Spiritual Trauma and Redeeming of Soul

About This Event

Spiritual trauma represents violations that inflict complex suffering that research has called “soul wounds” and “soul murder.” Clergy sexual misconduct and abuses by spiritual communities and religious organizations are especially involved in profound losses of spiritual safety, connection, trust and self-acceptance. 

With trauma, the continuity of life is shattered, the world falls apart. The result is a dissociation and disconnection from the natural world of the body, the environment and the universe.  

We are called to spiritual wisdom as much as we are called to emotional maturity. We are each asked to live a vision of grace and power and interpret spiritual wisdom into our subjective lives. It is this knowing of our innate interconnectivity to life that is severed by spiritual trauma.

Early developmental trauma can leave people disconnected from the spiritual core of their soul life, enabling the transference that allows spiritual leaders to carry the  connection to innate wisdom on our behalf. The woundedness of some spiritual leaders, resulting from their fragmented unconscious core, results in dissociated practices of authoritarian, and patriarchal abuse. The sense of connection and safety in the world is further diminished by separation and shunning from community and congregational life. 

When a trauma involves spiritual and religious resources and coping strategies, individuals can be left with long-term injuries that affect every part of their lives and may be passed down to future generations.

Spiritual injuries result in a loss of embodiment, emotional connectivity with self and others and profound shift in the function of the brain and nervous system. Following severe spiritual trauma, an individual’s autonomic nervous system descends into states of hypo-arousal where powerlessness becomes fused with states of immobility and hopelessness. This fusion operates on an unconscious, bodily-based level and fuels multiple defenses to survive, including complying with or resisting authority, withdrawal from connectivity, loss of innate identity and depletion of life force and vitality 

Spirituality invests light into life. Particularly the light of knowledge, to know what is real and what is unreal and that existence has meaning. To exist means to be alive and allow our bodies to hum with vitality and connection. 

This five-day program is for therapists, counsellors, social workers and others who find themselves working in the helping professions. It is designed to assist helping professionals address the wounds and deadness of spiritual trauma in themselves, others and in religious and spiritual communities. We will identify the effects of spiritual trauma on the inner life including the body, emotions, and archetypal connectivity as well as the power of spiritual trauma to interrupt multiple interpersonal relationships and abruptly terminate a person’s social engagement network. Our primary focus will be on the principles and practice to repair and reconnect with the sacred, and create new bridges into relationships and community. Hope for healing longs for a light in the darkness, renewal and a return to an intimacy of connection with life. 

Movement, being held and seen in community, and contemplation are the work that brings the internal world and external world into alignment so that life can flow, once again, between and within.  

For those of you maintaining busy practices, this retreat represents an opportunity to combine rich professional learning with a space for personal renewal and wellness. Mountain Waters offers you a beautiful nature based setting for this course, where you can do morning yoga, walk on forest trails, eat delicious healthy meals, receive a massage, and take care of your wellbeing in a good way.

This retreat course is also available to participants from the Nelson Area who choose to commute to Mountain Waters on a daily basis. “Course only” price is  $800 CAD.  This includes lunch  on all course days. For participants who are attending this retreat from the United States we ask that you pay the tuition part of the the retreat cost ($800) in the US dollar amount.

Day One

We will begin with an orientation to universal energies of nature in the environment. The mountains, water, gardens and hospitality of Mountain Waters’ Retreat Centre provides a nurturing space for this journey of reconciliation and re-connection with the sacred. Practices of embodied meditation, movement and somatic awareness will assist us in a gentle process of healing. As we engage in relationship, we will enter into a dialogue regarding spiritual trauma and the challenges and possibilities it creates as we turn toward healing.

Our focus for healing spiritual trauma will be on the repair and reconciliation of cellular, bodily-based states of chronic defenae reactions that keep us in a loop of perceived danger and life threat. We will focus on a holistic frame of healing that incorporates the wisdom of contemporary neuroscience with ancient wisdom. Of particular interest will be the contemporary teachings of the polyvagal nervous system, developmental neuroscience and cellular biology. Integrated with ancient wisdom and relational and body-centered practices, we will move toward shifting chronic defense reactions with safety, connection, renewed energy, vitality and soul healing.  We will close with a return to embodied awareness and movement.

Day Two

Strengthening our embodied connectivity with nature, we will turn inside to attend to our own inner nature, our felt sense and somatic awareness of inner cues of distress, activation and immobility. We will identify spiritual struggles that disrupt our orientation to the world, our beliefs, practices and relationships. These disturbances include relationship with the Divine and sacred, internal doubts, tensions within family, friend and congregations and self. We will explore the role of blame and shame, physical health, emotional dis-regulation and the label of being “evil”.

Practices of somatic empathy, an embodied form of connectivity to self and others, will be developed. The practice of “bearing witness” will be explored where we can accept and receive the pain of others without losing our own sense of well-being. The day will close with access to spiritual coping  mechanisms.

Day Three

Continuing to build new spiritual relationships within our inner realms and in the larger world, we will explore a number of relational, body-based practices for healing spiritual trauma and specific interventions. We will continue to practice “bearing witness” to each other with empathy and compassion and look for new emerging unconscious spiritual resources.

We will engage in forms of somatic inquiry into symptoms, resources and relationships. Interventions will include those oriented to bodily-based regulation of autonomic nervous system and the nurturing of the mitochondria of the cell through body-based interventions, and interventions with imagery, dreams and symbols that restore connectivity to the whole.

Day Four

We will deepen into spiritual resources of dreams, imagery and symbols that bring a bodily-based sense of connection and explore processes of forgiveness, apology, restitution and “truth and reconciliation”.

