COURTING THE MUSE-BELOVED
I would love to kiss you. The price of kissing is your life.
The natural world is a mysterious and alluring love dance. Wind dances with trees, snowflakes kiss the grass, thunderstorms roar, and lightning brightens the sky—everything is courting everything! What endless and unique wonders of this world are romancing you?
By opening our wild heart, we too can fall in love with anything—an idea, the ocean, a human, or a tree. As with any love affair, we risk turning our entire world upside down to be plunged into both ecstasy and devastation. In this rocky place, we are opened up and made profoundly vulnerable, sometimes shaken to our very core, and the story that we’ve been living begins to crumble. It is here that we begin to ask finer, deeper questions about who we are in our depths. These new questions bring an end to our smaller story; from this romance, something new emerges and our deepest creativity awakens.
Our Inner Beloved may plunge us into disturbing and magical waters of transformation, just as our outer beloved relationships do. The Inner Beloved, the unknown half of our psyche which Jungians refer to as the anima or animas, is that which we encounter in dreams, visions, images, nature, or the attractive/repulsive qualities we project onto others. The qualities we project are often the ones our ego most needs to experience its full aliveness.
The Inner Beloved, our own guide to soul, wants us to die to our old ways so that our never-before-seen gifts may be offered in service to the world. A descent to soul enables us to cultivate our innate visionary skills, respond creatively to the dangerous challenges of our world in these times of planetary crisis, and achieve real change. We’re invited to become an open vessel—vulnerable enough to receive the great longings and desires destined in our souls and in the soul of the world, the anima mundi.
Each person has a unique song, poem, genius, or other soul-infused form of expression. Our muse is the wellspring of our creativity and vision, ushering us toward what’s most worth doing in life. It is our unique way of looking at things. Our soul, or mythopoetic identity, is an indispensable guide to fulfilling our purpose. Our muse partners with soul to inspire how our gifts manifest in the world.
Courting the Inner Muse-Beloved is a wild invitation to the romance of your life. Immersed in the wilds of nature, we’ll approach the practice of courting through ceremony, conversations with the more-than-human others, deep imagination, council, dreamwork, wild yoga/body movement, trance/drumming and dancing, and soul art. We’ll partner with the imagination of Earth and explore what it is to create within this inherent co-creative relationship.
While working with our Inner Beloveds, we’ll remember the beauty and horrors of past and present attractions, the delicious and ugly shadows evoked. We will honor our outer beloveds while reclaiming the resources at the heart of these shadow projections, for the purpose of our soul’s work.
In the loving yet harsh embrace of the area, we will explore the relationship between ego and soul, mystery and manifestation, self and world. We will invite ego to become the handmaiden of soul, so it may live to embody and serve the vision of Earth and soul.
Learn practical approaches for cultivating an ongoing relationship with Muse while birthing your own gifts and expression into the world. Experience how listening to the Muse informs your unique artistic expression and service to the world.
RIVER’S BEND RETREAT CENTER
The Navarro River runs through the Anderson Valley’s majestic redwoods, sunny meadows and vineyards and then curves at River’s Bend to create a still point for contemplation, ecological understanding and deep connection between land and people.