The Integration of the Divine Goddess
“I am a Divine Goddess, pure and light
I am a Divine Goddess, radiant and bright.
I am a Divine Goddess, powerful and strong,
I am a Divine Goddess, a virtuous song.
I am a Divine Goddess, knowing and wise,
I am a Divine Goddess, with calm, gentle eyes.
I am a Divine Goddess, who knows no bounds,
I am a Divine Goddess, whose love surrounds.
I am a Divine Goddess, perfectly free,
I am a Divine Goddess, uniquely me.”
I knew this trip would be special. I would be packing my bag and heading to Java in Indonesia for a ‘Creative Spirit Retreat’. I would leave behind my laptop and mobile as I didn’t want any distractions: this goddess did not want to be disturbed!
Now I definitely can’t do the integration of the divine goddess justice in just a few lines - no, I am already writing my second book on this topic as it involves far more than five days away in Java!
Java was an important step, absolutely, but not a beginning step or an end step, just another step on this never-ending journey.
This retreat appealed to me for a number of reasons as it was combining art, architecture and meditation – my three favourite things.
As a young child I remember being huddled into the back seat of our little navy blue Fiat with my sisters and setting off to another art gallery, jewelery exhibition or to look at the latest building or cool renovation. My dad is an architect and as such has instilled a love of art, architecture and design in each of his three girls.
Two of us paint, one is a landscape designer, one an amazing photographer and I am a graphic designer. We all inherited the creative gene.
I am always in the market for some new art, money permitting. It’s something I love and that makes me happy.
This retreat was about exploring and familiarizing ourselves with the burgeoning Javanese art market and although I only came away with two pieces - I could have bought at least ten more, I was blown away by the talent, the affordability and the range of art on offer.
Another reason the retreat appealed to me was because it was facilitated by two dear friends, Dani and Anna, one a meditation teacher the other an art historian.
The idea was to unleash the creative energy of our souls through the exploration of art and meditation.
We flew into Yogyakarta Airport at 1pm – the landscape familiar and unmistakably Indonesian.
It was very green - lush and tropical. Grey, stormy clouds caressed the volcanic mountains - it was very reminiscent of flying into Bali but unique at the same time. I was so excited for the coming days and this beautiful retreat did not disappoint.
I will never tire of that vivid greenery: the ginger flower and the frangipani - distinctly Asian - against the volcanic rock used in so many structures around Indonesia. The rather hectic and chaotic business of this beautiful, vast country fills up every inch of my soul with happiness and gratitude.
After clearing customs we headed onto the mean streets of Java and headed for lunch at Sasanti Restaurant.
This would be a quick stop as we had a lot more to discover and explore that day.
After lunch we toured a museum I absolutely adored, The OHD Museum.
The OHD Museum was founded by Dr. Oei Hong Djien and houses the largest private collection of Indonesian art. We were so very fortunate to have Dr Oei personally guide us on this very informative tour of his very own collection – it was both informative and inspiring.
There have been three museums, the latest opened in 2012. The current museum houses over 1500 pieces including paintings, indoor and outdoor sculptures, installations and ceramics. I could have happily stayed and perused this art all day.
After the gallery tour it was on to our hotel Saraswati, where once settled we attended Tumpeng - a traditional Indonesian rice cone ceremony, followed by a delicious local dinner and then it was on to the roof amid the call to prayer to bless this Sacred Women’s Circle and set our intention for what would be my journey to welcome home the Divine Goddess.
After breakfast we climbed on board a horse and cart to trot around this quaint little community that lay under the very commanding but peaceful eye of the ancient and wise Borobudur Temple.
It was a wonderful way to capture the spirit of Java and there is something soothing and calming about the sound of horses hooves on cobblestone streets. The pace of the horse is perfect for capturing glimpses of how the Javanese go about their days - well in these back streets anyway. There seems to be no rush and little stress as everyone goes about their day according to their needs at their own pace and in their own time.
First we visited an ancient and little 9th century Buddhist Temple - Pawon.
Located between two other temples, Borobudur and Mendut Temple – the three lie in a straight line. It is said that this temple was used to purify the mind before one ascended Borobudur.
After haggling with the locals for a souvenir or two for the kids it was back on our horse and cart and off to the next ancient and beautiful temple.
Mendut temple is the oldest of the three temples and was built in the early 9th century.
The main room has three large carved stone statues. It is a stunning structure and you can feel the presence of spirit in this small but powerful temple.
I have to take a minute to mention the Banyan trees that surround the temple. They are simply extraordinary. I was in awe of their majesty and mystery as I stood amongst their huge roots. Be sure if you visit the temple to take a short stroll across the lawn to spend some time reliving your childhood in the roots of the banyan tree.
Then it was on to visit a private residence that housed one of the most impressive private collections I have ever seen.
The home is owned by Emmo and Narcisse Italiaander and sits on a hectare of land bordering the rice fields surrounding Borobudur temple – it’s peaceful and powerful energy emanating across the land and filtering through this stunning abode.