This past weekends Bodysex workshop was held at Ancient Spirals Retreat Centre, where images of spirals were represented throughout the building and surrounding land. Spirals come in many different shapes, colours, and textures and to me each curve represents the unknown, anticipation of what is to come, darkness around unseen bends, and light when something new is discovered. It has been said that a person needs to travel deep inside themselves in order to find the place where their sexuality lies. I believe that this weekend’s Bodysex retreat helped each of us women on our journey inwards, to further explore the curves and colours of our own spirals.
The first step of the spiral began when we took off our clothes, sat down in the circle and shared our stories. No words can convey how much I appreciate being able to share such intimate stories with women older and younger than me. We all hold different wisdom and yet as I listened to each women speak I recognized a part of my own self in all of them. It seems that we all just want to be seen for who we are and it is so comforting to know that I’m not alone in that. With this understanding I gained strength as we took the next step in our spirals towards the vulva show and tell.
For many women, the show and tell is the scariest part and as the facilitator I have the privilege and honour of guiding the women through it. Sitting with each one, close enough that my arm is over their leg, I see the same image as they do in the mirror between their feet. I can feel the fear and nervousness in their body as they open themselves – sometimes shaking and often apologetic about what I am seeing. I marvel at the unique beauty, colour and shape of each woman and together, looking in the mirror, we witness a visual awakening – much like a bud in bloom. Shame literally means “to cover”and just like ourselves, our vulva just wants to be seen……..They are all beautiful and one woman shared that it helped her heal a lifetime of genital shame. Watching her fall in love with her pussy was pure joy for me and, I hope for her that it will be a burst of light in her own journey inwards. As always we named our vulvas together and I couldn’t help but feel that the names signified in some way the unique journey that each woman is on.
Doing the Bodysex workshop as part of a full weekend retreat meant that we were able to continue travelling our spiral long after the workshop hours were completed. We took several winding steps along our individual paths while being physically nourished with delicious food. Conversation and laughter flowed as we shared stories of relationships, lust, pain, heartache, addictions, recovery, sexual abuse, and longing. Some spent time alone reading, journaling, walking, skiing, doing yoga or sitting in silence and I marvelled at the respect given for boundaries and space as each woman navigated the twists and turns of her own personal spiral.
Something I hadn’t anticipated was how the women would make the weekend their own by sharing talents or gifts that were unique to them. Tarot cards, building an alter, fire blessing, hair braiding, listening with presence, preparing food, and offerings of homemade creams and oils. It was like one big seamless slumber party with each gift helping and encouraging us to enter into new turns in our spirals. It reminded me how our sexuality encompasses and is enhanced by parts of ourself that have nothing at all – and yet and everything – to do with sex.
After the second day of the actual workshop was over and we began our last night together, one of the women suggested that we recreate the “erotic recess” by pleasuring ourselves in a circle around the fire. Hearing this and seeing the nods of agreement from other women, I knew that the weekend experience had undeniably impacted their lives in a permanent way. Here we were – about to break the deeply ingrained cultural taboos – by having our first masturbation circle outside of the workshop hours!
Taking yet another step deeper into our spirals, seven of us joined in and – dragging mattresses across the floor – formed a circle around the fire. Lulled by the sounds of one woman’s very loud hitachi vibrator, and shouts of “Dear God” and “Jesus Christ” we laughed until we cried, touched ourselves with new found love and orgasmed at the same time. It was a spontaneous and true celebration of pleasure and sisterhood.
This weekend I journeyed deeper into my inner spiral surrounded by a circle of sisters – some of whom I knew and some whom I had never met before. I had been nervous about being in shared accommodation all weekend thinking that I might need time alone to process. But being there I realized how nice it felt to have their presence with me as I travelled through the light and dark bends in my own spiral. I was grateful that they treated me like a peer and not like someone who has “arrived” at a destination. I’m on my own journey.
Full of gratitude and love I give thanks for the weekend, the trust in me, and for being allowed to witness the stunning beauty of:
Mary, Red wolf, Peach, Braided rose, Wishbone, Precious frisky, Turtle, Shelley, Pearl and Fox.
With love and gratitude,
My next Bodysex Retreat will be in May. Details to come or pm me.