This annual Family Retreat turned out to be another magical day, with over seventy people of all ages coming together to relax, enjoy nature and learn new healing tools.
We began with an opening circle meditation and welcome even as participants were still driving into the parking lot. People were invited to sign up for various activities throughout the day: fairy gardens with Kim and a self-guided scavenger hunt for the children; chigong classes with Marcin; gentle yoga with Lynne; tapping to reduce stress with Lisa; herb walks with Katherine; demo sessions with Reiki masters Sylvia, RJ, Susie and Shawn; reflexology with Bev; naturopathy with Marcin; and aromatherapy with Lynne.
Bells were rung to announce delicious snacks with wild-crafted sumac lemonade sweetened with stevia; mint tea from the garden with maple sap from trees on the property; lemon water to cleanse the liver; watermelon slices; and apples from the Harvest Moon orchard across the street along with Wow Butter—which looks and tastes like peanut butter, but is made from roasted soybeans and can be taken to school when peanuts are banned as a substantial source of protein. It comes as sunflower butter too.
Lunch was a vegetarian chili using black instead of kidney beans to be easier on the digestion; buckwheat cornbread to stimulate our metabolism; German potato salad; local organic greens with home-made dressings (thanks Tanya!); and cucumbers with garlic dips from the Carp Farmer’s Market.
Afternoon snack added in whole grain muffins with various fruits and the sun tea we made from over 15 herbs and flowers that we picked to complete the day’s food offerings.
Our final activity was to make a healing salve all together in the bed and breakfast front yard. We sorted through the herbs that were collected during our walks, going over their uses and tasting ones that were interesting. Children helped chop them up and each child got to pick a handful and add it to the pot of hot coconut oil with grated (local) beeswax in it. Then the children got to carefully mash the herbs into the oil until it started to turn green. We pushed the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl, ladled it out into small, labelled jars with colourful lids and gave every family one or two to take home. Everyone seemed transfixed by the process of making our own crème outside in the sun…
Earlier in the afternoon, we had a dramatic demonstration of how well this salve works when one of the children got bitten hard by an insect, probably a wasp, and came sobbing into the kitchen. We applied some salve from last year to the bites and to our amazement, the swelling and pain were gone in minutes.
Another highlight was digging up a wild carrot plant, otherwise known as Queen Anne’s Lace. People were amazed at the sweet smell and intrigued by the idea of being able to find food out in nature.
Just before going home, there was a cry of surprise from the flower bed: a very unusual insect was buzzing around the purple butterfly bush flowers, harvesting the nectar. At first it looked like a humming bird and then we were informed that it was actually a hummingbird moth! It kept doing its work despite several people coming up close to take its picture and even a video (which is on our Facebook page/link). Later Tanya shared the meaning:
“This creature is called a Hummingbird Hawk Moth and its spiritual meaning is an absolutely perfect affirmation for those disbelievers who walk the earth…
Hummingbird Hawk Moths are different from most moths as they are active during the day. This makes them a very significant totem animal. They are moths so they will allow insight into mysteries and dreams but since they are active during the day, their energy is very similar to that of butterflies.
The hummingbird moth totem will aid you in achieving depths of inner and outer exploration far beyond the ordinary. As a symbol of personal transformation, your spirit helper will hover ever-near to assist in all those changes within yourself and within your environment that are necessary for you.
Hummingbird moth spends the first part of its life crawling the earth, before metamorphosis leads it to spin a home for stasis (known as a cocoon). After transforming, hummingbird moth is reborn as a beautiful winged creature of the air.
This insect is extremely sensitive to the Harmony of Earth, and is the first creature to leave a damaged ecology. Hummingbird moth’s graceful dancing-like appearance on flowers reminds us to find the joy in nature and make it a part of our life.
Hummingbird moth enters our life as a messenger for change. It may take some time being alone with ourselves to listen to hummingbird moth’s gentle requests that we allow the natural transformation of things in our lives…..”
It was a perfect ending to an inspiring day and we are thankful for these special gifts and reminders of our spiritual interconnection with nature.
Thank you to all who participated, to everyone who volunteered and to our hard-working staff for making this day a success. We look forward to hosting again next summer!
Katherine Willow N.D.