In 2018, I went on a private retreat in California with 2 other women – Hemla Makan-Dullabh and Phoebe Fazio. We had been on conference calls once a month for 6 months, getting to know each other, and playing with the idea of cohosting retreats. Hemla focuses on awakening the power within, using several modalities including color therapy, meditation, Enneagrams and Family Constellation work; Phoebe specializes in Sound Washings® for healing incorporating many tools including toning, crystal bowls with other instruments as well as reiki and yoga, and I specialize in enlightened music, healing tools and facilitate Divine connection with specific messages.
We each have the gift of intuitive guidance and take stock in listening to the inspiration of the Guides around us. We didn’t know what to expect when we got together. We only knew to bring our own tools and share our gifts with each other and basically, just show up. The intention was set to let the Divine work with us and through us, so that we may do so for others.
I had met Hemla a few times in person, but only met Phoebe through the conference calls. When the three of us finally got together in the same room, it was a celebration of connection. We all felt that we had been together as healers in past lifetimes, and knew this was going to be a blessed and very special time together. We decided to stay at a secluded retreat center in Half Moon Bay. We only had a basic timetable and planned on allowing things to just unfold. We piled our things into Hemla’s car and set out, realizing we knew very little about each other. The conversation went back and forth from deep experiences to looking at the directions to the center, to where we would get our first meal.
About mid-morning we got off the main road and turned down a rugged dirt road toward the retreat center. Hemla guided her car gingerly, avoiding the big dips and potholes. Immediately, she spotted a hawk circling the sky. She told us she sees hawks all the time, that it’s one of her guides. Phoebe and I both agreed that we also see a lot of hawks, and feel comforted by their presence.
The hawk is known as the messenger, and immediately had our attention. Moments later about 100 yards in front of us, a deer stepped out of the woods and into the middle of the road. He turned and stared at us, as if he were waiting for us. He continued to stare at us until we were about 20 yards from him. Then he calmly stepped back into the woods. A peaceful silence filled the car. We were filled with amazement and gratitude.
The dirt road curved and just past the woods was a big open field to the right. There in the middle of the field was a heron. By now the three of us were giddy. We knew that something incredibly special was happening. I spontaneously called out, “Hello Heron! Thank you for being here!” And the heron stood solidly, spread its wings and flapped in a majestic and powerful display.
That’s when I knew I had to start keeping track of the animals that were appearing. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for any guidance that was being shown to us. We checked in, had some lunch and parked the car by a beautiful, large yurt that was on the property. As I walked up the steps, I felt a sacred feeling of holiness and knew I had to take my shoes off. Hemla and Phoebe noticed a bee buzzing around the bushes near the entrance. They both watched it for a moment and said hello. “We saw a bee! Put it on your list!” I was thinking, “I didn’t see the bee. I don’t know if that actually counts.”
The yurt had collected heat from the morning sun and was hot, so we opened the door and the windows to cool it off. As we set our things down, the bee came in and circled around the yurt a few times and then left. “Okay,” I thought. The bee counts.
We all felt drawn to go to the center of the room. We sat down, and as if by command, we each had the sudden impulse to lie down. We ended up lying in a formation with our feet together, and naturally spread ourselves equidistant from each other. The high point of this circular yurt was in the middle of us. As we lied there in gratitude, peace and anticipation, a spider made its way down on a string of webbing as if to say hello. It was beautiful, graceful, and completely non-threatening. We were in awe.
Several hours later, after our first big round of deep work, we took a break. We noticed earlier that the pond on the property was suffering with stagnated water. When the caretaker gave us a tour of the place he mentioned that they had been having trouble with the water. It wasn’t typical, and they hadn’t been able to figure out what the problem was. After our break, I asked Phoebe and Hemla if they would do a little ceremony with me, blessing the water. As we stood on the makeshift dock of the pond, and expressed our love and prayers, we suddenly noticed salamanders swimming toward us. It was a sight to see over a dozen of these seemingly half-developed salamanders swimming with great intention – looking right at us. It was as if we were going to hear them speak at any moment. Salamanders are a sign of very clean water. They need clean water in order to survive. We were so moved by their showing, we felt more blessed than the blessings we gave. We imagined the waters would be cleared soon.
