What is UUWomenspirit?
UUWomenspirit is a biannual spiritual retreat for women over 18 years from all walks of life. We gather recognizing that we have journeyed on varied paths to Spirit: earth-based, indigenous tribal, Christian, Hebrew, Wiccan, Buddhist, and more. We gather to honor the manifestation of the Feminine Divine in our own deep beings, in each other, and in the world around us.
We recognize and celebrate the four ages of Woman: the Maiden, whose curiosity and boundless energy propel her towards discovery; the Mother, whose endurance and nurturing comfort all; the Warrior, whose passion and strength protect what is vital for the greatest good; and the Crone, whose wisdom and patience bring a wise perspective to us all. Each passage teaches us and those around us.
Where, When, and Who
We gather twice a year, in the spring and the fall, at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands, North Carolina. We have gathered at The Mountain since our inception in 1987, and it is our spiritual home. The Mountain is located on the top of Little Scaly Mountain and is nestled in the beauty of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. During our time together, we can enjoy the beauty of nature at Her finest away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday world.
UUWomenspirit offers two programs: The Institute and The Gathering. Each program focuses on sharing sacred time together through worship, learning, and individual and group activities. Women may choose to attend The Institute or The Gathering or both.
All women are welcome at UUWomenspirit, regardless of sex assigned at birth. Here, we believe and affirm that transgender women are women. While we recognize that we are still learning and growing, we aim to be a welcoming and inclusive place for all women who wish to celebrate the Feminine Divine.
What to Expect
Worship is the heart of our event as we gather in circle to create and share sacred space. Worship rituals are inclusive, with most encouraging group participation through singing, dancing, writing, small group circles, simple art activities, and sometimes even feasting!
Institute begins on Wednesday afternoon with registration, followed by social time, dinner, worship circle, and a brief meeting of your Track. Tracks meet Thursday morning and afternoon and wrap up Friday morning. Worship circles are held Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, and Friday morning.
Gathering begins Friday afternoon when our numbers and energy increase with sisters coming for a weekend of spirit and sharing. Friday afternoon registration is followed by social time, a membership meeting, and dinner. The first of three worship circles is held Friday night. Saturday brings more learning and personal discovery with half-day (morning and afternoon) or full-day workshops, again facilitated by UUWomenspirit sisters.
Additional activities are nestled between worship and workshops and vary from event to event. Healing Circles, drumming and dancing, sacred circle dancing, and our Cabaret talent show are a few of the many activities offered. Women may choose to spend quiet time alone or together hiking or relaxing. We ask that each woman take good care of herself and make choices that best suit her own needs.
UUWomenspirit also offers Brigid’s Bazaar, where members display their handmade and women-honoring items for sale. An amazing variety of beautifully and lovingly created items are available for you to enjoy and purchase, such as hand-crafted soaps, jewelry, original artwork and prints, t-shirts, dolls, books, CDs, pottery, candles, and more.
As you walk around during UUWomenspirit, you are sure to hear everything from silence to whispered prayers to excited discussions to deep laughter. There is a welcoming space for everyone!
Cost of Attendance
As of Fall 2022, the Institute and Gathering each cost $310: the UUWomenspirit program fee is $100 and the Mountain food (6 meals) and lodging (2 nights) is $210.
If you attend both the Institute and the Gathering, the total fee is $620.
While we don’t expect the rates to increase, you should consult the event brochure, which is published about two months before the event, for the actual costs of an event, including the early bird rate (usually a $20 discount per program).
Members receive a $20 discount per program
UUWomenspirit membership is $45 per year
During our time at UUWomenspirit, we stay in the accommodations located at The Mountain. Housing options range from multiple occupancy cabins to double occupancy rooms. Private rooms may be available for an additional cost.
The Mountain provides all meals, and there is an optional social hour before dinner each evening. The Mountain’s unique, rustic charm is an important part of our retreats and serves as a reminder to leave our daily lives behind during our time at UUWomenspirit.
While the attendees at our retreats are all women, The Mountain has a handful of male staff members on hand to assist us during our retreats as needs arise. Their presence during our events is minimal and we are grateful for their support. For more information about The Mountain, please visit The Mountain website.
UUWomenspirit events are designed and led by volunteer members of UUWomenspirit. Each event theme is created by a Planning Committee (PC) composed of six women. Worship rituals, tracks, and workshops all aspire to follow that theme and create a rich environment for attending sisters. Any member of UUWomenspirit can volunteer for a PC for an event. Working on a PC typically involves a nine-month commitment.
Our nonprofit organization of UUWomenspirit is overseen by the Coordinating Council (CoCo), a circle of six women who administer the business of UUWomenspirit. Decisions are made by consensus. CoCo members are selected by a search committee and affirmed by the membership for three year terms.