2019 Upcoming Retreat: Restoring the Power of the Sacred Feminine

It is with great joy and honor that we invite you to join the pilgrimage from Aegina to Crete, we co-facilitate with Cynthia Jurs and Brad Laughlin from the 9th to the 25th of September 2019!

Restoring the Power of the Sacred Feminine:

An Earth Treasure Vase Pilgrimage to Crete

With Cynthia Jurs, Brad Laughlin, Eleni Skrekou & Vasiliki Skrekou

September 9-25, 2019

Crete: One of the last places on Earth where the goddess-worshiping Neolithic culture thrived—where priestesses held spiritual power, and the masculine and feminine lived in balance and harmony. Their society revered fertility, the Great Earth Mother and qualities such as peace, joy, beauty, community, sharing, and abundance for all. This extraordinary field is still palpable there—still alive in the palace ruins, land and art—and waiting to be revived in our modern times.

The special vehicle to facilitate our journey will be an Earth Treasure Vase (ETV). Through ceremony, ritual, and practice at sacred sites, we will fill this holy vessel with prayers and offerings dedicated to restoring the power of the sacred feminine, balancing the masculine and feminine and awakening joy and beauty. On the Equinox, the Vase will be planted in Crete’s fertile soil to seed a new story for these times and connect with a global mandala of healing, protection, and renewal for the Earth.

The Practice of the Earth Treasure Vases

Almost 30 years ago, on a life-changing pilgrimage to meet a 106-year-old lama living in a remote cave in Nepal, Cynthia Jurs met the great master, Charok Rinpoche, who gave her the practice of the Earth Treasure Vases when she asked him, “What can we do to bring healing and protection to the Earth?” Since then, these holy vessels have been filled with prayers and offerings and taken around the world to create a mandala of healing and protection for the Earth. Forty-five vases have been accomplished to date, and it has now become clear that an Earth Treasure Vase is needed to serve as a vessel for our prayers and offerings to help restore the sacred feminine in the world.

We will follow the steps of the Minoan Goddess Aphaea from Aegina to Crete. It is here we have been called to bring the Earth Treasure Vase into ceremony at the sacred sites, temples and caves, and among the fertile valleys and mountain villages, connecting us to a mythic landscape that still holds the energy of those long ago times. Together we will seed our practice of sacred activism by planting the Vase on Crete with our prayers, dance, songs, and heartfelt offerings for the balance of masculine and feminine in us and in the world.

The Island of Aegina and Myth of Aphaea Athena

Goddess Aphaea—“the invisible one”—is a potent archetype for our current times, in which the suppressed power of the feminine is reawakening and reuniting with the out-of-balance masculine energies in the world.

Her story begins on Crete, as Vritomatris (“sweet maiden”), a powerful goddess—the alter ego of her sister, Artemis. King Minos, son of Zeus and Europa, lusted after her. To escape his pursuit, she threw herself into the sea and swam to the island of Aegina, where she was caught in fishermen’s nets. She hid away in a cave on top of a hill and became known as Aphaea, “the invisible one”. During patriarchal times, she became associated with the goddess Athena. Above Aphaea’s cave, an exquisite Doric temple was erected for Aphaea-Athena’s worship, one of the most well-preserved classical temples in Europe today.

On our pilgrimage, we will explore this myth, rich with archetypal meaning. Taking the ETV to the Aphaea Athena temple—amidst a tranquil, forested area with breathtaking views—we will invite Aphaea, the invisible Goddess to reemerge and accompany us back to Crete on our journey of restoring the power of the sacred feminine.

Aegina, Amforeas Estate and the Skrekou Sisters

On the island of Aegina, we will stay at the beautiful Amforeas Leisure and Integration Estate, home of our dear friends, the Skrekou family. Sisters Vasiliki and Eleni will not only host us on Aegina but also accompany us on our Cretan pilgrimage, serving as our local Earth Treasure Vase stewards. While briefly hosting an ETV for Turkey in 2017, the sisters resonated deeply with the practice. And as fate would have it, the name of their estate, Amforeas, means sacred vessel or vase! Now they feel a strong calling to act as stewards for the first ETV to be buried in Hellenic soil. Along our journey, they will very graciously open rare and precious doors for us to experience their local, authentic and personal Hellas (Greece). This is one of the greatest gifts we receive on our intimate journey to this beautiful country.

