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Sacred Journeys Abroad (generally one week in length)
ConnieFenty, Your Nature Connection Seminars and Mary Teti, Hands from the Heart together co-create and co-facilitate retreats and sacred journeys both locally and abroad including European pilgrimages they call "Sacred Steps, Sacred Self." They have led their participants to England, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland. Some themes presented in these pilgrimages are connecting to the Sacred Feminine and spending time in Sacred Sites and Stone Circles. One participant had this to say about a Journey to England, "Your depth of spiritual understanding of the area really enriched the trip. You took care of so many details - it makes my head spin to think of all you did to make us comfortable and informed."
Connie Fenty and Mary Moskoff together co-create and co-lead Sacred Journeys to discover and reconnect to the Divine Feminine through traveling to sacred sites where devotion to the feminine aspecti of spirituality has been practiced for thousands of years. Their recent Journey, Caves to Cathedrals, was praised as "ingenious - going from underground caves/cathedrals to overground cathedrals/caves." They hope to lead a Journey to Sacred Sites of Hawaii in the near future.
Itineraries of some of the Journeys Connie has co-led can be viewed below.
Sacred Steps Journeys presents: A Pilgrimage to Ireland's Untamed West
Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Galway
September 14 - 24, 2019
Day 1 – Sept. 14: We begin our journey with an overnight flight to Shannon Airport, Ireland. (Not included in trip price and individually booked.)
Day 2 – Sept. 15: After a morning arrival at Shannon, we board a coach to begin our adventure of exploring Ireland’s northwestern counties from which so many of our ancestors emigrated during the Great Famine. It is also home to historical strong women and warrior Goddesses. We will be riding through beautiful Connemara to our accommodation for the next three nights. Renvyle House Hotel is a luxury hotel surrounded by water. History and legends abound within the hotel walls. Relax by the fireplace or take a walk around the grounds. Join us for a welcome dinner (provided.) https://www.renvyle.com/index.php?lang=en
Day 3 – Sept. 16: After breakfast (provided each day), we will embark on a guided tour of the untamed wildness of Connemara in Mayo with stops at Croagh Patrick, a place of pilgrimage for centuries, and the haunting Famine Memorial. Lunch on your own in thriving Westport.
Day 4 – Sept. 17: Today we will visit Kylemore Abbey, a stunning manor house with gardens galore. After lunch at Kylemore’s Café (provided), it is on to the charming town of Clifden, with its famous castle ruin. After exploring, we head home via a scenic route known as the Sky Road.
Day 5 – Sept. 18: Today we bid farewell to Mayo and Renvyle House. Our coach will take us to our next stop, Sligo, via the mysterious megalithic complex of Carrowkeel on the banks of Lough Arrow. Our next home is the Riverside Hotel. The hotel is in the city and sits at the intersection of two rivers. A riverside path is right outside our door for those who wish to take a morning stroll. Sligo’s favorite son is William Butler Yeats, poet and mystic who collected local stories of faery sightings. Dine in the Pub or restaurant and perhaps even view the anglers wading in the waters to fish. https://www.riversidesligo.ie/
Day 6 – Sept. 19: After a leisurely breakfast we will head to Lissadell House, once home of the Countess Markievicz, poet, philanthropist and the only woman to play a major role in the historic Easter Rising, the protest that eventually led to Irish Independence. The home includes a museum, gardens, and a delightful tearoom for lunch (provided). As we make our way back home there will be stops at Glencar Waterfall and Carrowmore, the largest megalithic cemetery in Europe. With afternoon hours left, you may wish to walk along the river path or cross the sculptural walking bridge to view the University and Sligo Abbey.
Day 7 – Sept. 20: After breakfast, we explore Knocknarea, legendary grave of Maeve, a Celtic Queen, known for her strength and ferocity. Here we will ponder the legends of warrior Queen Maeve, and invoke her strong will and fortitude to empower us. Close by is Tobernalt Holy Well, known for eons by pre-Christians and Christians alike. At day's end, we will move on to Donegal to settle in at Gateway Lodge, a short walk from Donegal Castle.
