A Spiritual Journey (Imram) through the Celtic Year

With Dolores Whelan, Celtic Spiritual Teacher

Author of Ever Ancient Ever New

4 Weekend Retreats

November 2016 – August 2017

Much of Celtic Spiritual tradition is linked with the sun, the moon and the season of the year.  The Celtic year begins in November (Samhain) and travels through eight seasons/festivals, which mark the important transitional times of the year, before returning to Samhain. This imram offers participants an introduction to the wisdom held within the Celtic calendar through the festivals and seasons of the Celtic Year.  It offers a deep understanding of many essential aspects of the Celtic spiritual and mythological tradition.

These festivals, seasons and the associated rituals, marking transitional times of the year, allows a person to consciously engage with the seasonal energies. In this way we learn that each season has specific qualities and energies which bring gifts and challenges into our lives.  In time we learn that each season plays an essential part in the dance of our lives. The interaction of the personal and cosmic dimensions of this calendar enables us to live with more awareness and understanding of ourselves and the rhythm of our lives and locate our lives within the cosmic setting. This Imram will allow participants to:

  • Explore Stories, Myths and Rituals associated with the particular season and festival.
  • Explore the energies and ritual practices associated with each festival and season,  with

particular attention to their relevance in our daily lives.

  • Align ourselves with the cosmic rhythm as reflected in the energies of the different seasons and

create rituals to celebrate each festival.

  • Offer skills that enable us to successfully embrace the different seasons and energies present in different

aspects of your life.

  • Create a space in which each person can reflect on where they are in their own life’s journey.
  •  Inhabit the liminal dimensions of reality present at these times of major transitions.
  • Enrich the textures of daily life by infusing the secular with the sacred.

This Imram (spiritual journey) will be held over 4 weekends:

Samhain –  November 11th -13th  2016  (ALREADY COMPLETED)

Imbolc –  February 24th-26th 2017 (ALREADY COMPLETED)

Bealtaine  - May  12th-14th 2017 ( ALREADY COMPLETED)

Lughnasadh – August  4th-6th  2017 

While it is desirable that people attend all four weekends, this is not always possible. You are welcome to attend one or more of these weekends.

The May weekend will be held in Teach Bhride, Tullow, Co. Carlow and the August weekend  will be held in Boghill Centre, Co. Clare. Each workshop will begin with supper at 6:00pm on the Friday and end at 4:00 pm on the Sunday.   Samhain Retreat The Celtic year begins at Samhain.  Darkness and night dominate the northern hemisphere and nature sleeps.  Hallow E’en represents the gateway into the dark half of the year.  The focus of this retreat and season is on the inner journey, the soul’s journey through darkness, from where new life emerges. Here we are invited to let go of outer activity, bring the focus inwards to embrace a process of growth that is slow and unforced. This season and festival is governed by the energy of the cailleach. Imbolc Retreat At Imbolc, having emerged from the darkness of the Winter Solstice, we welcome the returning light.  During this weekend we explore the emergence of this new light, invoke it into our hearts as we tend our emerging dreams, hopes and possibilities. At this time, we especially invoke and honour Brigid, Goddess and Saint, who embodies the creative impulse as it awakens and quickens in the land and in our hearts and lives.  We will focus on and celebrate those aspects of new life that are emerging in our own lives. Bealtaine Retreat 12th – 14th May 2017 in Teach Bhride, Tullow, Co. Carlow May time marks the Celtic festival or Bealtaine associated with brightness, fire, sun and summer.  The Eve of Bealtaine represents the gateway into the bright half of the year. At Bealtaine we mark the transition from winter to summer, from the dark to the bright half of the year. We celebrate the flowering of the seeds sown in the dark time.  Bealtaine marks a time of expansiveness within us and within the natural world. During this weekend we set our intention to bring our gifts into the world and to take the necessary steps to do that successfully. The cost of the May Retreat including accommodation varies between €260 and €280 depending on the type of accommodation chosen Accommodation  Teach Bhride (May Residential Weekend Retreat prices) En Suite Single Room        €285 Non En Suite Single room   €275 Shared Room En Suite   €275 Shared Room Non En Suite €265 Non Residential Options available (Please enquire)   Lughnasadh Retreat The festival of Lughnasadh marks the harvest of the year’s journey and works, which began in the darkness of Samhain. It celebrates the culmination of the forces, interacted to ensure a successful harvest in both the land and our own lives. In this weekend we will review our year’s journey and celebrate with gratitude all that we have harvested in our lives. The cost of the August Retreat including accommodation varies between €295 and €320 depending on the type of accommodation chosen Accommodation  The Boghill Centre (August Residential Weekend Retreat prices)Single Room        €320 Twin room   €320 Shared Room En Suite (4 beds)   €295 Non Residential Options available (Please enquire)

Non-refundable Booking Deposit €50 required for each weekend. (This deposit is a prerequisite for holding a place for you)

Further details on www.doloreswhelan.ie.

or phone 042 9371901

Payments can be made via PayPal (please remember to include the 3.5% Paypal fee if paying by Paypal)

or online or send cheque /P.O. to Dolores Whelan,

An Cuige, Ravensdale, Co. Louth.

