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The heART of Ritual



heartbeat retreats

Ceremonial Drum Birthing Weekends

with Niamh Criostail

•  Founder of The heART of Ritual  •


(residential Retreat)

West Cork, Ireland
•  Oct 29 + 30, 2022 •

€475 per person
(includes all meals and overnight accommodation)


(non residential Retreat)

Tirol, Austria
•  Dec 17 + 18, 2022 

€375 per person
(includes SoulFOOD lunches and light refreshments)


like wildflowers you must allow your self to grow in all the places people thought you never would

We are delighted to announce the dates for this year’s ceremonial drum birthing weekends in Ireland and the Austrian Alps. This year's retreats take place during the Earth Element season and we are wildly excited to be working with the Cailleach over these incredibly powerful weekends.


Our Irish ceremonial drum birthing weekend takes place just prior to the Samhain new moon and is an all inclusive residential retreat. Focus for this gathering is the death of old programs, conditions, fears, and healing of bloodline and/or ancestral trauma. Through this process - a cosmic reset - we reclaim space for new beginnings. Themes include reclaiming inner wisdom, embodying the Cailleach (the Elder archetype), and this weekend is a dedicated time to (re)discover the inner mysteries, communication with the ancestors, divination, womb work (physical, energetic and cosmic wombs), the cycle of life, grief composting, manifestation with the Earth element, and more.


Our Alpine drum birthing gathering takes place over the deeply introspective new moon weekend and is an all inclusive non residential retreat. Focus for this weekend is setting the seeds for the future and bringing into practice the every day magic of the Cailleach. A manifestation weekend for the year ahead (and the path ahead), this gathering is an opportunity to reassess, readjust and re-weave so that our outer and inner worlds are in alignment with our Soul path as conscious co-creators. Lovingly tending to the soil of the Soul is the core work required of each of us in order for our deepest wishes, dreams, and intentions to germinate (and flourish) with the return of the Sun (light).

These heARTbeat retreats are for the seeker. Steeped in wild earth based ancestral tradition, over the course of the weekend you ceremoniously birth your own ceremonial colleague, a traditional style Medicine Drum and Sounder.

These are not merely weekends to birth your drum colleague, but also a dedicated time to birth yourself fully into BEing. Given the nature and energy of the seasonal element, the Celtic festivals, and moons phases over these weekends, it’s important to make clear that these retreats are full sensory initiatory experiences that will demand deep introspective 'work' on your part, but it will very much be worth it. This demand, in whatever shape and form it comes in, will be your unique invitation to 'step up' and empower yourself through the natural forces of (non human) nature.

Focus is on the Irish Celtic traditions, lore related with these ancient earth festivals (within the Celtic Wheel of the Year), and the native wild medicinal herbs, plants and trees relating with them. We work with sustainably gathered Birch wood (Celtic tree of new beginnings) and Reindeer hide from the Saami peoples of North Finland (northern Earth Element ancestral medicine). We incorporate natural pigments, ecodye methods, wild native medicine bundles, naturally dyed raw sheep wool for your felted Sounder, and more.



Niamh Criostail 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. Her unique approach to what she refers to as ‘wHolistic wellBEing’ draws on an extensive skill set that includes crystalline bioresonance therapy, ecotherapy, psychology, medicinal herbalism, ecoacoustics, bioenergetics, holistic nutrition, regression therapy and soul retrieval, creative arts therapy, and more. This allows her to combine her interest, love and knowledge of both eastern and western modalities with ancient earth based traditions and practices, resulting in what she feels is a fully integrative dynamic approach to achieving harmony, healing, and human potential.

