Exploring Inner Marriage

Exploring Inner Marriage

at The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, NC

April 22-24, 2016
Two Nights Lodging & Meals: $237.15

Spring in the Mountains

Spring in the Mountains

Several folks have asked ‘How am I going to benefit from exploring inner marriage?”

It’s a good question.

Different traditions and philosophies approach this question through different lenses, but they all come to the same conclusion: this exploration is a vital step on our journeys to becoming whole.

Another way to say that: these explorations can help us move from ego-centered consciousness to a soul-centered consciousness.

Or in the context of the hippies and flower children and “make love not war” you might think of inner marriage as the path to deepening your internal love of self which allows your external expression of love to be more authentic.

How are we going to do this come April 22-24?

We’ll start on Saturday morning by listening to the stories of three folks whose approaches and experiences with inner marriage are very unique and different.

Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey

Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey

Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey is longtime friend of co-convener Romer Taylor and newcomer to GSV. His explorations on this path began organically when he was quite young.  Ann Dee is a Librarian who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  “I love the feel of the wind in my beard, but I don’t mind friendly fingers either…”

We’ll introduce the other story tellers in our next update.

Andrew Lawler

Andrew Lawler

After we’ve heard these stories, Andrew Lawler will use a guided meditation to help us go inside, explore our own unique masculine and feminine energies, and encourage them to begin a dialog with each other. Andrew is a writer who lives in Asheville, NC and is on the faculty of the Body Electric School. He has been in Inner Marriage Counseling for more than a decade and has a deep knowledge of this exploration. His wisdom provided an essential piece in co-convener Gary Kaupman’s understanding of his inner marriage.

The remainder of the weekend will provide a number of opportunities to continue these explorations through movement, meditation, touch, writing, dreams, play, and song.


The Marriage of Shakti and Shiva

(made very simple)

In the tantric understanding, the god Shiva is the symbol for consciousness, the primary masculine energy. The goddess Shakti is the symbol for activating power and energy, which is the primary feminine energy. Kundalini/Shakti is the feminine energy that resides at the bottom of the spine of every individual.

Consciousness/Shiva is the top most chakra, the head. In order for Shakti and Shiva to live in harmony, Shakti rises up to meet the Shiva with the goal of inner marriage and a life filled with pleasure.

Shiva and Shakti

Shiva and Shakti

When Shiva’s wife Sati (who was an incarnation of Shakti) died, Shiva was so overcome with grief that he isolated himself from the whole world. He retired into a dark cave buried amongst the snow covered peaks of the Himalayas and became inclined towards asceticism, rejecting the outside world.

Shiva’s meditation practice was so focused and so deep that he acquired great knowledge that filled his body with heat and energy. Problem was, all this knowledge was within Shiva and of no use to anyone else.

The other gods got worried and started invoking the mother goddess, Shakti, who appeared before them as ‘Kundalini’ a coiled serpent. In answer to their prayers, Shakti said that she would coil herself around Shiva and would wean out his knowledge and energy for the good of the world. Shakti then took birth as Parvati and united with Shiva again.

Together, completing each other, they become the divine parents and constitute the whole of the universe. They are inseparable; neither exists without the other.

If you would like to know more about a practical understanding and use of the Shiva/Shakti legend, we recommend the book “Kali Rising: Foundational Principles of Tantra for a Transforming Planet” by Dr. Rudy Ballentine, a past Keynoter at GSV.


Jason Buchannan

Jason Buchannan

We are pleased that Jason Buchannan will be joining our team as Faerie Wrangler for the Spring Retreat. His initial job will providing support to the presenters to be sure they have the support they need to make their contributions rich and meaningful. And to wrangle Gary and Romer if they stray from the pasture. Jason makes his home in Raleigh, North Carolina where, when not working in consumerism with plants, he can be found organizing young adult resistance movements that work to reclaim self and divinity.


Merry Meet! Merry Part! And Merry Meet Again!

