A quick stop near South Lake Tahoe to spend some time with D and I was off to Mount Shasta, California for a 4-5 day long intentional retreat Santi and S were hosting.
An intentional community event that everyone put a part into to make happen.
It was beautiful and perfect.
The way there was a little tricky, as my GPS thought it would be fun to take me the back way in 🙂
It was a little fun – at least until I hit one too many bumps too hard and Henry completely shut down 🙂 He rattled violently until he totally shut off.
I did what I normally do when I have car issues though, and I called my brother! He gave me great instructions on things to unplug and plug, ways to do a manual factory reset and all sorts of things – and it actually worked! Something must’ve just rattled loose and needed to be adjusted – just like that, good as new.
The funny part is, I broke down 2 miles from the retreat location, with the 2 miles between being a super gnarly road. In other words, no one could make it to me unless they hiked there, no one had 4 wheel drive except me.Now, on my end, the road hadn’t gotten bad at all. I felt mild frustration that everyone said they couldn’t come to my rescue because of the road conditions. However, when I got Henry running again and started driving those 2 miles… I saw what they meant! LOL it was the GNARLIEST road ever.
The sunset on the gnarly road to camp
It's beautiful I showed up a day early for the retreat because of this. I was absolutely supposed to be the person this happened to.
Because of me, everyone else coming was warned not to take the route and a lot of people were saved from this rough road. Gratitude for the odd things - for everything.
A little about Mount Shasta:
Often called Grandmother Mountain, She’s considered the root chakra of the Earth. The energy exuded from Her is incredible and can be directly seen reflected in both the people that are drawn to Her and the flora and fauna found amidst Her.
Mount Shasta has one of the most magical forests I’ve ever had the pleasure of living in; full of waterfalls, rock outcrops, caves, creeks, springs, lakes, and wildlife.
Wildlife feels so overgeneralized, so, I’ll pick a few species I had special connections with to name instead: golden-mantled ground squirrels, rock squirrels, Stellar’s jays, ravens, fox sparrows, Swainson’s thrush, garter snakes, American black bears, mule deer, as well as a blue and yellow macaw and so so so many others.
This wasn’t all over this retreat timeframe, but my time spent in Shasta overall – but we’ll come back to that later.
Another treasure of Shasta is all the mountain peaks that constantly call people to climb them. Plus the surreal abundance of serpentine that’s quite literally everywhere.
It’s really the people though – the community, the tribe. They make the experience all the more extraordinary ❤ With the nearly constant drum circles and ecstatic dances, full moon celebrations, openness and warmth, receptivity to just about everything…
So, this is where the retreat was located. More specifically, at Bunny Flats, a glorious campground filled with numerous fir species and sugar pines, all draped in brilliantly green moss (a bromeliad species called Tillandsia).
So, what can I say about the retreat?
I met some truly fantastic people there, and had some sweet friends come that I had already met along the way (mostly at the EB renegades).
I had my first ever palm reading (in exchange for a Chinese face reading) and it was very accurate…
I participated in my first cacao-mushroom ceremony and it was beautiful.
I brought tears to people’s eyes by playing guitar and singing.
I felt truly comfortable expressing this side of my being.
I fully embodied my silly and weird self at a lovely ecstatic dance and thus brought that out in others.
I rolled around in the dirt, giggled with friends as we wafted our armpit stench at each other (yepp, you read that right), and found deep gratitude in our authentic connections with our inner-children.
The opening night fire circle set the stage for absolute freedom to be ourselves, as each of us revealed our intentions for the retreat, our identities, our shadows, and our light.I should add, we did this without fear of judgement.
We had heart and tear-filled workshops followed by play times at the Jade Pools where nudity is not only allowed, but welcomed. At the Jade Pools, there’s bentonite clay which everyone smeared all over themselves to receive the benefits. It created beautiful and comical memories of naked adults literally covered head to toe in gray mud ❤
It was such a beautiful and perfect retreat, even the parts that were unplanned - it was all meant to be that way. Some of my funniest memories solely revolve around how truly difficult it is, if not impossible, to time manage hippies/free souls. It's like herding cats.
*** intimate does not imply sexual or romantic
L takes silence in the mornings before he eats and this created a beautiful atmosphere where we wordlessly got to know each other in a very deep capacity. We sat for well over an hour, sharing breath and doing body work on each other - way past when the ceremony was over. After that, each time we interacted, it was silly, fun, and full of giggles. I've never shared space with someone like that, I didn't even know it was possible and I'm so so so grateful.
At the end of the retreat, many of us found ourselves crying as we said our temporary goodbyes.
Santi and my friend I specifically triggered tears for me, as I had no idea how long it would be before I would see them again.
My heart strings pulled as I drove down the mountain, my heart simultaneously flooding with immense gratitude.
With Love and Light and So Much Gratitude,
If it calls to you to send any support, or reach out to ask questions or give suggestions for blog posts, here’s some ways you can:
- Paypal: email@example.com
- Venmo: @elizabeth-buttram-1
- CashApp: $elizabethbuttram