PLEASE TAKE A LOOK OVER SOME COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS BEFORE BOOKING A RETREAT
How much does a retreat cost?
It is $265/night which includes meals and retreat support.
And $150 for shuttling both ways to/from the Medford (MFR) airport.
Where are you located?
We are located between Ashland and Klamath Falls in Southern Oregon. The closest airport is Medford (MFR).
How do people navigate around the room and use the bathroom and eat?
People find that since they are settled, aware and not in a rush - that they surprisingly navigate around the room and tend to all the essentials with ease.
How many days should I book my dark retreat for?
We typically recommend starting with 3 to 5 days in the dark and ask that retreatants book one full day/night to settle in upon arriving and one full day/night to integrate after emerging from the dark.
Can I book longer than 5 days in darkness?
Throughout the years of hosting darkness retreats and witnessing hundreds of people come through — we’ve found that the most impactful retreats tend to be 3 to 5 days in darkness.
Currently, we don't feel that it is responsible for us to let people go in for longer than 5 days for their first time - no matter how prepared they feel they are for the darkness.
As humans - we're very good at enduring, surviving and getting by. We're masters at coping, dissociating, numbing, and insulating ourselves from uncomfortable experiences while not even being aware that we are doing that. We don't want to perpetuate that cycle and when people go for longer dark retreats - from what we’ve noticed - they spend a lot of time "getting by" and relying on different strategies and coping mechanisms that help them endure.
And the truth is - we have not seen that longer is directly correlated to deeper. It is the quality of connection that matters way more than the length of time.
In our earlier days, we had a lot of people go in for up to 10 days all the way up to 40 days. And from where we’re sitting - in almost all of those cases - that length of time did not bring them any deeper into their being than those who have gone in for 3 to 5 days.
Deeply and genuinely feeling safe is the most important factor in having a meaningful time in the darkness. It is the most significant quality for supporting someone in being deeply vulnerable, honest and directly connected with themselves.
We have found that retreats of 3 to 5 days in darkness tend to be the sweet spot.
What is your support like during the darkness retreat?
We have a check-in every evening when we bring up food. We do not enter into your space. We chat through the food pass-thru box and are able to hear each other very well.
These check-ins can last anywhere from a couple minutes to twenty minutes - whatever is appropriate. We have found that a little bit of support goes a very long way.
We do our utmost to not overlay any spiritual ideas, ideals, beliefs, modalities, practices or teachings.
We are here to lean in with you and to deepen and hold the feeling of safety. We’re here to genuinely meet you where you are at and delicately respond and ask questions that invite you to see yourself through a different lens and ultimately directly connect with something new and previously unknown.
Is there any preparation and integration support before and after the darkness retreat?
We offer deeply supportive and insightful sessions with an advanced practitioner, Adrienne, who weaves in craniosacral, somatic inquiry, and her own depth and experience working with dark retreatants.
Most retreatants do these sessions as they deeply prepare someone for the darkness.
Adrienne has an amazing gift of being able to illuminate and point towards unseen subconscious material which supports retreatants in a deeper authenticity and capacity to be with previously unknown and/or unwelcomed parts of themselves that they may touch in the darkness.
They are two 2 hour sessions before and after the dark immersion.
We tend to book these as we get closer to someone’s retreat date.
What is the best way to prepare?
It is truly hard to prepare for a darkness retreat as tools,skills and techniques don’t last long enough in the eternity of the darkness to be of substantial use.
In our experience over the years - the people who are the most “ready” are those who are genuinely curious, open, available, willing to be exposed and able to set aside any cultural and spiritual overlays, ideas and ideals.
We have found that somatic therapy, or any other modalities that invite someone to slow down and gently attune to and include their body, can be very supportive in the genuine exploration of resting in darkness.
What do you do in the darkness?
There is a beautiful invitation in the darkness to discover who we are when we’re not fixed on doing, achieving, progressing, awakening, transforming or even healing.
There is a gentle exploration of resting, receiving, listening, including, welcoming, feeling, opening, surrendering, softening, perceiving, being, simply existing.
Do I need meditation experience?
Meditation experience may help but it is most certainly not necessary.
In our experience - people who don’t have a strong spiritual personality/structure/conditioning/overlay tend to have more of an impactful time. And they are more easily able to simply rest and open into something totally new.
What we see is that meditators and "spiritual" aspirants tend to overlay their "way" and what they think it looks like when they've “arrived” and subtly grasp for an experience to affirm that and can thus miss what is truly here. They can also use their techniques as a way of "keeping their head above the water" to avoid feeling discomfort and what is truly underneath the sense of control.
People without much spiritual "stuff" have less lenses to shed in having a direct experience with Truth beyond cultural and spiritual overlays.
We’ve witnessed many non-meditators effortlessly drop into deep states of meditation.
This is not to say that meditators and spiritual aspirants don't have profound openings or experiences - they certainly do. And it is really when they leave their familiar way behind, release control, and sincerely soften into whatever is arising without trying to use their techniques as a way of changing it.
Do people who are afraid of the dark come?
Many people who are afraid of the dark have been here. They have shared that this darkness felt completely different than being in a dark room in a house or outside. Many share that it is the safest that they’ve ever felt.
What kind of meals do you serve during the retreat?
We serve all organic meals.
We bring all the food in the evening to minimize disturbance.
When available, as much as possible of the food will come from our abundant gardens and fruit trees. These meals will be delivered through a double door around sunset everyday. Upon your arrival, we will meal plan together.
We can and will cater to gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian diets.
Can I fast during my dark retreat?
We highly discourage fasting and ask that people do not fast.
If someone naturally feels moved to fast once they have begun their retreat then we are happy to support them in that.
We have found that it is most important for people to feel safe, relaxed and nourished. This is one of the main reasons that we discourage fasting as it tends to create a more cold and enduring quality.
Where does the water in the cabin come from?
The water is spring water that runs through both a sediment and UV filter for total purification.
Is there hot water?
Yes. The bathtub and sink are plumbed with hot water
Is the cabin and the entire land off-grid?
The cabin has its own, self-contained off-grid system to power the ventilation fans and lights that are occasionally used during the integration process.
The entire land is off-grid and the "caves" are out of cell service range. We do however have WIFI and are able to use our cell phones to make calls out in case of any emergencies. The dark room retreat cabin is 1/4 mile away from any other dwellings on the land and thus is totally contained in an EMF-free zone.
How is temperature maintained inside?
There is a wood burning stove inside one of the walls thus enabling us to stoke and maintain the fire from outside without allowing any light to be seen within.
Due to the nature of how the retreats are built, they hold heat very well and one fire a day is sufficient at keeping it cozy. And they remain moderately cool through the heat of the Summer.
Will I ever hear people while in retreat?
The dark retreats are totally sound-proof.
What do I do in case of an emergency?
If you ever feel that you need additional support, there will be a bell inside your dark room that you can ring when we come to deliver food to let us know that you are wanting some additional attention.
The cabin is nestled in the woods on a mountain side 1/4 mile away from any other structures on the land.
During the orientation, we will walk through where to find us in the unlikely event that any emergency situation arises and you need immediate assistance.
How is the ventilation?
The retreats have been built with a very well engineered active ventilation system that includes a couple fans and a series of ducting that run through the walls that constantly circulate fresh air into and throughout the building.
What can I expect my experience to be like?
Every retreatant will have a completely different experience and even retreatants who have done more than one dark retreat find that they have an entirely different experience each time.
Some etreatants find that they sleep a lot on the first day. While others just have a normal night sleep and don't nap/sleep throughout the first day. As the days continue to unfold, people tend to find that they sleep less and less.
There is then a period of novelty where there is a deep enjoyment and appreciation of the quietude and simplicity. This can be very short or extend throughout the day.
After that follows the reality that we can't escape how we truly feel and this is when it really begins.
The darkness invites us into a new relationship with discomfort. One where we don't draw on our typical ways of posturing around it through distraction, numbing, insulating, controlling and subtly manipulating our experience.
As we simply allow the darkness to take us - we begin to soften. relax and include. We find that more important than what is happening is our relationship to what is happening.
How many dark retreat cabins do you have?
We have 3 dark retreats.
One is a cob/strawbale cottage that we’ve been using since 2019
The other two are “hobbit” cottages built into the hillside and are fully burried in the Earth. We’ve been using them since the end of 2021.
What do I need to bring?
Just some warm comfortable clothes and toiletries.
How quickly do your eyes adjust after coming out of the dark?
Most people find that their eyes fully adjust within a couple of minutes. And some people feel a little dizzy during those first couple minutes of coming back into the light.
" Enlightenment was my biggest disappointment. "
- Suzuki Roshi