Well Ravenswood and I are definitely back from the Girlfriend's Gathering that was held at the Ronora Logde and Retreat Center (http://www.ronoralodge.com/).
I think its safe to say we both had a wonderful time at the event. We have even discussed going back every year and have it as one of the staples we do each year as a coven if we can get the other girls to attend. We also are currently researching and contenplating the facility to be a host site for the Annual KOTH event that Autumn, Ravenswood, and I have been discussing as well. Its very beautiful on the back of the property. The lake view is purely magical and there is an energetic vortex that was felt by all its vistors that weekend we spoke too.
We arrived a bit later than expected on Friday due to traffic, and arrived during the end of dinner. We were greeted by our friend Heidi who told us about the event. (Thanks again Heidi!) After dinner, we had our opening circle performed by Susan with an Native American flare that we enjoyed. Majority of the weekend was influenced by Native American paths, which we also experienced a few firsts. Due to my pregnancy, I was delighted to see a sweat lodge, but knew I would have to stay away due to my current condition. Maybe next time.
After the Opening Circle, there was a drumming circle that took place until wee hours of the night. There were some fantastic sisters that could carry a beat. My baby was kicking in my belly to the beat as well....he also enjoyed it.
After drum circle, we were told to claim our space for the slumber party to settle in for the evening. I was pleased that everyone let me have first choice being the only pregnant moma there! I was treated as a princess and got lots of good belly rubs and back rubs the entire weekend! Thanks ladies!
Saturday we woke up to "Aunt Steve's" gentle voice leading the early bird's morning Yoga class. After the class, and while everyone was still showering or trying to wake up from the late night drumming, we were greeted by the Ronora's staff of brilliant culinary artists (the ladies that cooked for us all weekend). Mind you, when I first did my research about Ronora and seen their focus on "Raw Foods" I being the carnivore that I am, was quite hesitant. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with the best bowl of oatmeal in the entire world! I don't even really like oatmeal. This was not the cheap instant package kind, this was the oats from Mother Earth herself! Also accompanied by turkey sausage, variety of fruits, hard boiled eggs, scrambled tofu with peppers, breads, and the best hot herbal tea I have ever had! The only ingredients I could get out of the chef, was the use of whole cranberries and cinnamon sticks. Breakfast was beautiful and it was not their normal full menu either, they gave us their "light" menu!
We did many things on Saturday, we crafted prayer flags based on the idea of the Tibetian Prayer Flags. Heidi even had one premade for Silent Raffle that I even won, but will not say what it was cause it will be a gift for my sister. She will love it!
Ravenswood drew a beautiful Goddess one which I have hinted several times (and will again here, hey that would be a cool birthday gift for someone you love ya know?! LOL) Mine on the other hand, being non blessed with the talent of drawing was a stick figure house and my family for a happy home. The coming of Shaun (due July 4th) having a safe delivery and also our search for our next dream home.
Back to the gathering, I did something that I never thought I would do, I experienced Accupunture for the very first time. I am terrified of needles, but the lady that was doing it was very gentle and I did not feel a thing. It was supposed to be accompanied by a meditation but Shaun decided that it was going to be his aerobics session instead.
Later that afternoon, Ravenswood and I also experienced the Native American Peace Pipe Ceremony with Susan and Tony. (For the record, I did not inhale, being pregnant.) We gave thanks to our ancestors and it was a beautiful ceremony and I was honored to be given the chance to participate in it.
We walked down to the lake also that day where we seen many geese, swan, and ducks. Also seen a crane or two as well. Lots of wildlife in that area.
That night was another bountiful dinner. If anyone left hungry, it was their own dang fault! LOL There was more food there than one can imagine! Really there was a ton of food!!! Everyone ate up my dish that I brought, I must give kudos to my gal pal Helen for introducing it to me. Who would of thought that a group of women would go nuts over spinach, olive oil, and cheese! LOL
After dinner there was a Shamanic Journey held at the Ranch House. Later in the evening was a Bonfire!... We were blessed with the presence of one of the ladies that lives at Ronora's who is an experienced Poi Dancer. She was fantastic! I was also gifted a foot soak bath by Susan. That was heavenly!
Sunday, once again we were greeted by the gentle voice of "Aunt Steve". Then breakfast afterwards. With the impending storm approaching us that day everyone was in a hurry to clean up the place and have our final farewell and closing circle.
On the ride home, we spoke about the wonderful time we had at the event and our hopes of attending next year! I do have photos but have to locate my camera, my dh currently has it. Once I get him to download the photos I will post them to the KOTH website.
So if you are looking at a place for a group to have a gathering (Pagan or not) please check out Ronora's! They have many different lodging facilites and plans to accomodate groups both large and small! Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center is the place you want to go!