"The retreat at Stackpole offered an opportunity to drink from a spiritual oasis...Surrounded by sea and air, with butterflies, wildflowers and hosts of seabirds. The journey inwards was wholly absorbing, rich rewarding..."
Last month a small group of meditators from around the UK got together in Stackpole, Wales, lovingly facilitated by Anthony having created his wood-carving teaching space at his Stackpole home. The venue can accommodate up to seven people, plus space in the garden for two tents, with further accommodation available in local bed & breakfasts. All in all, the space can hold a total of 12, making these lovely intimate retreats.
This was the first gathering and another Island retreat is planned for mid-July. So read all about the wonderful time and people's personal experiences and take in the pictures below and, if this inspires you to join the next one, please contact Anthony (firstname.lastname@example.org phone 01646 672626).
Ramsey Island retreat 19th to 21st May 2018
Deer park view, Stackpole – Wales
Ten meditators from Lincoln, Leeds, Leicester, Wales and Somerset attended this Retreat. It was due to start on Friday evening, and several managed to arrive in the early afternoon and, after helping to prepare the venue and evening meal, we walked from the venue to the beautiful beach of Barafundel, enjoyed a paddle in the fresh late-spring sea. On our return, sitting on the lawn, we read from Swamiji’s teachings on 'karma'. By 7.30pm everyone had arrived and we meditated and celebrated Aarti (fire ceremony) together. We sat in silence for our evening meal, still in the energy of Meditation.
Morning meditation was followed by breakfast in silence and our departure for St Davids to catch the boat from St Justinian’s to Ramsey Island. The sea, a lovely turquoise blue, was so still and calm and we could hear the sea birds calling. On our arrival we were welcomed by an representative of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, who now own the Island, and we were told about the wildlife occupying the Island.
Ramsey Island is only a couple of miles long and a mile wide, it has been settled since the bronze age and in St Davids and St Justinian’s time was a sacred place for spiritual devotional practice. It had a chapel and was once occupied by St Justian and some monks. Now there is only one farm house for the wardens and a few sheds, collapsed ancient stone walls enclosing fields grazed for sheep, and a small herd of deer. There are no trees growing on this wind-swept island; only gorse bushes.
On arriving at the Island we were all struck by the incredibly pure atmosphere. We did a circular walk of about 5 miles, mainly in silence, stopping at Carn Ysgubor (sweeping hill) to meditate. A picnic lunch was shared above the bay at Aber Mawr. We climbed Carn Llundain, crossed the central part of Ramsey to the extreme south to Foel Fawr and back to the Farm house for tea before catching the boat back to St Justians. We visited St Davids Cathedral, meditated there before returning to the venue.
After meditation and our evening meal in silence we went to Freshwater west, walked along the beach and experienced a lovely sunset over the sea.
Morning meditation was followed by breakfast in silence and a short drive to Broad Haven beach and a walk along the massive limestone cliffs to the sacred chapel of St Govan’s, perched in the cliffs above St Govan’s rocky bay. We had a lovely meditation in the chapel and then wandered back in silence and returned to the venue, where we read from Swamiji’s teachings.
After lunch we visited Lydstep haven, a beauty spot edged with soaring cliffs, pierced by caves, dramatic fault lines and fissures. In a massive cave we paddled in rock pools studded with beautiful little star fish. We then went to Skrinkle haven a short distance away to visit a secluded beach that can only be entered at low tide by climbing through a natural tunnel formed by the sea through the cliff descending onto the sandy beach. The cliffs around the beach were draped with vivid green plants illuminated by the late afternoon sun.
We returned to the venue, for meditation and Aarti and shared our evening meal in silence. As the evening's darkness descended, a bonfire was lit in the garden, prayers were offered to the fire and then to bed!
Meditation, breakfast, the venue was tidied and the remaining meditators returned home. It was a lovely weekend of blissful meditation and intense devotional practice, it felt as though Swamiji was driving the cars, piloting the boat and preparing the lovely meals! Many of the activities were shared in silence and the sunshine illuminated the beautiful Pembrokeshire scenery into a kaleidoscope of colour, showered with blessings from our beloved Swamiji.
Thank you Swamiji!
Jai Baba Swami
Read the personal experiences of those attending the retreat:
All ten of us were blessed with sunshine and warmth as we settled in for a retreat with nature at Stackpole, Pembrokeshire.
In recent years Swamiji and Guruma have been and stayed in the wonderful Pemrokeshire countryside!
Meditation was experienced morning and evening before breakfast and evening meal, and experiences were shared in the surroundings of trees and gardens with many birds visiting and collecting food for their young. We visited the splendid island of Ramsey just a 15 minute Boat journey from St. Justinian. A peaceful, tranquil place of natural beauty and charm. We all walked together absorbing the wonderful views from Ramsey. On the hill top of the island we all settled and meditated together before we moved forward to the next incline, on reaching the top we had lunch and drifted off to a peace deep inside. This is well worth a visit, a chance to connect with ourselves to rejuvenate our soulful journey.
On the Sunday we also visited an ancient church tucked away on the cliff face, built from the very stone of the cliff and merging with the surround. In the evening after meditation to conclude our journey together we all gathered around a bonfire and released all thoughts to forward our spiritual progress.
Jane and Kevin’s experience
The retreat was exactly what I needed, I don't have any stunning experiences to tell you, but the whole thing was spiritually and physically uplifting the circle reading especially.
I was at some sort of crossroads with my life, I have come back full of positivity and new direction thanks to Samarpan you and everyone there. I would like to say that I also received lots of positivity and love.
Best wishes and love from Jane and Kevin.
The retreat at Stackpole offered an opportunity to drink from a spiritual oasis. The Sadhaks and Sadhikas more experienced than I, held the energy to travel into the spirit of silence; nourished by the landscape. We walked on the virtually uninhabited island of Ramsey. Surrounded by sea and air, with butterflies, wildflowers and hosts of seabirds. The journey inwards was wholly absorbing, rich, rewarding. This was an invaluable experience. It was hard to leave.
Thank you so much.
Experience of the Ramsey Island retreat
During the weekend at Stackpole, everyone met at the heart, in harmony and love, and soul level collectivity transformed the entire weekend into one continuous meditation of clarity, peace and joy. It was so wonderful to experience a state of pure clear consciousness in collectivity - and while there were stimulating discussions, inspiring circle reading meetings and sacred pilgrimages to holy sites, (the trip to Ramsey Island was a real inspiration) the experiences of pure silence between meditators had a feeling of complete sanctity.
The trip to Ramsey Island inspired such a sacred connection with the elements and the natural life of the island - the rocks, the earth, the sea, the sky, the sun, and all vegetation on the island, seemed through their very purity to be blessing us with inner peace. Such purity itself became a powerful inspiration to practice and spread peace as an extension of all the good will and love that we had gratefully experienced during this beautiful weekend in Pembrokeshire.
A visit to experience the wholeness
Jai baba Swami
Blessed with the beautiful collectivity of 10 meditators and experiencing nature's wonders in the pure surroundings of Pembrokeshire made for a truly uplifting weekend.
To share a few…
The setup at Anthony’s retreat was very special.
We were all given bells to ring during the aarti and at one point it felt as though the energy was rising like a cool thread in the centre meridian as we sang the beautiful verses.
Each time the circle reading provided a deep enriching experience that had to be felt for oneself.
On Ramsey Island, after lunch one by one we all drifted off into a very deep sleep/unexplainable place and peace.
The presence of the Saints of Wales was also felt with us in collectivity on this divine journey.
Love and Light