred Feminine, and using tarot as a tool for inner guidance and self-exploration. She is currently at work on a new tarot deck. She lives on a small, magical island in the Salish Sea near Bellingham, Washington.
People are talking about the Gaian Soul Retreats:
“What I love about these retreats is the container that is held for deep spiritual growth. As I have attended other spiritual retreats from other groups, I have come to notice the exceptional care that is taken on the Gaian Soul Retreats with the women who attend as participants, the topic and guest teachers who are chosen, and the retreat space and food that is served. Each of these components are carefully woven for a treasured experience where my needs are met so that I can relax and go deep.
The agreements of the women who come with love and care and attention make this a safe space to learn lessons, gain wisdom and share our journeys as sisters. My biggest fear before coming was not understanding tarot, being new to the spiritual community, not believing that I had something to offer, or that my lack of knowledge would be hindering to the group. Right away, the gentle stewardship of Joanna and the teachers she invited made me feel at home. The participants valued my perspective as someone with new eyes and without the judgements of years of experience in tarot. What I believed was a lack of knowledge turned into a wealth of information as my confidence grew from these retreats and emboldened me to believe in myself and my ability to contribute to the whole.
The biggest benefit to my attendance has been the growth spiritually, emotionally, and physically that I have witnessed over the years. When I look back at that unsure girl, who knew one woman prior to attending, and was filled with issues at home and work and life, I sit in deep gratitude as I view the woman today who is more confident, brave, healthier in body and mind, and is able to handle the highs and lows of everyday life through using the tools I have learned in these retreats and participating in a circle of truly extraordinary women who ‘walk the walk’ and are loyal and support each other without question.” Christina McClendon, Katy, Texas
“I have been to many retreats in my life, and for me the Gaian Soul retreats have been by far the best. I love that it consists of art, tarot, nature and honor to the Goddess. The land there is magic. The schedule was perfect, I never felt rushed, time even seemed to slow down. And the food! — to have our very own chef whipping up taste treat after treat was pure bliss. I feel so loved and pampered and at peace when I’m there. The camaraderie between the women is an awesome thing to behold.” Karen Karlovich, Everett, WA
“What makes these retreats so special is that they are open enough that each one of the participants will discover exactly what it is they need to discover at this point in their lives. This has been true for me all three times I’ve been on retreat with Joanna. And — Elaine honored us, with her nourishing food and nurturing presence. Thank you. . . .” Mary Montanye, Oregon coast
“The biggest take-away for me is that I am always validated by other retreat goers in so many ways. It’s not that they are saying, ‘Oh Arwen, you are great.’ It’s more the sharing and openness that tells me I am not so different. My fears are not so unusual. It’s empowering to hear other women I greatly admire talk about their own doubts, concerns and fears. So many times in council I would hear my own thoughts voiced by someone else.
Come for your self. Come for your soul. Come for your rejuvenation. I’ve seen women completely drained by outside things renewed in circle, in sisterhood, in the spirit of the Gaian Soul. This retreat isn’t for everyone. It’s for those who know how scary it is to open up, but do it anyway. It’s for those who know how hard it is to bare one’s soul, but do it anyway. It’s for those who know how challenging it is to trust others, but do it anyway.
There is always some magical moment (okay, more than one) where I realize I’ve just had another level opened up for me. I leave happy to return to my own day-to-day knowing I’ve recharged my divine self in simple, sacred ways. Not to mention, the food, the company, the circle leader are all stellar. Do this for yourself. Come to retreat to resanctify your self.” Arwen Lynch, Clovis, New Mexico
“Delight and surprise accompanied my every moment at the retreat. In awed gratitude, I joined and participated in a powerful circle of women who listened to each other and their deepest intuitions while drawing on their wisdom with the intercession of Joanna’s exquisite tarot cards.” Dr. Ali Erickson, Bellingham, WA
“Joanna’s ability to create and hold sacred space at retreat provides a respite for my weary spirit. I come to retreat with doubts about sparing the time from my work and my family, fears about being the odd woman out, and anxiety about quieting my very loud mind. As soon as I cross the threshold at Aldermarsh and am enveloped by Joanna’s warm hug and the smell of Elaine’s divine cooking, I am transported. Away from all the mundane cares that plague me in the “real world” to a place of serenity, calm and peace.
The kindness, warmth and inspiration of the women at retreat is a salve for all the wounds that the world inflicts on my heart and the laughter, joy and creativity is fuel for my soul’s journey upon the end of retreat. It is a place where you will find exactly what you are looking for, even if you have no idea what that actually is until you hear it spoken, see it reflected in another woman’s eyes, or feel it through the art you craft. It is truly magical.” Lisa Blinn, Houston, Texas
We’d love to have you join us for 4+ days
of inspiration, renewal, and connection!
REGISTRATION is NOW OPEN!
August 8-12, 2018
Private tiny cabin,* $1395, Early Bird Price $1325. ALREADY BOOKED!
*All accommodations include access to a shared bathroom in the houses. The cabins do NOT include a bathroom.
All registration fees are per person.
Early Bird Price is good through March 31st, 2018.
We accept Visa, Mastercard and Paypal.
You will receive a questionnaire after you register that will help me to get to know you a little better before the retreat.
CANCELLATION POLICY: If you need to cancel your spot before May 1st, 2018, we will refund all but $150 of your tuition. After May 1st, we won’t be able to issue any refunds because of agreements with our providers.