“When I showed up for the Ukalai Women’s Retreat at the Blue Deer Center, I knew I would learn from smart shaman women.

But, I really didn’t know what to expect. What I experienced was deep knowing and love.  This was a place of deep dreaming and an opening to begin to heal.  We spent time outside, which I did want to do.  The outdoor solitude time was a space for gratitude and prayer. We also did projects that I wasn’t excited about.  But,  what I came to discover, was that  gooey, chocolatey richness came surprisingly from the place of not wanting to do, but doing anyway (at times, kicking and screaming). We all dug deep into the darkness within. From sludging through the murkiness, eventually there was light, then expressive art was created. I was in awe of what came when I let go of the fear and the perception that there was ugliness inside. What I came to know was what seemed ugly was really sweetness, beauty and joy.

I became wiser to my ability to heal and be held by the amazing women mentoring and attending.  I also opened to the ability to hold myself, which is the  magic I continue to practice, even two years after the retreat.”

Rita Swanson


Rita lives in Seattle with her husband Bob and her 4 cats. She attended Ancient Wisdom Rising in Atlanta and  plans on attending the next gathering at the Blue Deer Center in August.  Locally, Buffy puts on a great fire in Seattle and Sharon and Peter’s fires in Olympia are also a gathering place full of rich conversation. Rita is a certified public accountant and does fraud auditing for the Washington State Bar Association. Neglecting her natural creative side for too long, Rita is learning to play the Bougarabou and is enrolled in a shamanic intuitive development course, and loves to travel with Bob. She’s very  proud of her two kids, Elise and Paul and Bob’s two kids, Andy and David. They are all making their way quite well in the world.

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