Day 8 – Sept. 21: Following breakfast, we spend the day exploring Donegal. A scenic drive will take us to the magnificent cliffs that swoop down from the Slieve League Mountains. These are among the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe. On our way home we pass through Glencolmcille, a village that boasts strong spiritual associations with pre-Christian ritual dating back 5,000 years when St. Columba established a monastery near there in the 6th century. We return to our hotel via the Glengash Pass.
Day 9 – Sept 22: Today we bid farewell to Donegal. Enjoy the scenic countryside before stopping at the charming village of Cong, home of Cong Abbey. At the distinguished Ardilaun Hotel, we will gather explore the stroll through the fairy garden and perhaps share libation on the lovely terrace.
Day 10 – Sept. 23: Spend the day in Galway City with its whimsical shops or take advantage of the spa at the hotel with a massage or other treatment. In the evening we will reminisce about our experiences at a closing ceremony and farewell banquet.
Day 11 – Sept. 24: Morning departure for flights home from Shannon (transport to airport provided)
Sacred Steps, Sacred Self Journeys 2016
A Pilgrimage through Ireland’s West, where past and
present are held as one in the arms of the Divine Feminine
April 13-23, 2016
Day 1 – 4/13: Departure from our home cities for Shannon Airport and Ireland; land of saints, heroes, mystics, goddesses, and poets. You may instead prefer to arrive in Shannon today in order to rest, relieve jet lag, and avoid airline delays.
Day 2 – 4/14: Our journey begins with a 10:00 morning coach pickup at Shannon. We will wind our way northwest into County Clare. Our first stop is at the famous Cliffs of Moher where we can walk the cliffs for amazing ocean views and explore the visitor's center where we will have lunch. (included) Next is a stop and ceremony at nearby St. Brigids well and shrine. http://irelandsholywells.blogspot.com/2014/01/saint-brigids-well-liscannor-county.html It is a place of pilgrimage through the centuries up to today. We depart for O’Connor’s B&B for a one night stay near the seaside village of Doolin. http://www.oconnorsdoolin.com/.
After time for rest or exploration, we will gather in circle for introductions and welcoming all to Eire, Isle of the Sacred Feminine. Beverages, wine and cheese will follow provided by your guides. For dinner, you may wish to walk across the street to one of the local pubs specializing in good food and trad (traditional Irish music).
Day 3 – 4/15: After breakfast, we will gather for departure as a group to enter into the famous Doolin Cave and sense being enfolded by mother earth http://www.doolincave.ie/. Meander the nature trails close by or enjoy a hot chocolate at the cafe until time to leave for the town pier to board a local ferry for a boat ride to view the Cliffs of Moher from a different perspective. Sandwiches may be purchased at the pier. After relaxing to the rocking of the sea, we will stop at Neolithic Poulnabrone Dolmen and a nearby ring fort before heading to our next lodging for a three night stay at Ballyvaughan Guest House. Ballyvaughan is a charming town on a harbour with a lot of options for walking to shops and dining. http://www.ballyvaughanlodge.com
Day 4 – 4/16: After an early breakfast our coach will take us north to Galway. Walk the streets of this ancient Irish city that escaped ruin by invaders. http://www.galwaytourism.ie/pgalway-city-landmarks.html. It is market day and the streets are alive with locals shopping at stalls filled with all manner of goodies. Now is your chance to buy jewelry in the Claddagh design, for this is its birthplace. Leaving Galway, we will be visiting two especially magical spots in County Galway: Brigit’s Garden and Coole Park. http://www.brigitsgarden.ie/ http://www.coolepark.ie/index.html. Dinner in Ballyvaughan.
Day 5 – 4/17: Today after breakfast we will head for the Burren, where the highest concentration of ancient pre-Christian and early Christian sites in Ireland are located and you will view the unusual geology of the area. Exploration today will include visits to Corcomroe Abbey, an early Christian church ruin in Kilnaboy, and the Burren Parfumery where you can purchase products made on site, stroll through the charming herb gardens and enjoy lunch in the cafe.
