A good deal is written about how men are afraid of women’s power. What is less known however, is to what extent women themselves are afraid of their power!
I am not referring to the kind of power that comes with a role – I’m talking about the authentic power that arises naturally from an inner sense of authority, the kind of power no-one can assign to you, nor take away from you. The natural qualities of a woman’s power include her ability to love, to nurture, to care, to be creative, receptive and open - even to put others’ needs before her own, when called for.
But her loving and giving, her creativity and receptive nature must be rooted in her equally natural feminine qualities of discernment and fierceness, the deep knowing of her instinctual body, her ability to surf the depths and heights of her rich feelings and enjoy her sensual, sexual passions and prowess.
Without embracing this wildish side of her self, her pride and deep pleasure in being a woman will be out of her reach – as will a mate that can meet her.
Women's work is not an alternative lifestyle, simply a sane choice in a crazy world.
As we let go of old stories, what resources do we need to support us so we don’t fall back into old traps? The radical changes we are looking for cannot come from the confines of our old story that created our self-concept and worldview. It cannot come from somebody else telling us what do to. It will only come from a different story, the "new story" that women gathering together are trying to gestate and birth – simply by changing the way we relate to our ‘old story’ we create a ‘new story’. Though in many respects what we are stalking is not new at all, but very ancient. The difference is that we live in very different times from when those ancient stories first emerged to guide human behavior and sense of purpose.
The equality of women in modern western society is only a doorway through which we can now begin to reclaim the radiant, fierce aliveness of the deep feminine. With this greater freedom comes greater responsibility: we each can play an active role in guiding how the future will unfold by the choices we make every day.
When as women we look deeply into our longing hearts - we probably find that we all hold the purpose of life as sacred. In our deepest desires we all long to heal our bodies, minds and souls, to heal our mother Earth... desire to co-create the new, ancient story upon which a more beautiful world might be built, together with men and for the children of the coming generations.
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"Helena has a rare talent for bringing together the worlds of psychotherapeutic analysis, with shamanic or Indigenous knowledges, along with embodied, feminist intellectual frame-works and in doing so creates the conditions for transformation and awakening at a deep level. I particularly appreciate the holistic approach she offers through her experienced understanding of these different worlds, and the number of arrows in her quiver which she fires to get to the heart of a situation.
"Her strength and tenderness are in equal measure and through a crisis in my life, she offered resources and tools as well as intellectual and emotional support to help me keep moving, growing and learning. The world is a richer and more healing place because of her presence on it."Dr. Anna Cole
Ways Of Woman: For women living wholeheartedly with Lust & Passion, embodying their unique female Beauty, Power and Wisdom
Residential retreats for Women
In South West France with Helena Løvendal
Transformational spaces for coming home to yourself as a woman.
2020 full program details coming soon!
May 26 - June 2, 2020 • Women, Power, Sex & Soul -
7 day residential retreat for women with Helena Løvendal and Eleanor O'Hanlon
“What does it mean to be and live as powerful,
sexual and soulful women in the 21st century?”
The question “What do women want?” has long puzzled men, and over the years many answers ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous have been suggested - mainly by men. It’s time that we as women seriously begin to contemplate that question for ourselves.
As a woman, who are you?
What do you care about? Why?
How do you express your values in your life?
What is your experience of female power?
How do you loose or give away your power?
How do you use your sexual energy?
Are you wired for monogamy or predisposed to promiscuity – or is this
“Mother” or “Whore” split the result of ignorance about your sexual power?
The previous generation bravely cleared the path for women to begin to speak up for themselves. Changes in the last 30-40 years paved that path so that now it is an integral part of our cultural and social landscape.
But how real is this celebrated liberation? How free are we to be women on women’s terms? Do we even know what that means?
Is it possible that in our lack of genuine role models for how to embrace our newfound freedom and sense of female, sexual power, women tend to revert to the only models of expression for those qualities that we do have - that of men’s?
To what degree are we still influenced by deeply ingrained patriarchal values and attitudes - attitudes which at their core is rooted in mistrust and fear of the feminine - to the detriment of men and women alike?