Eleni has been living for years on Aegina and Crete, hearing the call of Aphaea and Zeus. She has been exploring the interconnections of archetypes and places through mythology, archaeology, psychology, and philosophy, as well as through personal insights and visions. Throughout our journey, she will share with us her fascinating findings, unraveling the thread of mythological archaeology from Aegina to Crete.

As part of our ceremonies, Vasiliki will lead us in ancient, traditional, sacred dance rituals. She calls this Hellenic Archetypal Expression, a psychosomatic technique she is developing, utilizing the ancient alphabet of improvised bodily movement and sound to facilitate integration, release, and embodiment of the energies we long to reawaken on this pilgrimage.

Our Mythic Journey on Crete

Traveling on to Crete, we will weave the mythic elements throughout our journey as we visit ancient sacred sites, archaeological ruins and places of great spiritual power and natural beauty. Our pilgrimage on Crete begins with the full moon in Pisces, the sign of transcendence and unity. As we travel, we will explore the deeper meaning of the myths associated with the sites, often revealing fascinating insights about the transition from the Neolithic into the Patriarchal era and the imbalances occurring then between the masculine and feminine. We will also explore how they relate to our current time of transition from the Patriarchal era into a new paradigm of heart-centered consciousness and masculine-feminine balance.

Some of the sites we will visit include:

Ruins of the Palace at Knossos: This ceremonial and political center of Minoan civilization is associated with the famous labyrinth myth: King Minos lived here and had a labyrinth constructed in which to retain his son, the Minotaur, who was half man, half bull and who ritually devoured Athenian youth. Theseus, a prince from Athens, sailed to Crete to fight the powerful creature. Ariadne, the king’s daughter, fell in love with Theseus. Before he entered the labyrinth, Ariadne gave him a ball of golden thread, which he unwound while navigating the Labyrinth so that he could find his way back to the entrance. Theseus succeeded in killing the Minotaur and escaped with Ariadne.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum: The superabundance of Minoan frescoes, statues, pottery, jewelry and other art here evoke an exquisite feminine energy. Often depicting the female form and aspects of nature, the curvaceous, flowing and sometimes whimsical designs convey a feeling of joy and beauty. The Minoan energy in these magnificent pieces is still alive, uplifting and infectious. From gallery to gallery we will explore the change in vibration of each phase of the Minoan culture from the goddess-worshiping beauty, lightness and flow, to patriarchal rigidity and austerity.

Cave of Zeus at Mount Idi: Newborn Zeus was hidden in this cave by his mother Rhea to escape the rage of his father, Kronos, who ate his children for fear of their taking his power. Rhea gave Kronos a stone wrapped as a baby to swallow instead. It is here

that the father of the gods took his first steps and brought qualities of unification to the land of Crete. Zeus means the one who pairs the two poles, the integrator. In Minoan iconography he is the male counterpart of the goddess; however, later, in patriarchal times he acquired the opposite quality, one of division, of separation. In the modern Hellenic language, he is called Dias, literally meaning the one who separates.

Ruins of the Phaestos Palace: While a kind of sister palace to Knossos, Phaestos is more off the beaten tourist route. When we visited previously, we were able to find quiet places to sit, meditate, feel the energy and experience the Minoan culture as still alive! For those who are sensitive, the joy, beauty, and reverence for the feminine energy are palpable here. Balance, peace, and happiness permeate these ancient ruins.

Amari Valley: This magnificent, verdant valley is identified in Cretan mythology as the holy grove of Amarios (immortal) Zeus. Myth and land blend in a magical way in this hidden gem of Crete that resides timeless and protected from modern-time invasions. Our base will be Meronas, a small, picturesque village off the beaten tourist path. Meronas sits high atop a hill, overlooking Amari Valley and Mount Idi. We will explore the quaint village, stroll along beautiful mountain trails, visit ancient ruins and hear the many local myths and sample the local delicacies. The kindness of the locals and the fecundity of the Earth are highlights. We will connect with Cretan nature during our stay in luxury, walk-in tents with wooden floors and en-suite bathrooms at an eco-camp in a peaceful, forested area just outside the village.

Asterousia: The birthplace of Minoan civilization. In Gortys, disguised as a bull, Zeus mated with Europa. Bearing three sons, she was given by Zeus to Asterion, the eponymous first King of Crete, in marriage. Europa and Asterion raised Zeus’s sons, who grew up to create the first kingdoms of Crete. We will hold ceremonies in Gortys, and immerse ourselves in the secret hideouts of the goddess. We plan to bury the Earth Treasure Vase in this region on the Equinox. We will stay at the unique, traditional and beautifully renovated village, Thalori. From here we can explore the area with local friends, including Manolis, an organic farmer, and keeper of the goddess wisdom, who will prepare a delicious, healing meal for us in his home, and Nikos, a keeper of the ancient art of grape distillation and winemaking. During our stay, we will visit beautiful nearby beaches where we will integrate our experiences and celebrate at the sea.