A highlight of the day will be the the Birds of Prey Nature Centre where you will be treated to a show of beautiful birds flying in the stadium there. Back at our homebase, we’ll gather as a group to share our Burren impressions with one another over dinner (provided) before packing for departure the next day.
Day 6 – 4/18: After breakfast we will depart for our next home base in Glengarriff. We are off to Tralee to meander through the spectacular rose gardens (do you know the song, Rose of Tralee?) in the town park. Find a nice restaurant for lunch just outside the gardens. Enjoy the stunning views as we make our way to Glengarriff and the Island View Guest House http://www.islandviewhouse.net/ where innkeeper Imelda will greet us. Time now to settle in and have dinner, just a short walk into town.
Day 7 – 4/19: After breakfast we head to Killarney National Park for a day of stunning views and walks, including Ross Castle, Torc Waterfall and lunch at Muckross House (included).
From these views, we can see the body of the Mother, especially in the Paps of Anu, so called for ages because of the resemblance to the breasts of the Divine Feminine. After an inspiring day, we return to Glengarriff.
Day 9 – 4/21: After breakfast, we are off to Adare, known as Ireland’s most picturesque village, where we will stay for the final two nights at The Woodlands Hotel http://www.woodlands-hotel.ie/index.html.
It is possible to book ahead at their spa facilities for a rejuvenating massage or facial. Walk the beautiful countryside or stroll in town before gathering for our farewell banquet (included) to enjoy bonds we have created and shared memories.
Day 10 – 4/22: After breakfast, it is off to County Tipperary to explore the Rock of Cashel, sitting above the landscape and rich in history and legend, dating back to the 10th century. It played a significant role in both church and royal history, as the seat of the kings of Munster. Linger here and feel the past unfold before you. After lunch, we head back towards Adare, with a significant final stop on our Irish Pilgrimage – Lough Gur. It‘s a place of magic, where we step further back in time to the land of faery. This is the site of Tir na Nog, according to folklore the Land of Eternal Youth, and entrance to the faery realm. Allow yourself to be taken in to experience a true connection with Nature and possibilities. It is now time to return to our hotel, to pack, and to share a farewell ceremony under the full moon on Earth Day.
Day 11– 4/23: Following breakfast, it is time to depart for afternoon flights out of Shannon Airport. Farewell, Eire, land of magic and timeless wonder.
FROM CAVES TO CATHEDRALS
Itinerary and Daily Schedule
Day 1: Leave September 8th 2014 to arrive at Bordeaux Airport on September 9th.
Plan to arrive no later than 11:30 p.m. for group pick up and a relaxing coach ride to Les Eyzies. If time allows, we will stop in St. Emilion, on the Pilgrimage Route to Santiago de Compostela, from the 11th century onward. During our visit here, we can eat lunch, explore the town, shop, or take an optional tour of the largest underground church in Europe. Depart for Les Eyzies to arrive at either Hotel des Roches or Hotel Le Centenaire to settle in for the 6 nights here. No group activities planned for after dinner so travel fatigue can be addressed. (Lunch and dinner on your own today).
Day 2: September 10, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Following breakfast at your hotel, we will meet at Hotel Des Roches for a short introductory meeting. Our guides, Pascal Raux and Marie Girard will arrive with 2 vans to transport us to the sites on the agenda for today.
Together, they will guide us to the indigenous mind and life ways of the ancient Paleolithic population in this area roughly 40,000 years ago.
At our first stop, the Sacred Valley of Gorge d’enfer we will be introduced at fireside to an overview of the stay in Dordogne. (http://donsmaps.com/gorgedenfer.html). Lunch will be enjoyed as a group at the restaurant Laugerie Basse (http://www.laugerie-basse.com/). In the afternoon, we visit the famous reproduced cave of Lascaux in Montinac for an English tour. Return to Les Eyzies for dinner and a presentation by Mary. (Breakfast and lunch included.)