A walk around the pond led us to a non-threatening snake, whom showed itself under a bush, just enough to say “I am here. Pay attention to my gifts.” We spent time discussing what messages the snake brings: transformation (shedding of the skin), healing (the snake image is used in the sign for the medical profession), protector of sacred space, and willingness to allow experience without resistance. So many messages that applied to all that we were focused on.
We were all inspired. Hemla stated very clearly, “I would like to see an owl while we’re here!” I replied, “An owl?! They’re not easy to see. They come out at night and it’s pretty dark out here.” She was solid on her request. She repeated several times the rest of the day. I told her we had seen 7 animals, and I thought an animal card spread consisted of 7 cards. She disagreed and thought the number should be 9. We discussed it several times, but it wasn’t until a few days later, that we found out that a basic animal card spread is 7, but then there are two more animals that act as Guides and walk beside you. And yes, we ended up with 9 animals. So in essence, we were both right!
That night we met in Hemla’s suite/apartment at the retreat center and had dinner. Hemla had opened a window for fresh air. Right next to the window, an owl called out. “No way!” I thought. Hemla got her wish! We didn’t actually see the owl, but it sure made itself known. Hemla was so excited! That made 8! We wondered what the 9th animal would be.
The next day, the 9th animal appeared also by sound, and surprised me so much, I almost jumped out of my skin. Just as we were going into the yurt for our final round of deep work, we heard something making noise in the brush. We turned to see what it could be, and then a coyote cried out. It couldn’t have been more than 20 feet from us. We didn’t see it, but we knew it was there! It was about 12noon and highly unusual for a coyote to make its presence known – especially around people in the middle of the day. This was a wild area, and there was plenty of room for animals to roam. We didn’t actually see it, but the hair on the back of my neck stood up. It was intense. I quickly entered the yurt, while Phoebe and Hemla marveled at hearing a coyote. I live in the country and hear them quite often, but not so close up. Hemla was wondering if it was actually a coyote, and I assured her, it definitely was! Hemla had seen up close and personal elephants, lions and other wild animals in Africa, but she had never seen or heard a coyote. As a side note, a couple of days after our retreat, Hemla saw two more coyotes in her town in broad daylight. She was thrilled they showed themselves to her.
The power of the retreat and the gifts we shared, accompanied by the animal guides, angels and other enlightened beings, convinced us whole-heartedly that joining our gifts together into one collective offering was a blessing. It had blessed us, and we knew it would bless others. Our intentions of allowing the Divine to work through us and around us were affirmed again and again in those two very special days. We became 3 Lotus Women, and with continued Divine Guidance, we help others to make a deeper connection within themselves and with the Divine Creator. We see 3 Lotus Women as a safe harbor, shining the light for others to safely come to shore. As they embrace the light, they embrace their own light, eventually creating their own safe harbors for others.
We are continually learning, growing and seeking; inviting messages of guidance and wisdom so that we may live in a way that honors The Great Creator and the gifts we’ve been given. Soon we will have another private retreat among the 3 of us. I can’t wait to see what beautiful surprises await us!
For those of you who are curious about the animals’ messages, here is a brief description of each in the order we saw them. For more information about 3 Lotus Women and future public retreats, here is a link to our website: 3LotusWomen.com
Hawk – According to Elena Harris, Spirit Animal Editor, “the hawk provides wisdom about seeing situations from a higher perspective, using the power of observation and focusing on the task at hand.” Be observant in everything you do, and receive the Gifts of Great Spirit. (What a perfect way to begin our 3 Lotus Women retreat!)
