The Rose has long been the symbol of divine wisdom and the Chartres cathedral with its 3 sublime rose windows is a hymn to Mary as the throne of wisdom. Chartres Cathedral was built as a temple for the Queen of Heaven. This final rebuilding was dedicated to the risen Mary as her dwelling place on Earth. It is also a grail, the container of mysteries.
From ancient times, the rose has been associated with the great goddesses of the ancient world. The Rose is one of the oldest symbols of the wisdom tradition and of the divine wisdom and holy spirit radiating love to our world from the divine ground. The Rose came to symbolize not only the holy spirit but the awakened soul reunited with the divine ground. Mary was known in the middle ages at the time of the building of Chartres Cathedral as the Rosa Mystica. The rose represents the radiant presence of the holy spirit who fills the whole cathedral.
Mary as the divine feminine is the rose, the lily and also the tree of life from which all who turn to her can draw sustenance, an image that evokes the Shekinah and even older as Isis as the tree of life giving sustenance. Wherever the association is made between love and divinity, between beauty and harmony and divinity, between compassion and divinity, there stands the image of Mary as representing the qualities of the divine feminine.
This intensive will center us deeply in the heart of Chartres during the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (August 15) which honors the Church doctrine, enunciated by the Pope in 1950, that Mary was assumed directly into heaven upon her death and now presides as the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven, a title held by Goddesses, Isis and Inanna. The much needed resurgence of the feminine archetype and the restoration and recovery of the feminine aspect of the divine in order to bring back wholeness and balance to the human psyche is the key to understanding the Feast of the Assumption which Carl Jung believed marked the most important development in Christian theology in the last 2000 years.
The Black Madonna
On the Day of the Assumption, a statue of the Black Madonna is carried through the streets of Chartres before being placed in front of the statue of the Assumption of Mary, where she is kept for one week and then hidden away till the following year.
Parading the Black Madonna recalls the way the Druids in ancient times brought her out of the grotto underneath the granite promontory upon which the cathedral today stands. They honored Mother Earth and the cycles of the seasons through the Black Madonna. Being in Chartres, a city that has honored the divine feminine for thousands of years at this time of the year will both deepen your memory of ancient rites and activate your soul to a greater reverence for and embodiment of the divine feminine.
In this sacred space you can deeply explore the nature and scope of the dark feminine as manifested in the Black Madonna. The dark feminine in all her aspects has been revered since ancient times. The Black Madonna has historically been present during times of turbulence and upheaval when a culture or civilization is dying and something profound and redemptive is being born. The metamorphosis from the old to the new is uniquely the domain of the Black Madonna, which is why she is so actively present in our lives today. A profound aspect of the Black Madonna is the manner in which she challenges our understanding of what it means to be feminine.
Mary of Magda is the other Mary of Chartres. As a powerful wisdom keeper, there is a hidden alliance between her and the Black Madonna. We will explore her sacred lineage and her teachings, contemplate images and statues of her in the cathedral, and prepare ourselves for the pilgrimage to the south of France where Mary is by tradition believed to have lived and taught when she came to France with her daughter Sara she had with Jesus and others who had been part of the early Christian community.
This program is primarily experiential and designed as an initiation into the Way of the Rose. Our intention is to heed the call of the Divine Feminine to see her around us and become her in our very cells so we can live in harmony with each other and with the Earth and all of the Earth community. We will integrate head, heart and body through wisdom teachings, song, dance and theater, and immersion in the cathedral. Please be prepared to move and dance.
Each day will be a balance of: Wisdom teachings presentations on the Assumption; The Way of the Rose; Mother Mary as the incarnation of the Divine Feminine; the Black Madonna; the lineage and teachings of Mary Magdalene; and the Chartres Cathedral as a grail and container of mysteries.
Embodiment practices that bring us into heart presence and open a door for us to become the wisdom teachings we explore through meditation, sacred dance, ritual, singing, theater, and sharing circles.
Daily immersion in the Cathedral that include at least one private evening in the cathedral devoted to experiencing the labyrinth, accompanied by Marian and Gregorian chants; one private evening in the crypt accompanied by Marian chants; private early morning visits to the Cathedral; singing in the Cathedral; special tour of the Cathedral with a focus on the Rose, the Assumption, the two Marys of Chartres: Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene, and communing with the Black Madonna. We will also join the festivities of the Feast of the Assumption which includes a special procession of the Black Madonna and the Sancta Camisia in the streets of Chartres.