Today, only a few painted caves are open to visitors and they are tightly monitored and regulated for protection. This usually offers not much more than a guided lecture tour. Our group will have a very different experience. Our guides will provide for us a process of understanding and experiencing the caves from a deeper and more profound perspective.
The paintings in the caves create a doorway to reach “other dimensions.”
Many culuralists consider the caves to be the first Cathedrals for humans. The art, music and meaning of the activity in the caves parallel what transpires within the Cathedrals.
Day 3: Sept. 11.
After breakfast (included) meet at Hotel Des Roches for pick up by guides to visit Cave of Bernifal in the Vallee des Beunes. Return to Les Eyzies for lunch and then to Roc de Cazelle. Free evening for walking through Les Eyzies, trying a new restaurant for dinner or just relaxing by the river. Lunch and dinner on your own.
Return to Les Eyzies for lunch and a free afternoon to relax, shop, explore, canoe or kayak, take an optional tour of the Pre-history Museum right in Les Eyzies, open 9:30 to 6:00 with an entrance fee of 5 euros. (http://musee-prehistoire-eyzies.fr/) After dinner, we will visit the cave of Cougnac.
Breakfast included, lunch and dinner on your own.
Day 5: Sept 13.
After breakfast, meet for pick up and a visit to the market in old city Sarlat.
Enjoy the seasonal produce, foie gras and sausages, mushrooms, goat and bovine cheeses, walnut cakes, herbs, spices, olives wines and spirits. Seek out the famed regional cheese, chèvre, le cabécou de Rocamadour, a small round, mold-ripened goat cheese. Enjoy your purchase for lunch.
We will continue along the Vezere river moving through time from prehistoric to medieval sites: Saint Leon, la Roque Saint Christophe, Le Moustier, La Madeline. Back to Les Eyzies for dinner. Breakfast only included
Day 6, Sept 14.
Our last full day in the Dordogne. Breakfast at hotels. Pick up at Hotel des Roches to travel through time into the Neolithic period (which began about 9500 BC). The morning will bring us to a Neolithic Dolmen, a sacred site. Having brought our own bagged lunches, we will enjoy a picnic together, and then visit a sacred spring.
Nearby is Redon Lespic, a shrine dedicated to Mary. It was constructed much later in time and marks the place where an apparition of Mary is said to have taken place. A Roman built church will also be available to view.
A ceremony by the fire will complete the afternoon and be followed by a group dinner to say farewell to Les Eyzies and our experience with ancient spirituality. Back at our hotels, pack for an early morning departure. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 7: Sept. 15.
We will begin our day of pilgrimage to Chartres at 7:30 a.m. (approx). Our guides, Pascal and Marie will transport us to Brive la Gaillarde for a journey to Chartres via the French train system. This ride through the countryside will give us a chance to relax, journal and prepare for the next experience. Snacks available on train or bring your own. Arrive in Paris at Gare Austerlitz where we will be met by coach to be transported to Chartres.
The Mecure Hotel in Chartres will be our home for six nights. It is located in the center of town and only a few blocks from the cathedral. After checking in and getting your bearings in Chartres we will have a 5:30pm presentation by Rev Jill Geoffrion PhD (her book Praying the Labyrinth, is on the reading list.) Jill will lead us in a tour around the outside of the Cathedral. Dinner following presentation.
We are fortunate to be in Chartres during the Lumieires display beginning each night at 10:00. Visit this website and scroll down to watch a video of lights. Breakfast included.
Breakfast is included each day at Mercure Hotel. This is an open day for rest, relaxation and exploration of Chartres or an optional personal pilgrimage of your choice whether within the Cathedral in Chartres, or visiting Giverny, Versaille, or Paris.
Day 9: Sept. 17.
This will be a very full day. Transport to Paris Gare Montparnasse from the train station in Chartres. 10:00 arrival in Paris for a visit to the Cluny Museum for viewing the renowned Unicorn Tapestries.
