Friday, 31 October 2014

Beaker Retreat Programme January-June 2015

Here at the Beaker Folk, we offer a wide range of retreat courses - both for the experienced, the Adept and the Seeker. Why not consider a short stay with us, to learn a skill or simply to relax in the ancient Bedfordshire countryside, listening to the comforting hum of the M1?

We do not advertise the prices of our retreats. Please contact us directly. This enables us to tailor the price of your stay to your individual situation - but also to ensure we always have a trained counselor on-call for when you hear what it's going to cost you.

Jan 5 - Jan 20: Orthodox Christmas

The Orthodox Bling stays up till mid-January!
Was your Christmas experience insufficiently spiritual?  Too busy worrying about the in-laws, cooking and what's on telly? Why not join us for Orthodox Christmas? With Orthodox Christmas, you can do it all again - but this time with the advantage that the entire period will be in Romanian, for added mystery! Arriving on Jan 5, you can enjoy an Orthodox Nativity Play, Orthodox Midnight Mass, the arrival of Orthodox Santa. Then on Orthodox Boxing Day, why not go into Milton Keynes* and see if the sales are still on? Then Orthodox Hogmanay is always a great delight - nothing like Haggis washed down with vodka (which we spell "wodka" for the fortnight) and retsina! And then, on Orthodox 12th Night, we finally take down the decorations. A mystical, traditional and spiritual way to celebrate the end of the 3-month Beaker Christmas Period.

12 - 15 February - "The Spirituality of Ditching" 

There's an old English tradition that you are never closer to God than when you are up to your knees in sand and clay, clearing the clag out of ditches. It's a physical metaphor for a spiritual truth and therefore - we like to tell ourselves - almost sacramental. So why not join us for the annual ditch-clearing? 

NB volunteers must be physically fit, good at obeying orders, and prepared to sign the waiver form.

28 February - 3 March - "The ancient wonder of Easter Egg Painting" 

Lent too long? Then lighten it up with a few days of painting Easter eggs the Beaker Way!
The ancient tradition of painting Easter Eggs to celebrate the Resurrection goes all the way back to Beaker Times - indeed, Easter Egg fragments were found under the Altar Stone at Stonehenge. So join us for an artistic and spiritual extravaganza. Don't worry about bringing your own eggs! Our free-range organic Beaker eggs are available at very reasonable rates, laid freshly by our own Neolithic breed of Beaker Chickens.**

Weekends in March - "Raising the Long Barrow!"

We finally have permission to inter our (cremated) dead in the Husborne Long barrow. Sadly we're still haggling over the rights to expose our d
Weather definitely won't be like this
ead to the birds of the air on raised wooden platforms, and they tell us that burning Norse-style longboats are definitely out.

So all we have to do, before we can bury deceased Beaker Folk in this holy place, is actually to build a long barrow. As a combination of physical exercise and spiritual refreshment, what could beat heaving mounds of soil and sandstone on top of each other, under the light breezes and gently sun of March?***

So come along and help us to raise the Barrow!  You'll get extra salvation points, and 10% off the cost of your own interment, when the time comes.

15-19 April - International Bodhran Festival

The instrument anyone can play! Beaker bodhran expert, Shiughavnan MacNimmie (Hnaef in a beard) will be introducing us to the deep secrets of the playing of this ancient and annoying member of the percussion family.

1 May - Wicker Man Festival

It works for Anglican churches, with their scarecrow and Christmas tree and flower festivals. A chance to show your creativity while entering into the competitive spirit, and recreating the Druidic Past.

Groups are invited to build their Wicker Men on a theme - "The Saints", "Bedfordshire", "Edward Woodward" being just three examples. At the end of the day, the winning team will receive a rosette and the best exhibits will be burnt. The team coming second last will receive a DVD of the Nicholas Cage remake. The team coming last will receive two copies of the DVD.

8 May Julian - of Norwich Day

Spiritual superhero and inventor of the Topic chocolate bar, Mother Julian has a special place in the Beaker Community. It's in the Doily Shed, where we've hidden her picture.

Join us for this special day of meditation, as we try to work out why her feast isn't in the autumn, when there's hazel nuts about.

1-8 June - Ikon-painting, Jackson Pollock Style

This special week is for people who'd like to do proper ikon-painting but are too ham-fisted. At the Beaker Folk we stick to the motto - "All have won, all have paid, and all shall have prizes". If your St Theresa of Avila looks like Moomintroll's Mama, then join us in throwing paint at a piece of board and swearing blind it's a spiritual experience.

20-24 June - Midsummer Festival

What better way to celebrate the ancient longest day of the year, and the period through to St John's Day, than by taking part in our "Midsummer Night's Dream from Scratch"? 5 days of rehearsal, back-biting and jealousy, followed by, on the night of the 23rd, the performance itself! "Does my Bottom look big in this?" You bet!

* Milton Keynes is mostly not Orthodox.
** Subject to availability. Otherwise we buy them from Tesco.
*** May also include deep snow and frost-hardened soil.
**** Please bring a sarsen

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