In The Spotlight - Ravens Retreat
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This month emmaheaven.com is shining the spotlight on...
Ravens Retreat is a beautiful canalside cottage in Aberdulais, situated on Tenant Canal in Waterfall Valley. Aberdulais Falls are just across the road with Melin Court, Henrhyd Falls and Angel Falls a short drive away.
The cottage sleeps four comfortably with a king size bed in one room and two single beds in the other. It is self-catering, or your stay can be catered with home-cooked, vegan meals to order.
The lady behind this is none other than Joolz Raven Stewart - one of the most amazing women I have ever had the privilege of meeting.
She is one of life’s lovely people. Someone who sees the best in people, who loves life and just wants to make it better for everyone. She’s kind, generous, talented, spiritual, the sort of person that when you’re in her presence you get goosebumps.
Joolz is a fascinating lady, and I could spend all day listening to her, exploring her amazing cottage, which nestles alongside the most picturesque canalside, with roaming ducks and geese. Best of all, was eating her vegan chocolate cake, which literally blew my mind. I’m still dreaming of it days later. And her other vegan meals are pretty awesome as well, as Christie Heaven can testify to in this month’s ‘Feed Me’ column!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Joolz Raven Stewart...
“I work in the community mental health team, and also in the evenings I’m a soul midwife - a companion to anyone who’s dying, end of life terminal diagnosis - which I absolutely love.
Alongside those roles, I perform various therapies, healing, energy healing, hypnotherapy and past life regression, all of which just sort of fits together.
The idea of the retreat came about a few years ago, but I never thought I would be in a position to do it. So when this cottage, just several doors down the road from me, came on to the market, it was ideal. I’d admired and wanted it for some time and it came back on to the market at a price I could afford.
We have been spending our time fixing and renovating the cottage, and have divided the garden into two separate areas.
In one area there will be a relaxing garden to sit and eat outside while enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings; and the other will house a healing room, where anyone with a terminal diagnosis can come free of charge. We will also be open to paying clients as well. We are hoping that that will balance things out so we can afford to offer treatments for free to those most in need.
I’m vegan and we will soon be offering vegan foods at the retreat, as a lot of the cancer patients I work with may switch to a vegan diet. Some find it helps their recovery and is easier on them while they are receiving chemotherapy and other treatments.
I am also looking at promoting myself as a vegan cook for people hosting dinner parties, or catering for visiting friends/relatives. I come along with all the necessary ingredients, as most people don’t have vegan stock, and I will cook whatever they desire.
I’m frequently asked where the ‘Raven’ in my name comes from. I’m a traditional witch, practising traditional witchcraft, and my goddess is Hekate - she is the goddess of the underworld, a psychopomp (‘guide of souls’) and she works with the dead and spirit.
Hekate is the goddess of liminal (transitional) places and ‘crossing over’, goddess of the crossroads. The raven comes from her - all wild animals are sacred to her, dark animals including hounds, owls and ravens - and this is my dedication to her.
I work with people who are dying. As a soul midwife I provide support to them (and their family) in order to facilitate a gentle and tranquil death.. It’s about giving that person the control back, because often you go into hospital and you’re told what’s going to happen and most people don’t realise that they actually have a choice. I’m there as an advocate and as a companion, asking them: “what do you want?”
I help people to do things they wish to achieve - such as going on a rollercoaster, visiting certain places, making memory boxes, writing cards to loved ones for special occasions, or just simply sitting with them and talking.
I am often with people when they pass and I have been asked to speak at their funerals. After completing my celebrant training, I can now perform that service as well. After having spent so much time with them, we build up a picture together of exactly what they want.
The retreat will be a getaway for people in an area surrounded by natural beauty. They can visit all the local surroundings which I arrange, or they can just relax and take in the ambience, enjoying a very chilled out holiday.
Therapies and vegan meals are also available to all the guests.
My vision is that anyone with a terminal diagnosis will be able to visit the retreat at no cost to themselves, with free treatments and vegan food, which will be subsidised by the paying customers.
I am hoping I can balance this well enough, so that we can accommodate paying customers, as well as being able to offer those with a terminal diagnosis an oasis of calm away from everything.
The retreat is my way of ‘paying it forward’. Every day I go outside and look up at the sky; I don’t care what’s going on - there’s something positive in everything and I’m so grateful to be where I am. Life is beautiful and people tend to forget that.”
Keep an eye out for poetry and writers’ workshops, Reiki healing classes and attunement, clairvoyant development circles, and tarot classes.
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