From there, stroll over to the Latin Quarter past Saint Julian-le-Pauvre one of the oldest churches in Paris and the Square Rene Viviani the site of the oldest planted tree in Paris and offering one of the best views of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The famous Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is also a few steps away and close to many places to enjoy your lunch. A short walk over the Petit Pont Bridge brings you to our meeting point in front of Notre Dame Cathedral for our tour at 1:30. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can also view Luxembourg Gardens on our way back to the Montparnasse train station. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jardin_du_Luxembourg
Return to Chartres for dinner. At 9pm we will meet at the North Door of the Cathedral for a 9:30 private tour of the Chartres Cathedral Crypt by candlelight.
Following breakfast at the hotel, meet for a guided tour of the Cathedral (exterior if weather permits, otherwise interior). A walking tour around the Cathedral to view the carvings will reveal to us the stories they portray in what is called a “book in stone”. From there, we will walk to Hotel St. Yves and view the outdoor Chartres pattern labyrinth. After lunch, attend a required meeting at 3:00 with Rev. Lauren Artress from Veriditas. Mary has arranged for us to join a Veriditas tour for a private evening candlelit labyrinth walk in the Cathedral. No one will be allowed to join the evening walk unless they have attended the 3pm meeting.
At the meeting, Rev. Artress will be giving those participating in the walk a chance to meet the other group that will be walking with us. A private labyrinth walk in the Cathedral is a rare opportunity and there are strict guidelines that need to be followed. Lauren will address those in this meeting.
It will be recommended that you eat a light dinner before the meeting time at the North Door. We will not finish our walk until after restaurants close.
Day 11, Sept. 19.
After breakfast, we will head to the Cathedral for an open Labyrinth walk. This is an opportunity for you to walk the labyrinth at your own pace and as often as you like. Additionally, there will be ample time to visit areas of the Cathedral that “call” to you or to meditate while gazing at the beautiful stained glass windows. You can decide to schedule an optional Cathedral tour or stained glass window explanation with Malcolm Miller. Enjoy a farewell dinner as a group this evening. Breakfast and dinner included.
The daytime will be open for you to prepare for departure, shop, wind down or enjoy Saturday in Chartres however you chose. This evening, hundreds of people, both locals and internationals, will gather here for a uniquely French celebration of the autumn equinox. Weather permitting, there will be music, walking tours of illuminated sites, crepes on the street, parades, and fireworks. Enjoy mingling in the crowds, and take in the French culture of celebration.
Day 13: Sept 21.
Following breakfast and closing, depart for CDG airport via Van.
Sacred Steps, Sacred Self Journeys 2012
A Pilgrimage through the Landscape of Ireland
September 16-24, 2012
Cost: $2395 - $200 reserves your space (limited to 12 people)
One half of balance due May 1, Remaining balance due August 1
Day 1 - 9/16: After an early morning arrival at Dublin Airport, we transfer to Kildare Street Hotel in the city center (www.kildarestreethotel.com). Once settled in and rested, we will greet one another over lunch* before exploring this vibrant, very European capital. Our first destination will be the National Museum of Archaeology for a fascinating peak into Ireland’s past. (http://www.museum.ie/en/homepage.aspx) The rest of the day is set aside for individual discovery. Walk the River Liffey, visit a pub and listen to Irish music, or simply relax. Enjoy dinner in one of the city’s many well-reviewed restaurants.
Day 2 - 9/17: After enjoying breakfast at our hotel, we board our coach for a journey into ancient Ireland. The ride north of Dublin takes us to Newgrange and Knowth, passage graves older than the pyramids (http://www.knowth.com/). The Goddess Boinn, embodiment of the Boine River, welcomes us into her womb as we enter the passage at Newgrange and find ourselves in a huge domed chamber. Here we will view the spot that is illuminated by a dagger-shaped light at the winter solstice. After lunch, we head for the Hill of Tara, known as the royal seat of the high kings of Ireland and associated with the Goddess Maebh. We will explore its henges, sacred mounds, and earthworks. While modest in height, it is said that 40% of Ireland can be seen from Tara. We return to Dublin for dinner.
