Retreats

A Week In Portugal

 

Rainbow Spiritual Lodge is a Nature Reserve in Central Portugal, situated in the foothills of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, surrounded by the stunning mountains.

Andrea Rathsi lived in the Portsmouth area, and ran the Merka Barn on route to Chichester, where she offered drumming circles, workshops and spiritual healing. A few years ago she took the brave decision to move out to Portugal to create a peaceful space where people can spend time in nature, living in harmony with the earth and experiencing off grid living.

In May this year, both I and my husband decide we would go visit Andrea for our 1st Wedding Anniversary. We wanted to mark the occasion by doing something memorable, and approached Andrea about Birthing a Shamanic Drum Ceremony as gift to ourselves.

The retreat offers Air B&B accommodation with a choice of yurts, tipi’s and a caravan. We had opted to stay in the 6m Yurt. For me this was totally out of my comfort zone, the low down on me getting to basics is staying in my touring caravan. I can report I had the most amazing week, and would quite happily stay in a yurt again. Waking up during the night and looking out the door to the most spectacular light show, stars twinkling above us with no light pollution, and then soaking up the breathtaking view every morning looking out over the valley.

The Rainbow Spiritual Lodge is one of the largest farms in the local area. It currently has goats, chickens and ducks. The water comes from a fresh water spring, which also feeds into the dam and natural pool. The electricity on the property is created with solar and wind power. Organic produce is grown on the property or purchased from local producers. The fresh goat’s milk was so tasty! Andrea even showed me how to make goats cheese, guess what everyone is getting for Christmas this year!

Andrea has volunteers who choose to come and work for her, in return for board and lodgings so that she can work the land. She has many goals and aspirations for the farm in the future, including retreats and workshops.

Serra da Estrela region is simply stunning, despite that fact that we visited in the first summer after the awful fires that had destroyed over two thirds of trees in the reserve, the beauty of the area shone. Fields and fields of grass and wild flowers. I am told though later on in the season the land gets very dry, and it doesn’t look so lush.

The area itself is surrounded by granite, huge granite boulders or “stone people” as we liked to call them covered the land. With that came an abundance of quartz, you could literally walk along and gather this up freely everywhere you went. The whole area had a lovely energetic feel to it.

We spent the best part of one day making a Shamanic Drum, from soaking and cutting the hide, to piercing the holes, and then stitching it over the frame. This was combined with guided meditations as we journeyed and set our intentions, as we all sat in one of the Tipi’s.  We also made a beater and rattle. The drum was then left to dry out. I am so looking forward to using this with my therapies and within our circles, and Lee, my husband,  will be running some local drumming circles.

We spent several days sightseeing the local area. One of the highlights was Fogosinho, a small village with a unique tower on hill made of Rose Quartz, even the pathway to the tower was a cobblestone path of rose quartz. We spent an early evening here drumming with our newly made Shamanic Drum, gives me goose bumps when I think about it!

We explored the Torre Mountain, the highest peak on the mainland of Portugal, 1993 metres in altitude. The views were breathtaking, although the experience of driving, not only on the wrong side of the road, but road with no curbs or barriers in some places, made my poor husband freak out as a professional driver, that said I was the one looking straight down the side of the mountain as a passenger! A little hair raising adventure, thankfully the roads were actually clear, as there was still snow in some parts of the area, it was well worth the trip.

The evening sunsets on the retreat lit up the whole sky, each evening you saw different colours, sometimes pink, sometimes red, and sometimes if you looked closely you could almost see a rainbow arching over the sun.

We are both looking forward to returning in June next year, 2019, where I will be co-hosting a weekend retreat with Andrea, details to follow.