Western Mysticism Retreat – mythology and symbolism with Mira Riddiford

Friday June 9th – Friday June 16th 2017

The divine masculine and feminine

For centuries, Western Mystical traditions have taught ways of working with key life concerns, providing help and understanding for thriving in daily life.

Throughout time, spiritual traditions have recognised the value in humanising and personifying subjects that are challenging to work with. For instance, Greek Civilisation honoured Pan as a way of acknowledging how nourishing the qualities of laughter, playfulness and feeling connected to nature can be, and Huntress Artemis for her love of the wild, and protection of the divine feminine.

In this retreat, we will experience how Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Norse civilisations have supported their societies to meet challenging periods in their lives with grace and wisdom.

Anyone with a love of classics, art history or even mythological themed movies will find this subject matter fascinating to meditate on and these symbols and archetypes are very much still present and alive in modern culture.





Introduction to the Western Mystery Tradition and the Archetype Lady Hawk
How the Western Mystery symbolism works, and we will explore the Nine of Pentacles, mature femininity, abundant wealth. Egyptian Goddess Isis. Greek Goddess Hebe. Norse Goddess Freyja’s golden tears. Winged/Bird symbology – soaring mind.

The Hanged Man 
Descent into the mysteries, claiming of the wisdom depths, suspended mind, mind without movement, stillness of the mind, calming the mind. Odin. Allowing experiences of heavenly bliss and comfort. Neptune, the water element. Letting go. Surrender.

To look death in the face can actually help us live fuller more enriched lives. Great peace comes from knowing our own mortality. To walk, to grow, to depart. To make friends with change. Using the tools we all have to deal with unfinished business. Thanatos.


Temperance / Art 
Equilibrium. Equanimity is always present. Adaptation. Adjustment. Cooling. Balance. Goddess Huntress Diana/Artemis, Protectress. Transmutation of the opposite characteristic. “The bringing forth of life”. Archangel Michael. Goddess Hygeia, preventative medicine, goddess/personification of health.

The connection to life, fertility and nature. “Thy priests go forth at dawn and they wash their hearts with laughter”, “What keeps me from expressing this inner freedom I feel”, “We can make no real effort to be free until we feel our limitations. Until they irk us, we can make no effort to strike off our chains”. The young Bacchus.

The Tower / The Lightening Bolt
Growth. Stability through change.“Among weapons I am the thunderbolt”


Pre-registration is required as space is limited.

Many people have tarot cards sitting in their book shelves, but very few know about the esoteric, spiritual tradition that the Tarot has originated from. It is a complete path of enlightenment, one that has tremendous support for unfolding. It is a teaching that is filled with empowerment, joy, culture, playfulness, and ways of dealing with challenge.  Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche taught the Western Mysteries throughout his life, and taught it from his thirties.

For this meditation retreat Mira will draw from Namgyal Rinpoche’s teachings on the Tarot, along with Paul Foster Case, Carl Jung and many other teachers of this rich understanding of how to thrive in the wholeness of life.

This retreat will be in noble silence other than class times, and teacher/student interviews. This is to help with being able to calm our chatty minds, feeling the peace of the environment, and being able to deeply listen to our inner wisdom.




About Mira Riddiford:

Mira is a New Zealand based dharma, meditation and mindfulness teacher. With over 20 years of experience, she has been trained through retreat work, study and apprenticeship. Mira’s warm and engaging style breathes life into these classical teachings.

Mira has two children, understands the pressures of city living and careers and is a strong supporter of diversity. www.mindfulnesseffect.org


Contact Course Manager: Louise Mair at louisemair@hotmail.co.uk for more information or to register.



Cost for the retreat: 

Member: $476
Non member: $518

If using Paypal please add 5% of the total cost and include with your payment to cover Paypal’s fees – many thanks.

To register please fill out our online registration form

*Please consider becoming a Wangapeka member – click here for details.



Plus Dana (donation) to Mira for her teachings.

(These figures include accommodation, food and a nominal contribution towards Mira’s travel costs.  They don’t include any dana / donation to Mira for the teachings she will impart.  In accordance with tradition, this is left up to each individual to gift according to their own means). Please bring cash to pay for the Dana.

About Dana or considered generosity. 

Dana is often taken to simply mean donation or gift. Dana is a Buddhist teaching about generosity of spirit or the sharing of blessings, the aspiration to generate health and goodwill in all the cycles of giving and receiving; the transactions of daily life. In reflecting on the practice of dana one begins to understand the interdependence of life. Dana is a gift that supports the livelihood of the teacher and their families. In turn the teachings offered are to support you in meeting with life with wisdom and compassion. Each participant arrives at the amount of dana voluntarily. Teachers of the Dharma are supported by considered generosity. Following Buddhist tradition, Mira charges no fee for teaching.  It is customary to offer dana at the beginning of the retreat (there is a traditional bowl for this in the main hall). Giving prior to the teaching supports the experience of openness and generosity.





The Western Mysteries Tradition exists to help with living well in daily life.

Most of us seeking experiences in mindfulness, meditation or enlightenment turn to Eastern spiritual traditions. But what of our Western spiritual inheritance? In this one week meditation retreat we will explore how we relate in our psyche to impermanence, equanimity and stability and how they can nourish and strengthen our innate creativity, health and intelligence.

Great minds like Plato and Carl Jung taught on Archetype for a profound reason; archetypes nourish our humanity and help us understand what propels civilisation. These contemplations have been created as a doorway to vast understanding.



Testimonials from the previous Western Mystery Retreat with Mira Riddiford at the Wangapeka



“The Western Mysteries retreat was a highly supported environment for the exploration and meditation of the Tarot archetypes. Mira’s teaching was thought-provoking and gripping, that nurtured the various levels of meditators present. It was an incredible experience to explore the dharma from this colourful, creative and totally different perspective – with such a gifted, open-minded, modern, tuned-in teacher. I am only beginning to see the effects of the retreat, but am beyond grateful to have been there.” – N. Karneef



“Recently I attended a Western Mysteries retreat taught by Mira Riddiford.

I originally registered hoping for a rest and respite from a busy work life in community healthcare. I was not disappointed and received so much more.

Mira skilfully held  space for the diverse retreatants to experience the teachings. These were vibrantly given in a respectful, humorous and supportive way.

Fascinating teachings drawing on ancient western wisdoms also resonating with modern science.

Being a fledgling meditator, discovering meaningful ways to increase the times and  ways to support myself and others was gold. Drawing on thousands of years of collective wisdom has been an unexpected and refreshing  experience.

Returning to daily life and facing a particually challenging situation. I found myself naturally drawing on the rich learning and experiences from retreat to feel further calm and support.”  – S. Hollobon



“I highly recommend the Western Mysteries series with Mira. Anyone genuinely searching for meaning in life will not be disappointed. This course is so rich with content, it was thoroughly enjoyable and so much more than an intellectual exercise. Mira took us on a journey of exploration of the fabric of life. Mira’s wealth of practical experience in esoteric study allows these ancient teachings to truly come alive.” – N. Stevens