“We must re-indigenise ourselves to the land upon which we dwell.”
— Alistaire McIntosh (listen)
Go to ANCESTRAL for full description.
Reclaim your indigenous European roots in our embodied ancestral immersion within the animate, mythical landscapes of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdonia).
Weaving our hearts into our ancestors’ ancient crafts, stories and rituals, we become receptive to their guidance and wisdom.
In an age of crisis and disconnect, our time together will help us re-member what has been dismembered, re-vision how to live in reciprocity and re-claim our sovereign creativity.
This is a time for ancient innovation to bring deep healing to our inner and outer landscapes.
The alchemy of welsh rainforest, rushing river, mystical lake, ancient oaks, roundhouse councils, fireside stories, sacred crafts and ancestral foods will reverberate through your being, bringing insight into what it means to be interrelated, and how we can become rooted ancestors for our future generations.
This is a time of profound connection, digital unplugging, deep listening and radical presence with your indigenous soul and the spirits of the land.
You’ve arrived. Croeso.
Welcome to the roundhouse of your ancestors…
In an old Oak forest, parted by a rushing river, moments away from the mountain lake and at the foot of Eryri (Snowdon), is the award-winning community masterpiece, Cae Mabon. At its heart is a thatched Celtic Roundhouse, home to many convivial evenings of fireside story and song. Circling this hub-hearth is a family of seven earthly dwellings made from strawbales, cedar logs, cob, stone, thatch, turf, timber and hempcrete. There are composting loos, washrooms, a thatched (hot) shower hut and a luxurious fire-heated hot tub nestled into the bank of the river. Beautiful sculptures, carvings and driftwood-framed bridges will ignite your imagination as you explore these magical, liminal lands.
“Jaw-droppingly beautiful” … “a fairy-tale village” … “a verdant retreat from the crazy world" … Professor Tom Woolley declared Cae Mabon the “number one natural building project in the UK”… John Thackeray wrote, “Sites such as Cae Mabon are like the region's antibodies, playing a vital role in healing the crippling disconnection within Western culture between body, soul, spirit, and place.” Philip Car-Gomm, the Chief Druid of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, says that Cae Mabon is the most druid-like place he knows anywhere in the world.
“These grandmothers and grandfathers set the ancient medicine of Welsh bluestone upon my aching heart. Their chants danced like the flickering light of Tuscan cave-fires. Their joyous laughter echoed on and on like Baltic waves against Scandinavian shores. They blew worlds through my mind like windswept snow over Alpine mountain crests. They showed to me the vast and beautiful world of Indigenous Europe. This precious world can scarcely be found in any literature, but lives quietly within us like a dream we can’t quite remember.”
— Lyla June (read)
”The gathering was a rich tapestry of invitations to open, connect, remember – the ceremonial spaces so beautifully crafted and held. The programme of offerings was carefully prepared yet perceptively fluid, adapting with the mood of each moment. I felt safe and open knowing that I was in the hands of those that deeply respect and honour the traditions and practices being shared. I am so grateful for this sacred and intimate journey with myself, with the group, with the land on which we rested.”
— Julia Goodlife
I found that balances were struck with great intuition; each day contained so much that was soft and loving and provided a gentle invitation to meet our edges. With the trust and tenderness that evolved between us it was possible to laugh, cry, play, express, create and share without shame or judgement. Somehow each day felt rich with activity yet beautifully spacious.
Veronica's deep love of the earth, of song & plants, of binding, gathering & weaving people & land together impacts you deeply. She honours her teachers and always credits those who have shared wisdom with her. It's a real medicine to witness such congruence between her words & way of moving in the world, and how she carries such great gifts with deep humility.
I have returned with a warmth in my heart and bones knowing I have beautiful new connections and friends who I love dearly and who make me smile to think about. My connection to the world around me has been invigorated and my ability to listen to what my being needs remains strengthened and has helped me break with niggling depleting habits since being back.
I give a full hearted recommendation to anyone feeling a need for soothing, enlivening, inspiration, connection, rest, sweetness and magic to gift yourself the tonic of time on a Rooted Healing retreat. A profound thank you.”
— Sarah McCunn
“The process of making something is our fastest route to our own sense of connection and belonging.”
— Dorrie Joy (listen)
It is a deeply ancestral, indigenous act to craft sacred objects with reverence and care, using natural, native materials from the land and sharing time together in community, remembering the ancient practice of hand crafting with spiritual significance. We will be making deer hide drums, rattles, medicine bags or woven belts, whilst also learning natural spinning and natural dying. Even during our roundhouse councils, our hands will be busy crafting. This is how our ancestors would gather and weave the landscapes into their sacred practices. It is a radical way to cultivate belonging. You will leave with items that you will treasure for your entire life.
These sacred self-crafted items will become heirlooms for your future generations.
Deer hide drum making
Remember the rhythm of the Earth by bringing your soul’s drum to life. We will be working with native deer hide, hand tended (saved road kill) and prepared by Dorrie Joy. Preparing the materials involves weeks of labour, of which Dorrie does with such reverence and care. Your drum will be ready to play by the final days of our time together, which is an incredibly powerful moment and cause for celebration, song sharing and fireside dancing.
