FRIDAY, JUNE 16 – SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 2023
Witch Wound Healing & White Women Accountability
A transformative justice retreat for white women to unpack the personal and collective harms of Western European ancestry. Together, we will explore how white dominant lineage produces toxic impact and how we can be accountable to the ways our ancestry perpetuates division. In retreat, we will practice detaching from white supremacy cultural norms and behaviors, interrogating the personal and collective wounds of our ancestry in loving community, and rippling new cultural conditions by healing the witch wound and remembering our divine feminine power.
Working with tenets of My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem and Sacred Instructions by Sherri Mitchell, we are unpacking the historical trauma of colonizer lineage that lives in our bodies and requires healing in our own groups. We are approaching this retreat by healing the witch wound from the burning times as articulated in this essay How the Burning Times of Witches Influences White Women Culture Today.
This retreat is a private EmpowR offering for people of Western European ancestry who identify as women or were socialized as women growing up. It is understood that Mixed Race and Jewish women also hold the trauma of Western European ancestry and could benefit from this work. As this is a retreat delving into root cause healing and the people who have been doing this work in relationship with EmpowR are primarily of Western European lineage, it feels feasible to approach this body of work with the people who have been consistently showing up with EmpowR to do this work. Connecting cultural dominance and the behaviors of white women to the European genocide of women, capitalism, and racism is a body of work Rae Carter, EmpowR founder and retreat space holder, has been excavating for years, and this retreat is a critical part of the trajectory of this work. As capacity, resource, and community in this work grows, hopefully we can expand this kind of programming to include more identities without causing harm. For now, we are focused on healing these wounds within our group, bringing deeper commitments to what accountability looks like, and how we can bridge our personal healing with organizational and cultural transformation.
Attending the entire retreat is a requirement for participating. To participate in this work, you are being asked to make the commitment of time and work through the discomfort of that as a part of the retreat process. This is a practice of letting go of expectations and asking for support so you can prioritize aspects of your life that are not governed by work and family responsibilities. It is also understood that this may be prohibitive from an economic justice perspective, which goes beyond offering this as a donation-based event to factor in the time for people with low incomes who may give up work days to attend. If there are additional ways you can be supported to be able to attend this retreat, please communicate your needs in advance.
The solution lies in wealth redistribution and goes beyond the container for this one retreat. The disease of capitalism is one with deep roots, and one that was designed to keep women separate across class lines. Creating spaciousness for this retreat is intentional and necessary to move through the emotional journey of this discomfort. The intentions for this retreat lie in retreat participation that creates a container for participants to be present in opening, holding, and closing three days of deep healing work together. As capacity, resources, and community in this work grows, we will be able to explore ways to make this work more accessible to more people.
- Women of Western European lineage to engage together in spacious time and space to unpack harms of white women culture on ourselves and people with marginalized identities, especially Black and Brown women, and not excluding other marginalized identities.
- To embody, experience, and move through the discomfort of making time and space for this deep work and making a commitment to healing ourselves and addressing the harms of our ancestry. This requires prioritizing space for ourselves over some of the other roles and responsibilities we hold for the full 3-day time commitment.
- To practice retreat co-creation and the wide range of emotions that elicits, directly related to white women culture. To have the space and time to process our emotional triggers in community with each other with support of and release to Mama Earth in music, song, dance, authentic movement, craft, and elemental magic.
- To tap into our ancestral roots, lineages, and intuitive medicines and explore what it can feel like to share and receive these gifts, teachings, and insights together in community.
- To show up in the wholeness of our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits–open to magic–receptive to ceremony.
There will also be big chances of thunderstorms so we will want to plan for this powerful and cleansing medicine.
This is also the weekend of Father’s Day. If it applies to you, perhaps you could speak with your husbands and fathers as well as children well ahead of time and communicate that you have a commitment/opportunity and you would like to plan so that you can honor your needs AND find a way to appreciate fathers. Maybe an opportunity to invite children more into the mix to plan?
Maybe also an opportunity to have proactive communication about expectations and timeline norms. These are the kinds of issues women face that keep us from community and it makes sense we are being presented with it as something to navigate.
The timing for the weekend will be 10 am arrival Friday to set up, do food preparation, and create the space. People traveling from out of state will likely need a little more time. The rest of us will collectively prepare so we can open circle in the afternoon with everyone set up and grounded, sharing in the physical tasks at a pace supportive to the nervous system. Anyone is welcome to come on Thursday to help prepare/set up your campsite early.
Closing circle will conclude at 3 pm on Sunday and everyone is asked to stay until then and give yourselves buffer time so you do not jolt your energy back into the world. There will be time to break down your camp in the morning as well as after the circle closes. Anyone who would like to stay to support clean up and reflect/transition slowly is welcome to linger on Sunday and stay the night as well.
This is a camping adventure and setting up your campsite and space is a part of the medicine. There are campsites in the woods for those seeking to commune deep in the Sanctuary. Small tents and hammocks only and there are wagons to help transport. There are also a couple of campsites scattered around the gardens/pond, including Idun’s Orchard Lounge (apple tree shed with a cot). The most easily accessed campsites are all located in the front yard for the closest thing to “car camping.” There is one side entry for anyone with a van or small RV (can probably fit two). For anyone whose physical body cannot manage camping, there are two semi-private spaces in the house. These options are available for physical accessibility, not comfort, as working through discomfort with the support of each other is a key theme of this weekend.
There is an event kitchen and covered event area where belongings and supplies not directly related to your sleeping space can be stored for easy access throughout the weekend (so you don’t have to lug everything to your personal sleeping area). We will have a planning Zoom a few weeks before the retreat where everyone can ask and offer camping supply support so we are collectively caring for each others needs without having to buy more stuff.
Staying overnight is a part of the entirety of this experience. Camping on the land is a big part of reciprocity to the Sanctuary and being able to really drop into the retreat and our relationships with each other, the Elements, and Magic.
In the planning Zoom a few weeks before the retreat we will discuss meals, retreat tasks, what to bring, and how we can support one another. All food/drink/nourishment will be provided by all of us collectively.
We will gather in several circles over the course of the retreat at Grandmother Cherry Sanctuary on N’dakinna land in Plainfield, Vermont. Therapy dog Uley and elusive cats will join us.
Directions and additional information will be provided upon registration.
REGISTER for the RETREAT
Please be prepared to answer a few questions when you register.