Banafsheh Sayyad, MFA, MA, sacred dancer, choreographer and founder of Dance of Oneness®, will guide us to embody the wisdom teachings we explore during our week via embodiment practices, sacred dance and whirling.
Anne Baring, PhD,author and co-author of 7 books will presents virtual lectures on Mother Mary as the incarnation of the Divine Feminine; The Way of the Rose; and the lineage and teachings of Mary Magdalene. She will join us live via zoom for a discussion after her presentations.
Peggy Rubin, Shakespearian actor and master of sacred ritual and group theatre, will guide us into enactment of the mysteries we explore and share her deep insights into the nature of the Black Madonna and how to use the transformational energy of the the feminine for personal growth and group harmony.
Ruth Cunningham,classically trained musician, sound healer and founding member of the Anonymous 4 will guide us in singing, and create soundscapes during our visits to the Cathedral.
Jim Garrison, PhD will speak about the mysteries of the Chartres Cathedral and present on various aspects of the Assumption of Mary and of Gaia as a new organizing framework for spiritual development.
Ubiquity Chartres Community Webinars – Join the faculty and participants in our monthly webinar on the second Sunday of every month for discussions on the topics included in the intensive. Register for the Webinars here. Watch past Webinars here.
Click here to register and find out about logistics
More info: Email 36 hrs towards Dance of Oneness® Certification Program For more information about content contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, 31 July – Sunday, 2 August 2020 Waldhaus Centre Lützelflüh, 3432 Lützelflüh, Switzerland
The Dancer of Oneness is noble and wild. Dance to free yourself, and cultivate strength, dignity, passion, wildness, audacity, and courage, as well as vulnerability.
Dance to live with nobility and poignancy, to hold both the joy and the pain as inseparable dance partners, to let wild grace inspire and carry you, to never be tamed, never overcome!
Learn to trust your deepest understanding and unleash your wild sweet nectar through sacred dance, whirling, poetry, and meditation. Gain transformative tools for living creatively in your day to day life and make true positive contribution to our world.
Mixed levels. Most appropriate for those with a background in dance, yoga or other movement modalities.
8-day Dance Retreat for Women Only with Banafsheh and guest musicians
May 1-8, 2020 Gokcedere, Yalova in Western Turkey
FLASH SALE: enjoy a 5% discount until 11:59pm Pacific time on Sunday, February 23rd with the coupon code, ONENESSTURKEY
The Retreat is followed by a Pilgrimage to the Divine Feminine Sites in Ephesus, Metropolis, Aphrodisias and Pergamon, May 8-13 (please note this is not an organized tour, and while we will propose an itinerary and provide suggestions for accommodations, travel, sights, etc., each person on the Pilgrimage will need to make their own arrangements.)
“Open the treasure house of abundance from inside yourself.” Rumi
Shift your focus from the outer world to your rich inner world, and activate your womb of compassion, so you can step into your divine self. When you extend love and compassion toward yourself, the Earth and all beings, you are emulating the creator of all worlds. The more you emulate the creator of all worlds, the more you become a conscious creator of your own world. Release longterm resistances and blockages in your body and mind that have held you back from experiencing magnificence, ease and comfort in your own skin. As you release tensions and old habits that have kept you in limitation and separation, you will reconnect with your body as a luscious temple of ease, love and beauty. You will feel and look beautiful, energetic and ALIVE…giving and receiving love effortlessly.
Guided by the poetry of Rumi, Rabia, Kabir and other Sufi mystics as well as Taoist philosophy and quantum physics, explore the foundations of Dance of Oneness, and how to cultivate mastery in your body through a focus on the Chakras and the Meridian system. Integrate your body, mind and soul in a sacred union and learn tools for self-healing and living in creative joy.
Our setting is a Sufi/Darvish Temple or Dergah and a beautiful historic hotel built on an Aesclepian site in the quaint, safe and secluded village of Gokcedere in the Western part of Turkey. Our days are balanced with guided and free-style dance, whirling, Sufi teachings, wisdom teachings from the East & West, live music, yoga, chanting, meditation, aquatics – movement sessions in the natural spring pools, a sharing circle in a community of like-hearted women, lots of laughter, ample breaks, and soaking in the healing pools.