In the struggle to gain equal status to men, are we in danger of becoming more like men, unwittingly dismissing our unique female strengths and qualities as second best? To what extend do we as women collude with actions and behaviours which add to the imbalances and distress visible in so many areas of life? What stops us from trusting in our female wisdom and power?
This week is for women who want to take some time to review how the changes in the last decades have effected them as women. It is for women who dare to re-visit some of the traditional and stereo-typical female qualities and to be curious about the possibility of embracing those qualities from a different position. It is for women who are willing to consider the possibility that simply destroying the traditions of the past is not enough to truly empower women. It is for those who imagine the next steps on the path towards a more complete female emancipation might involve adding our new truths to those traditions, thereby giving the ancient ways of our anscestors new growth potential.
This week-long retreat is open only for women with experience of personal therapy and/or personal growth work. The week is led and facilitated, but there will be a strong emphasis on developing personal authority and responsibility.
Through experiental exercises, sharing and ritual participants will be invited to review their myths about being women and stretch beyond their familiar self-concept. We will challenge and support each other to explore what it would mean personally for each of us as women to follow our hopes and dreams. We will spend silent times alone in nature, remembering our inter-connectedness with all life. We will share meals, swim in the river, rest in the grass and walk in the forest. We will talk, cry, laugh and dream together round the fire under the open sky and the stars. We will help each other remember what it is to be a woman.
Expect to come away from the week with inspiration and nourishment to manifest and live a life that really matters to you.
Venue still to be decided but it will be somewhere close to nature!
What previous participants say:
"Helena as facilitator creates and holds a safe space where awareness, honesty, patience and inspiration lives. She melts through layers of lived life with heartfelt patience so new perspectives can be born; cut through bullshit with humor, lived knowledge and decades of experience and wisdom as a woman and a teacher in the field. With a wide variety of tools and approaches for body, heart, soul and mind I was invited to go on an adventurous journey through my inner landscapes and into the unknown accompanied of a small and intimate group of women from all over Europe."
" I experienced real shifts and transformations in me and my everyday-life following this work. It has given me courage to actually take a leap towards a life with more inner freedom and increasingly being in tune with my inner truths and longings."
"I want to reiterate how I loved Women Power Sex and Soul! It’s become a significant internal go to place for me. During the past 4 years since that incredible week so much has shifted in me. Most significantly it’s been apparent in my working/ professional life, I’ve been stepping out of my own way a lot and feeling more empowered now than I have ever felt in my life and this really excites me."
"As young and unestablished this was a big economical investment for me. My reply to that inner conversation of mine was "I'm investing in the house I'm going to live in for the rest of my life". Now when the course is over I'm happy to share that I'm still satisfied with my investment and that I would choose the same all over again in a heartbeat."
"This course has touched me, moved me and inspired me in ways I couldn't even imagine. I deeply recommend this course!"
We stand at a threshold of a new era for humanity, one in which women and feminine qualities are being restored into partnership with men and the masculine. However, so many of the problems we face in the modern world today stem from the fact that over countless generations, this source of strength, dignity and power at the very core of our female being has been devalued. The result is that most women today are left with a distorted sense of their female identity.
Due to the stereotypical images and enforced roles of womanhood that we encounter throughout our lives - as did our mothers and their mothers before them, as women we have become alienated from ourselves, our bodies, and the nature of our true female power and beauty.and in reaction risk becoming
imitators of masculine ways.
The problem is that when woman's ground erodes,
humanity inevitably suffers alienation from life itself –
For women to allow themselves to remember who they are at their core, and begin to live and act accordingly within their relationships and in their everyday lives is now an act of great political, social and spiritual importance with the power to determine the outcome of these transitional times now and for the coming generations.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? "
Other future events being planned currently :
Walking The Red Path - a deepening retreat for women who have done previous work in women only groups.
Woman, to thy own self be true - <small<When sleeping women awake, mountains move.</small<
Contact me for full details or if you want to have a chat to see if this is for you!
Your confusion is not pathology, it is path. It has something to show you that clarity could never reveal. The nature of chaos is wisdom, but you must provide sanctuary to receive its essence. For this revelation will only release into an environment of a fiery, attuned kindness.
