A place for women and children to take in nature’s surroundings, to restore balance within each individual’s relationship to the Earth and with others of like-mind, the third odyssey of The Garden Gathering returned to Hong Kong this October with an open heart and a loving reception. This year’s gathering was located on the sprawling outdoor sanctuary of Sai Yuen Farm in Cheung Chau Island and took place over a three-day weekend in October filled with cross-cultural classes, artful crafts, body-mind practices, and a chance to realign in harmony with the Earth. Through a sisterhood of sharing wisdom, inspiration, and self-love among a network of women, mothers, nurturers and healers, The Garden Gathering is an intimate celebration of empowered women empowering women.
Founded by Hong Kong natives May Nogoy and Resham Daswani, soul sisters who met at Spirit Weavers Gathering, an all-female spiritual caring retreat in the states, an immediate connection conveyed they had to put forth a space for deep sharing and kinship amongst women in the East. Sensing a strong, authentic desire to find a like-minded community in Hong Kong that was in positive celebration of the feminine, Daswani explains the impetus for The Garden Gathering: “This is very much about the integrity of us coming together the way our grandmothers did in the villages to take care of each other, to heal each other, and to align with the way that the Earth moves. We’ve become so separate in our lives, but everything is within us,” she goes on. “We have all the knowledge, but we’ve forgotten it, so this gathering is taking us back to the old ways by skill sharing, because all of us know something. Everybody has something to offer from their ancestry, and if we can just learn about it a little bit more, we get to shift back to that equilibrium where we are here together with the Earth. We can live in a more conscious society in which we can spread that the equilibrium to where things are more corporate – especially in a city like Hong Kong. We can be soft and strong.” With the intention to revive Asia’s web of women to celebrate the divine feminine, The Garden Gathering first convened in October last year with 35 women and children together at a sacred Buddhist Sanctuary in Lantau Island. Moved by all the positive reverberation, a second gathering expanded over three days camping on Sai Yuen Farm earlier this March. With over 100 women nourishing their mental wellbeing and skill sharing amongst one another, The Garden Gathering journey has been one of pure intention, rooted by integrity, and the inner call to better the Earth by living in harmony with ourselves and each other.
The Divine Feminine
The event is is simultaneously enchanting and tranquil, a haven for those looking for holistic healing, a commitment to sustainability, art installations, and general earthy inspiration. Walking through the camp grounds, your eye is drawn to the colorful Mandala, brilliantly colored handmade woven quilts lovingly placed throughout the craft tents. The Conscious Kitchen, a communal volunteer effort to serve food from various lineages and cultures while using ingredients that are locally sourced, offers vegetarian or vegan meals for the next three days. Then, there’s the skill sharing: over 30 teachers and 60 classes transcended the lush 11 acre land on the Southwestern tip of Cheung Chau. With 12 categories of skill sharing ranging from Ancestry (learning about African ancestry in China and Tea Temple), Craft & Creation (drum making, natural dyeing, loom weaving), Earth Medicine (elixirs and oils, raw plant kitchen), Family (kids yoga, wee weavers arts and crafts, goat feeding), Womb Wisdom (mapping the female anatomy and women’s temple), Healing and Spirituality, the gathering ground also hosts many one-on-one counseling and healing sessions offered on a donation basis or for a nominal fee. Many restorative sessions are on the roster, included reiki, Indian head massage, wellness coaching, emotional support guidance, and shiatsu. Sisters and children sleep under the stars in Sai Yuen’s very own African Safari Tents, inspired by the Savannahs of South and East Africa or pitch their very own tented camps under tall trees facing the open lawn.
While we at Green Queen weren’t able to partake in all the weekend festivities, we were humbled and grateful for the opportunity to see sisters bonded in action. In the wake of painful current events like workplace harassment as seen by disgraced Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, which prompted a flurry of #MeToo hashtags, with thousands of victims moved to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and assault, The Garden Gathering was a refreshing expression of women banding together, to practice in harmony with the one Earth we all share, as one.
The Garden Gathering will return next year for their following journey. Stay updated on their Facebook.
All images courtesy of Green Queen.