Deer – The deer is a reminder that with gentleness, vigilance, and staying in touch with the inner child – innocence, and using strength and determination, one can handle obstacles with grace. The deer, in some folklore, is considered the one animal that broke the barrier from the earth to the spirit realm. With its eyes filled with love and compassion, it used the power of gentleness to touch the hearts and minds of wounded beings who were trying to keep others from “Sacred Mountain” (Great Spirit). The deer reminds us that gentleness of spirit can heal all wounds.
Heron - There’s a power of knowing the self by discovering its gifts and facing its challenges. Meet the challenges of your personal weaknesses and learn how to continue developing the skills that lead to inner strength and certainty of purpose. Dive into the watery depths of your own feelings. Delve deep. Know yourself and trust your path. Not always an easy thing, but incredibly rewarding.
Bee – Bees are very industrious. They use their innate knowledge and work for the good of the whole. The result is sweetness and nourishment. Because they have a vital importance in how they operate in the environment, they are great connectors in the chain of events. They are also excellent communicators – they communicate with each other and with each flower, so the process of their life path can happen. Their job is essential for the life of the planet. They also show their gratitude by making perfect use of all of their resources.
Spider – The spider is a remarkable figure of feminine energy and creativity in the spirit animal kingdom. Spiders are characterized by the skilled weaving of intricate webs and patience. The number 8 is associated with spiders, which on its side, is the infinity symbol. Spider is reminding us that there are infinite possibilities. Humans get caught in the polarity of bad and good. Weave webs of delight, and create, create, create! Use journaling in your process and remember that you are an infinite being.
Salamander – The salamander is known for its ability to adapt to different situations. It even evolves physically during its growth process. The salamander asks us to perceive the changes going on around us and adapt to our best ability rather than fight against the changes. It deals with renewal and growth, and knowing when to rest and when to be active. It absorbs the sun for energy as it rests, and is active during cooler times of the day and night. It reminds us to live in balance with what is needed in our lives. The salamander spends hours observing, and reminds us that paying attention to the moment is critical in growth, evolving, renewal and adaptation.
Snake – The snake is a representation of transmutation. It reminds us to shed that which no longer serves us and transform into wholeness. Two snakes around a sword is the symbol that has been adapted for healing. The snakes are around the sword in harmony can also be seen as the balance between male and female energies. Shedding, healing, transformation, change in consciousness, balance – all leading to physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness. (Interesting that the 3 Lotus Women’s first workshop offered was “Merging Light, Color, and Sound for Wholeness.)
Owl – The owl came to us as the 8th animal. This represents one of the animals that walks alongside 3 Lotus Women – specifically the right side, which protects the male side. The owl is considered the sacred medicine bird that casts out deception. It can see with wisdom, what others cannot see and reveals unseen truth. It reminds us to use our powers of keen sight and intuition, and reveals that Truth will always bring further enlightenment. It also offers inspiration and guidance to deeply explore the unknown and magic of life.
Coyote – The 9th animal walks alongside the left side of 3 Lotus Women, and protects the feminine side. The coyote is considered the sacred medicine dog, and being the trickster, reminds us of the art of self-sabotage. Remember the cosmic joke of life and don’t take yourself so seriously. Lightness, humor, and laughter also heal. Keep a balance of wisdom and playfulness.
In conclusion, the animal guides have shown 3 Lotus Women the path and purpose of coming together as one. 3 Lotus Women have the help of keen observation and allow the Gifts of Great Spirit to guide them intuitively, while focusing on the task at hand. They use the power of gentleness, with love and compassion, to heal the wounds of hearts and minds. They continue to face challenges and develop skills that lead to inner strength and certainty of purpose. And in doing so, help others to find their inner strength and purpose. 3 Lotus Women use their innate knowledge and excellent communication for the good of the whole, resulting in nourishment and sweetness. Their work is a continuous platform for using balanced feminine and male energy for creating sacred spaces and opportunities that remind us we are infinite beings with infinite possibilities. Transformation, enlightenment and wholeness are all available to us, through guided intuition, wisdom and creative play!