Reclaim your Passion
Ritual, Mindfulness and Creativity Retreat for Women.
14-16 October 2016
Are you ready to awaken your body, connect with your sexuality and heal your heart?
Enjoy three days in a beautiful location, experience deep emotional transformation with award winning visionary photographer and sex therapist, Cat O Dowd. Cat is renowned for her ability to create safe, supportive spaces for women to move past fear, embrace authentic embodiment and let those creative juices flow!
We all can have a hard time with our sexuality growing up in sex negative cultures that rob sex of its beauty and sensuality. Our culture represses it, sensationalises and commodifies it and we can be left damaged and traumatised from this shame and confusion. Step beyond the performance and conquest model of sex, the victim blaming, religiously repressed and shaming model of sex. Step beyond the definition that makes us feel disconnected and hollow.
Our sexuality is our inner barometer for our health and well being. Using creativity and mindfulness to work holistically our sexuality can branch out positively to all areas of our life.
Life is too short to be stuck in a rut and go around in circles. Do you keep saying you are too busy to invest in yourself while you keep burning out from stress? As women we are often looking after others more than our own needs. This weekend is the ultimate act of self care and kindess to ourselves.
Cat uses modern art therapy, psychotherapy, mindfulness and ancient traditions to guide you into relaxing states of inward journeying where profound healing can occur. Cat will take you on guided visualisations and meditations to the deepest part of your being.
There was a time when women met in circles as equals for many years. There was a time when women’s mysteries were seen as divine wisdom. This is an empowering and unique journey in a world where women are taught to see each other as competition.
This is the only retreat of its kind where you can be mentored by a qualified sex therapist, transpersonal art psychotherapist and erotic photographic artist. Here creativity will meet sexual energy and meet the very art of your soul.
“We recognize the role of imagination and ritual that is shared between contemporary psychotherapies and all ancient traditions… the arts are the bridging existential phenomena that unite ritual, imagination and dream-world in a way that no other activity can do.”
What you will receive at the Retreat
- Learn to navigate your past, present and purpose with creative clarity.
- Tune into your body’s messages with a heightened awareness.
- Calm your mind and find a deeper stillness.
- Receive visionary artistic photographic portraits taken by Cat of you on your journey at the retreat.
- Connect in with your authentic sexual self and voice. Learn to let go of the voice that’s been trampled down expectations and pain from society, family, friends, abusers or ex partners.
- Learn to be in touch with your body in new and transformative ways. Learn about your body’s power and lessons that will help navigate your emotional, menstrual and sexual cycles.
- Make friends with like minded women and take home all of your artistic expressions.
- Embrace the strength in your vulnerability. By speaking our truth we are holding a mirror up for other women’s similar experiences and struggles.
- Relax, have fun and unwind in a relaxing environment. Take time out for yourself.
“Come away with me for a replenishing weekend of healing of your sexual self. Under a full moon deep in the wilderness that will be abaze with wildflowers let’s welcome in the newness of Spring! Let’s leave behind our old patterns, habits and emotional scars in winter and step into Spring with intention and purpose.
I have dedicated my entire adult life to a career in creating erotic art, healthy relationships, empowering women’s sexuality, researching everything about sex and archetypal photo shoots set in nature. I will guide you deep into your unconscious to unlock everything that is holding you back.
I have walked my walk and talked my talk. I’m not coming to this retreat from the point of view as an expert, but rather someone who will walk alongside you on your path. I started meditating when I was 13 years old and was trained in mindfulness when I was 22. These two things changed my life and set me on a course of transcending physical and emotional pain and opening up to deeper ecstatic states where sexual energy transports you to a world of healing potential.
It is such relaxing boutique accommodation deep in the McDonald Valley, I know you’re going to love it. You can retreat from the business and stress of everyday life to a supportive space where powerful transformation can happen.
I feel so honoured to do this work. This is more than a passion for me. This is my offering to the planet. I first started empowering women through erotic photo shoots almost 20 years ago. Now this work has grown into creative therapies. I believe that through creating and holding this unique space for women to heal and nurture themselves and each other that this ripples outwards in a positive way helping and healing everyone around them. I believe this work makes a better world.
No artistic skills necessary. All materials provided. Whether you’ve had little or no experience with meditation or retreats it doesn’t matter just come join me for a beautiful weekend in the bush. There are a limited number of places so please get in touch and book with me now if you’d like to be a part of this wonderful weekend. It is an accepting, safe and supportive space.
I can’t wait to see you.
Love and blessings,
What is included in this retreat?
All therapy, meditation, workshops, sex and body education and creative counselling activities with Cat including homework pre retreat exercises at no extra cost.
All art materials and supplies. Take home all of your creations.
Fully catered delicious, wholesome, home cooked vegetarian meals on all three days. Our in house personal chefs use vegetables grown in their garden and seasonal and local produce from the McDonald Valley are used wherever possible. We will be delighting in their special “Spring menu” with Spring foods to fuel our body and mind. Organic teas and coffee are provided. Relax! Everything is taken care of.
A boutique two story property set on the hilltop of 40 acres of world heritage listed wilderness all to ourselves complete with own private swimming pool. The large house has deep wrap around verandahs with lush views out over the valley and is only 90 minutes drive from Sydney.
River swim (weather permitting)
Healing through movement
Narrative therapy -rewriting your story
The path to sexual Wholeness- Pre Retreat Workbook exercises
Mandala Therapy Post Retreat Exercises to continue you on your journey
An archetypal visonary photographic portrait with Cat. Cat will document your transformation during a creative ritual and an edited and creative fine art photograph of yourself will be provided. Normally worth $450
Who is this retreat for?
Adult women of all sexualities, ages and at all stages of life. Single or partnered women.
Women at a crossroads looking for direction.
Women who want to move into a more self confident space, deepen her self understanding or release old pain and trauma.
Women who want to bring the mojo back into her life or reawaken her sexual desires.
Women who want to nurture her sexuality in a society which shames and tries to control our sexual expression.
Women who have seen their monthly cycles as a curse, struggled with PMT or want to learn to work with their bodies rather than against it.
Women who want to reawaken their creative juices.
About your retreat facilitator
Away from the timed slots in Cat’s private practice this is an immersive experience where you will take part in a life changing experience.
Cat is a Sydney based clinical sexologist, couples psychotherapist, art therapist, sex educator, transpersonal counsellor, columnist and award winning, internationally published erotic photographer.
Cat has appeared as an expert on Triple J’s “The Hack” and “The Hook Up” program talking about body image, sex and genital image, Nine Msn Lifestyle channel, 2SERFM and FBIFM. Cat was a consultant for ABC’s Hungry Beast episode on the rise of labiaplasty, hosted her own radio show, “Sex Through The Centuries” and is the resident sex therapist for Ciao magazine. Her erotic art has been published around the world in books, magazines and exhibitions where she strives to create a body positive aesthetic that empowers the female gaze.
Cat runs a private practice in Sydney and has run art therapy and photography workshops for the past four years. Cat’s twenty years of erotic photographic work are set in nature and play with modern interpretations of Greek mythology, archetypes and feminine strength. Cat is a creative counsellor with a gentle and empathatic nature who is passionate about empowering women in a society that does not.
Reserve Your Retreat Call with Cat below.
Cat will talk to you about your motivations to see if you’re at the right point in your life come to this weekend retreat.
A limited number of women are invited to attend.
If you cannot make the date please send in an application so that we can advise you of additional dates.
If accepted you will be sent more details;
Early bird special
Book and pay before the 3rd of September 2016 and receive extra offerings. Two extra fine art soul portraits of yourself from the weekend (three in total). Usually worth $500.
The retreat centre
Stay in a beautiful, boutique two storey house with private swimming pool set on 40 acres of land surrounded by beautiful UNESCO World Heritage listed National Park, spectacular views, remote wilderness and unique Aboriginal cultural heritage and convict history.
Only 90 minutes drive from Sydney but so private and remote you feel so deep in the countryside and all your problems feel hundreds of miles away..
Three Day, Two Night Retreat including all catering/home cooked meals from our personal in house chefs, coffee and organic teas including Friday dinner through to Sunday afternoon tea. All activities, meditations, ceremony, ritual, workshops and processes are included. We will have the entire house, swimming pool, 40 acres of land and all amenities for our exclusive and private use.
$590 Early Bird Special (pay before the 4th of September)
Normal Price $675 (after 4th of September)
The above price doesn’t include your lush accommodation options below.
OPTION ONE.) Large luxury king size rooms with twin share accommodation with views over the valley. The large rooms contain between two to five single beds with shared bathrooms and you will be sharing with your fellow, like minded women participants. If you are booking for you and some friends please mention that in your email and we will place you together where possible.
Free Wifi. Towels/bedding included. Air conditioning and heating. Disabled access.
Price for two nights accommodation $190
OPTION TWO.) Your own luxury King size Room with a King sized bed with views over the valley with your own ensuite bathroom and shower. (BOOKED OUT)
Price for two nights accommodation $420
Towels Provided. Linen / Bedspread Provided. Reverse Air conditioning & Heating. Hair Dryer. Complimentary Toiletries. Separate Shower & Bath. Disabled Access. Free Wifi. Free parking available on site.