Day 3 – 9/18: After breakfast, our journey will take us south of Dublin to Kildare (http://www.kildare.ie/kildareheritage/?page_id=65). Here Brigid as saint and goddess is honored at Brigid’s Well where we will have time to meditate and connect with Her, each in our own way. After lunch, we board our coach for an afternoon in the Wicklow Mountains. Legendary for its beauty, this area cradles Glendalough, the “valley between the loughs.” http://www.sacred-destinations.com/ireland/glendalough Here we will explore the ancient ruins of a monastery founded by St. Kevin in the 7th c. It is a blessed and peaceful place. Following a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Vale of Avoca, we stop at the Meeting of the Waters to reflect and admire the view. After dinner* as a group, we head back to the hotel to pack for departure.
Day 4 – 9/19: An early breakfast at the hotel and then we head off to Cork City in County Cork with our now familiar coach driver. There, we will be met by new coach for luggage transfer. Stroll into the Centre via St. Patrick’s Bridge and enjoy the sites and lunch. Next we will pay a visit to Blarney Castle, famous for the Blarney Stone (“will you give it a kiss?”), but less famous for the magical gardens and woods that surrounds it. Be on the lookout for faeries! Afterwards our coach will deliver us to dinner and lodging in Glengarriff (http://www.islandviewhouse.net/)
Day 5 – 9/20: After breakfast at our B&B, we will take to the water as we ferry across to Garinish Island off the coast of Glengarriff. Enjoy the view of seals as they lounge on the rocks in the bay. Explore Inacullin known to horticulturists around the world as a garden of rare beauty (http://www.invectis.co.uk/cork/garnish.htm). After lunch, we will relax on a coach tour of the Ring of Beara, less crowded with tourists who opt for more famous sites; Beara abounds in spectacular ocean vistas, lovely glens, ancient woodlands, waterfalls, and two haunting and ancient stone circles. At Ardgroom and Uragh, we learn how stone circles can differ. In between, we will meet An Cailleach Beara, as She stands ever present as the Great Mother and Corn Goddess. After dinner, we will gather for wine and cheese* at our B&B and share stories and thoughts about our Ireland experiences so far.
Day 6 – 9/21: Today after breakfast we will explore the Dingle Peninsula, with its rugged scenery, archeological remains, authentic Irish music, and lunch* in Dingle Town. Then we are off to Limerick for three nights at Perys Best Western Hotel in Limerick to view nearby sites. Enjoy this utube video through Dingle: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9jfN8q5Wd8).
Day 7 – 9/22: After breakfast at our hotel, our destination is Galway, known as the birthplace of the Claddagh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claddagh_ring) design. Since Galway escaped Viking invasion, it has retained more of its “Irishness” than other cities. Roam the ancient streets and do not miss the Saturday Market, a shopping and culinary delight where you can nourish yourself with lunch. Spend an inspiring afternoon at St. Brigit’s garden, a short drive north from Galway (http://www.brigitsgarden.ie/). Our traditional farewell feast* and celebration will be held this evening.
Day 8 – 9/23: After breakfast, we venture to the Burren, which has the highest concentration of ancient pre-Christian and early Christian sites in Ireland, if not all of Europe. Our first stop, the Burren Centre (http://www.theburrencentre.ie/) will give us insight into what makes this area so special. In addition to viewing the lunar-like landscape, we will visit Poulnabrone Dolmen, constructed 5800 years ago and another Brigid’s Well in Liscannor. After Lunch we will view the Cliffs of Moher (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvw0zpJtxgk). Although captured in countless photographs, the personal experience of the Cliffs can never be duplicated. Returning to Limerick for dinner, it is time to pack and participate in a closing ceremony.
Day 9 – 9/24: After breakfast, we bid farewell to friends new and old. Some may extend the journey to other places; others will head home via Shannon Airport. Slainte! (Gaelic toast meaning Health)
Please Note: Meals included in your tour price are indicated with the following symbol (*). Breakfast is included at all places of lodging.