Dance and soak, whirl and soak, and nourish your soul and your body with exceptional Turkish cuisine in a community of wild, noble women!
Early Bird Rate till February 1st
Hotel Single Room Lodging $1750 *
(the equivalent in Euro or TRY)
After February 1st:
Hotel Single Room Lodging $1950 *
(the equivalent in Euro or TRY)
*Only Single lodging available
Above fees include:
Stellar single accommodations in a beautiful historic hotel built on healing natural hot water springs
Private group access to the onsite pools and fully equipped hamam (spa) closed to the greater public without any creeps staring at you!
Exceptional buffet breakfast, light lunch and dinner
Roundtrip ground transportation from the Yenikapi ferry dock in Istanbul to the hotel if you arrive at the designated departure time on May 1st and if you plan to go to Istanbul on May 8th.
Fee does NOT include airfare to Turkey, visa, roundtrip transportation from the airport to the Yenikapi Ferry dock in Istanbul. Optional massage, kiseh (body scrub) and facials at the hotel.
Amazing historic hotel with natural spring thermal water pools, Turkish hamam, massage, beautiful views of lush mountains and a royal feast for breakfast and dinner. The juxtaposition of staying in an abode of opulence and holding our sessions in an abode of simplicity cultivates the importance of bridging worlds for a messenger of Oneness and Love.
For those who need to stay in Istanbul before and after the retreat. The hotel has beautiful views of the Blue Mosque in the wonderful Sultan Ahmet area of Istanbul. Ask for the “Dance of Oneness Group Rate” when you book and get a single room for $45 USD and a double room for $68 USD including breakfast.
For questions about registration and payment, please call +1 310 499-7100 or email.
For questions and guidance about the retreat and traveling to Turkey, please email Colette De Gagnier-Rettner
“Dance of Oneness takes me back to my womb, which surprisingly gives me the feeling of tenderness that I have long denied. Finding it, accepting is so refreshing. It fills me. It gives me confidence to be me, the me I want to share with the whole world.” Usanee Nuchanong, Thailand, “Radiant Beauty” retreat in Turkey, 2019
“Banafsheh’s Dance of Oneness retreat in Turkey is a healing immersion into the beauty and majesty of the Divine Feminine. Being with this amazing group of women in the sacred land of Turkey is not to be missed. Soaking in the thermal waters, whirling in the Sufi Temple, laughing, loving, being…I could keep returning here with Banafsheh for the rest of my life!” Colette de Gagnier, California, “Radiant Beauty” retreat in Turkey, 2019
Workshop with Banafsheh, Andrew Harvey, Jim Garrison and special guest Calen Rayne
5-day Workshop – December 13-18 Weekend Only – December 13-15
Friday at 7:30pm – Wednesday at 11:45am followed by lunch 12-1pm Menla Mountain Retreat Center, Phoenicia, NY (Catskills)
*Contact Amber at Menla Registration for rates: (845) 688-6897 EXT 101 or Email
Explore the intersection of Sufism, Tibetan Buddhism and quantum physics in the crucible of the Sama (whirling) to gain a deep experiential understanding of living in oneness and manifesting your dreams in service of the Greater, and by implanting new empowering beliefs and perceptions into your subconscious mind.
Whirling and chanting mantras take us into the quantum field where if we become empty of ourselves, we can open to the Greater to pour into us and through us, recreating us so we can become present, fully ALIVE, unchained creators. We can invite this energy that creates worlds and has created us in love, to heal and restore balance to the parts of us that need healing, and transmit healing to people, and to all creatures, conditions and environments in need.
Discover how the latest findings of quantum physics mirror the wisdom of the Sufis and the Tibetan Buddhists. Journey with us into laa makan, the placeless place, where the mantras Om Mani Padme Hum and La Ilaha il Allah beckon us to become no-thing in order to become one with the All. Our vehicle is the Sama, the grand yet simple spin that characterizes everything in our universe from distant galaxies to the minute cells in our body—the practice that made Rumi Rumi!
This workshop demystifies the Sama, offering access to the age-old practice of the legendary Sufi masters Rumi and Shams in a few simple steps. This method allows people of all experience levels to turn for a sustained period with ease. One enters the Sama, listening with the heart, generating theta and even gamma brain wave states, and pure ecstasy.
