Celebrating Samhain : a time to take stock, honour the land, the Ancestors, and nourish ourselves

November 1-3, 2019: Hazel Hill Wood 

With Agatha Manouche and Alan Heeks 

As we reach the end of the cycle of the year, it helps to appraise the depth of our roots in every sense, and connect to the slowing vibration of Nature, remembering the legacy of our Ancestors whose spirits are so close at this time. During the weekend you are invited to explore this theme with Agatha and Alan, who have evolved a spiritual stewardship at  Hazel Hill Wood for over 20 years.  This weekend is a unique chance to experience it for yourself, as Agatha retires after this group. 

During  our time together,  we will start the dark season’s nurturing process by learning ways of  letting go and composting what no longer serves us and our communities;  this process helps deepen our roots to allow seeds of hope and intention  manifest for the Celtic New Year. 

Agatha and Alan will guide you through their approach to spiritual stewardship: ways of putting oneself in service to Nature: slowing down, listening for all the subtle voices, asking  for guidance, harmonising all this with human wellbeing. We will do so through : 

  • Mindful walking to connect with subtle energies of the wood and deepen mutual understanding between humans and Nature.
  • Creating and maintaining sacred physical circle spaces on the land, e.g. the Women’s, Men’s and Joining Circles 
  • Ways to consult all life on the land to guide human interventions (e.g. felling trees) and minimise their impact 
  • Forming ritual space to help humans connect with other forms of life, both tangible (animals, trees), and spiritual, including ancestors and devas through a  ritual led by Agatha 

The group is relevant for anyone involved in deepening rapport between humans and Nature, including those consciously stewarding a piece of land, and those working with groups or individuals in Nature. 

For over two decades we have been listening deeply to the rhythms and the heartbeat of Hazel Hill Wood, a magical 70-acre woodland near Salisbury, and this weekend sits within a journey of events celebrating ancient traditional festivals which mark the rhythm of the Wheel of the Year.

Our intention is to create space where you can learn to live with the heartbeat of the land by honouring one of the Celtic Festivals : Samhain. The 8 Celtic Festivals are landmarks that follow the Dance of the Earth around the Sun; they date back to prehistoric times and mark the seasons on our Land. While we honour that tradition at Hazel Hill Wood, we like to follow the festivals like the unfolding journey of manifesting a yearly Dream. 

Half way between Autumn and Winter,  Samhain marks the time when we begin the slowing down process. Like the leaves falling off the trees, we let go of whatever is no longer needed or helpful. As we look at the shape of the tree trunks devoid of their ornaments, we allow the Dream of the year to lose the illusion of its form, yet keeping its core essence. With the nights growing longer and the cold taking over, we learn from the creatures of the wood as they embark into their hibernation. Like them we begin the descent into the dark cave of the Earth: drawing back from action, deepening our roots and resources to prepare for growth in the next cycle. 

Samhain coincides with Halloween; it’s the time when the veil between the world of the living and the world of spirit is at its thinnest; for many native traditions, this is the time when ancestors come and are most present. They help us go down into our own ‘underworld’, to re-connect with our spirit, the Source of all Dreams to manifest. 

Samhain marks the end of the year’s cycle: from then on, we prepare ourselves for the renewal that Winter solstice will bring forth. At Samhain we gather resources, go underground, we adjust our pace and enter a deeper dreaming. We have reviewed the year that’s passed, and for better or for worse, we have looked at what’s worked and what hasn’t. There is no going back. We learn our lessons as we surrender to the experience of death before rebirth. 

For the past three years, Agatha has been preparing to retire from active involvement with Hazel Hill Wood. This weekend will be special as it’s the last she will lead at the wood: a time to celebrate, harvest wisdom, and let go. 

Agatha Manouche​ is an Indo European Medicine Woman who has studied with many indigenous teachers. She has been involved in the spiritual stewardship of Hazel Hill for twenty years, and leads regular women’s retreats at the wood. www.agathamanouche.com

Alan Heeks​ ​has been deeply involved in creating and stewarding Hazel Hill Wood, and also leads groups on resilience, wellbeing and learning from Nature. www.naturalhappiness.net 

Cost:​ ​£170 including accommodation, £150 concessionary price. Accommodation is in shared twin bedrooms or small sleeping lofts. A few private single rooms are available at a premium of £25 for the weekend. You will need to bring some food to share. 

Timings:​ from 7pm Friday until 4pm Sunday. 

For bookings and enquiries contact:​ ​Alan on ​​ or 07976 602787