If you wish to pay by Bank transfer or EFT please email for details.

Email  karen@doloreswhelan.ie for Booking Form

  Dolores Whelan has facilitated workshops and retreats in Celtic Spirituality and personal empowerment for over 25 years .She leads pilgrimages to the sacred places in Ireland and Iona Scotland.  She has written extensively on education, creativity and Celtic Spirituality. Her most recent book is Ever Ancient Ever New Celtic Spirituality in 21st Century. She created a CD, A Journey through the Celtic Year, which explores the wisdom of the Celtic tradition through the Celtic Year calendar and co created a perpetual Celtic calendar with US artist, the late Cynthai Matyi.   She loves to share her passion  for the  wisdom held  within the Celtic Year  calendar which celebrates the festivals  associated with the seasons of the Celtic year. Her work has been featured on RTE  Radio and on RTE Television ‘s Nationwide. She is  a co founder of The Brigid of Faughart Festival  now in its  10th year and the Brigid’s Way Pilgrimage  which is in its 5thyear. Details of Dolores‘  work is posted on http://www.doloreswhelan.ie from where  her book, CD’s and Calendar can be purchased.


Pay €50 deposit by PayPal (bookings by PayPal also incur a booking fee of 3.5% or €3.50)


Deposits for the  May 2017 Weekend need to be received by no later than  April 27th. Pay full amount of €295 (bookings by PayPal also incur a booking fee of 3.5% or €10.33)

If the cost of the weekends is an obstacle to you attending then it is possible for people to spread the payments out of a period of time please contact us for details.

The Wisdom of Celtic Calendar


Did you know that the Gregorian calendar which organised all our schedules is only 250 years old? Did you know that all over the non western industrialised world there are many different ways of marking the passage of time ways, that    relate us to the larger aspects of the universe of which we are a part? One such calendar is the Celtic calendar which is at least 3000 years old!  As I studied this calendar for many years, I realised that it contains core beliefs of the people who created it.  It is an integration of the wisdom gained by people living their core beliefs over many centauries

  • This calendar sets up a system   where time is related to the bigger cosmological dimensions of life within the universe
  • It creates a larger context in which we humans can locate our personal/ private lives
  • It links human beings to the earthly and cosmic drama that is being played out each day and night.
  • It links the passage of time with the changing seasons of the natural world and with the cosmological dimensions of the world through its relationship with the sun and the moon
  • This calendar marks the eight festivals and seasons of the year: Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasadh, Winter and Summer Solstices, and Spring and Autumn Equinoxes
  • Four of these festivals Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasadh are feminine, the other four Winter and Summer Solstices, and Spring and Autumn Equinoxes are masculine
    • The Celtic year begins with the festival of Samhain (which is the most important festival of the year) which occurs over 3 days and represents the gap between one year and the next year. It is called time out of time.
    • Each of the eight season flow into and out of the season before and after each other connecting them and our lives in a flowing river of life and of different   energies and experiences, none of which are better than another but dance together to create the tapestry of life.
      • The calendar highlights the changing nature of life and the rhythms and flow that create all seasons, each with their own gifts and challenges
      • It explores the dance of opposite energies that constantly intermingle in our lives
      • In the world view from which this calendar emerges stability is understood as dynamic equilibrium rather than   affixed static position. The only constant is change! As soon as stability is achieved the movement begins again e.g. when the moment of greatest darkness (winter solstice) is reached the journey begins again to towards the time of greatest light (the summer solstice)
      • The Celtic calendar which begins at Samhain when the feminine energy is strongest emphasises the primary role of feminine energy in life. Living in harmony with the calendar encourages us to embrace the darkness of Samhain and develop the feminine within   ourselves
      • It challenges our fear of death and darkness through an exploration of the season of Samhain and the myth of regeneration which is central in this tradition
      • The feminine energy expresses itself in 3 different forms at different time in the calendar.  At Samhain it is expressed as Cailleach (old woman) at Imbolc as the maiden and at Bealtaine (summer time) the mother.  Brigid as the figure who embodies the feminine energy in the Celtic tradition has all there forms available to her
      • The masculine energies has two forms one for summer and one for winter
      • The balance of masculine and feminine energies is a core aspect of the calendar. This allows for creativity to flourish
      • The wisdom contained within this calendar still has much
      • relevance for us living in 21st Century and is a very useful spiritual tool

Dolores T. Whelan                        Imbolc   2015

" Do not ask what the world needs rather ask what makes you come alive then go and do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive" Howard Thurman