AWAKENING~ Invocation of the Seven Persian Goddesses Retreat

Join Farima Berenji on beautiful Denman Island for a full immersion/retreat focusing on her signature project, “Awakening” – Sacred dances, history, and rituals of Persia, Mesopotamia, and Ionia. 

We will take on the path of the ancients, a journey of discovery, in space and time...reconnecting with ancient Goddesses and sacred elements of Persia and the Near East. Drinking deeply from hidden wells of inspiration, now being revealed in our time, we re-discover ourselves in the process. Don't miss this exciting and unique journey of personal transformation as we awaken these figures on beautiful Denman Island!

In many cultures it is believed that each woman is the embodiment of a Goddess, a Divine Feminine Energy; and to stay in harmony with ourselves it is important to acknowledge and embrace them. In this journey, we will gather in the mystical circle of women to the Seven Holy Immortals, (Goddesses) of ancient Persia and to honor the Goddess within. We will create a sacred, supportive space where we can all release whatever energy no longer serves us, relax and open both heart, body, and mind. We will explore the magic within us, and spirituality about us. We will discover the power and mystery of dance – a gateway for self-growth and spiritual transformation– through sacred movement, music, love, and stillness. In that space, the promptings of the Inner Divine are found and loving kindness and compassion flow naturally into our daily life.  

About Farima Berenji and her Awakening Project~
Led by award winning, internationally acclaimed dance artist, scholar, ethnologist, and archaeologist, Farima Berenji, you will be introduced to rituals celebrating the grace and joy of life and to a society where and when women were honored and people lived in harmony with each other and with nature. Come be introduced to a place where women were known as Goddesses and a Goddess was revered as the source of life.

From the beginning of time, sacred movements and music have brought people together and healed the soul. In Awakening, Farima has combined the sacred phrases, chants, music, and movements from many spiritual traditions to help touch the spiritual essence within us and to help us recognize it in others. These fundamental elements compose the ancient, contemporary, and devotional roots of sacred dance.
Farima will teach her own findings, methods, techniques, researchers, and exercises that make the connection between soul and movement and that makes one an artist not just a dancer. She will show you how dance depicts the creation of the Universe through a spinning series of fantastic formations, metamorphoses, and rhythms. 

Farima will introduce you to ancient and contemporary Persian knowledge in a way that will make you proud to be a woman and yourself. Farima's vision is to bring back the light and the power of the divine feminine, the Goddesses and Lionesses, through dance, education, and a sense of wonder and reverence.
FMI about Farima Berenji visit~

Retreat is now full, taking names for waiting list. 

*Retreat fee $385 CND ($350 for Simorgh Collective members).
Fee includes all workshops, outings, evening events AND light lunches on Fri. Sat. & Sunday as well as healthy snacks throughout the day.

A deposit of $150 sent by June 10th, 2016 will secure your registration. 

Balance to paid upon arrive at the latest.
Payment options~

*Cheque made payable to Cathy Stoyko and posted to Box 1196, Cumberland B.C. V0R 1S0

*Cheque or cash dropped off in person at the Abbey Studio, 1st & Penrith Ave. Cumberland B.C.
*email money transfer to~

**After registration you will receive details on what you need to bring for the workshops and retreat.
*Retreat fee does not include accomodations, breakfasts or dinners. We will share potluck dinners and participants will have access to the hall kitchen to prepare food.
*There are several accomodation options available in a broad price range, many with walking distance to the Community Hall

Budget options~
Camping at Heather Hilberry's Farm (contact me FMI)

Camping at Fillongly Park Beach (call 250-474-1336 to reserve)
Denman Island Guest House and Bistro (private or shared room options and use of kitchen facilities)~

Mid range/B&B's~
*Hawthorn House (within walking distace to hall) 1 250 335-0905
*Fillongly Forest B&B aka Norma’s place near Fillongly Park
*Blue Owl B&B aka Julie’s place~ Private cottage walking distance to Graham Lake (nice place to swim!)
Erik and Basha's Farm Guesthouse (private house can be shared with up to 4 people)

For general info about Denman Island and more accomodation options visit

Getting here~
To visit Denman Island, you need to catch a small ferry at Buckley Bay ferry terminal on Vancouver Island. The ferry ride is only 10 minutes. For the latest up-to-date ferry schedules and fares, please see the BC Ferries website
Travel to Vancouver Island is by air, or car ferry from Vancouver or Washington State. For information about the major routes from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, please see the BC Ferries website. 
If you are not familiar with the area and need assistance in finding accomodations or have any other questions please feel free to contact me. 

