THIS IS FOR YOU IF...
You are rewilding your faith, leaning into the mystery of what it means to be deeply connected to yourself, to each other, to the earth and to God.
You are craving some time away to rest, reconnect and reimagine what a deeply nourishing spirituality might look like.
You value the opportunity to pause and consider the landscape of your soul, with guides who will hold gentle and hopeful space for whatever invitations Spirit has for you.
You would love to connect with other women like you, who are seeking to wander on the wild edges of faith, who are willing to stay with the wrestling and the wondering in search of a deeply rooted spirituality.
You’d love a retreat that isn’t all seriousness, but engages with playfulness, creativity and joy, and is intentional about cultivating an embodied connection with the land.
The idea of a retreat on an ancient holy island in Scotland makes your spirit skip with delight!
YOUR RETREAT GUIDES
Fiona is a Spiritual Director living in Copenhagen. She is rooted in the contemplative and mystical branches of Christianity and particularly delights in accompanying those whose faith is shifting towards a more expansive, mysterious and liberating experience of God.
She loves long walks, cold swims and the kind of conversation that dives deep in minutes.
Fiona's mother's family is Scottish and she grew up visiting her grandparents in the Cairngorms multiple times a year. She first visited Iona while pregnant with her daughter, and it was deeply meaningful to encounter that thin place in her own season of transition.
She is most looking forward to walking the paths of the island together, and letting the elements and creatures become retreat companions!
Debbie loves to host soul spaces and extend gentle invitations towards reflection and contemplation. Her journey into spiritual accompaniment has been formed and shaped by her life with four young children. Searching for her own peace in the midst of beautiful chaos and faith shift, she has found home in the listening space.
Debbie is involved in community work in the East of Glasgow where she lives with her family, and is often pondering what it means to live a connected life in her neighbourhood.
Over the past few years she has rediscovered her childhood passions for reading and swimming, and she also loves trees and tea.
Debbie is an Associate Member of the Iona Community and has many treasured memories of time on the island.
OUR CORE VALUES
We trust that each participant has something to bring to our space that we will be incomplete without. We will invite you to contribute in whatever way feels most life-giving and true to who you are.
Iona is not just a beautiful backdrop but host and participant in our gathering. We will seek to learn from her landscape, her nature, her stories and her inhabitants past and present.
A RHYTHM OF PRAYER
Using creative, natural and playful elements, we will allow a rhythm of prayer to be the trellis around which our retreat grows.
We’re less interested in labels and definitions than in the wild, messy and joyful daily experience of the Divine. We’ll hold space for differences in language and belief while trusting that Spirit inhabits the space between us.
HOW WE'LL SPEND OUR TIME
Our days will be held in a rhythm of circle times together - a morning gathering to begin the day together, a midday gathering to process together what we are witnessing, and an evening circle to hold it all.
Those circles will include simple liturgies to help us open to God's presence, and will also include time for sharing and the chance to bring to the space what is most meaningful to you.
We'll offer myriad ways to explore out theme of "In between", allowing the conversation to be guided by the places we find ourselves, the stories held in those places, and the unique experiences and God-encounters we each bring.
Between those grounding moments, we will journey together around the island, visiting both the human and the natural sites and receiving the invitations they have for us. We'll encounter the Abbey, the beaches and sea, and the paths and hills of the island.
There will be time to experience the island together as well as moments to find a space to yourself to process, rest and reflect.
There will be opportunities to take part in the prayer services at the Abbey for those who would like. Our final evening we'll go out together for a celebration meal at a local restaurant!
A THIN PLACE
"In Iona that is my heart's desire, Iona that is my love." - St Columba
Discover this ancient holy island on the wild edge of the British Isles that has been attracting pilgrims for over a thousand years.
Iona is a tiny island off the southwest coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. At just 1.5 miles wide by 3 miles long, it could be easily overlooked, except for its rich and long history as a sacred place.
