The heART of Ritual

elements of being



with Niamh Croistail
Founder of The heART of Ritual

West Cork, Ireland  |  October 21-28, 2022

'let us remember within us
the ancient clay,
holding the memory of seasons,

the passion of the wind,
the fluency of water,
the warmth of fire
the quiver-touch of the sun
and shadowed sureness of the moon.

that we may awaken
to live to the full
the dream of the Earth'

~ john o'donohue




Steeped in earth based ancestral tradition, Elements of BEing is a full sensory rite of passage, a seven night residential retreat that explores the mystical and magical journey of our wild, indigenous, and all knowing nature through wisdom of place.


Together, we gather in what is a dedicated time for conscious exploration, soul remembering, birthing the new, and BEcoming. We immerse in the sacredness of landscapes, gifting the opportunity to journey the inner realms and rediscover the wisdom of the ancient clay, within and throughout. We allow ourselves be enchanted once again by wild land listening and the magical opportunity to commune with elementals and nature spirits in old growth forests, crystalline waterfalls, and rock pools. We will be sung to and soothed by the sounds of the sea, embody the cycles of the ocean, and experience a calming of spirit, a clarity of focus, a becoming of stillness, and a profound sense of inner peace. We will visit ancient earth sanctuaries, tune into the earth’s powerful healing frequencies, and experience the numinous landscape around us and within us, as one. We will rediscover the true meaning of abundance and soul nourishment, lovingly gathering on land and shore and co-creating for the mind, body and spirit. We will experience what it is to reclaim our roots, examine our blood, and divine the bare bones so that we may gain insights and understanding on how we can meet ourSelves fully.



During our week together you will discover how it is to be part of this primal land of natural beauty and extremes, a place where you can experience both the story of the Earth and the epicness of space, a place where you explore nature at its most raw and powerful, and receive much needed gift of time to recognize and embrace this within yourSelf. This is a time devoted to cultivating and aligning your own inner nature - human presence infused with wild landscapes that both allows and reveres aliveness in its fullest expression. It is time dedicated to exploring the wild edges of BEing, to observe the borderlands of where we have allowed ourselves to become hardened, and the opportunity to enter a place filled with infinite possibility and trust.


Throughout the retreat we explore sustainable, loving ways of letting found elements of nature inform our personal spiritual expression and practice. These wild ingredients situate prayer and poetry in the world, offering a sort of ‘terroir’, stories of time and place through which we can learn and grow. They cultivate intimate awareness, both of the land surrounding us and within us, as well as the qualities inherent to each ingredient themselves. As we work closely with what we gather, stories are revealed and we begin to hear its whispers, its wisdom and secrets, and learn how it is an integral part of healing our own mind, body and spirit. These secrets are only revealed when we slow down, observe, listen mindfully, and allow nature, both around us and within us, to express itself fully. Through this sacred journey we re-learn to commune once more with prima materia (Source Material), and find the eyes and ears within as we pass through the door to the unknown country inside.

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This retreat is an initiatory journey through the mandala of BEing - an opportunity to consciously and ceremoniously release, expand, grow, and ritually celebrate the beginning of the new phase of BEing - through the powerful medicine of the natural cycles and the Elements. Designed for the Seeker, this journey is a mindful choice to connect with one's Higher purpose, to acknowledge and embrace the Soul's unique journey, and salute the Spirit in one's existence with compassion and Divine Love. It is an invitation to become aware of the hidden aspects of Self and the larger surroundings, to transcend the stress of everyday life, choosing instead to fully embrace the dance that is the human experience and the gifts that it offers while we waltz. It is a time of profound self discovery, awakening, personal empowerment, transformation and adventure; an opportunity to grow beyond what you know yourself to be thus far and enter a discovery process about wholeness and the journey of healing. It is to choose change, to insist on hope and recovery, and to creatively engage in ‘The Work’ - the catalyst that enables us to come into the grace of one's place in creation. It is radical re-connection as a whole BEing with ALL THAT IS, at Point Zero.

