Come to the sacred island of Iona, where together we will practice listening to the voice of Creation within and all around us.
We will gather at the “thin place” of Iona, off the coast of Scotland, where heaven and earth are said to press very close to one another. Barely three miles long and one mile wide, this small sacred isle holds a profound peace and breathtaking beauty that touches everyone who goes there. St. Columba (or Colum Cille, in Gaelic) established the first Celtic Church and monastic community here in 563 CE, and it is to the roots of that tradition that we will turn, to explore how contemporary spiritual practices converge with the ancient wisdom of the monks.
Join us for a seven day transformational journey, deepening our connection to the sacred through our relationship with the natural world and through mindful spiritual practices. Ritual, community worship, poetry, body prayer, meditation, journaling, music and movement will be our tools to deeply listen to the voice of The Great Mystery. We will walk the landscape of Iona together as pilgrims, wandering to special places on the island to embrace the wilderness and to pray with nature.
Together we will gather as a community of kindred spirits to worship in a myriad of ways – to give thanks; to celebrate beauty; to share our awe; and to cultivate authentic connection ... to one another, to ourselves, to the land, and to the Exquisite Invisible.
For more details, please go to https://simondevoil.com/iona-2024
Pilgrimage Leaders: Rev. Simon Ruth de Voil and Linden de Voil
Rev. Simon Ruth de Voil was born and raised in Scotland, and knows the island well. He first came to Iona as a baby in his mother’s womb, and he spent much of his childhood roaming her rocky hills and beaches. Simon returned to live and work at the Abbey at Iona from 2006 to 2008. Simon says of Iona, “She is ‘my island’ because in some inexplicable way I belong to her, and I am in her service.”
Simon is an ordained interfaith minister specializing in sacred song and chant. Drawing on decades of experience as a musician, counselor, and group leader, Simon creates space for spiritual practice and celebration that welcomes us all into the embrace of the divine mystery.
Linden de Voil, RH(AHG), is a practicing clinical herbalist and professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, the only accrediting body for herbalists in the U.S. A writer and educator in the field of plant medicine, natural health, and earth-based spiritual practice, her work invites us to strengthen our innate ties to the more-than-human, living world through curiosity, observation, and delight.
A believer in practical magic and an animist witch, Linden uses somatic practices, simple ritual, and plant medicine to help clients and students find their own path back into belonging and connection with the natural world.
We’ll have exclusive use of Bishop’s House, a beautiful center built in 1894 that serves as a retreat house for the Scottish Episcopal Church—though you don’t need to be of any particular faith tradition to enjoy their warm welcome and hospitality!
Bishop’s House is a retreat house, not a hotel; it offers comfortable, simple accommodation including wholesome home-cooked meals, use of a library with open fire, access to a beautiful chapel, and a view of the sound of Iona. All bedrooms are up one flights of stairs, although a chair lift is available. Each bathroom is shared by several guests.
Although Bishop’s House itself is just a short walk from the ferry, this retreat will require some walking over rough ground, short uphill walks, and muddy terrain. In order to participate fully in these portions of the pilgrimage, you should be comfortable walking up to three miles on uneven ground.
For those who aren't able to join these rambles — or simply prefer not to! — we'll offer suggestions for shorter walks and other ways to make use of your time on the island.
Make your way to Iona to meet the island.
Travel to Iona is a pilgrimage in itself; you'll take a ferry, a coach across the island of Mull, and another short, beautiful ferry ride to arrive on Iona.
We'll be waiting to greet you on the other side!