Listening to our Ancestor Stories

Listening to our Ancestor’s Stories
Accessing the gifts and healing the wounds of our inheritance

Tue. Sep. 11th. Evening – Sun.16th. 2018 till 1pm
(on ever ancient, ever new Achill Island, County Mayo)

Guides: Peter Devlin with Sheila McHugh

Cost: 690 Euro
This includes guide fee and five night’s accommodation: €200 non-refundable deposit secures a place. Numbers are limited to 10.  Book before 31st May 2018 to avail of early bird discount (€630).

Humanity is built on the bedrock of our desire to belong. That we are part of a particular family and family tree is an indisputable fact. How we are in this world, how we live, how we react to the events which life presents us with, and rear our children, is no doubt deeply influenced by the family and tradition we come from.

This retreat which takes place in the magical and historical landscape of Achill Island seeks to explore our ancestral inheritance, and inform us as to how the lives of those who have gone before us shape the way we live today. It will help us find our place in our ancestral family.

Research indicates that what is not felt is transmitted to the next generation. While parents and relatives want to pass on health and positive values to children, unbeknown to themselves they can be haunted by the burdens and mistakes of their ancestors. Transgenerational psychotherapy highlights the fact that events and behaviour patterns can be traced back through several generations. A ‘family trait’ can eventually emerge including physical illness, inability to forgive others, difficulty in sustaining intimate relationships, chronic anxiety and depression.

This five day retreat will facilitate us in becoming aware of how our particular ancestral line affects our living. We will explore the way in which our ancestors inform our emotions and how we view ourselves. Deep in our very bones lie the stories from migrations, tragedies, loves, and losses. We can ask ourselves during these days: ‘Is that what I am carrying belonging to me?’

Unwrapping the gifts passed on to us from past generations is exciting and empowering. We will notice how the environment and land we grew up in and perhaps moved away from, has also influenced our way of belonging. As the retreat unfolds, we will be in awe at the unexpected awareness which promises to come our way as we devote this time to be with our family tree, giving us new hope and direction. Perhaps our greatest gift to the next generation and this troubled world, will be our willingness to heal our past and heal ourselves.

It is not essential that participants have an extensive knowledge of their genealogy, though it will help. The focus will be on a different way of knowing, entering the home of our ancestors as we wander the Achill landscape, listening with the eyes and ears of our heart, tuning into the energy of place with sharpened senses and boundless imagination.

We will engage with the ancestral images in story, movement and ritual and allow our deeper imagination to lead us into what our bodies already know. Interwoven with these outdoor encounters, we will avail of the warmth of a turf fire in the comfort of a modern cottage and immerse ourselves in deep listening as we will recount the highlights of our day’s wander. Poetry, story-telling, music, ritual, and dream work and art will further enhance our growing awareness.

In her book, The Ancestors Syndrome Anne Ancelin Schutzenberger reminds us of the danger excessive loyalty to ancestors may bring. She suggests that it may be beneficial, ‘to reframe this loyalty in order to become free again, to live our own lives’.

About Peter Devlin
Peter lives in Co. Sligo with his wife and three children. He works as a psychotherapist and clinical and pastoral supervisor with individuals and groups, mainly in the outdoors. His passion is helping people get in touch with their soul and becoming aware of their particular gift which they offer to this world. A keen gardener he exudes a sense of presence and deep listening. Peter believes in the power of ceremony and ritual which he uses to great effect in his work of empowerment and healing.

About Sheila McHugh
Sheila is an Achill Islander by birth and bearing. She is a spiritual director and life coach and lectures in the area of Celtic Spirituality, World Religions, and Christian Symbols & Rituals. Sheila’s deep connectedness to the history of Achill and its landscape informs her spirituality, life and work. Living on an island, she is ever aware of the interplay     between boundaries and the vast horizon. In the Celtic tradition, it is in that threshold space where the potential for transformation happens.

Nurturance for Body & Soul
Planning and preparing healthy delicious, home grown food will be an integral part of the experience, including an ‘ancestral meal’. Participants will team up to plan, purchase some food and prepare meals in a fully equipped kitchen.

Cost: 690 Euro
This includes guide fee and five night’s accommodation: €200 non-refundable deposit secures a place. Numbers are limited to 10.  Book before 31st May 2018 to avail of early bird discount (€630).

For more information and booking contact:

Peter Devlin:   Phone: 00353 (0)86 – 3663276,
                        Email: [email protected]

Sheila McHugh: Phone: 00353 (0) 87 – 2459107
                         Email: [email protected]

What participants said about the 2017 Programme guided by

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