The Healing Womb
Art Installation & Retreats
On The Edge’
A Healing Womb Retreat
Annabel Du Boulay
BA MSc DipTRT DipSDT DipGM GQHP GHR
Although this retreat has now ended, please watch my video and read the retreat information as I will be holding more in the future. If you would like to attend a retreat, please register your interest.
Are you a woman who has suffered the trauma of losing a child, including through miscarriage or still-birth? Or are you the mother of a special needs child who grieves for the loss of her dreams and mothers at the wild edges?
If so, then we invite you to join us on our ‘Mothering on the Edge’ Retreat held at Imbolc amid the sacred waters of Chalice Well, where we will guide you on a deep journey of transpersonal & shamanic healing.
WATCH ANNABEL DU BOULAY’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO PARENTS WHO HAVE LOST CHILDREN (INCLUDING THROUGH MISCARRIAGE OR STILLBIRTH) OR WHO HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN, AND HER INVITATION TO ATTEND HER ‘MOTHERING ON THE EDGE’ RETREAT IN FEB 2017.
The wound is the place where the light enters you.
The Healing Womb
The retreat is held within Annabel’s art installation ‘The Healing Womb’ which had its debut in 2012. Comprising of four 5’x4′ acrylic paintings of the archetypal Mother of Loss, Mother of Solitude, Mother of Healing & Mother of Compassion, the installation creates a sacred space in which women can gather to share their stories in relation to child loss, childlessness and the challenges of mothering special needs children.
Annabel was inspired to create ‘The Healing Womb’ by her personal experience of mothering three children, two of whom were born with life-threatening syndromes & multiple disabilities. During the many months she lived on neonatal intensive care and paediatric surgical wards, she became aware of the depth of women’s suffering and untold stories.
I know what it feels like to face the fear of my child dying, to grieve for the child who I thought I would have, to feel all the conflicting emotions woven into caring for a disabled child. I also know how lonely it can feel to lock our stories away, to not want to burden others with our pain, anger and despair, to tell a different story to the world when inside we are desperate to speak, to be heard and comforted.
I invite you to come and join us, to be held and guided by four women who have journeyed deeply on the bridge between life and death, to share your story within a compassionate circle of women and to release any shadow emotions that may arise into the healing fires of Imbolc.
HECATE – EARTH
MOTHER OF LOSS
LILITH – AIR
MOTHER OF SOLITUDE
BRIGIT – FIRE
MOTHER OF HEALING
KUAN YIN – WATER
MOTHER OF COMPASSION
Allow us to lead you on a deeply transformative, transpersonal journey with the four archetypal energies of ‘The Healing Womb’ through a combination of guided visualisation, creative expression, movement, breathwork and shamanic ritual including a sweat lodge. We’ll be sharing our stories, exploring and honouring the wounded parts of us, expressing and transforming our shadow emotions, and rebirthing ourselves out of the Healing Womb of the sweat lodge with tears, laughter and sisterhood.
This retreat is for any woman who has suffered the trauma of child loss, including through miscarriage and still-birth, or is the mother of a special needs child who grieves for the loss of her dreams and mothers at the wild edges.
You will be held and guided by four women who are not only highly experienced in working therapeutically and shamanically with women’s circles, but who have also journeyed deeply with child loss or disability:
Annabel Du Boulay – who has three children, two of whom were born with life-threatening syndromes and multiple disabilities and have had 18 operations between them
Ali Harrison – whose beloved son Tom died from cancer aged six
Tegwyn Hyndman – whose beloved daughter Elkie was hit by a car and died aged six
Rachel Inman – whose beloved daughter Grace died suddenly from a rare heart condition aged 4 months
The retreat will be held at Chalice Well – one of Britain’s most ancient wells, nestling in the Vale of Avalon between the famous Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Hill. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and orchards, it is a living sanctuary in which the visitor can experience the quiet healing of this sacred place.
For over two thousand years this has been a place where people have gathered to drink the waters and find solace, peace and inspiration. The Chalice Well Trust works with the theme of ‘Many Paths, One Source’ to welcome all people of goodwill to the gardens throughout the year.
Annabel has been attending and holding ceremonies at Chalice Well since 2002. As night falls in the gardens, the veils thin between the worlds, enabling us to journey through the elements with those parts of us that lie hidden beneath the masks we wear and with our loved ones in spirit.