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‘there is no coming to consciousness without pain. people will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.’ ~ c. g. jung


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This transformative retreat takes place in the lead up to Samhain, one of eight ancient festivals celebrated in the Celtic Wheel of the Year. Samhain marks the transition between the end (the dying) of one Celtic year and the beginning (the birth) of the next, and as such, carries with it the death, surrender, release of the old cycle, and the beginning of the new.


Joining this Samhain gathering is an invitation to release the patterns of the past and be fully present, to slow down sufficiently to reconnect with one's breath, with nature and it’s cycles, to find beauty in small treasures, and to receive healing from the very matrix of creation. It is an opportunity to observe and reprogram on a core level, to re-connect, reclaim and enhance one's perception during this potent time. It is the mindful choosing to become open to the magic of nature, to discover sacred in the mundane, to reconnect with ancient inner knowing, and to re-assess one's practical needs. Through this, it becomes a journey of benediction, of Soul remembering and integration, so that we may align with intuitive authentic BEing on all levels. This is the gift of Samhain and the ‘Cailleach’ - the wise elder.


Each day's offerings are lovingly curated to gently nurture, nourish, support and assist your BE-coming, so that you may dive fully into each stage of remembering and the natural process of blossoming into BEing. The activities will take place in a natural, informal, and relaxed surroundings, at a pace that allows you to absorb the experience fully. 

Conscious body nourishment is fully honored on this retreat and receives as much attention to detail as soul and spirit nourishment so that our inner and outer worlds are fully aligned. The SoulFOOD for this gathering is expertly designed to nutritionally and energetically support your healing journey through the element, chakra, luminous body, and physical body systems we work with each day. Our Elixir Bar is on offer throughout the retreat providing you with an oasis of herbal tonics, wild healing beverages, medicinal elixirs, native superfoods, plant and crystal remedies, and more.


We also work daily with a special sensory selection from ALCHEMY & APOTHECARY as well as a selection of CEREMONY & RITUAL offerings. As an additional treat, a special range of SkinFOOD is lovingly created for this retreat each year, to support and enhance your healing journey. This bespoke collection of natural botanical body care is created exclusively for your body ritual, spiritual bathing, radiance, wellBEing, and ceremonial pleasure. Throughout this retreat you will have the complete freedom to pick and choose your pace and activities each and every day, freedom to BE, and freedom to dance to the beat of your own (heart) drum. If you do choose to inJoy a day of radical rest and stillness, then your stunning accommodation and natural surroundings are sure to provide you with the cosiest of nests.

Sweet surprises, sacred experiences and in depth teachings await those courageous enough to accept the invitation to ‘The Work’. There are no prerequisites necessary, all that is required is your openness, willingness, and for you to gift yourself the opportunity to explore yourSelf and your full potential. If you feel ready, then know your tea is already steeping and there is a place waiting for you with us by the fireside.


your facilitator



Niamh, the founder of The heART of Ritual, considers herself both a traveller and a student on the path of mindful living, learning and growing through direct first hand experience, finding and making ceremony in ALL. True to her roots, she embraces the native traditions of her Irish lineage and both lives and works with the natural cycles and seasons of the Celtic wheel of the year.



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West Cork is an area Niamh knows intimately as it’s where she grew up and lived before moving to the Alps. This part of the planet exudes rootsy medicine, wild wisdom and sacred space so effortlessly - it’s no wonder that it is the most densely populated area of megaliths and ancient temple spaces in Europe (it also happens to be referenced with Atlantis in Irish myths)! You’ll observe a profound sense of being held ever so gently, yet strong enough for you to feel safe enough to be vulnerable, go within, and do The Work. This delicate balance and graceful waltz is the wisdom and gift of this really incredible place. In short, West Cork really is a place apart!

West Cork is part of the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and ‘West Cork Garden Trail’ which are renowned worldwide for its rugged coastline, crystal clear waters, majestic mountains, unspoiled nature and wildlife. So wherever one decides to wander, you'll be surrounded by wild Irish beauty, and perhaps the odd sea lion, dolphin or whale.