Your feeling of disconnection is not neurotic, it is intelligent. It has something to show you that oneness could never reveal. Travel inside the felt sense and into the hidden passageways. And you will find the emissaries awaiting.
You are neither “separate” nor “one,” but the erupting holding field in which the energies of “separate” and “one” interpenetrate and dance the relative into being. While you may have a bias for oneness over multiplicity, love does not share this bias, and is ready at all times to employ either equally as its envoy here.
Your loneliness, your shakiness, and your fear are not mistakes. Your vulnerability is not pathology, it is path. Here, there are no “obstacles,” only endless invitations. The freedom you are longing for will never be found in the eradication of the unwanted, but only in the love and the information it carries.
There are surges of somatic activity that contain very important information for your journey. If you will offer safe passage, you will receive the secret offering: Nothing is missing, nothing is out of place, and nothing need be sent away.
Yes, the burning can be unbearable. Such is the nature of the human heart. You may burn until you are translucent, but it is by way of this burning that wholeness is revealed.
Join the Third Rites for Girls Professional Facilitator Training in Europe 2022!
Next training starts April 2022!! A unique opportunity to become involved in pioneering work with pre-teen girls! -
If you are interested, don't hesitate to contact us - this training fills fast.
With Kim McCabe and Helena Løvendal .
I have for many years held the vision of being able to support young girls in their journey towards becoming a young woman. I believe it has always been one of the most important tasks for women and mothers, but even more so now. I'm delighted that Kim and I met in this shared vision.
From working with women for over 20 years, I know that the longing for female role models that you actually desire to become like, is deep; so many of us grew up rejecting the visions of womanhood we were given, and for good reasons! It's been a long, long time since the world has been a friendly place for women and the feminine in men and women alike, but the tide is turning.
Our daughters are hungry for our female wisdom and feminine intelligence; they need it to be at home in their own bodies, to feel pride and joy in becoming and being women; they need it to wake up from the age-old trance of idealizing men and the masculine, which it turn prevents genuine love of men and the masculine to develop which in turn prevents the men from being able to learn to love and trust women and the feminine... it's a long and painful tale, and we women have some very important work to do! But how do you pass on what you never received yourself?
This training is a unique opportunity for women to learn exactly that.
‘Rites for Girls’ Facilitators’ Training
23 April - 1 May • 5 June-3 July • 8-17 Oct 2022
These three 9-day residential modules in Sussex, England are followed by 12 months of supervision as you start running your own groups.
- Do you feel you have an affinity for the teenage stage of life?
- Would you like to join a group of pioneering women supporting mothers and daughters in making the transition from girl to woman a lasting life-enhancing experience?
- You might remember your own issues from your teenage years - and be interested in exploring the importance of this life stage in more depth.
Teenagers are stressed. Many girls are feeling the pressure to do well at school, look good, stay connected on social media, get on with their parents and fit in. Sadly many girls are showing the signs of not coping and mental health concerns are on the rise.
Would you like to be able to support girls through this challenging phase? You may be a mother, or not. What matters is that you care deeply about how our daughters experience the transition from girlhood to young womanhood. And that you are ready to meet yourself as a woman of deep beauty, power, wisdom, and wicked humor! If you are interested to know more, get in touch without any commitment.
Taught by Kim McCabe and Helena Løvendal, the training entails a mixture of residential group training, individual support, peer groups, written work, and supervised practical experience – with four residential weeks spanning a year.
What current trainees are saying:
"This training course has hidden depths just like the work itself. It's a deep dive into oneself like I've never experienced before and is influencing all aspects of life especially my own relationship with my daughter, I really recommend my fellow women to take the plunge and join us on this journey in making the world a safer , friendlier space for our girls" J.D.
"The depth and impact of the training offered by Kim and Helena are unfolding to be some of the most profound learning I have done in my life. Not only am I learning how to be a facilitator but I am learning how to be "more myself". What a gift - for the girls I will work with...and for me!"
If you are interested in training in this important pioneering work, please contact Kim or Helena:
Look forward to hearing from you.
Discover more about Girls Journeying Together Groups.
"When I was awarded the Ray Murphy Award in 2010, with my proposal to build leadership capacity in Ireland, 'Taking Yourself Seriously: A developmental opportunity for women in leadership, there was only one woman in the world that I wanted for my own 1:1 leadership coaching: Helena Lovendal.