Day Five

Practices of observant witness, reflection and meaning making will be used to integrate the concepts and experiences of participants.

Experiences in the retreat involve embodied meditations, expansion of somatic awareness, practices of bodily-based empathy, dialogue, embodied witnessing, interventions and reflection.





Venue Highlights

-There is a peace and calmness that is present here at our Centre, in the built environment of the round archetecture of the lodge and dharma hall, in the beauty of the forest landscape, and gardens, that invites our guests to find their own natural rhythm and drop into the deeper intelligence of the right brain and body.
- We have a network of trails that lead into the West Arm Wilderness park that gives our guests access to great huckleberry picking, to pristine beaches on Kootenay Lake and wonderful vistas of Nelson and the Selkirk mountains.
- We have a large organic permaculture garden that supplies our kitchen with delicious nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.
- Our wilderness location is only 3 kilometers from the City of Neson. Giving you access to one of Canada's premier alternative arts, adventure, and wellness centres


Main lodge (9 Private Rooms)
1) Master bedroom with full ensuite bathroom and lounge space.
2) Private room next to master bedroom ensuite space has a double bed
3) 5 private rooms with a queen bed
4) 2 private rooms with a double bed
5) 3 full bathrooms with shower and 1 common washroom are accessible to the private room guests

5 Shared and private cabins
1) Hermitage cabin with a queen and double bed. Has a deck and separated downstairs bathroom with shower, vanity sink and compost toilet.
2) Upper cedar log cabin with a queen and double bed. Has a deck, washroom with vanity sink and compost toilet in the same space.
3) Lower cedar log cabin with a queen and single bed. Has a deck, washroom with vanity sink and compost toilet in the same space.
4) Firewood cabin with a queen and double bed. Has a deck, washroom with shower, vanity sink and compost toilet in the same space.
5) Homestead cabin with a queen and double bed. Has a large deck, kitchenette, shower, vanity sink and septic toilet in the same space.

Forest camping
- 7 camp sites with 2 outhouses


  • Free Wifi
  • Towels
  • Free Parking
  • Kitchen
  • Hot Tub
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Yoga Studio
  • Ceremony Space

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Pescetarian
  • Meat
  • Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free


We offer you healthy gourmet meals, fresh picked from our organic garden whenever possible, and locally sourced. Our typical retreat menu will provide you with delicious vegitarian meals along with naturally raised poultry and wild fish. We are able to provide gluten free and dairy free menu options when necessary.


The West Kootenal regional airport in Castlegar BC is 40 minutes from Nelson and has daily flights connecting to both Calgary and Vancouver. From Nelson, Mountain Waters is accessed via Svoboda road which connects the West Arm Park to the eastern part of the city
which is known as Fairview. Taxi service to Mountain Waters is available from Glacier Taxi.

Reviews     To review this event, visit the page for the venue or retreat leaders (above).

  • Simon Vine   September 23, 2019

      Beautiful place, powerful experience.

    I recently attended a Men's retreat at Mountain Waters, and had an amazing experience. The place is absolutely stunning, the staff were all super friendly and attentive, and the food was excellent. I found the retreat to be balanced, at once profound and lighthearted. Richard and Andrew who led the retreat, offered wisdom, counsel, and created excellent opportunity for introspection and soul-searching. Al in all, a fantastic experience.

  • Ken Trudeau   September 18, 2019

      Men and the Water of Life

    Following the completion of a five day couples healing retreat with my wife at Mountain Waters called Keeping Love Alive, I was hoping the opportunity would present itself to go back there for more healing. My wife and I were felt so blessed from our experience, from the lush retreat grounds and cozy buildings, to the delicious and nutritious food, it was nurturing and it felt like the oasis we needed to do our work. We were so a blown away by Beth, Yogita and Richard, by their skills, wisdom, and heart. So when I saw the the offering of this men's retreat, I was confident this was going to be just as comprehensive, thoughtful, healing, and fun, and it was. The timing of its occurrence was impeccable and just what I was needing at that moment. The Men's Retreat was transformational. I had so many moments where I was pleasantly overwhelmed by pure tears of release and gratitude. Whether it was a hike down to the lake for a swim, sharing a meal, doing some yoga enhanced by healing sounds, sitting in a circle of men sharing, learning, laughing and crying, it all felt very sacred. The facilitators Richard, Andrew, and Kirkland were exceptional and Sebastian's accompanying healing sounds were grounding and playful. Jessie's food was delicious and James' presence on the grounds as always reassuring. As someone who works as a clinician in public health in mental health and substance use services and does a fair share of group facilitation, I have been so impressed by the quality of facilitators at this retreat centre. I have found Richard to be highly skilled and attuned to the groups he leads. I appreciate his training in not only in the somatic psychotherapy of hakomi, and other techniques, but his deep wisdom, groundedness, non-judgemental approach, his laughter, playfulness, his boundaries, his thoughtful use of self and self-disclosure and sharing of his lived experience. Mostly I am impressed and grateful for his humanness and how safe and respected he helps me to feel there. The sweat hut ceremony was one of the most profound experiences of my life and something I will hold dear forever. I am forever grateful to have been a part of, and bare witness to, the men who showed up and shared their strengths, wisdom, hurts, joys, anxieties, humour, and hopes as well as their commitment towards greater accountability to their own lives, their families, and their communities. I am forever grateful for having had the opportunity through this workshop Men and the Water of Life of sharing and holding space with great men in vulnerability, openness, and empathy. The cost of this retreat was so reasonable; thank you Mountain Waters, I will be back! Ken Trudeau

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