You will need to deposit 50% of the total price to secure your place. The full amount is required three weeks at the very latest before the retreat date. There are limited spots available to keep the group size small and intimate so please book now to avoid missing out.
“Follow your bliss.
If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”
― Joseph Campbell
Questions and Answers
Q: I really want to come but I’m shy and nervous about being around strangers.
A: Bravo for taking a big step for yourself when it seems so terrifying.
Group work can help shy people become more comfortable meeting new people. It can help you learn how to express yourself more easily and learn how to make better connections with other people.
The group will be made up of women who were accepted after completing a phone interview and you’ll find they will support and help you. Cat only accepted the applicants who she felt were ready for this retreat to ensure the best dynamic possible.
You’ll find that by listening you’ll learn a lot from the other women. You might notice that despite differences in background or upbringing their stories have similarities to yours. Once you do feel ready to share with the group you might find it a cathartic and empowering experince.
You’ll find along with the relaxing backdrop that Cat creates an open and welcoming atmosphere for even the shyest of participants.
Q: Great I’ve paid my deposit! I’m excited! Now what should I bring?
A: Wonderful! Please bring a pen and paper or a journal. If you don’t own one, art stores stock some beautiful examples. This isn’t compulsory however you will discover after certain exercises you might want to write down some insights and revelations so that you won’t forget them.
Bring comfortable clothes, pack layers for cool and warm weather. Bring walking shoes. Wear whatever you feel fabulous in but keep in mind there’s a tiny chance you might get some glue or paint on them. Bring your swimmers! Please bring a long skirt for our very delicious feminine ritual.
Q: Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?
A: No you don’t need to bring a sleeping bag or sheets. It’s boutique accommodation and all the bedding is included.
Q: Is this some new age garbage and will you read our auras? Does sex therapy mean you are going to touch us in a sexy way?
A:Woah! Hold on there! We’re not sure what retreats you’ve been to but this certainly is not one of those. Cat is a trained psychotherapist. She won’t read your auras and there’s nothing new age about this retreat or her extensive training and degrees. All of the processes are based on peer reviewed research. Transpersonal psychology integrates the study of spiritual and transpersonal experience with traditional psychology. It includes and extends beyond traditional branches of psychology.
There are plenty of influential psychologists who are very concerned with how the western mental health model often pathologises the spiritual condition and neglects to understand its healing potential.
“Transpersonal Psychology is a progressive field of study emerging from earlier branches of psychology including psychodynamic, behaviorism, humanistic and cognitive psychology that incorporates spiritual dimensions of experience in the scientific study of human beings.”
You can read more about transpersonal psychology here. Oh and art therapy is used successfully in prisons, hospitals and therapy rooms around the world and it’s not “new age.”
Q: I’m not a creative person. I can’t draw at all! Will my artistic skills be judged? Will my picture be hung on the wall? I would hate that.
A: You don’t have to be an artist or be able to draw to experience the benefits of art therapy, it’s much more about the process than what you create. It is a safe and supportive space that’s free of shame. You don’t have to share your creations with the group if you don’t want to.
As a qualified art therapist, Cat works hard to ensure everyone’s expression feels accepted and often uses mindfulness and meditation exercises to help you overcome anxiety before starting any creative exercise. You can read more about art therapy here.
Q: What do you mean by ritual? That sounds a bit out there for me.
A: Rituals have been used by Indigenous cultures for centuries. Humans are essentially ritualistic creatures, searching narratives to find meaning. Rituals are symbolic ways of expressing emotions in a non verbal fashion. Our instinctive unconscious understands rituals better than our rational consciousness. We cannot psychologically survive individually or collectively without rituals because we need to experience beyond the mundane. It is as essential to us as our need for love, shelter and food.
Research shows us that rituals work. People who undertake rituals have a much stronger sense of control over their worlds, less anxiety, more confidence and lower levels of grief when it came to loss. Ritual can help you deal with the end of a marriage or relationship, the loss of a friend, going into a new phase of your life, healing and leaving behind trauma and assault..
Ritual can also help build better relationships, bring a couple closer together, open the gateway to sacred sex and better connection and enhance the quality of your life.
Rituals enhance experiences, for example think of a meal time where perhaps you say a prayer or make a toast. Studies show that this small ritual enhances the actual taste of the food!
Read Cat’s feature article for Ciao magazine about the importance of romantic rituals here.