Sacred rattle making
A rattle is a deeply powerful conduit for ceremony, song, ritual and prayer. We will be crafting rattles with fur, deer hide and other leftover cuts, beads, stones and native branches. Prayer and intention will imbue these rattles as we craft them in community, surrounded by the lands that provide our materials and enliven with their spirit.
Medicine bag crafting + woven belts
Such abundance! We will craft hide bags or hand-woven ceremonial belts to accompany us into ceremony, ritual and life
Natural spinning + natural dyeing
Learn to make your own wool thread and dye it with pigments harvested from the lands around us. All of these crafts will help us remember our connection to the land and to each other. This is a process of radically reclaiming our human creativity.
“It is often said that the first sound we hear in the womb is our mother's heartbeat. Actually, the first sound to vibrate our newly developed hearing apparatus is the pulse of our mother's blood through her veins and arteries. We vibrate to that primordial rhythm even before we have ears to hear.”
— Layne Redmond
Dorrie is a renowned artist + ancestral craftswoman, writer, herbalist, facilitator and educator. For over 3 decades, she has been initiated by and trained intimately with Indigenous women and Elders in many areas of ancient craft and ceremony. A mother of three and a grandmother of two, her work is informed by her passion for sustainability, rooted in connection and reciprocity. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to birth your drum in an ancestral immersion at Cae Mabon. Your drum will then be ready for its first song on the final days of our time together.
Fireside storytelling and folk songs
Be immersed in the folkloric, mythical landscapes of Snowdonia and Mother Europe
Stories are an essential part of the human experience, serving as a way for us to understand ourselves and the animate, myth-imbued world around us.
Throughout human history, stories have been used to pass on knowledge, communicate values and beliefs, and build connections between individuals and communities. Stories help us make sense of our experiences. They allow us to frame events and understand them within a larger context, embedding a sense of continuity and meaning in our lives. Stories also help us to explore different perspectives and empathise with others, allowing us to develop greater understanding and compassion.
Stories have the power to inspire, motivate, and create change. They can be used to challenge the status quo, promote social justice and encourage personal growth and transformation.
As humans, storytelling is a fundamental part of who we are, and it is through our stories that we shape our identities, build relationships, and create meaning in our lives.
We believe that stories are direct manifestations of our ecosystems and that is why it is so important to reroot stories back into their original ecology.
Through singing and dancing to folk music, we connect with one another and feel a sense of belonging and shared identity. Its ability to connect us and provide a space for shared experience and storytelling has made it a vital part of our ancestral landscape and lies at the core of what it means to be human upon this Earth.
We will be sharing songs collected from our ancestral lineages and exploring how these songs can help us cultivate a profound sense of belonging. These songs carry their unique memories, stories, intentions and expressions and through reviving our shared memory, we will deepen our relationship with the beauty and mystery of life.
We will explore songs that were shaped by the landscape, or perhaps even songs that shaped the lands themselves, celebrating the oral traditions and gifting our songs to the group and receiving an abundance of song-gifts simultaneously.
Renowned storyteller, Eric Madden, will be delighting us in the stories of Yr Wyddfa, along with his beautiful folk music around the fire. Multidisciplinary artist, Bethan Lloyd, will be guiding us to rewild our voices and expression and offer native Welsh songs in our song sharing circles.
Ancestral foods are those that were traditionally consumed by our ancestors and have been passed down through generations. We are offering ancestral foods that are cultivated in our local landscapes, bringing them to our community with deep reverence and ceremony. We are reviving the sacredness of the Hearth.
Ancestral foods are important because they are often whole, locally sourced, unprocessed and nutrient-dense. These nutrients are critical for maintaining healthy metabolic function, which is essential for overall health and well-being. Ancestral diets emphasise the consumption of healthy fats, which play a key role in supporting healthy metabolism and hormone function. The depth of their nourishment goes beyond the nutritious values though - these foods connect us deeply to place, people and our more-than-human kin. They weave us back into regenerative relationship and offer a spiritual-psychological shift in how we live within this world.
From a spiritual perspective, eating ancestral foods is deeply poignant. Many cultures around the world view food as a sacred gift from the earth, and believe that it is important to honour and respect the foods that sustain us. By eating foods that are connected to our cultural heritage and traditions, we can deepen our connection to our ancestors and to the natural world, and to the rooted embodiment of our entire being.
We will discuss food systems and explore ways to create deeper nourishment in our lives and the lives of our communities, rooted in reciprocity.
All produce is locally and ethically sourced, direct from the local permaculture farm, local markets, foraged and ethically hunted. Alongside the local and seasonal produce, we will be using some preserved and prepared ingredients such as grains, dried fruits, wild yeast beers and champagnes, smoked trout and broths. We'll also be using Caerphilly (Welsh native) cheese, sheeps yoghurt, local eggs and honey. A lot of our greens and herbs will be foraged/grown in the local area. Grains such as wheat, barley, and oats to make bread, porridge, and other dishes. Simple cooking methods, such as boiling or roasting, seasoned with herbs and spices that were readily available in Wales, wild garlic among them.
We are reviving the indigenous approach to using what's local and seasonal to our lands in these times, working with ingredients which have been traditionally cultivated and consumed here in the past, which helps us cultivate a deeper belonging.