After founding and creating numerous festivals and retreats over her illustrious career in health and wellness, SoulAdvisor’s CEO Deborah Shepherd knows the importance of venues laying the foundation of the whole retreat experience.
Seeking an opulent setting with high vibrational energy, Deborah was initially drawn to Brightlands Retreat for their strong brand alignment with SoulAdvisor of being heart-centred, genuine and nourishing. Upon arrival, she instantly knew that she had come to the right place as her inner voice whispered “I’ve landed somewhere different”.
From the crackling of the stones as she drove up the front entrance, to the sun streaming through the stained glass windows, to the warmth of the fireplace in the sitting room, Deborah knew that this was the perfect venue to encompass everything that SoulAlchemy stands for.
The magnificently restored former nunnery was purposely selected due their shared vision and philosophy with SoulAdvisor that retreats do not need to be about embracing hardship to reach enlightenment. Instead, you’ll be treated with luxuriously comfortable beds and feast on delectable chef-catered gourmet vegetarian food in homely surroundings with old world charm.
Like SoulAdvisor, Brightlands places strong emphasis on supporting local health and wellness businesses. Blue Mountains skincare and fragrance company iKOU feature extensively throughout the property as you breathe in their botanical-scented aromatherapy to support you to rest, relax and restore.
Finding our way back out into the woods, waters and air has been proven to have countless benefits, and awakening to the reciprocal relationship between ourselves and nature plays a central role in SoulAlchemy.
Deborah says “During COVID-19, a common desire worldwide was around getting back to nature. During lockdowns this may have been limited to your backyard, balcony or going for a walk around the block, but the desire to restore that connection to the natural environment has only continued to grow”. A core focus for SoulAlchemy is enhancing participants’ understanding of the rich benefits of embracing Mother Earth while being taken on a journey to nourish your body and free your soul.
When asked what her ultimate vision is for retreat participants, Deborah’s smiles and says “People will come to SoulAlchemy for varying reasons. Maybe it will be for some time out to recharge and restore, or to explore new modalities and self-care practices, or to connect with other people. What I do know is that everyone will walk out feeling like they have received what their soul was craving and what was truly needed - even if it’s not what they originally expected. The answers always come from within”.
Alchemy: “The Act Of Inner Transformation”
So why “SoulAlchemy”, and where did this concept come from?
Spiritual alchemy is all about change and transformation through discovering oneself, learning to “get out of our own way”, healing and freeing the inner parts of ourselves that need to be changed, and allowing our fullest potential to unfold.,,
A huge advocate and promoter of alchemy was none other than famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. In his quest to understand the psychology of humanity, he concluded that alchemy was a highly effective tool for psychological insight and a superb expression of the universal symbols of life. ,
Deborah’s face lights up as she explains: “Across three days, a flowing alchemy process will unfold. By fully embracing and participating in SoulAlchemy, attendees will release and let go of what is no longer serving them, find the right practices and rituals that truly resonate with them, and leave with practical self-care strategies to embrace and integrate into their lives”.
The core essence of alchemy is self-development, which Deborah continues to explain through SoulAlchemy as “In transforming these parts of ourselves, we will let go of the beliefs that are holding us back, come back to who we truly are, and see alchemy for what it is: an ongoing evolution”.
Committed to helping everyone continue their spiritual alchemy after they return home, retreat participants will also receive a $100 SoulAdvisor wellness gift voucher to keep them feeling relaxed and nurtured.
A Date Of Significance
The retreat dates of 12-14 August 2022 were not randomly selected, but intentionally hand-picked to align with the full moon of Aquarius.
Deborah explains “Everything that we do comes back to the cycle of nature. As with SoulAdvisor’s monthly Illuminate series, in purposely aligning this retreat to the full moon, we support everyone to shine light into key areas for change and transformation that have been hiding in the dark”.
An avid astrologist, Deborah also discusses the importance of the Aquarian energy for spiritual alchemy. “To support us to awaken to our soul’s purpose and dismantle the old structures to bring in the new, we harness the Aquarian energy of embracing uniqueness, identifying what makes you different and standing out from the crowd”.
Leaning Into The Beauty Of Winter
Nature is the most wonderful teacher of all.
Reflecting on her own garden, Deborah ponders the innate wisdom of plants truly listening to what they need rather than going against what nature is telling them. Unlike humans who are often on the go 24/7 and trying to fix everything that does not go perfectly to plan, flowers patiently wait, bare and raw, knowing that their time to flower will come again soon.
When asked what is so special about winter, Deborah beams and says “Winter provides a calmness to allow us to go inwards, hibernate, restore our energy, dream up new plans, and plant the seeds for the next season. It’s a beautiful time to relax, nourish ourselves and reflect on what we actually need to do versus what is being expected of us. As we embrace the stillness and darkness, the light may not be here yet, but we trust and know that it will come”.
Experience The Essence Of The Season
From the changing colours of autumn, to the crisp fresh air of winter, Deborah says “whenever I go to the Blue Mountains, I always feel like I can fully experience the season. In the season of winter when we are being asked to slow down, to listen and to rest, what better place than here?”.
Known as a place where we can truly connect to nature in all of her beauty and listen to what our bodies are telling us, Deborah knew that the Blue Mountains was the ideal location for SoulAlchemy.
Deborah explains “SoulAdvisor is primarily an online platform, so any in person events are all about connecting the local community with our wonderful collective. I am constantly blown away by the quality of the practitioners on our platform and the eagerness of phenomental people like Lauren Howe, Carmen Ceniza and Tania Sloan to facilitate this retreat. I absolutely cannot wait to come together collectively with the beautiful Blue Mountains community to share the wisdom at SoulAlchemy”.
Prioritise your self-care and join like-minded wellness seekers to soak in these beautiful surroundings as we celebrate and lean into the beauty of winter in the Blue Mountains from 12 to 14 August 2022. Find out more and book your spot here.
- Wayapa Wuurrk | SoulAdvisor
- Japanese Yoga | SoulAdvisor
- Nature-Based Therapy | SoulAdvisor
- Exposure to restorative environments helps restore attentional capacity | Science Direct
- Exposure to public natural space as a protective factor for emotional well-being among young people in Canada | BMC Public Health
- Spiritual Alchemy | The Mind Fool
- Spiritual Alchemy | Loner Wolf
- Spiritual Alchemy | Udemy
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