Wise Womens Wisdom

Wise Women’s Wisdom


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.



Life After Hysterectomy

A Recap One Year On

Today marks 1 year since I had a total hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of my ovary and tube) and 1 year of living with estrogen deficiency (aka surgical menopause)

Some of you will know my back story but many won’t and whilst I try to live my life looking forward, rather than back, I feel it’s important to share my story up to this point so you can follow the journey ahead.

So hi, I’m Deb, I’m 36, married with 2 young children (my son was born in Oct 2012 and my daughter Apr 2014). In January 2015 I went to my GP terrified that I had Ovarian Cancer (OC) having seen this posted on Facebook by a friend who had lost her sister to OC.  What are the symptoms of Ovarian cancer?

Following blood tests, scans, gynaecology appointments and surgery in June 2015, it turned out I had a grapefruit sized Borderline Ovarian Tumour (BOT) on my left ovary – both the BOT and ovary were removed. This basically means that although it wasn’t Cancer (Hoorah!!) it was a low malignant potential tumour and they couldn’t 100% say that there was no malignant cells in there as they can’t test every single cell.

I was told that BOTs are basically a bit of an unknown as in they don’t know why they occur nor if/when they would turn malignant. So basically there was a chance that I could develop another tumour on my right ovary, that could possibly become malignant, therefore life limiting but there was also the chance that nothing would happen again.

The consultants advice was that I should have a total hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy to reduce the risks all together (this treatment wasn’t even on my radar so it hit me like a ton of bricks when she said this!)

Anyway, I was given 2 options –

  1. Have 3 monthly scans to keep an eye on everything and wait to do the surgery until I am closer to natural menopause age, with the added option that we could try for one last baby if we wanted to. Although this was something I really wanted and not having no. 3 will always leave a little sadness in my heart, I am grateful that I have 2 amazing, if not sometimes annoying, children. There are many young women who don’t get this option and go through gynealogical cancers/conditions and treatments before they get to have a child (if they had wish to do so)
  2. Recover from the first surgery and then get booked in as soon as possible for the next so that the risk would be eliminated but in the knowledge that I would be put into Surgical Menopause.

I felt like I had been put between a rock and a hard place! The thought of going through 3 monthly scans paralysed me with fear! I wouldn’t forgive myself if I developed another tumour, especially if the outcome was worse, knowing that I could have done something to take it all away. The risk just felt too great to me.

BUT my other option… surgical MENOPAUSE… well, that came with a whole new level of worry and unknowns. I could potentially still be 20 years away from natural menopause and there are lots of health risks associated with menopause and having no estrogen at such a young age. Menopause at any age can increase your risks of heart problems and osteoporosis but going through this risk at a young age can be life shortening. You then have the hot flashes, foggy mind, mood swings, depression, anxiety, lack of sex drive, vaginal dryness, skin dryness, etc to contend with! Add into the mix that there is no one size fits all treatment or management plan for these symptoms but instead a plethora of approaches – Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), natural remedies, holistic therapies, going without anything, and even wearing a magnet in your knickers. You can hopefully see that this was not been an easy decision to make!

However, I feel I made the only decision that I could and that is to do what I needed to do to ensure that I can enjoy a full life with my husband, children, family and friends. So, on Tuesday 10th January 2017, I had the op!

It’s be a hell of a year with the surgery, bereavement (sad loss of my dad in May), surgical menopause, changes in direction with business and all the other worries and stresses of life. It’s felt like quite a dark, lonely path at times but I have fortunately had many beautiful stars shining around me, gently illuminating the way and now my flame is burning bright once more.

Ironically is has taken for me to lose my womb to be able to really connect with the energy we as women hold in that space and through the guidance and support of people like Tania, I am awakening!

Over time, I hope to share the wisdom and ramblings that come with embracing my path as a young crone so I invite you to join me and be inspired to connect with your own sacred female wisdom

Love and light
Deb X
For more information about surgical menopause please visit www.thesurmenoconnection.com