About Your Facilitators

Cynthia Jurs is a Lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and a Dharmacharya in the Order of Interbeing of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. For 30 years she has been the guiding teacher at Open Way Sangha in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she teaches a dharma path of sacred activism in response to the call of the Earth. Cynthia also directs the nonprofit, Alliance for the Earth, which is dedicated to facilitating a global community committed to planetary healing and collective awakening through the Earth Treasure Vase Global Healing Project and supporting the Peace Hut Alliance for Conflict Transformation, a mindfulness-based peace-building program in Liberia, Africa. Since receiving the practice of the Earth Treasure Vases, Cynthia has led pilgrimages worldwide to create a global mandala of healing and protection for the Earth. She is currently at work on a book and documentary film entitled, Summoned By The Earth.

Brad Laughlin is the Executive Director of the international non-profit organization, CoreLight, which is dedicated to fostering outer peace in the world through developing personal inner peace. For over 20 years he has taught classes in the transformation of consciousness, using innovative ways of helping people awaken during these times of great change—the Squares technique being one of the most effective ways of unifying polarity and moving beyond separation, which we will explore on this particular pilgrimage. He is the co-author of books, which offer tools, guidance, and inspiration for spiritual transformation through the teachings of non-duality. Brad facilitates journeys to sacred sites worldwide, focusing on meditation, prayer, and ceremony on the Earth’s ley lines. He is a co-founder of Seeds of Light, CoreLight’s humanitarian arm, serving marginalized communities and AIDS orphans in South Africa. He has a B.S. degree from Duke University and when not with his life-partner, Leslie Temple-Thurston, in South Africa, is traveling and offering events in other parts of the world.

Vasiliki Skrekou is the co-owner and director of Amforeas Leisure and Integration Estate on the island of Aegina, Hellas. Amforeas, meaning sacred vessel, is a guest house and retreat center founded to facilitate the transition of consciousness from duality to synthesis and unity, thus re-creating our “ancient future”. Her academic background includes a B.A. in Business Administration from the Economic University of Athens and an MSc in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology from John Moore University. She has been teaching laughter therapy and certifying Laughter Yoga leaders since 2008, initiating the Social Laughter Club movement in her country. Her theatrical experience includes acting, writing and producing. For the past four years, she has been developing Hellenic Archetypal Expression, which is a blend of psychological astrology and hieroglyphic bodily movements from ancient Hellas, the orient, Sufism and bodynamic psychotherapy for the purposes of healing and integration. She offers Hellenic Archetypal Expression in personal sessions and retreats with Amforeas Estate as her base.

Eleni Skrekou is a life-long researcher of what makes us Human. Inspired by long-forgotten cultures, she strives to reconstruct the thread that connects past, present and future. To this end, after she studied Economics with a BSc from the University of Athens, she went on to receive an MA in Archaeology and an MSc in Georchaeology from Reading University, focusing on prehistoric Aegean civilizations. Called to immerse into the field of Crete, in 2010 she moved to Gavdos, and joined PIFEA ,a multinational commune exploring, by means of applied philosophy and mystery, the predestination of Humanity, namely enlightened embodiment. Since December 2012, following the calling of Zeus, Aphaea, Athena, and Medusa, she has been living between Crete and Aegina, exploring these archetypal qualities, which seek integration in a New Human Civilization. Currently, she lives on Aegina and is the co-owner and retreat facilitator of Amforeas Estate, where she offers Mind-Body Wellness coaching, based on the principles of Eating Psychology and Expansion Method.

Katia and Maria Mavrelli, Tour Organizers: Inspiration Ventures was born out of passion, experience, and love for Greece and classical education. With an accumulated experience in the travel industry of over 50 years, Maria and Katia Mavrelli, mother and daughter, are always ready to craft tailor-made itineraries to Greece based on the unique theme, needs, and dynamics of each group. «As Greek boutique tour operators, we are deeply rooted in our local history and culture. It is always an honor and a pleasure for us to welcome in our country guests from all over the world who value not only the history, ancient sites, landscape, and gastronomy, but also the secret spiritual gifts that Greece has to offer”.

For more info and to apply for the trip, 

please contact CoreLight c/o Dhari Gray.