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Healing Gods and Goddesses Subtle Alchemy Retreat with Mira Riddiford

Jun 7 @ 6:00 pmJun 14 @ 2:00 pm

Learn about unity through archetypal meditations that encourage
wellness, clarity of mind and joy

This retreat is for people who want to understand themselves and others better – and those who yearn to nurture quieter or shadowed aspects of themselves.

It is for those who have an interest in discovering the universal and timeless beauty and power of the god and goddess archetypes.

Whether you immersed yourself in stories about mythological gods and goddesses when you were young or have little familiarity with them, this retreat draws on the potent concepts each god/dess contains and empowers participants to find their own way to benefit from these teachings.

The course material is appropriate for those with extensive meditation experience and for those with little or no meditation in their lives.

What’s the difference between myth and an archetype?

A myth is a traditional story which once served to explain a natural phenomenon. An archetype is a consciousness that lives within you and around you – a consciousness that can be developed and nurtured to bring you to your fullest potential.

Meditating on archetypes and symbols is a centuries-old tradition. This June, join a one-week retreat and learn how to make this practice relevant for the challenges of the modern world. Uncover the strength, wisdom, power and grace that is your birthright, but that many of us have lost the ability to contact.

The retreat is being held at the The Wangapeka Centre, and will be led by Mira Riddiford, who has developed these fascinating meditations to share with you. With over two decades of meditation training, Mira will explain this content clearly and with humour. Her work is new and dynamic, her teaching is engaging and warm-hearted, and she’s supported by a centuries-old tradition of teachers, and has students all over North America, Europe, and Asia.

The retreat will focus on wellness of body and mind. Share delicious, healthy meals and feel your stress melt away at this centre, which is filled with beautiful energy from decades of spiritual use and exploration. If you’re drawn to archetypes, goddesses and gods, the power of ancient symbols or even today’s superheroes, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to study with her. Book now to secure your place.

  • Discover more about familiar European gods and goddesses such as Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis, Apollo, Pan, Mercury, and Odin, along with lesser-known yet potent ones such as: Hygeia, Freyja, Hathor, Isis, Osiris, young Dionysus, Mithras and the great mother Cybele
  • Experience for yourself methods that will help create a deeper, more intimate understanding of their healing powers
  • Through art history, be fascinated to learn the hidden symbolism of gods and goddesses
  • A meditation text similar in structure to a sadhana (though with short latin and greek mantras) will be given for the Roman god Mithras, an archetype (meaning pure form) of victory and friendship; and also the Greek god Pan, an archetype of joy and nature: mountain wilds, fields, groves and wooded glens
  • All will be explained thoroughly, so there will be no problem in understanding for people new to this practice. Beginners to advanced meditators welcomed
  • There will be plenty of time between class times to practice or to let your mind and body rest
  • The retreat will be in refreshing silence other than class times, and teacher/student interviews. This will help calm our busy minds, in order to absorb the peace of this healing environment, and allow us to listen genuinely to ourselves and the natural world around us.

Daily Schedule:

7am – 8am: Breakfast

9am: Class

1pm: Lunch, main meal of the day cooked by Ronnie and helpers

3pm: Afternoon class (optional: either follow-on class from the morning or guided group activity on creativity)

6pm: Light supper cooked by Ronnie and helpers

7.30pm: Group meditation sit


Odin (Wōden), for whom the day Wednesday was named. Known as a seer and seeker of great knowledge, Odin gave up his eye for wisdom, and in doing so he saw the unity in all things. Chief of the Nordic gods, Odin is a wanderer, patron of rulers and outcasts. Odin has two raven companions, Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory or mind), who bring him information from all over the world. He rides the flying, eight-legged horse Sleipnir, who climbs and gallops across the sky. Odin is also accompanied by his animal companions or guides, the wolves Geri and Freki, whose names signify hunger. Odin has plenty to teach us.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote of how important it is ‘to keep the heart awake to love and beauty.’ Love is healing – to feel loved is to feel divine. This very human impulse to love, and be loved, is the honouring of the goddess Aphrodite. In Ancient Greece (and through her counterpart goddess Venus in Ancient Rome) this spiritual love was honoured in a higher form, and many temples were built in her name. These places had an atmosphere which cultivated healing for what weighed on people’s hearts. It is possible to still feel this healing experience now.


It has been said that ‘Justice is a woman satisfied’. Many ancient texts speak of the divine feminine and masculine energy dwelling in people of all genders. To consciously house these energies is to be empowered in wisdom. By integrating what is unknown in our shadow, we can then create a life filled with compassionate understanding. Humans can then empathise more easily with others, and life can contain less suffering. In Ancient Greece, the goddess of wisdom was known as Athena. As a strategist and protector, she was called to help on battlefields. Carved on Athena’s statues are many symbols which explain a path to protecting and healing your heart, body, and mind. All you need is the key.


The ability to protect oneself and provide nourishment resonates with our fundamental survival instinct. Many would say that we need the wisdom of this goddess of the hunt more than ever. As we explore Artemis further, are we ready for her challenge? ‘Stop complaining and start aiming!’ Artemis is the goddess of the forests and mountainous wildlands. A moon goddess, she is a protector in childbirth, of nine-year-old girls (who were called her “little she bears”) and relieving women’s ill health. Always virginal, she was self-wed, free to roam and be true to herself. To connect with the qualities of Artemis within yourself is to ‘come alive again’ and have sharp, clear mental focus.

