This Winter Solstice weekend retreat is directed to all who identify as women and are interested in deepening their spirituality through the poetry of women including Mirabai, Hildegard of Bingen, Emily Dickinson, Audre Lorde, Sharon Olds, the elder Buddhist nuns of the Therigatha — and ourselves. Conceived as a journey into the darkness of the inner forest and out into the warm lights of interconnection with others, the weekend’s activities will explore how poetry and spirituality can sustain women’s healthy ways of being with ourselves and with the world.
Aiming to bypass androcentric biases and rediscover an integral way of interbeing, we will absorb poetry that values and affirms women as subjects and makers of history — poems that honor, rather than fear, women, the body, and the Divine Feminine. Our weekend’s transformations will connect the poems we read with the qualities of specific goddesses, including Norse Goddess Freya, five Goddesses of the Taíno cosmogony, Celtic Brigid, and your own ancestral goddesses if you like. Guided poetic practices will move us in rhythm with the elemental powers of language for spiritual growth, and time to write outside will renew our healing connection with nature as a manifestation of the Great Mother who has secrets to reveal to us.
Our reading and creating of poetry will also be deepened by intuitive practices including altar building, walking meditation, mindful eating, womb-healing ritual, and a Taino ritual Areito procession as we nourish the five core aspects of women’s lives: vision/manifestation, physical/abundance, social/emotion, passion/creativity, and intuition/spirituality. Participants will return home with a journal full of fertile explorations into language and self and a renewed sense of connection with our own creative and spiritual wealth as women.
For more information on Garrison Institute, see their website. To register, contact Garrison Institute: firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-423-4800
Annie Finch, of Celtic and Scandinavian lineage, is a poet, writer, teaching artist, and performer. She is known for her deep knowledge and practice of poetic form and her work on women’s literature and spirituality. Finch is the author of six books of poetry including Spells, Calendars, Eve, and the feminist epic Among the Goddesses, as well as numerous books on poetry including the writing guide A Poet’s Craft. She is also the editor of Choice Words, the first major literary anthology about abortion. A graduate of Yale with a Ph.D. from Stanford, Finch has appeared widely at poetry conferences, taught as a tenured professor of poetry writing at two universities, and is the recipient of the Robert Fitzgerald Award and the Sarasvati Award for Poetry.
Marianela Medrano is a Dominican writer and poet and a psychotherapist with a Ph.D in psychology whose practice include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness and Integral Psychotherapy. Medrano has trained in Mindfulness and spirituality and in trauma-specific modalities such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is a Mindful Eating instructor/facilitator. She has done extensive research on the Divine Feminine in the Taino culture, has lectured in many countries, and has published her poetry widely in journals and in books including: Oficio de Vivir (Buho,1986), Los Alegres Ojos de la Tristeza (Buho,1987), Regando Esencias/ The Scent of Waiting (Alcance,1998), Curada de Espantos (Torremozas, 2002), Diosas de la Yuca, (Torremozas, 2011), Prietica (Alfaguara, 2013), Rooting (Owlfeather Collective, 2017), and El Libro de Revelaciones (chapbook), (2019). Her poetry has been translated into Italian and French. She is a certified poetry therapist and serves as a mentor/supervisor for the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy.