Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Full Circle Staff Retreat

Full Circle recently held their staff retreat at Gaia’s Oasis, a wonderful wild retreat in the Sierra foothills, about 40 miles outside of Yosemite.     
Gaia’s boasts a lovely little lake, as well as fire circle, meditation & hiking spots, and a labyrinth.  They have two comfortable lodges (with modern kitchens) for those who don’t want to sleep outdoors, plus camping space for groups of up to 40 people. 
Both lodges are very clean and comfortable and both are filled with some wonderful Pagan & Goddess art. 
The land itself is sacred and is treated as such.  There are several lovely Goddess statues on the property.  My favorite is a statue of Kuan Yin (looking very sexy, I might ad) which is located under a tree by one of the streams, near the labyrinth. 
The owners have recently constructed a 35-foot teepee (using lodge poles they were given by a local tribe) and this is used as a drumming site and fire circle in spring and winter.  In summer, the drumming is held outside, at a special fire circle near the meditation grounds.
Gaia’s Oasis is on 125 acres of land, which has oak and other kinds of trees, as well as a variety of birds and wildlife.  It is private, quiet, and very beautiful.
This is a great place to bring a group, especially if the members love to camp and they appreciate wildlife.  The FCE staff gathered out in their deck chairs every night just to watch the bats fly over the lake.  The local rabbits are very calm and will take a dirt bath nearby while you mediate “Namaste to you, Bunnies!” (Well, it’s their land, after all).  The dragonflies near the lake are numerous and very colorful, and this is a great site for bird watchers.
The owners are charming people, and very helpful.  They are excellent guardians of this land.  They are also mean drummers.  Our volunteer staff had a great time there, and we happily recommend this retreat to all who appreciate such places.
One of the owners, Gaiella, is a very talented artist and musician.  She created the giant cloth and wire phoenix that guards the drumming grounds at Firedance and her art can be seen in various parts of the lodge.  Her partner, Chris, is a techno-wizard, a wonderful musician & drummer, and photographer.  All the folks at Full Circle enjoyed their company and we plan on going back there very soon.
At the end of our stay there we presented Gaia’s Oasis with a new Goddess statue.  Actually, it is a fountain which one of our staff members purchased from a woman artist at a California craft fair several years ago.  It portrays Gaia as Earth Mother, with flowers in her hair and her arms outstretched in a circle.  May this fountain have many happy years there in its quiet spot near the apple tree, and may it bring peace and inspiration to all who visit this magikal place.  


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