The Olympic Peninsula, at the northwest edge of the continental United States, offers a rare and unique experience of one of God’s cathedrals. Rugged terrain, abundant animal life in salmon, orca, eagle and bear produces an ecosystem so rich and diverse as to fully sustain body, mind and spirit. No other place in America matches its diversity in terrain and weather in such a compact geographic area.
For the original residents of the Olympic Peninsula, the majestic landscape and wealth of resources supplied both physical and spiritual sustenance; so too today. Anchored by the Olympic Mountains, this liminal space is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Puget Sound, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
In such hallowed places, where land and sea meet mountains and sky, our pretenses can often fall away as we reclaim and deepen our connection with the Sacred in all Creation. When we slow our hectic pace, matching our very heartbeat to the rhythm of Earth, we more readily touch into Spirit’s invitation for our lives.
On this pilgrimage, we will walk the Earth, exploring and honoring mountain, river and sea. We will partner with and learn from First Nation peoples as we tune into the spectacular land and seascapes we’ll call home for the week.
We invite you to dedicate a week to listening into Earth with us. Connect with others along a similar path. Come, be a part of Shalem’s inaugural pilgrimage to the Olympic Peninsula, listening in this ruggedly beautiful land and opening yourself to whatever might be called for next in your life.
Shalem’s Vision: Grounded in our understanding of God’s desire for peace, wholeness and well-being, we envision a world transformed by contemplative living and leadership in which all people honor one another and creation, recognize their unity and interconnectedness, and courageously seek to live out of this reality.
Juan de Fuca Cottages, Sequim, WA http://www.juandefuca.com
The Juan de Fuca Cottages sit on a low-bank, waterfront bluff at the edge of Dungeness Bay with their own private beach. They offer spectacular views of the Dungeness Spit, the New Dungeness Lighthouse, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Hurricane Ridge, the Olympic Mountains, and Victoria, B.C., just across the water. Most cottages have full kitchens. Kayak and bike rentals are available and you can reach the lighthouse by either.
Tentative Outline of Itinerary
Saturday “Becoming Pilgrims”
Meet at 1:30 PM in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) and travel by chartered bus with others in our group to the Juan de Fuca Cottages, which will be our home base for seven nights. If you are planning to drive or arrive early to explore on your own, you may prefer to make your own way to the cottages. Plan your schedule to arrive and settle in ahead of our opening circle at 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, Monday “Uniting Our Hearts with Earth’s Rhythm Land, Sea and Sky”
Staying on site, we will begin each day with a time of simple presence, followed by a morning seminar and practice. There will be free time after lunch for exploring Dungeness Bay with its abundant wildlife; kayaking; biking through the countryside; or simply resting and reflecting on Earth’s beauty. We will join together in the late afternoon for small group sharing. Sunday evening will be on your own to get to know your fellow pilgrims or to enjoy time alone. Monday evening we will meet to go over our upcoming travel.
Tuesday “Learning from Those Who Listen”
On this special day, we will visit totems, drum together, and visit Tamanowas Rock Sanctuary, a spiritual site for over 10,000 years. We’ll hear how the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Jefferson Land Trust have worked together to protect this site from developers. In the evening we’ll enjoy cedar plank salmon dinner. We’ll have the honor of meeting with a respected tribal elder who is a gifted storyteller. We’ll close our evening with more drumming and singing with members of the First Nation.
Wednesday “Learning from Those Who Act”
This morning we will join a plenary session followed by free time for reflection. After lunch, we will visit the Elwha River Restoration Project where the largest dam removal and restoration project in U.S. history was completed August 26, 2014, setting the river free. Schedules permitting, we’ll hear from those impacted by this project as well as those involved in restoration. On our way back to the cottages, we’ll stop in Port Angeles where you will have time for dinner on your own.
Thursday “Responding to the Call of the Sea”
Today we travel to Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, a dramatic and rugged Pacific Coast beach noted for its seastacks, columns of rocks formed by sea erosion and considered a spiritual site by locals. Here we will have time to walk the shore, reflect on the call of the sea, and begin our silent extended retreat. The silent retreat will continue through the evening and into the night.
Friday “Listening for the Invitation”
The silent retreat continues. After lunch, we will break our silence together and will plant a tree to commemorate our pilgrimage time. You will have the opportunity to have dinner on your own in Sequim.
Saturday “Taking the Blessing Home”
We will have a morning plenary and final pilgrim circle and will close by 11:00 a.m. Our chartered bus will return you to Sea-Tac Airport to complete your journey home.
Jamie Deering is a graduate of Shalem’s Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Groups & Retreats Program and offers contemplative experiences throughout the Pacific Northwest. She relishes life among the salmon, eagle, bear and orca in Port Ludlow, WA, the heart of the land for our pilgrimage. A licensed massage therapist, somatic therapy coach, and soon to be spiritual director, Jamie is active in creating a thriving global community.
Leah Rampy is an experienced retreat, seminar and pilgrimage leader and Shalem’s former executive director. She is passionate about contemplative ecology and sharing her love for Earth. Leah and her husband live on eight acres in the Shenandoah Valley where they use restorative agriculture and permaculture principles to create their gardens and expand the habitat for pollinators and animals.