i’m teaching in oxford! (Cancelled due to Breast Cancer)

St. Margaret's church photo by Katariina Fagering

I’m thrilled to share that I will be teaching a workshop in Oxford, England next August for Call of the Wild Soul art retreats.

Serendipity or Intention?

It was just last October that I wandered over and around Port Meadow in Oxford pondering the significance of great writers such as Lewis Carroll, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, all creating brilliant epic novels on this small patch of land.

journal square photo by Katariina Fagering

As I wandered the meadow and meandered up the river Isis towards Godstow Nunnery (ruins filled with mystery and intrigue), I imagined what it would be like to have a gathering of creative women sitting on the very land that inspired so many fantastical worlds.

* What magic would come of it? *

* What worlds would we create? *

* How might we be transformed? *

tree tents by Katariina Fagering

Some say this land is a portal to higher creative energies. I’m not sure about this but I do know there is an exorbitant amount of prolific writers to come out of one tiny city and I am curious to discovery if it has anything to do with the land.

I believe that when women gather, listen and share their stories it creates medicine for the soul.  What would happen if a group of creative women gathered in a place where the energy appears to be in the favor of literary creativity? What sort of stories would be conceived out of this concoction of earth and women? What creative collaborations could be forged?

godstow love photo by Erin Faith Allen

Although I had flirted with the idea of teaching a workshop in Oxford, I had no serious plans. Then Erin called to announce she was putting together a retreat in Oxford and asked if I would like to teach one of the workshops. I was nearly knocked over but knew this is how the Universe works.

Sacred Stories is what I’m calling my workshop.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

This workshop is designed as part creative writing, and part creative photography; but those mediums are merely tools to discover the real juiciness that is waiting dormant within.

Laura altar4 photo by Katariina Fagering

I will share more of the juicy details as they unfold, but I hope in the meantime you will pop on over to the retreat site and read what it’s about. From there you can check out the other luscious women teaching different sorts of creative workshops at the retreat. If I wasn’t teaching I would have a hard time choosing which workshop – they are all pretty amazing!

Come join us for the magic, I guarantee your life will never be the same!

St Margaret's treacle well photo by Katariina Fagering

Lewis Carroll’s Treacle Well

wild feminine souls

Erin's class Katariina Fagering

I created this in Erin’s class, Big Wild She

I don’t paint to someday be a world-renowned painter. I am aware that my true gift is in my photography but still I paint because it soothes and heals my soul. The process of scribbling, slopping around paint, pasting on collage pieces and intuitively listening to what is next is all for the health and sanity of my being or my soul. I work out and unravel my stuck points in the swirling of paint, pencils and pastels.

crystal at Earthrise by Katariina Fagering

I can easily soothe and heal my own soul while painting in solitaire but when I create in the presence of other women my soul opens wide and releases exponential tensions and concerns. There is just something truly magical about being in the presence of so many creative women. This is why I go to art retreats.

alena hennessy's class by Katariina FAgering

Last month I travelled down to Petaluma California for The Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat hosted by my dear friend, Erin Faith Allen. I had the honor of being one of the opening night speakers (I’ll share my talk in a following post) which was thrilling and a powerful experience but like I said earlier, for me the true magic unfolded and unraveled while creating art with the 60 or so gorgeous wild feminine souls who showed up.

Alena's class by Katariina Fagering

The energy is tangible and almost crackles around women artists committed to cultivating their wildness. When women gather and create with their hands, their hearts soften and open and they are able to listen to their own soul’s with more clarity. This is such a gift.

Earthrise by Katariina Fagering

The Call of the Wild Soul Retreats are especially sacred because Erin has a unique gift of putting together retreats that are more than just a gathering of women to be instructed on art. There is real soul cultivated and woven into her retreats. The land is just as much a part of the retreat as each instructor and participant. It allows for further opening and connecting. This retreat was held at EarthRise Center with rolling hills, ancient oaks, wild turkeys, deer, mists and mystery.

Earthrise by Katariina Fagering

The weekend was a dance in and out of creative explorations and expansions, all the while connecting with my heart and the deeper soul-stirring side of my being. This is where I want to create from and anything less has no juice or energy for me.

pears by Katariina Fagering

Join me next year at the upcoming Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreats. I really want to create with you, and you and you!

Sara Eliason by Katariina Fagering

Sara with her painting from Big Wild She

My Wildly Audacious Soul

polaroid from Persisting Stars by Madelyn Mulvaney

I heard a call and my wild soul responded with action. Late in September I gathered with a group of amazing Soul-full artists from around the globe in Somerset, England at the Majestic Croydon Hall. It took a plane ride, a train ride, a few taxi’s, more trains, a city bus and another taxi ride all with a toddler in tow, and oh it was worth every second of the sometimes-not-so-pleasant  travel!

Croydon Hall

I’m not sure words can ever explain the magic that was created that weekend with over fifty women, a few token men and a flock of babies all interacting, connecting, creating, and collaborating together.

View from our Room

We all showed up to answer Erin Faith Allen’s (Creator of Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat) call for her tribe. She put a call out for Wild Souls to come and play at her artist retreat that she named, Call of the Wild Soul (COTWS).

The location couldn’t have been more sublime. Croydon Hall is laced with gorgeous, ancient trees that buzz when you walk near them. The lush gardens meandered deeper and deeper into the corners where roses whispered soft messages to my soul while stoic trees stood guard so we could let go and dance with our creativity and watch what magic would unfold.  The mushrooms that sprouted in abundance let us know that the faery folk were active on the sacred grounds and I heard of more than a few mystical encounters and visits (Maddie & Larry).

what is this mythical unfolding fungus?

