Up until a few years ago, I’d never heard of women’s circles or spiritual retreats that were designed to help women form sisterly bonds, support each other in our dreams and endeavors, and grow spiritually. I hadn’t thought about growth in women’s spiritual retreats seriously before. I guess you could say I ‘accidentally’ discovered my first one when I followed a friend into a random workshop at Burning Man. I loved the experience, and signed up for the teacher’s email list. When she offered a Tantric priestess retreat I wondered, if the workshop was that good, what could a whole week be like?
It was amazing. I’ve never felt so empowered and supported. Now I’m hooked, and this year alone I’ll attend 3 weeklong women’s retreats.
They help me feel grounded, connected to my purpose, supported, and they are so good for my mental health. What’s more, there are more opportunities and options that spring up every day. This seems to be a trend that’s growing.
Women everywhere are growing more and more interested in spirituality. The question now is, “Why?” What is it about the present day that is causing such an influx of women to seek connection to themselves, to other women, and to something greater than themselves?
Given the growing trend of solo female travelers, more and more women are taking the opportunity to see the world, make self-discoveries, develop connections with new people, and transform into more empowered individuals throughout the process. We’re opening up to options beyond the status quo, and often, we turn to spiritual retreats to grow.
“A retreat can be a path to something new during a time of transition,” states Pamela Madsen on Psychology Today. “When women go on retreat they are making a statement about investing in themselves. Women are retreating to places that often support them in places of questioning…” Perhaps many of these women are experiencing change, uncertainty, or just general burn-out, as we all inevitably do.
According to a study conducted in 2007 at UCLA, women are often found to be more spiritually inclined than men. While this alone can’t concretely explain the phenomenon of women seeking spiritual experiences, it can provide some insight as to why it is women who are largely seeking such experiences.
This study also found that women who had friends sharing the same spiritual beliefs as them are “more committed to integrating spirituality into their lives.” Therefore, it makes sense that a woman developing or pursuing spiritual ideas would want to surround herself with like-minded individuals in order to create significant change in her life — thus, the all-female spiritual retreat.
“There’s something sacred that happens when women feel safe to be themselves and to be with each other,” retreat organizer and Los Angeles-based acupuncturist Andrea Penagos told HuffPost. Well + Good claims the same thing, stating, “It’s the women who make women’s retreats so special, providing comfort, support, and serious girl-time fun.”
We’re also going back to our roots. Marija Gimbutas, a former Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at UCLA, spent her career studying the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of Europe, and found that pre-historic European societies were not patriarchal, but female-centered. That means that some of the world’s oldest cultures affirmed women as powerful and valuable long before male-dominated cultures took over and rewrote the narrative.
Perhaps modern-day women’s retreats are trying to channel that power and value again. It’s been a long time since women have felt that society deems us inherently important and powerful, so if a spiritual women’s getaway can change that tide even just a little, then maybe we should all be signing up for them, as often as we need, to in order to remember who we are.
There are countless retreats which now take place around the globe, and each is unique. The different elements like exercise, breathwork, relationship building, introspection, or outdoor adventure each create a specific experience, so no two are exactly alike.
The general types of women’s spiritual retreats you’ll find out there include meditation retreats, yoga retreats, adventure retreats like the BMTM Women’s Adventure Tours, Tantric retreats, and Goddess Retreats, which usually focus on comprehensive health and wellness through a number of practices, or rituals. The level of mysticism can vary, though I do urge you to go deep for the biggest transformations and growth opportunities. Here’s a listing of retreats specifically for women to give you more ideas.
Regardless of which type of retreat you choose to embark on, you’ll experience a sense of community with other women from around the world, developing a stronger sense of self-love, and gaining clarity on the direction in which you want to take your life.
If you’re not ready to dive into spirituality in a retreat setting, there are tons of spiritual places to travel which are incredible places to start your own personal journey. You can also give shadow work a try with these shadow work journal prompts.
I’m wishing you the best of luck wherever your own spiritual journey may take you!
Who knows, you might be seeing more spiritual retreats from me in the future as well!