Little St Michael’s Retreat House is provided by the Trust for people to stay at Chalice Well on retreats of a meditative or contemplative nature. We have hired the Retreat House for our sole use and will have 24hr access to the gardens during the retreat, including private use on the Friday evening.
For further information, please visit their website at www.chalicewell.org.uk.
The retreat is being held at the weekend (3-5 February) of the pagan festival of Imbolc, celebrated on 1 February in honour of the Celtic Goddess Bride, Bridie, Brigit, Brighde, who became Christianised as St Brigid of Kildare.
Annabel Du Boulay’s book The Serpent’s Tale begins and ends on the Roman Catholic feast of Candelora, held on 2 February, which is itself founded on the Roman Festival of Lupercalia, when candles are lit and fires are rekindled. As the old travelling storyteller explains:
“Fire is the oldest form of divinity…The flame is one of the gateways though which we can enter the place of stillness that lies within, where we can speak to the spirits of our ancestors…it is the spark of wisdom that lives within each of us…Sophia. In the Bible she is known simply as Wisdom, but to the Greeks, she was the Goddess of Wisdom, fire of inspiration for philosophers and poets, to whom I give thanks at this time of year.”
The Celtic Goddess Bride and Gnostic Goddess Sophia are synonymous in their roles at Imbolc as Goddess of Childbirth and of Healing, specifically of mothers and children, and Goddess of Illumination who transforms our shadow emotions through Her fires of Wisdom, helping us to discover the light of hope within the dark cave of our grief.
Annabel has chosen to hold the ‘Mothering on the Edge’ retreat and sweat lodge specifically on this weekend as both her children, Sophia and Zac, had surgery at Imbolc and she came to understand the significance of this time of year for healing, both for the child and for the grieving mother.
- 11.00 – Introductory circle
- 13.00 – Lunch
- 14.00 – Hecate Workshop
- 18.00 – Supper
- 19.00 – Private Use of Chalice Well Gardens for an Elemental Journey
- 08.00 – Breakfast
- 09.00 – Lilith Workshop
- 13.00 – Lunch
- 14.00 – Brigit Workshop
- 18.00 – Supper
- 19.00 – Sweat Lodge with Tegwyn Hyndman & Rachel Inman
- 08.00 – Breakfast
- 09.00 – Kuan Yin Workshop
- 13.00 – Lunch
- 14.00 – Closing Circle
- 16.00 – Retreat Ends
The Sweat Lodge is an invitation to return to the darkness of the Mother’s womb, to allow the heat of the stones and the sacred songs to gently embrace you, to receive your tears and to carry your prayers to Spirit and to the souls of your loved ones.
Tegwyn Hyndman is a lover of ceremony, a facilitator of women’s circles for 17 years and sweat lodges for 13 years. The tragic death of her daughter Elkie, who was hit and killed by a car aged six, propelled Tegwyn into her elemental journey with Spirit, through which she was able to rediscover her trust in life.
Tegwyn will be assisted by her fire keeper Rachel Inman, whose beloved daughter Grace died suddenly of a rare heart condition aged 4 months.
- Two single rooms with shared bathroom
- Three twin rooms with shared bathroom
- One triple room with shared bathroom
Room allocation will be on a ‘first-come’ basis. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking and if there is anyone you would like to share a room with.
The cost of the residential retreat includes the following:
- 2 nights accommodation at Little St Michael’s Retreat House & Garden, Chalice Well (exclusive use)
- 3 days exclusive use of the Workshop Room
- 24 hour access to Chalice Well gardens
- Private access to the gardens on Friday evening
- 7 nutritious meals prepared by Glastonbury’s renowned Rainbow’s End Cafe (from Friday lunch to Sunday lunch)
- 3 days of transpersonal, shamanic workshops led by Annabel Du Boulay & assisted by Ali Harrison
- Elemental Journey in Chalice Well Gardens on Friday evening
- Sweat Lodge led by Tegwyn Hyndman with fire keeper Rachel Inman on Saturday evening
- A copy of Annabel’s book The Serpent’s Tale
- Free membership of a private Facebook group for attendees of The Healing Womb retreats
From Our Clients
Such an amazing opportunity to journey so deeply and to feel so encouraged and held by Annabel.
A very safe space where I could journey into the depths and feel totally held…incredibly powerful.
I was able to forgive myself, to find peace, compassion, acceptance and healing.