Led by Emily Jarrett Hughes with musical accompaniment by Greg Herriges and friends

Saturday, November 2, 2019, 3:00 – 8:30
Camp Spring Lake Retreat Center, Rosemount, MN

Healing our relationships to our ancestors empowers us to live with courage and hope. The suffering and crises around us are invitations to acknowledge and transform the ancestral patterns and histories that brought us to this moment. More often than not, as we have disconnected ourselves from the painful parts of our ancestry, we have also separated ourselves from the profound love, grounding and support that our ancestors offer us.

In celebration of All Souls’ Day we will honor our ancestors with food, stories and dance. We will draw on Laura Shannon’s research on the healing power of traditional women’s ritual dances from the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor. As tools of transformation, the dances support us in connecting to the love that exists even within complicated inheritances and unlocks our power to heal our painful stories.

Dance will be our container for

  • Accessing the healing power of collective joy;
  • Connecting to the values of community, sustainability, and reverence for the earth in ancient European culture;
  • Aligning ourselves with the flow of life and energy of transformation;
  • Releasing old family patterns;
  • Connecting with the ancestral love which created us and supports us now;
  • Healing the trauma experienced by indigenous European cultures, including the witch hunts;
  • Acknowledging the harm perpetuated by people of European descent, including the genocide of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans;
  • Sending healing love to those who have died as a result of violence, in schools, at the border, in refugee camps, war, and beyond;
  • Honoring the animal and plant ancestors and helping us grieve mass extinction;
  • Finding strength, beauty, wisdom, and courage to become the ancestors of future generations.

We dance so that all life may flourish!

Our altar to our ancestors.

Flow of the day

We will gather at 3:00 p.m. for opening reflections on how dance can be a container for the complex work of healing our relationships to our ancestors. We will learn each of the dances that we will dance later in the evening. No experience necessary! At 5:00 we will share a simple light meal of soup. After our meal we will build our altar to our ancestors and then dance for our ancestral healing. We will conclude with sharing food with our ancestors and each other.


Welcome, especially if you are new to dancing. No experience is necessary to participate in these simple circle dances from the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor. Everything will be taught first and the group together helps the dances dance themselves. The dances are very gentle and many people report leaving without the aches and pains they had when they arrived. The movement does require the ability to walk at a moderately swift pace. Often we have some in our midst who have a health challenge requiring them to sit for some of the dances and this is still a rich experience for both those sitting and those dancing. This retreat is particularly designed for people of full or mixed European descent. We draw upon the wisdom of women’s ritual dances and celebrate the expression of the feminine through many genders – all genders welcome. Non-gendered bathroom will be available.

Some of the ways that you will be asked to prepare:

  • Please be prepared to share the names in your matrilineal line. It’s not too early to start researching this. If possible include where each generation was born. Matralineal naming begins with  “I am __, child of  ___ born  in ___ (place) , daughter of ____ born in ____ (place), etc,” It is okay if you only remember one or two generations.
  • Bring items for our ancestor altar: photos, favorite items.
  • Some food to share with your ancestors. You can think about what your ancestors liked to eat, or what is a food that connects you to your ancestral roots. You can bring something light and simple – anything from apples to homemade apple pie.
  • More instructions will be provided upon registration.

About Camp Spring Lake Retreat Center

The Camp Spring Lake Retreat Center is located at the Lower Spring Lake Park Trailhead in Spring Lake Park Reserve. It is located along the Mississippi River roughly 30 minutes south of the Twin Cities. We will meet in the Great Room and weather permitting also use the outdoor classroom. The address is 13690 Pine Bend Trail, Rosemount, MN 55068. Arrive an hour early and walk the trail (roughly one mile) down to a beautiful spot along the river.


Early bird (by October 15): $50
Regular registration (after October 15): $60

Download retreat registration form.

To register on-line select “Send Money to a Friend” in PayPal and send payment to info@wisdomdances.com

I look forward to seeing you there!