The Winter Solstice and the New Year retreat was the first retreat I attended that lasted for nearly 2 weeks. Before I came to the Esoteric Retreat Centre in Scotland I decided that the purpose of my visit will be to fortify the understanding of why I’m doing the inner work. The objective of the retreat was that every day each one of us would have the opportunity to organize daily activities and practices. Retreat started with intensive preparation for the Winter Solstice.
The Winter Solstice ceremony is very symbolic. Every aspect of the ceremonial circle and people attending have its own meaning. Externally, the event represents the creation emerging from the chaos at the Dawn of Creation. Internally it is about the birth of the spiritual child within. This Child is a spiritual force permeating the Cosmos, known by different names in different cultures, one of the most famous name being the Christ (for more information on how to do this ceremony and the symbolism behind it, click here) . The entire Winter Solstice is about tuning with and understanding the eternal cosmic principles related to this time of the year. Visit the following link for more information on the mysteries of the Winter Solstice.
After the Solstice we did different practices, mostly focusing on astral projection and utilizing meditation for self-knowledge. On Christmas we had a song night and after that a person was guiding a very good visualization practice of the Nativity scene. For The New Year’s Eve we had a very nice gathering around a bone-fire. As most of us were from different countries around Europe, some were singing the event-themed song in their own language. It was nice and joyful event.
Another event that was very good was a night dedicated to mantras. Eight or so of us were in the lounge and we decided to do mantras for the evening. The session was guided by a professional flute player. We chanted mantras for activating the faculty of clairaudience so to have deeper experience with listening to the sounds. We did mantras E, EN and ENRE. At the end we did mantra Aum Chi Va Tun E while the person was playing a Sufi improvisation on flute at the same time, guiding us through the musical octaves. We started with lower ones while the person played higher, and then eventually we reached high octaves while he played the lower ones. I was immersed in the sound. The room had the radiance of high energy and spiritual vibrancy. I felt that all of us are experiencing something profound and deep, which enabled us to stay focused on the sound. It was an incredible experience during which I felt a spiritual energy within me, giving peace and inspiration. We stopped with chanting, and the silence inundated the room. I was enjoying that silence so much, feeling ecstatic in the inner feeling of spiritual energy and peace.
The entire stay in Scotland brought me something I never thought I would gain. Internally speaking, it was difficult due to various egos, but the learning and strength I gained made it all very worthwhile. This new learning has modified some of my goals, and I have also achieved the initial purpose of going there in the first place – I feel more serious about spiritual work and understand more the necessity of awakening. I also feel more connected to some of the people that were there, and understand more the value of time and how precious it is. It’s quite an experience to live with people with whom you share the same goals. Purifying oneself of all the inner illusion and darkness is very difficult, but you can get much strength when you see others doing it too, striving for the same thing as you do. I’m very grateful for the gained experience, and I hope that in some ways I helped others as well.