HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR RETREAT
Spirituality & Health|January/February 2022
I was fortunate enough to sail to perhaps the original, and certainly the most famous, ancient healing retreat—the Temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus, on the Argolid Peninsula in Greece.
MARY BEMIS

The famed non-venomous sacred snakes of the temple that were believed to provide some of the healing power remain on the staff of the symbol of our modern medicine—and remind us that the source of healing remains somewhat magical.

And the practice of getting there reminds us that the journey to our retreat can be just as important as what happens when we arrive. For example, at Epidaurus, the retreat goers had to walk from the beach to the sanctuary and undergo a purification ceremony before entering.

In modern times, one good example of preparation comes from my neighbors, a husband-and-wife team who for many years embarked on various routes of the Camino de Santiago. Each year began with physical training and extensive planning of the new route in Spain, and the journey began with a 15-mile walk from their house to the airport.

BEFORE YOU GO

Know where you’re going. Most of us don’t get beyond thinking about the weather at our destination—and what to pack. But begin your journey by reading up on where you’re going to be. A little knowledge of the geology, topography, plant life and cultural history will launch you into your retreat well before you arrive.

As you’re exploring the place in your mind (and perhaps online), explore your own reasons for going and begin to write down a mission statement that describes why you’re going to this place and what you hope to get from it.

CHOOSING A PLACE

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