We will be hosting a very special three day Spiritual Walks in Nature around the Winter Solstice 2021. In Latin, solstice is made of two words: sol meaning ‘the sun’ and sistere meaning ‘to make stand.’ The Winter Solstice is one of the most powerful points of the year as the axis of the Earth pauses, shifts and then moves in the opposite direction. For three days around the solstice point we experience the power of the standstill and the shift of direction. This stopping and changing direction of the Sun, can be a very powerful metaphor for us, as it gives us the opportunity to reflect on our personal endings and beginnings.
It is in this time of winter that everything lies dormant deep in the Earth, it is a sacred time to rest and reflect before the awakening and the slow buildup towards the brighter days of spring. The energy of winter is that of going within and as we consciously link our awareness to the cycles of nature we can gain a deeper understanding of our own personal growth cycle. This is a good time to reflect, honour and give thanks for our own journey so far, however painful that might of been. Seeking the compassion of stillness to recognise that as the Sun begins a new solar cycle, so do we. By connecting with the light within us, we can find what truly matters to us.
For three days will fully immerse ourselves in the forest, hills and rivers of this beautiful part of North Croatia. On the day of the solstice we will get up early and greet the dawn, we will spend time in harmony with the trees and later we will watch the sun set.
We will be based in the warm and welcoming Pansion Bernarda in the small town of Varaždinske Toplice, surrounded by densely forested hills and renowned for millennia for the healing property of the hot thermal waters, which still rise in the ruins of the Roman Temple to Minerva.
Starting after breakfast, we will take the minibus to different locations, where we will connect with the healing energies of nature. We will walk under tall majestic trees, we will meditate with the water of the deep flowing rivers and we will give ourselves the time to connect with our own inner voice. For three magic days we will be present with the sights and sensations of nature, reflecting and being mindful as we journey day by day deeper into ourselves.
Saturday December 18th: Arriving to Varaždinske Toplice, a delightful ancient town situated 75 km from Zagreb and a 40-minute drive from the airport. We are around three hours drive from Vienna and Budapest, and two hours from Ljubljana.
Arrive in time to take a walk around this beautiful old town and join us for dinner and an informal meeting in the evening.
SundayDecember 19th: Being present in nature
We will start our spiritual walks in nature with a day of forest bathing. Leaving as a group after breakfast, we will take the minibus to the Kalnik Mountain. Here we will take the time to connect with the forest, the trees, the rocks, the sounds and the smells of nature. This will be an opportunity to really immerse ourselves in the healing energy of the trees.
We will explore what this feels like, leaving behind any expectations or purpose. We will just be present. This will not be a time for talking, it will be a time to become grounded. To introduce ourselves to the forest and hills, starting to build a relationship with the land and ourselves, that will deepen over the coming days.
Later, on our return to the Pansion, there will be an opportunity to share our experiences.
Monday December 20th: Day of the rivers
Today we will go to the neighbouring county of Međimurje. This triangular shaped region is enclosed on two sides by the rivers Mura and Drava. These beautiful watercourses have both flowed down through Slovenia from the Austrian and Italian Alps. We will walk by both rivers and also go to the point of confluence near the small town of Legrad, at the very tip of Međimurje. This is a very special place where these two great rivers join to continue their journey as one, flowing down the border with Hungary to eventually meet up with the Danube near Osijek.
Here we will also flow, connecting with the water, the rivers and the rhythm of all living things. Many of us seek to to be adaptable as a way of achieving more peace and harmony in our lives. Connecting with the movement and energy of the water in the rivers is a very good way to do this. Water is the spiritual communicator with its ability to purify, protect and heal. It is also incredibly powerful. So today we will be present with the water, the rivers and the flow of life.
Tuesday December 21st: Winter Solstice
We will start early today and welcome the sunrise on this the shortest day of the year This is the start of a new solar cycle and we will consciously link our awareness of nature’s cycles to gain a greater understanding of our own personal growth cycle. This is the time to reflect on the endings and the new beginnings in our life. On this, the longest night of the year, the dark triumphs over the light but this signifies a turning point and the coming of the new; the rebirth of the light.
We will return for breakfast and then later in the day we will walk through the beech forest to the Dragon’s seat. Here in this beautiful place of nature we will make a Sacred Sound Healing Circle, using our voices to create a Mandala of Sound, This will bring healing to ourselves, those we love and to Mother Earth. The healing power of sound is recognised within ancient wisdom, and the opportunity to take the time to give and receive sound is a sacred gift that is profoundly transformational. Here in this beautiful place of nature we will give and receive blessings with each other, the mountains, nature, and the Elementals.
Together we will then watch the sunset in the knowledge that ritual acts and ceremonies give a new kind of meaning to our lives. In the evening we will have a session to reflect on the learning of a time in nature.
Wednesday December 22nd: Time to leave…
We will breakfast together and then go our own separate ways……
(NOTE: this itinerary may be subject to change based on factors such as the weather and maximising the quality of walking experience. Our goal in this journey is to take you to natural environments of Northern Croatia that are the most conducive for immersion into nature and oneself.)
Pansion Bernarda is 75 km from Zagreb and a 40-minute drive from the airport https://www.bernarda-tourism.eu/en/
A shuttle to and from the airport, bus/train station can be arranged.
Please bring warm and waterproof clothes for walking, Pansion Bernarda will be snug and cosy but we will walking outside a lot of the days. We will also be watching the sunrise and sunset on the day of the Solstice so scarves, hats and gloves will be essential.
Getting to Varaždinske Toplice by car: junction 5 of the autoroute E65 leads directly into the old town and there is free parking next to the Pansion Bernarda. The E65 connects directly with the motorway systems of Slovenia, Austria and Hungary and we are not too far away from Italy and Slovakia. As we meet for dinner on the first day and leave after breakfast on the last day, this means you can drive in daylight at any time of the year.
Getting to Varaždinske Toplice by bus or train: there are regular buses and trains to both Zagreb and Varazdin and we can arrange for you to be picked up from the bus/train station.
Getting to Varaždinske Toplice by air: Zagreb has a new airport and a growing number of routes. For example from this year Ryanair has direct flights to the Zagreb from the UK, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, France and Italy. From the airport it is a 40 minute drive to Varaždinske Toplice.
For more information please see our Three Day Walking Retreat Page.