I had a very good experience filled with more than I anticipated. I feel it will remain an important event in my life. Age 66 I went on my first retreat.
In these all too often fraught times it is indeed a salutary reminder of how a gifted teacher can help ‘strangers’ to work in harmony with each other. T
The young mother:
During the retreat at the castle, I felt as one of Merlin's students. Surrounded by the magic forest, I met with some of my biggest life challenges. Then I had to make them move until they surrendered in the most harmonious way.
I still think about the process we had to go through together. It gives me confidence to work with the shadows of my life :).
Such an unexpected outcome. Thank you very much!
The wise woman:
No jargon – constant enthusiasm and encouragement + individual attention – it was fun!
I wasn’t sure about the theme until I realised the current crisis appears to be heralding the rise of the feminine everywhere: a return to community, domesticity, family, cooperative working. More than just feminism. Until now, women have been required to function in male systems. Since lockdown, peace, sensitivity and community have had an opportunity to come to the fore. There have been calls for a global change in our values. I looked forward to an opportunity to get a better understanding of M(asculine) and F(eminine) archetypes through eurythmy.
The intention was to open up discussion, on the first day regarding the F, on the second the M and, on the third day, integrating them. The retreat was structured to give direct experience. Brainstorming included information about the different functions of the L and R sides of the brain, giving (active, Masculine) and receiving (receptive, Feminine). An exercise with wooden balls explored the difference between giving and receiving with different hands, as well as with crossed hands. This brought up fascinating qualities, and I got confused about what I was experiencing. There were insights around trust: in oneself, the group, the process. The artwork in the afternoon took the form of a silent dialogue in pairs, exploring the characteristics we’d talked about and experienced, and choosing colours and shapes to express this. Finally, we took motifs from our drawings, and in our pairs made them into movement (choreography), with observations, help, and input from Michèle.
Each day deepened the theme. I found it very difficult on the second day, when exploring the masculine, not to obliterate the previous day’s feminine quality. And even more difficult on the third day to find a way of integrating the two – first I tried to support the masculine qualities by intensifying the feminine ones but that wasn’t satisfactory; then I tried, in drawing, to soften the edges of the masculine shapes, which felt a bit better. The understandings and the difficulties also came out in our movement sessions when we had somehow to find the bodily truth of what we’d discovered.
We were told that whatever happens or comes up is all right. Further, Michèle encouraged us to try harder, do it even better, act a little differently. Her deep knowledge and understanding of eurythmy took it beyond a set of exercises (however worthy and helpful) toward the current need for an understanding of the individual in a 21st-century context that goes beyond the merely verbal.
Any eurythmy leaves me feeling integrated and energised. In this retreat, a group of people whose ages ranged from 19 to our 70s shared a process that created a deep bond. Two weeks on from the retreat, I realise that it has clarified for me the balance of M and F in my own psyche.
The young eurythmy student in her 3rd year of training:
The topic of Masculine and Feminine had been bringing strong questions and experiences to me in the last year, in personal and professional areas of my life, and I felt really pulled towards the retreat. To have the opportunity to dive into the topic with eurythmy was really a chance not to be missed for me while still in training.
The approach was deep and interesting. It was spiritual, practical and multifaceted. The brightest gem was consciously to make the connection between masculine and the right side and feminine and the left side of the body. That evolved into a huge awareness in myself, to the amazing extent of physical mastery of my sides, which has always been a headache for me. My left side had gone dormant for a while before the summer (it could be a bit worrying), but after the retreat I feel it is actually alive again.
The combination of artwork and choreography was very meaningful. Our pairing up in the afternoons for the silent ‘conversation on paper’ was with the same person throughout. We used pastels to express ourselves. From the conversation, the choreography would come and integrate the experience in the body. We entered the ‘qualities’ of the energy we
were working with. We shared experiences with our fellow couples. Brainstorming in the group, we put on the table the qualities of feminine and masculine and, on the last day, the shared qualities.
This process was both intimate and intense, as well as an amazing ‘hands-on’ approach. It grounded things, made the topic more concrete and applicable. The retreat had extra value for my experience as a eurythmy student as well because it meant working with very different levels of eurythmy experience and movement. You get used to moving with colleagues, so it was a good reality snap. Please let’s keep on creating experiences like this!
The man in the film industry:
The Divine Feminine & Divine Masculine felt an entirely appropriate subject in the context of our present global society. Questions regarding gender, social roles and self-perception, of what masculine and feminine mean in our daily lives, are abundant within contemporary art and literature. However, I felt the opportunity to approach it through the art of eurythmy, in order to find deeper answers to those questions, was an opportunity not to be missed.
The subject was approached so as precisely not to lead us into any answers or even thoughts. It was through the movement that we arrived at different stages of understanding in the three days that we spent together. And it was not only a quest that we embarked on as individuals, but the whole group was helping each other in understanding what we had primarily perceived as a dichotomy in our lives, for different reasons for each.
One of the most illuminating moments for me was when we were asked to draw and perform (choreograph) the feminine and masculine on days one and two and then fuse them on day three. This really brought home the understanding that both energetic currents, for lack of a better phrase, are but one single symbiotic source.
This retreat definitely felt like a demarcation line between a before and an after. I still think about what we discussed, what I felt and what I was able to perceive through movement. I think work like this stays within oneself in ways we don’t immediately perceive, but slowly drips into our daily lives bringing forward new opportunities for awareness.
The Student who found her Destiny: