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The Autumnal Equinox: A Time of Bounty and Preparation for Change

  • Monhegan Island Inn 1 Ocean Ave. Monhegan, ME United States (map)


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“The voice of autumn speaks…its breath cool and dry and full of change. It is the winding down of the year, a time of both harvest and of death/letting go. More than any other season, people feel a spiritual connection to fall. They feel that they are closer, for a time, to something unnamable and immutable. And indeed, they are.”

~ Wesley Baines ~


You are invited to come indulge your senses in an Autumn retreat on the rustic island of Monhegan, Maine. Isabel Phillips is hosting Mariabruna Sirabella, who will lead us in exploring the spiritual side of autumn through a rugged adventure into nature and surrender to the beauty of the elements. It is an opportunity to honor our inner journeys and align them with the balance of the autumnal Equinox, which occurs this year on September 23rd.

The fall equinox is one of the two days of the year when the days and nights are equal in length; the other is on the spring equinox. The intentions you set around the Autumnal Equinox will stay with you throughout the Winter and carry you into the Spring.

Give yourself a real adventure. This is an opportunity to retreat into nature, feed your soul, and explore portals of possibility. There will be wide open time for making SoulCollage cards, interspersed with opportunities to reflect deeply on the meaning of your cards. In your free time, you can take advantage of opportunities to walk and hike in contemplation, reflect in your journal, or sketch the beauty of what you see in the landscape around you.

Retreat Time will invite us to:

• Honor the Fall Equinox in a sacred way

• Discover Monhegan Island through walking, hiking, bird-watching, star-gazing

• Explore sacred silent time

• Dive into our SoulCollage® decks

• Learn new ways to work with our Neters

• Create new SoulCollage® cards

• Rejuvenate body and soul with the help of the bountiful nature on Monhegan Island

About Monhegan Island

Monhegan is a small rocky island 10 miles out to sea, off the coast of Maine. It has successfully resisted modern development, and has no paved roads and cars are not allowed (except luggage pick-up trucks!) It boasts 12 miles of walking trails offer commanding views of the Atlantic Ocean from the highest cliffs in Maine. Some trails lead to rocky cliffs, others offer leisurely walks through the “Cathedral Forest,” lined with ferns and dotted with fairy houses, gently constructed of found objects from nature along the trails.

Only 3/4 mile wide and 1-1/2 miles long, Monhegan is a summer haven for artists and hikers and other visitors who appreciate its isolation, the beauty of its wilderness areas, its quiet relaxed atmosphere, and its unhurried pace. Because of its small size, one can view the sunrise on one side of the island, and the sunset on the opposite side at the end of a day.

Although Monhegan is year-round home to fewer than 65 residents (most of them fishing or lobstering families) it boasts a one-room schoolhouse, a library, and a museum.

Monhegan Island attracts visitors from all over the world who want to paint or photograph the rugged, coastal scenery; see migrating birds, rare wildflowers, and sea life (whales and seals).

September is “Low Season” on the Island, with less summer vacation foot traffic and more “birdwatching,” hiking and now, SoulCollaging energy!

Space is limited to 10-12 participants, so register early to avoid disappointment. A waitlist will be maintained in the event of any cancellations.

What is provided: All basic SoulCollage supplies will be provided for you (images, glue, blank cards, Exacto knives, scissors, plastic sleeves).

What to bring: any special images that you may have tucked away somewhere, and any SoulCollage® cards that you would like to explore more deeply in the service of your soul's journey into autumn. Just keep in mind the baggage allowance on the ferry: of 2 suitcases (50 lbs. max.) and 1 carry-on.

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Total Costs of Program, Accommodations, Meals and Ferry to Island

Total Costs of Program, Accommodations, Meals and Ferry to Island

1) Program Fee ($450.00 payable to Mariabruna – see below)

2) Accommodations (reserved through and payable to Isabel by check or money order) Accommodationrates vary depending upon your choice of accommodation and your length of stay (4-7 nights)

3) Meals

a. Breakfast: All Accommodations include full breakfast buffet served at the Island Inn.

b. Lunch: Homemade Soups and bread will be available at Zimmie’s Cottage for those who want

to lunch in as they make SoulCollage cards, etc. You are responsible for lunches other than

soup provided at Zimmie’s Cottage. There are several places on the island for lunch, picnic

supplies, snacks or dinner:

c. Dinner: You are responsible for dinner on your own. There are several places on the Island to

dine, or you may prefer to prepare something simple of your own in the Kitchen at Zimmie’s


4) Transportation to the island your responsibility and will include: Cost of Ferry to the Island ($38-

$40 RT depending upon departure point). There are three Maine locations with ferry rides over to

Monhegan Island and back: Click here for details:

a. Boothbay Harbor (RT Ferry ride of 80 minutes)

b. New Harbor (RT Ferry ride of 60 minutes)

c. Port Clyde (RT Ferry ride of 60 minutes)

5) Cost of baggage transfer from boat to your cottage ($40)

6) Cost of parking your car at ferry departure point (approximately $4-7 per day)

Registration Process and Deadlines for Payment

Registration Process and Deadlines for Payment Your registration for this retreat will not be confirmed until you have completed the following two steps:

1) Register with Mariabruna by submitting your $450.00 program fee via your personal banking Zelle account. Use as the email address to which the funds are sent.

2) Determine your preferred room accommodations with Isabel Phillips at and let her know the precise length of your stay (4-7 nights). Then submit 50% of the total room cost (taxes not included) directly to her. This reserves your accommodations. The accommodations fee is payable to Isabel Phillips by check, money order, Venmo or Zelle at the time of registration.

Once your tuition/program fee and 50% accommodations fee have been submitted, we will contact you with a request for more detailed registration information (address, phone, emergency contact, etc.)

Please Note:

a) Because of space constraints for our gathering circles, this retreat is limited to 10-12 participants. Register early to avoid disappointment.

b) Before paying your retreat program fee to Mariabruna, please email Isabel Phillips at to ensure room availability.

c) Only after both of the above steps are completed, will your reservation for the retreat be complete. Isabel Phillips will email you a confirmation and further details.

d) As soon as you are confirmed for the retreat, it is important to make a ferry boat reservation. Reserve your ferry ride early, especially since the number of ferry crossings may diminish after midSeptember. You don’t want to be all signed up for the retreat with your registration and accommodation fees all paid, and be caught without passenger space on one of the ferries!

Payment for the remaining 50% of your accommodations charges will be required by June 15, 2019. This second installment is payable to Isabel Phillips by check, money order, Venmo or Zelle. Please mail checks or money orders to: Dr. Isabel Phillips,180 Summer Street, Weston, MA 02493.

Our Cancellation Policy: Please Read Carefully

If you cancel on or before June 1, 2019, Mariabruna will issue a full refund of your program fee, less a $75 administrations fee. Similarly, If you cancel before the final 50% payment is due on June 1, 2019, Isabel will issue you a full refund of your initial 50% accommodations fee, less a $75 administration fee.

If you must cancel after June 1, 2019, but before August 1, 2019, and we are able to fill your spot from our waitlist, we will refund all charges for both the retreat program fee and your accommodations, less a $75 administration fee for each.

No refunds can be offered after August 1, 2019. The season on Monhegan is short, the location is remote, and the accommodations are at a premium, so our innkeepers must hold us to a very strict cancellation policy. This means that no refunds can be offered if you fail to attend, or if you leave the event early, or if you become ill, unless someone from our waitlist is able to take your place on short notice. A bad weather forecast does not constitute a valid reason to cancel.

Health, accident and misfortune must be covered by your own travel insurance.

Extreme Weather: In the unlikely event that ALL boats (from all three of the departure ports) are cancelled due to rough weather, no room charge will be made for that day only. Should this happen, you may need to find accommodations (at your own expense) on the mainland, and take a boat over on the following day. You will, of course, be refunded the cost of that one night’s stay. If the boats are running, the retreat is on!