Both an academic and an intuitive, Niamh’s qualifications are as varied as her interests. She studied Modern Psychology at Princeton with a specialization in Jungian shadow psychology within the framework of Hermeticism and Gnostic Alchemy. She holds a double diploma in Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology, and Sport Injuries & Clinical Remedial Massage, and also holds a diploma in Holistic Massage & Advanced Bodywork. Much of her personal research over the past two and a half decades relates with psychosomatic dis-ease, genetic inheritance, trauma imprinting, and molecular reprogramming with crystals. In addition to the above, Niamh has trained as a medical herbalist and optimum nutritionist, studied Indian head massage, acupressure, aromatherapy, and

has done extensive courses in folk healing, traditional medicine, and indigenous soul beliefs. She studied crystal therapy with Katrina Raphaell’s Crystal Academy of Advanced Healing Arts and is a master teacher in Reiki (both Usui and Tera Mai) and Seichem. She is a birth and death doula and as a ceremonialist, she lovingly facilitates ceremonies and rituals marking the rites of passage. As a teacher and practitioner she is credited as being at the forefront of crystal healing by fellow professionals and as an energetic architect and facilitator, the mandalas and harmonic installations she creates have been celebrated worldwide. To date, her full sensory retreats, workshops, masterclasses, ceremonies, and events have led her to teach and facilitate in over thirty countries.


Whether it is through learning how to work with food as medicine, creative healing through oral traditions, story, art, dance or sound, or through crystalline BEing, psychology, natural remedies, her in person or online offerings, Niamh's dynamic service to humanity is clear - to listen and serve as a crystalline conduit, assisting to you to assist yourself. Through this process comes the gift of remembering, reconnection, reclaiming, and re-embodiment of your Divine role, as your own 'guru' and healer. 




  • (Arrival)

  • 9:30am - 10am: Weekend opening ceremony, building a ‘birthing nest’

  • 10am - 11am: Drum meditation

  • 11am - 1pm: Shaping rawhide and preparing hoops

  • 1pm - 2pm: Lunch

  • 2pm - 6pm: Dyeing rawhide, finishing hoops, begin birthing the Sounders Drum journey to invoke your Spirit Animal/Totem

  • 6:30pm: Dinner*

  • 8pm - 10:30pm: Evening ceremony with Niamh*

  • (Overnight at retreat centre)*


  • 8:30 am: Breakfast*

  • 9:30am - 10am: Morning meditation and intention setting ritual

  • 10am - 1pm: Weaving the drum

  • 1pm -2pm: Lunch

  • 2pm - 5pm: Finishing the drum and drum sounder

  • 5pm - 5:30pm: Gratitude ceremony for the drum

  • 5:30pm - 6pm: Weekend closing ceremony

  • (Departure)

Please note that we don’t work to the clock during these gatherings and the pace is set by the group at all times. As such, the above outline is approximate and times are estimated. *residential retreats only.


Due to the nature of the retreat and in order to ensure an intimate initiation experience, we only work with small groups. Early booking is highly recommended. To reserve your place, REGISTER HERE. 


Your place is booked only when payment is received and you have received an email to confirm your participation at this gathering.

Meals are organic, wholefood, and vegetarian using only local seasonal produce and wild foods. If you have any food intolerances that we should know about, please let us know at time of booking and ensure you bring what you need with you.


Weather appropriate clothing, a sharp wood carving knife, a bath towel and two small kitchen towels, (natural) offerings for the group altar and mandala, a large bag to bring your drum home in, and a journal and pencil to document your experience.



IRELAND: For those of you traveling to us from outside of Ireland, the nearest international airport is Cork Airport, an hours drive. Car rental companies can be found in the arrivals hall of the airport, buses and taxis to Cork city can be found outside the door. A shuttle service between the airport and retreat center can be arranged for you by request at an additional charge. Check in on Saturday is at 9am, checkout on Sunday is at 6.30pm and there is secure parking available at the retreat center over the weekend. If you would like to stay at the retreat center on the Friday night and/or Sunday night, please contact Niamh to ask about the availability and rates.

AUSTRIA: For those of you traveling to us from outside of Austria, the nearest international airports are Munich (Germany), Salzburg and Innsbruck and all between a 45 minute and 90 minute drive. There are shuttle services available between the airport and our center which can be arranged directly with Four Seasons Travel in advance or in the airport arrival hall. There are also train services available from within the airports which will take you to our local station in Kufstein, simply follow the signs in the arrivals hall and you will find both self service ticket machines and desk clerks available for your assistance. If you need to arrange accommodation, we are happy to send recommendations.

Full address and GPS coordinates are sent to registered participants only.

Retreat title, concept, description, text, and images © 2014 - 2021 Niamh Criostail, Stone Mad & The heART of Ritual. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

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