The Denman Island Community Hall will be our home base for the duration of the retreat but we will make several outings. Invokations, ancient Indo-Iranian rituals, dancing, whirling, zorastian mantras, and zikr aka sufi meditations will take place at various magical island locations. We will literally move within the elements relating to the various Goddesses.

The Denman Island Communiy Hall is centrally located in 'Downtown Denman' and is within walking distance to; the ferry terminal, emporium/cafe, general store, guest house/bistro, Peircy Farm Market/Chuckwagan Cafe and several other amenities.


Tentative Daily Schedule
*Please note, this is a tentative schedule. We will try to do everything according to plan but often we cannot control Mother Nature... Mother Nature controls us! So please come with an open heart and willing to adujst to change.

Day 1 - Thursday, Aug. 25th
5:30-7:00 pm - Arrivals and Greetings

Optional meet and greet dinner at Peircy Farm (dinner is not included in the retreat fee). Meet Seekers and Priestess, introduction to Sacred and Temple Dance of Indo-Iran and Ionia, historic background, overview of the weekend plan, meet Farima, Q/A and discussion.

7:00-8:00 pm - Opening Ritual Ceremony~Processions, Chanting, Offerings.

8:00-10:00 pm - Awakening DaenaRituals, Ancient Persian Mystical and Temple Dance (Partner and Group), Poetry in Motion, Mystical Beauty and Self-Rejuvenation, Sharing Circle.

Day 2 - Friday, Aug. 26th
11:00-11:30 am - Meditation – Visualization - Breath Work

11:30 – 1:30 pm - Awakening Armaiti and Awakening Haurvatat
Rituals, Sacred Circles and Spirals, Ancient Persian Prayer Dance, Balancing Negative and Positive Energies, Sharing Circle. *There will be breaks for snacks in between workshops

3:00-5:00 pm - Awakening Anahita and Awakening Ahurani or Ufratu
Rituals, Water Therapy and Healing Movements, Dance and Whirling based on Water Element, Sharing Circle. *There will be breaks for snacks in between workshops.

5:00-8:00 - Dinner Break (Potluck at beach optional)

8:00-10:00 pm - Awakening Artemis
Rituals, Ancient Persian Warrior Dances and Movements, Processions. Ancient Persian Mystical Dance and Whirling based on the Astrological Energy of the Moon, Sharing Circle.

Day 3 - Saturday, Aug. 27th
9:00-11:00 - Free Store and Sat. Market outing (optional)

11:00-11:30 am - Meditation – Visualization - Breath Work.

11:30 – 1:30 pm - Awakening Homa
Rituals, Veil Dance, Ecstatic Dance, Circles and Spirals, Scarf Dance, Whirling based on Air/ Wind Element, Sharing Circle.

3:00-5:00 pm - Awakening Ameretat (Workishop in the Forest at Fillongly Park)
Rituals, Processions, Offerings, Nature Therapy and Healing Movements, Dance and Whirling Based on Flowers and Trees, Sharing Circle.

5:00-6:00 – Priestess Crown Making with Cathy Stoyko at the Back Hall. We collect flowers and leaves for these on previous outings, all other tools and materials provided.

7:00-8:00 pm - Dinner Break (Potluck at beach optional).

8:00-10:00 pm or longer - Sacred Circle (The Cave)
Ancient Indo-Iranian Shamanic Healing Rituals, Zoroastrian Mantras, Chanting, Drumming, Gowati (Calling on the Ancestors), Medicine Dance, Zar.
*Optional attendance – due to steep climbing and walks this is an optional gathering and it is at your own risk. Retreat will not be responsible for lost or damage of your items or minor injuries.

Day 4 – Sunday, Aug. 28th
11:00-11:30 am - Meditation – Visualization - Breath Work.

11:30 – 1:30 pm - Awakening Mitra
Rituals, Candle Dance, Fire Therapy and Healing Movements, Dance and Whirling based on Fire Element and the Sun

1:30-2:00 Break for snacks, rest.

2:00-3:30 pm - Closing Ritual Ceremony
Processions, Sacred Markings, Sharing Circle, Ancient Persian Prayer in Dance.

3:00-5:00 pm - Late lunch

5:00-6:00 - Rehearsal for the performances at the 'Front Hall'
*Performance is optional for retreat students (rehearsal is mandatory for those performing for the evening show and Awakening Artemis Dance).

6:00-7:30 pm - Dinner Break, pot luck at Hall
7:30-10:00 Performances and Sema Gathering (Whirling)
Open community event

We hope you can join us for this magical island retreat!