Walking Awake into the Celtic New Year

Walking Awake into the Celtic New Year

Denise Crawn and Nick Prance

Details & Online Registration

Program information

Cost: Sliding Scale $500, $375, $250

If you feel a deep connection to Nature, have an interest in Celtic Spirituality, and a longing to be amongst the stunning autumn foliage at Kirkridge, this annual weekend retreat may indeed call you ‘home’ to the mountain.

Throughout our weekend together we will explore some of the many surrounding lessons and gifts available to us as we ‘walk awake’ together into the Celtic New Year. 

In Nature it is the time of year when the woodlands transform: Leaves begin to turn into vibrant colors and float to the forest floor as the trees prepare for dormancy. Animals are busy gathering, storing, and filling themselves with food as they prepare for hibernation and the approaching cold winter months. The hours of daylight are becoming shorter and shorter.   

On the Celtic Wheel of the Year: we are entering the time of Samhain, the last of the three Celtic Harvest Festivals and the return of the dark half of the year.  The ancient Celts believed everything began in the darkness hence why Samhain is referred to as the ‘Celtic New Year’.  In realms of Celtic Spirituality, it is a time when the veil between differing worlds becomes its thinnest. A ‘betwixt and between’ period of ‘no-time’ when the spirits of the ancestors, those recently passed, and the world of the Fae might slip between the veil to communicate with us.

An annual event, as in Nature, each year this retreat offers something uniquely different to those who attend. The weekend will ebb and flow according to the energy of the group, the weather, the Land, and Nature’s offerings. Structured group gatherings may include sessions on various aspects of Celtic Spirituality (past and present) with attention on the Celtic New Year and the honoring of the ancestors, nature walks with focus on recognizing and connecting with the ‘seen and unseen’ in Nature, and the continual weaving of the history and mystery connecting this mountain range and the Isle of Iona, Scotland. The weekend will also include an eclectic mix of ritual, ceremony, morning mediations, time to walk and wander, song, and poetry. 

Additionally, on the Saturday evening all will have the opportunity to attend Columcille Megalith Park’s memorable Samhain/Celtic New Year Celebration* set amongst its torchlit Standing Stones. All attending are welcome to dress up in their best Celtic or Halloween attire for Columcille’s event, if they wish. 

How to prepare for this magical weekend?:

Be sure to bring your love of Nature and your curiosity about Celtic Spirituality, Kirkridge, Columcille, and Iona. 

Sessions will be held both indoors and outdoors so please come prepared to walk along Kirkridge’s wooded paths and amongst the standing stones of Columcille.

A more detailed itinerary will be sent to those registered a few weeks prior to the event.

*If planning to attend the Columcille Megalith Park’s Samhain Celebration, there is an additional $10.00 pp suggested entrance donation to Columcille which will be collected by retreat facilitator during the retreat prior to event.

A former Kirkridge employee, Columcille Board Member, and resident of the mountain now residing in Scotland, Denise Crawn has had a deep fascination of all things Celtic since an early age and enjoys spending as much time as possible wandering in nature and exploring ancient and sacred sites.

Owner of Walking Awake, LLC, author of “Walking Awake: The Faces In Nature”, and the “Walking Awake on the Isle of Iona Inspirational Card Deck and Book Set”, Denise’s deep-rooted relationship with the natural world began as a child when she would spend extended periods in the great outdoors with her Father and siblings. Feeling most at home in the outdoors wandering and foraging, she has a keen eye for tracking and a gift for spotting, interpreting, and sharing Nature’s hidden messages.  

As an ordained Interfaith Minister (through One Spirit Learning Alliance in N.Y.C.) with experience in the performing arts, hospitality, and Celtic shamanism combined with a love of myth, history, poetry, and music, Denise brings an eclectic mix to her ministry.  This ministry she defines as companioning and mentoring others on their individual quest to deepen their awakening of humankind’s innate connection to Nature. As a facilitator, Denise has been leading Celtic and Nature-focused workshops since 2005, and group pilgrimages to the Isle of Iona since 2009. Denise is thrilled to be called’ Nana’ by her 6-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte as well as a “Bonus-Nana” to Nick’s 4 grandchildren.  

Nick Prance was born in the north of Ireland, raised in Liverpool, and has lived in Scotland for the last 20+ years. He worked within the Mental Health services in the UK as a Psychiatric Nurse latterly as a Cognitive Behavioural therapist. Whilst pursuing this career Nick also trained for and was ordained as a minister within the Anglican Church. Shortly afterward he took a career break to live and work for three years on the Island of Iona working for the Iona Community helping to organize and run the program for the many guests who came on pilgrimage and retreat. He also joined the Iona Community as a member at that time. Following leaving Iona Nick had a very belated gap year traveling the world, including a profound and perspective-changing trip to Antarctica. Since that time Nick has successfully un-joined the church and the Iona Community also taken retirement from full-time work and has been enjoying simply being, coming to the end of seeking, living fully in the sufficient and vibrant present moment. Nick currently spends his time leading pilgrimages and workshops, walking in the wild and beautiful spaces of Scotland, watching far too much sport, playing guitar, and learning from nature and his four life-affirming young grandchildren!

As a couple:

Once upon a time (not so very long ago), Denise encountered the Circle of Standing Stones at Columcille Megalith Park which called her to visit the tiny Hebridean Island of Iona, Scotland. Ten years later, on one of her many returns to Iona, she met Nick on a ferry and so began their “Ferry Tale” come true. In October 2016 they were married in Scotland surrounded by family and friends. Since meeting, they have traveled together throughout Scotland, England, and Wales along with other magical places visiting standing stones and ancient sites and loving every minute of it!  As co-leaders and life partners, they bring together a mixture of backgrounds including everything from training in ministry, theatre, mental health, shamanism, and mindfulness, as well as their love and connectedness to poetry, song, story, music, and nature. Nick and Denise enjoy sharing these treasures, passions, and adventures with others as they lead and co-lead pilgrimages to the Isle of Iona, Scotland, and workshops and retreats on ‘both sides of the pond’.