For more information on the Wild Atlantic way

For more information on the West Cork Garden Trail



Our nest for this retreat is a wonderfully magical holistic healing farm nestled on the south slope of the Maughnaclea mountains of West Cork. The farm is a wonderful place to rest, recalibrate and rejuvenate, and the lush green surroundings of the mature gardens includes a large scale botanical labyrinth (for walking meditations), a geodesic dome, a swing for adults, and a fire pit. Indoors, this extraordinary place offers beautiful sunrooms, a large sunny conservatory, sauna, and the quiet cosy spaces throughout offer spectacular views of the gardens, mountains, valleys and Bantry Bay. These views are also inJoyed from the ‘Sky Room’, our dedicated quiet space and the place we gather each evening for creative meditations, ritual offerings, and candlelit ceremony.


Translated from ‘An Gleann Garbh’ in Irish meaning ‘The Rugged Glen’, this truly picturesque fishing village of just 800 inhabitants on the South West Coast of Ireland. Glengarriff is nestled in the foothills of the Caha Mountains and its mild, temperate climate is due to the jet stream which warms the waters of Bantry Bay. Glengarriff is one of the few areas in Western Europe which still retains much of the old growth ancient woodlands which once covered these islands, and this is a very special area we explore together during this retreat. Due to the mild climate, the forests in the area contain sub-tropical tree ferns, scarlet fuchsia and giant eucalyptus which flourish side by side with ancient oaks and gigantic conifers and gorse. Rhododendrons and camellias cover the hillsides and valleys in this area alongside heathers and golden grasses. These forests are host to free roaming deer, mountain goats, and many more native wildlife species. Both Glengarriff Harbour and Bantry Bay are protected wildlife sanctuaries for the local sea eagles, cetacean and seal populations. This is an area of unrivalled beauty, its peace and tranquillity invites you to sit back, relax and take in the very special ambience of the place.



€1850 per person


  • All retreat tuition, including ceremonies, ritual, indoor and outdoor retreat activities

  • 7 nights accommodation at our retreat center

  • Full board with private catering at retreat center. All foods, including condiments, gelees, syrups, are homemade, 100% organic, sugar free, wheat free, soy free, GMO free, vegetarian, and use only fresh local and wild seasonal produce.

  • Full use of our extensive SoulFOOD Elixir Bar which includes medicinal herbal tonics, probiotic drinks, herbal tea blends, medicinal cacao, wild fermented sodas and cordials, raw vegan chocolate, crystal infused mountain spring water, and more. 

  • Full use of our ALCHEMY and APOTHECARY items

  • All materials for practical program activities

  • All supplies for daily ‘creative meditations’

  • Your personal SkinFOOD crystal infused body products

  • As selection of CEREMONY & RITUAL items to take home with you

  • Full use of wellness facilities at retreat center

  • Private group transport for day trips and offsite activities

  • Irish music and set dancing evening

  • Sea kayaking (weather permitting)


​Your flights, transfers to/from retreat center, travel insurances, etc.

Please know that your participation ensures we can continue to give back to the community by awarding one full scholarship for each of our retreat programs each year, support non profit nature based educational programs, groups, and projects both in the Alps and in Ireland, and contribute to local employment and rural economy in West Cork.

To ensure privacy, trust and the energetic integrity for participants and this space, the entire retreat location has been hired for this gathering. This is so as to ensure only retreat participants and facilitators are on the property, and our commitment to offer you a sense of personal comfort while we journey the week together. *Early bird registration closes at 6pm CET on March 31st, 2021. Full payment must be received on or before this date in order to qualify for the reduced rate.


Retreat title, concept, description, text, and images © 2014 - 2022 Niamh Criostail, Stone Mad & The heART of Ritual. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

'I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,

nothing between me and the white fire of the stars

but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths

among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms

breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.

All night I rose and fell, as if in water,

grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.'

-Mary Oliver