Bobbi and I had an amazing weekend on a retreat at a riverside paradise near Golden in British Columbia. Quantum Leaps is run by Annette Boelman and Brian Olynek and is a retreat centre in the Blaeberry Valley. Annette and Brian have created a haven for inner and outer reflection and discovery. They are generous, caring people and it was very special to share time with them. Our small group came together guided by Amarin on a series of explorations. On Saturday night, we built a huge fire collectively and then we walked on the coals in a Fire Walking Ceremony. It was one of those experiences that I am still thinking about a couple of days later and feels like a profound step towards a great part of the journey.
Note: Please click any image to open much larger on its own page.
Here our group is preparing for the fire walk as the fire burns down. I am so happy to have shared this experience with my Bobbi, looking over her shoulder in the photograph above.
Annette begins raking the fire
Sparks stream upwards while the flames profile Brian.
Boards we wrote on ignite over the embers
The fire, the tipi and a man
These are the coals we walked over!
Bobbi walking over the coals and then enjoying the feeling afterwards
That’s me staying focused…
… And then playing in the moment
The night sky beyond the fire
If you make the opportunity to walk on fire, you may find it very worthwhile. For the record, none of us had any burns and all enjoyed the night and the sharing. As far as the retreat, if you want to find time for yourself and those you want around you, Quantum Leaps is very highly recommended. When we left, the Kokanee salmon were just starting to run and will be driving upriver for the next month. Bald eagles were beginning to arrive, I saw a different one each morning perched in trees along the banks. A black bear didn’t find me but was out by one of the cabins and has been a regular visitor over the past few days joining deer and the occasional elk which also enjoy the grounds.
Right across Highway 22 from my house is the location of the annual Tsuu T’ina nation’s Rodeo and Pow Wow. What an incredible event to have in the Bragg Creek area.
Yesterday, I spent the day on the grounds photographing the Pow Wow Grand Entrance and then the evening’s rodeo events. The people working, competing, dancing and enjoying these events were great to talk to and extended great warmth and friendliness to me. I feel very honoured to have been able to enjoy these festivities with our local Tsuu T’ina band members and the people from other nations all across North America.
I will have more photo essays up but wanted to get a quick post up with images from the Grand Entrance. This ceremony sees all of the first nation people who are dancing in the Pow Wow enter into the Beaver Lodge. This is an large pyramid open all sides with a two tiered roof sloping upwards resembling a beaver lodge in a general sense. Moving in a steady procession, the center of the lodge is soon completely packed as men and women, boys and girls of all ages circle around the main column in the middle. Easily a couple of hundred dancers pulsed inside at the height of the ceremony.
They were carried onwards, dancing with little break for up to half an hour, by the drumming circles from different nations attending. The drums and accompanying singing was incredible, powerful and charged the atmosphere. It was a mesmerizing scene to be in, around and a part of.
Here are a few more images from my first look through the images I made (click on the photographs to see larger images).
As a footnote, Tsuu T’ina means beaver in their language although I do not yet know how they came to be called by the name. Much to learn about my neighbours across the road, I better find time to do so as I’m very interested.