The Retreat Team

Meditation Teacher

Mira Riddiford is a meditation and mindfulness teacher who runs retreats and series in New Zealand. Her online classes have participants joining from North America, Europe, and Asia. With more than 20 years of daily practice, Mira has been trained through retreat work, study and apprenticeship in the Namgyal Rinpoche stream of teachings. She has a close ongoing relationship/association with the Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre and the Auckland Sphere Group.

Having worked in creative fields, Mira understands how mindfulness can enhance the arts, and she is respectful of diversity in all its forms. Mira focusses on the relevance of mindfulness in modern daily living, and how it can help bring about calm and well being. She specialises in making teachings on Western Mysteries, Archetypal integration and Non-Duality available, and clear to students who are new to these subjects. Her contemporary warm and engaging style breathes life into these meditation teachings.

Mira is passionate about what we can learn from these ancient gods and goddesses and how these teachings can work as a map for personal development. You can find out more about her work here: www.westernmysticism.com

Course Manager

For the fifth year running, we are blessed to have the experience of Scottish sculpturist Louise joining us and managing the retreat. Previously the office caretaker at the Wangapeka for a year and half, Louise is a fount of knowledge about the centre. Contact her for any further enquiries about the retreat:

Meditation Liaison

We are grateful for having the wonderfully supportive energy of Nicola assisting Mira on this retreat. Liaising with Louise and Mira, Nicola will be helping with the logistics of the retreat running smoothly.


We are glad to announce that Lilly Redgrave will be our looking after our nourishment. At the Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre we have a holistic understanding of wellbeing for body and mind.

Cost for the retreat

Member: $606
Non member: $676
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

Register now

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

If you need to apply for Sangha Support (financial assistance with paying a portion of your fees) please contact Louise.

Plus Dana (donation) to Mira for her teachings.

These figures above 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. So people from different income brackets can benefit from this retreat, no set fee is put on the teachings. Please give generously according to your means, taking into account Mira has a family to provide for and that meditation teachings are her primary income, you could use as a guide $20 – $60 per day (with the understanding that everyone’s circumstances are different). Please bring cash to pay for the Dana.



“Wow! The meditation retreat with Mira Riddiford was so incredibly powerful & transformational for me. I spent the entire week in my own private hut which allowed me to deeply explore my mind, body & spirit. Meditating on gods, goddesses & tarot card archetypes opened me up to new ways of being. Almost like I could create myself & BE anyway I choose in each moment. I feel like I was reborn. On top of the transformation that was happening inside, I felt immense peace being surrounded by nature on the outside. Mira’s teachings were thoughtful yet playful. Her strong presence, intuition & wisdom created a safe, loving space where everyone’s needs were acknowledged. She is a powerhouse Wonder Woman. A truly amazing retreat to be on.” – L. Hill

“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, thoroughly enjoyable and so much more than an intellectual exercise. Mira took us on a journey of exploration of the fabric of life. Her wealth of practical experience in esoteric study allows these teachings to truly come alive.” – N. Stevens

“The Western Mysteries retreat was a highly supported environment for the exploration and meditation on the Tarot archetypes. Mira’s teaching was thought-provoking and gripping, nurturing 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.

They were fascinating teachings, drawing on ancient western wisdom, while also resonating with modern science.

Being a fledgling meditator, discovering meaningful 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 particularly challenging situation, I found myself naturally drawing on the rich learning experiences to feel further calm and support.”  – S. Hollobon

“The Western Mysticism retreat with Mira Riddiford was a precious opportunity to experience the richness, colour and depth of meditating on archetypes and symbols. As the stillness and silence deepened, I felt I could catch a glimpse of gods and goddesses behind the next tree. The delicious meals provided by the Mystery Kitchen were also very memorable. What a profound gift to study a path exploring the spiritual traditions of my ancestors. A magical week.” – N. Paton

“With an interest in meditation, but being unfamiliar with Buddhist imagery, Mira’s course on Western Mysticism resonated strongly with me. Contemplating together on some of the classical and pagan icons, so embedded in Western culture and heritage, was a powerful means of gaining greater insight. The beauty and tranquillity of the Wangapeka Retreat Centre was a wonderful place to enjoy that.” – J. Leyland

Mira gives personal meditation interviews through Skype

Book an interview


Can’t make this retreat? Mira is teaching the same themed retreat at Origins, in Western Australia in April.

“The High Priestess”
by Lady Frieda Harris.


Jun 7 @ 6:00 pm
Jun 14 @ 2:00 pm
Event Category:

Welcome to the Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre. People visit from all over the world to meditate and enjoy the peace of this remarkable destination. The Wangapeka is a purpose built retreat centre, with fresh clean air and beautiful vistas. It is very quiet and ideal for respite, stress relief and deep meditation. We have a meditation hall, solo retreat huts, a main hall for dining and community, and a fully catered kitchen and an onsite vegetable garden.

The Wangapeka Study and Retreat Meditation Centre is a Universalist centre home to a wide range of teachings, paths, and studies. Retreats are held on Mindfulness, Vipassana, Insight, Heart based practices, Loving Kindness, Calm-abiding, Metta, Compassion, Conscious Movement, Nature, Forest Walks, Yoga, Dance, Feldenkrais, Wellness, Wellbeing, Archetypal Integration, Western Mysticism, Non-Duality, Zen, Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings with Empowerments and Sadhana Practice.

We are located in the foothills of the Southern Alps overlooking the Wangapeka River, about an hour and a half drive SW of Nelson, in the South Island of New Zealand.

We have meditation retreats throughout the year, have huts available for solo retreats, and welcome bookings from external groups. There are also opportunities available to work on our land. Come and enjoy this uniquely vibrant and peaceful centre.

355 Wangapeka River Rd
R.D.2. Wakefield 7096
New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 522 4221

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