Erin asked me to speak on the opening evening to all the wild souls. Feeling so honored, I jumped at the chance to share my ideas about art, healing and Audacious Ubuntu. The concept is to boldly, bravely even brazenly step into connecting deeply with others with soft eyes and an open heart because we can never fully know our depth until we see it in others. Ubuntu means, I am because you are! (I will blog more about the talk later).

I followed up the talk with a deep listening exercise that I hence forth will call “The Ubuntu Exercise” because those who participated with their heart and soul, despite the intense vulnerability, truly fell in love with their partners or at the very least they made a new connection to carry them through the weekend. My desired outcome for this exercise was for everyone to feel connected and not an outsider. I had seen the power of this exercise before in a large group of women so I was pleased to see how transforming it truly was for everyone at this retreat. After the exercise I invited everyone to go deep in every conversation they had this weekend. Skip over the trite questions and ask, “So what is your wild soul calling you towards?”


As a result of Erin’s intention, Croydon Hall’s energy and this invitation  I experienced a deepening that occurred amongst all of us present that I had never seen or experienced in other art workshops.

Marie, Maddie & Beccy in Persisting Stars class

I believe the best gift of all this weekend was what I learned about myself through the eyes of all those beautiful women present. We can all be such beautiful mirrors for one another.

Karina who lives in Switzerland but hails from Chicago has a husband that is working to eradicate polio in India (no small task – a true hero) asked me, “So besides being a public speaker, what else do you do?” I let out a guffaw and told her that I am not a public speaker, but her view of me opened a crack in my armor. She said that I seemed so natural up in front of everyone exclaiming we were about to have wild sex. I responded, “Did I say that?” I had forgotten my opening line. In this brief conversation with her after the retreat was over and most had left on their journey’s home, she mirrored for me an image of myself that I had definitely desired to see but hadn’t truly embraced. Thank you for that Karina.

Just one of the majestic trees gracing Croydon Hall

Another armor cracking event happened when I walked into the lounge on Wednesday before everyone arrived and saw Maddie Mulvaney sitting at the computer. Maddie is a woman I have admired through her blog and taken her course, Persisting Souls, but had never met in person. My heart started racing a bit as I approached her and when she looked up she shot out of her seat with a squeal, “Katariina!” She exclaimed, “Its me Maddie!” Then she threw her arms around me. I was in shock. How was it possible that she even remembered me? Me, little ol’ me? We quickly fell madly in love with each other over the weekend and I can’t wait to spend time with her again.

The Magical Madelyn Mulvaney

The depth of her soul and her ability to authentically live in alignment with her soul unadulteratedly without compromise brought tears to my eyes on a few occasions. While in her class Persisting Stars, I wrote in my journal, “Madelyn’s sharing is so deep and powerful. I’m cracking open, I’m going to cry but I’m not sure I want to right now.”

If you are not familiar with her blog or her e-courses, I highly recommend them for EVERYone. Her blog transports me to a time when life was simpler, more poetic and curious. I love checking in on her ever so often to see what journey’s she has travelled, what new discoveries tickled her interest, and what poetic image or experience moved her. She is truly a magical being.

So speaking of magical beings, Erin Faith Allen is a SUPER WOMAN! She puts out an invite for an art retreat (her first retreat) and fills it to capacity, births a gorgeous baby ten days prior to the workshop, shows up elegantly lounging with a baby on her breast, sells her artwork at the art show, is continually making plans for her next workshops, looking relaxed, gorgeous and emanating so much big love to everyone. I don’t know how she does it but she is a powerful woman that I feel honored to be orbiting around.

This is one of Erin Faith Allen’s mixed media images

She read my blog after I signed up for the art retreat last spring and she invited me to speak before she ever met me. She saw in me what I couldn’t pull together and by inviting me to speak she gave me the opportunity to step up and step out in front of an audience. I’m telling you, the putting together of the talk was incredibly healing and I learned that I do love being in front of people speaking about what I am passionate about and sharing my stories.

There were so many more women that touched me deeply by sharing what my talk stirred up or inspired in them.  Such immense soulful sharing.

What I took from this weekend was summed up in the words of Graca Machel (a Politician and Humanitarian now married to Nelson Mandela) in her Keynote speech to the graduating class of Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls. She said,

“Here I am!

I claim my humanity

with no fear and no limits

and no one,

not no one, can take that away.”

She was speaking to South African Girls who didn’t have half the opportunities we have just by being born in a township and with dark skin. But I find this message universal for all women. I shared this in the closing prayer of my talk, but it is our time to get off the therapy couch, turn off the television, stand up and exclaim to the world, “Here I am! I claim my humanity with no fear and no limits and no one can take that away.”

This is my coming out year! Wooo Hoooo! Howling at that star filled, full moon sky!

I felt pretty lucky to be roomed up with two of the most handsome and soulful men I know; Larry and Finnegan. It was fun to watch their transformation from being present  around all that luscious creative feminine energy.  It was juicy for both of them which added more juice to my life. As a result, I came home pregnant . . . with possibilities for creative collaborations with some of the conscious creatives we met that weekend (tee hee).

So the message to me and all of you who have ears to hear, “The time is now, wake up and don’t go back to sleep!”


The End!!! :o)