Banafsheh will guide you to prepare your chalice, your body, with grounding, centering and emptying techniques so you can experience the profound transformative and healing powers of whirling.
Andrew Harvey will recite the love poems of Rumi that flowered from Rumi as he whirled, and together with Banafsheh, who will recite the poetry in the original Persian, will lead the group into the depth of the mantra La illaha il Allah, and the history, symbolism and philosophy of the Sama as a complete spiritual path.
Dr. Jim Garrison will lead the group in understanding and experiencing the symmetry between the fourfold path of the Sama, the Tibetan mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and the mantra La illaha il Allah.
With Dr. Calen Rayne, we will walk and whirl in a labyrinth and explore the teachings and significance of the labyrinth and its deep resonance with whirling.
The workshop will come to a crescendo on December 17th with an evening celebration of Rumi’s Wedding Night or Shab-e Arus, his dying into union with the Beloved that invites all of us into living in union with the Beloved. Banafsheh and Andrew will perform dance and poetry from their work In the Fire of Grace with special guests followed by a group whirling ceremony.
Our days are a balance between movement, whirling, ritual, chantingSufi zikr and the Tibetan mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, teachings in Sufism, Buddhism and quantum physics, walking the labyrinth, exploring the gorgeous sacred land where Menla is located,and nurturing our bodies with delicious organic meals and healing body work.
Join us to experience the extent to which a group of us whirling can channel transformative blessings into the world to heal ourselves and the world.
Andrew Harvey, PhD (Honorary) is a poet, novelist, mystical scholar, lecturer in comparative religions, and one of the most celebrated translators of Rumi. He has taught at Oxford, Cornell, Hobart and Smith Colleges, California Institute of Integral Studies, and UCS. The honors he has received include the Benjamin Franklin Award, and the Mind Body Spirit Award, and the Christmas Humphries Award. He is the author and editor of over 40 books including: The Return of the Mother and Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ,Light Upon Light and The Direct Path. He is Founder and Director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organization focused on inviting concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired, effective, and practical agents of institutional and systemic change, in order to create peace and sustainability. www.andrewharvey.net
Jim Garrison, PhD,is the President of Ubiquity University. He has been studying spiritual traditions since childhood as the son of missionaries to China and Taiwan where he was able to delve into Eastern spirituality, particularly Buddhism and Taoism. His double Masters degree in the History of Religion and Christology at Harvard University and his doctorate on a Jungian analysis of ancient Judeo-Christian apocalyptic literature at Cambridge University enabled him to study texts across the spectrum of Axial religions and wisdom traditions. He has written numerous books, including The Plutonium Culture, The Darkness of God: Theology after Hiroshima, The Russian Threat, Citizen Diplomats, Civilization and The Transformation of Power, and America as Empire. Jim teaches a range of courses at Ubiquity in philosophy, spirituality, history and global affairs, including the core courses The Great Books, Wisdom and Civilization, and The Liberal Arts at Ubiquity Chartres Academy. www.ubiquityuniversity.org
Calen Rayne, DMin, MFA, is a Unitarian Universalist Community Minister. His current focus is Institutional Energetics within Ubiquity University. He has an MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University, and DMin from Wisdom University. Calen has studied with great masters of Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Bon and pre-literate Bon masters, geomancers from both Celtic and Druid traditions, and with alchemists of various indigenous religions, including the first (nameless) religion of the Himalayas, known as “sacred conventions” or “patterns of heaven and earth.” He is trained in Feng Shui/Space Clearing, Egyptian Bio-geometry, and Sacred Geometry. Calen is a Master of Himalayan Singing bowls, a Veriditas Advanced-Certified Labyrinth Facilitator and a Reiki Master in four lineages. www.raynemaker.com
What students say:
We are learning embodied connection to our Divine nature. There have been remarkable shifts into peace for me. The preparation for “whirling” and connecting to our source energy was meticulous and thorough with great attention being given to precision and detail. Jyoti Louise Bruun
This practice of oneness through dance with the Beloved that is so alive in the being of you, Banafsheh, has been a total joy! A truly transformational & healing journey deeper into the love within, into the Beloved. Thank you, for the gentleness & humbleness with which you teach. Thank you for touching my heart with such deep beauty and for the reminder that the love comes from within. Niomi Starspires
"Banafsheh embodies and expresses the Divine Feminine in all that she does."
Caroline Coyle, Student, Canada
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