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About the event host:

Isabel Phillips discovered SoulCollage® in 2007, trained as a SoulCollage® Facilitator with Mariabruna Sirabella in 2011, and became a Regional Group Coordinator for Massachusetts in 2015. Originally from South Carolina, Isabel moved to Boston in 1978, earned her doctorate in neuropsychology and language from Harvard University in 1987, and has worked as a teacher, teacher mentor and educational consultant to families and schools for four decades. Isabel now facilitates SoulCollage®, meditation and freewriting groups. She experiences these processes as powerful pathways for personal growth and transformation, interpersonal healing, and spiritual inquiry in community. Her SoulCollage® gatherings provide an oasis for replenishing the well and caring for the soul.

Additional Information

Clothing. Everywhere on the Island is casual. Bring a warm sweater, a wind-breaker (you may need it on the boat), and possibly foul weather gear. You may wish to bring long underwear, especially for sleeping in Zimmie’s Cottage and for evening walks near the ocean. Wear sturdy shoes fit for walking on rocky surfaces – no island roads are paved – over ledges, through wooded areas and into mud.

Pack a Flashlight. There are no streetlights on Monhegan.

Telephone Landlines: Although not provided in the rooms, a telephone is available in the Lobby of the Island Inn. A phone card is required for long distance calls.

Internet: Wireless Internet is provided throughout the property, but with limited bandwidth. It is usually adequate for routine emailing, but will not support large attachments or video streaming. Ethernet plug in points are provided on the ground floor of the main building for use with your own equipment.

Cell Phones: Coverage should improve in the near future but please do not assume that your service will operate – it is spotty at best! Smartphones normally receive emails but sometimes are not able to send them. In general, text messages can be sent and received reliably in the village. Outside of the village (on the trails), coverage is less reliable; there maybe some delay in the transmission of text messages. So, if you are trying to text someone out on one of the hiking trails, keep in mind that they may not receive the message until you are back in the village!

Electricity. Electricity is produced on island and very expensive! For this reason, there is no air conditioning, there are no elevators, and TV’s/hairdryers are not standard items in the rooms. You may bring your own personal hairdryers. If necessary, you may bring an electrical heating pad or an electric blanket; but please use responsibly (sparingly) and with great caution. Monhegan has a volunteer fire department, but it is not much more than a “Bucket brigade!”

Emergency and Medical Services. Equipment and supplies for medical care are extremely limited. Emergency medical services originate from the mainland and often are delayed by weather. In case of a serious emergency, call 911 but be aware that cell phone service can be spotty especially outside the village.

Medication: If you are on prescription medication, make sure you have enough on hand for your entire stay as there is no Island pharmacy.

Outdoor cautions. As elsewhere in New England forests, there may be mosquitos and poison ivy along trails. Avoid such nuisances by wearing long pants with your socks pulled up over their bottoms, and use insect repellents. That beingsaid, September is not “high season” for mosquitos!

Pack in-pack out Trail Policy: There are no trash barrels on the trails. If you bring your lunch or snacks on a trail, please“brown-bag” it and carry the remains back to the cottage for disposal.

Money. There is no bank on the island, but there is an ATM at the Barnacle Café on the dock. Most proprietors accept checks or credit cards.


a) Be sure to label your baggage with your name, address, Island destination (Pierce Cottage or Zimmie’s Cottage),and the boat on which you are travelling (e.g. 11am boat from Port Clyde to Monhegan), to prevent luggage from

getting on the wrong boat or being taken back to the mainland prematurely. Trucks to deliver your luggage are onthe dock at boat time.

b) Free Baggage Allowance. Each roundtrip passenger ticket includes the cost of 2 suitcases and 1 carry-on. NObag should weigh over 50 lbs!

Earlier Event: August 25
Tamburi del Cuore
Later Event: October 1
Drums of Fire