"I have been inspired, encouraged, and enriched by Helena since I first attended one of her courses in 2003. From the outset, Helena challenged me to connect deeply to myself as a woman, to reflect on my inner relationship to power, creativity, leadership, and authority. This was transformational. It was with Helena that I began to wonder: how did I know myself as a powerful woman and give my power away? How did I really want to express my power in life? What strategies did I have for distracting myself, for self-sabotage, for not shining?
"She has been an important influence in my life for over a decade. I love every minute of working with her. She's such a talented woman, rich in knowledge and insight, humane and compassionate, challenging and provocative, funny and wise. I can't recommend her highly enough. She's the best."Eina McHugh, Cultural Consultant, author of 'To Call Myself Beloved', Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
Week-long gathering for women over 50!!
Next gathering being planned for late Autumn 2022
South West France
(Contact us if you are interested in joining the next gathering!)
Helena Lovendal & The Obsidian Center team
Starting a new tradition of a yearly gathering for women becoming Elders and Wisdom Keepers.
An opportunity for us as wise women and elders to be able to fly ‘home ‘ to ‘regroup ‘ for a week every to be able to share and work with the potential, struggles, joys and challenges of what we are encountering both personally and professionally at this stage in our lives.
The wild geese retreat will offer a space to reflect on what it truly means to step into the responsibilities of being elders and wisdom keepers at this time and our intent will be for this yearly retreat space to truly nourish , resource, empower and support us to be able to do what we need to in the world, knowing we can return when the time is right to our own flock .......
We will do deep work, create ceremonies and rituals, have time for fun and relaxation and play.....and who knows what else!
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver
The venue for this gathering is The Obsidian Center in SW France, Helena's sanctuary for the last 25 years and now her full-time home. The Obsidian Center is a smallholding set in natural beauty in a wide valley, surrounded by woodland and a big meadow with the river running through it all, clear and pure, and abundant according to its seasons. Kingfishers and herons are regular visitors, and signs and the sounds of owls, deer, badgers, and wild boar are part of everyday life. Insect life is thriving in the absence of mobile phone signals, the moonless nights are dark, deep, and scared, lit by starlight only, while full moon nights reveal a different world see in a different light.
The accommodation is simple and comfortable with places limited to a maximum of 10 women. Even if we could accommodate more, we would not want the group to be bigger to allow for genuine in-depth meetings and exchanges.
The food is sourced from local organic growers when possible, some of which come from Helena's own vegetable garden, and will be mainly vegetarian, but not strictly so. Vegan's can be catered for a .
Let’s join up and together head home as women of deep beauty, power, wisdom and wicked humour!
Contact me for full details or if you want to have a chat to see if this is for you!
“Before we Leave”:
Just so it’s clear—
no whining on the journey.
If you whine, you’ll get stuck somewhere with people like yourself. It’s an unwritten law.
Wear hiking boots. Pack food and a change of clothes.
We go slowly. Endurance won’t be enough, though without it you can’t get to the place where more of you is asked.
Expect there will be times when you’ll be afraid. Hold hands and tremble together if you must but remember each of you is alone.
Where are we going?
It’s not an issue of here or there.
And if you ever feel you can’t take another step imagine how you might feel to arrive, if not wiser, a little more aware
how to inhabit the middle ground between misery and joy.
Trudge on. In the higher regions, where the footing is unsure, to trudge is to survive. Happiness is another journey, almost over before it starts, guaranteed to disappoint.
If you’ve come for it, say so, you’ll get your money back.
I hope you all realize that anytime is a fine time to laugh. Fake it, however, and false laughter will accompany you like a cowbell for the rest of your days. You’ll forever lack the seriousness of a clown.
At some point the rocks will be jagged, the precipice sheer. That won’t be the abyss you’ll see looking down. The abyss, you’ll discover
(if you’ve made it this far), is usually nearer than that— at the bottom of something you’ve yet to resolve, or posing as your confidante. Follow me. Don’t follow me. I will say such things, and mean both.“ Before We Leave” by S. Dunn from Christina's Words