The monastery on the island was founded in 563 by the monk Columba, also known as Colm Cille, who sailed here from Ireland to live the monastic life. From here, Celtic Christianity spread across Scotland and northern England, transforming the religious and cultural landscape.
George Macleod, founder of the Iona Community, wrote that Iona is “a thin place where only tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual.”
We know that the magic of the island - its history, its ecology, its hidden stories - will captivate you and speak to the thin places you encounter in your own soul.
THE GREEN SHED
Our home for the weekend.
Located at the northern tip of the beautiful island of Iona, The Green Shed is a homely and welcoming base for our stay together on Iona.
Here, you will really feel the peace and wildness of the island. And yet, within its doors, we'll create a space of warm friendship and togetherness, sleeping in cozy bedrooms and sharing the tasks of cooking and tidying.
The Green Shed is an eco build with Gold Star eco-accreditation it is a unique and homely place to stay. Set well back from the road is is only a three minute walk across the grass to the beach.
Our vision is a retreat where you know yourself to be held within a supportive group of strangers-become-friends and The Green Shed is the perfect place to make that possible. We purposefully picked a self-catering base rather than a luxury hotel, both to keep the cost accessible for you, and to enable that sense of co-creating the retreat together!
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED...
The total cost for the retreat is £520 which includes:
Four nights accommodation in shared rooms of 2-4 people.
All meals from dinner on Wednesday until lunch on Sunday, including one evening meal out in a local restaurant.
Entrance to the Iona Abbey complex for a group visit.
A boat trip to the local island of Staffa (weather permitting).
An expansive and creative retreat programme to help you engage your own sacred in-between, including guided walks and creative circle times.
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED?
Your transport to and from Iona (including the ferry ride to Iona itself). As a rough guide, you should allow £70 for a return trip from Glasgow by public transport, including train, two ferries and a bus.
Any additional accommodation needed before or after the retreat.
All your personal items for the weekend, and any souvenirs you might want to purchase.
DO I HAVE TO TAKE PART IN EVERYTHING?
We know and expect that different people have different energy levels for group activities, and we are carefully planning a schedule for our time that combines time to be together - to share, laugh, learn, pray - and plenty of expansive space to be still, to reflect and (especially for our introvert guests) to restore energy in solitude.
That said, this is a group retreat experience that we are creating together, and we would encourage you to come with a commitment to be part of the core schedule of activities (particularly meals and circle times). We will be responsive to the needs of the group and adjust as we go to ensure it is a life-giving experience for everyone.
IS THIS A CHRISTIAN RETREAT?
We are both deeply rooted in the Christian faith - it is our mother tongue and where we find our spiritual nourishment.
But, as we wrote above, we’re less interested in labels and definitions than in the wild, messy and joyful daily experience of the Divine. We’ll hold space for differences in language and belief while trusting that Spirit inhabits the space between us.
Much of the language and stories we use will be sourced in Christianity, so you should be open to that, but know that we invite you to come with your own experience of the Divine and we will welcome that!
HOW DO I GET THERE?
You will need to plan your own travel to Iona, aiming to meet at the Iona ferry terminal at Fionnphort on Wednesday at 3pm. We would recommend planning to overnight either in Glasgow or Oban on the night of the 23rd to be there in time. You'll receive much more detailed guidance from us when you register!
IS IT POSSIBLE TO SPREAD PAYMENTS?
Yes! We ask for a non-refundable deposit of £120 when you register, and the remainder of the payment (£400) can either be made in one payment or split into up to four payments, all payable by one month before the retreat.
WHAT ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY?
We are committed to making this as accessible as we can, and we would encourage you to message us directly should you have particular accessibility needs you are wondering about.
Iona is an island best experienced by walking, and so we are planning to take some walks to different parts of the island along unpaved tracks and paths. You do not need to be ultra-fit, but you should be able to walk (with a few moderate hills) for a couple of hours a day without problems.