Gary, Romer and Jason


Register Now

(If you need help registering call The Mountain
at (828) 526-5838 x218)

Exploring Inner Marriage

Exploring Inner Marriage

at The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, NC

April 22-24, 2016
two Nights Lodging & Meals: $237.15


The philosopher Carl Jung believed that the culmination of our Soul’s journey is the inner marriage of the opposites within the psyche: masculine/feminine; conscious/unconscious; divine/human. The goal: to move from Ego-centered consciousness to the Soul-centered consciousness of the Sacred Inner Marriage.

That’s a bit much to take on at a two day Retreat.

So, we’ll be exploring the role of our internal masculine/feminine energies and how they contribute to a deeper understanding of who we are now. And, what paths we may want to explore next on our journeys towards a Sacred Inner Marriage.

Our Keynoters will be members of the community sharing short stories of their journeys of on this path followed by brief conversations.

The rest of the retreat will use embodied experiences to explore Inner Marriage. While some of our journeys may have similarities, what you will discover will be uniquely yours. You may find words for your experiences, or you may find the kind of wisdom for which there are not yet adequate words. Spirit works in many ways.

There will be free time, time for pop-up workshops, and fun times. There will be experiences that are familiar to you and others that we’ve not seen at a GSV Gathering before.

More shall be revealed!


Romer (Oracle) Taylor and Gary (Pleasure) Kaupman are Co-Convener’s and Co-Creators of this retreat.


Register Now


(If you need help registering call The Mountain
at (828) 526-5838 x218)

2016 Winter Meditation: The Purpose of Our Lives is to be Happy

Dear Brothers,

If you are not already registered, please consider joining us for a heart-centered, energizing, and enlivening community experience. Renew, replenish, and restore yourself at the 2016 GSV Winter retreat.

Positive emotions play a key role in invigorating all human endeavors, and cultivating positive emotion is one strategy that generates benefits in every area of a person’s life.

Every single one of us is capable of a lot more happiness than we have experienced so far.

There is scientific evidence that happier people are kinder and more generous. They are healthier, live longer lives and they’re smarter and more creative. They have happier relationships and marriages, and have a wide range of friends. They are also more resilient, more productive at work, and enjoy greater financial comfort.GSV 2016 Winter Meditation

Happiness does not happen by chance, it happens by choice. It is a practice, like exercising, the more you practice, the better you get at it. That simple.

So come join us for fun, camaraderie, solidarity, and some interesting conversations of happiness, true happiness.


“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
–Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness

“Be happy, for your only function here is happiness.”
–Course in Miracles, Lesson 102.

“Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is…This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.”
–Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

Tony James, Convener
Cami Delgado, Keynote Speaker & Co-Creator
Jim Stratton, Co-Creator

Register for the 2016 Winter Meditation/Planning Retreat >>


Visionary – Holidays, Spirit and Me: Spirit(s)

This is the fourth and final in our series of pieces on the theme of Holidays, Spirit and Me.

When Pleasure asked me to write about “spirit, the holidays, and me,” I didn’t know (and still don’t) that I would have anything much to say (without being completely cynical). Over the next few weeks, I meditated on my somewhat tumultuous relationship with spirit and ended up writing several short fragments, several of which, I collected into the poem, “Spirit(s)”. I hope you enjoy it! Love you, siblings!!



Sugar le Fae

Sugar le Fae

Sugar le Fae

Meaning “to breathe” in Latin,
cognates of spirāre include:

respire   to breathe again
inspire   to breathe into
expire    without breathing

and, of course, from spīritus,
spirit   breath.

He and I are reincarnated
spirits of little old ladies
who speak what they think
who dye their hair purple
who smoke and drink
and don’t give a shit
what other people think.
Who are we to argue fate?

Listen to “Spirit in the Dark”
by Aretha Franklin
and tell me that
“getting the spirit”
can’t mean in the same breath
“touching God”
and “in the mood.”

When one of my best friends
finally got approved for her
knee osteotomy, we kept
our spirits up over her winter
recovery by making silly
videos of us singing Christmas
carols in wigs and dresses.

Years later, no longer needing
a walker, she could finally
accompany me to the faerie
mountain, where in faerie
tradition, she named herself
Felda Spirit and was welcomed.

Just last week at a teddy bear party,
I played impromptu duets with Blue-
bird, who, topping my Heart
and Soul, turned every note blue.
Spirit can perhaps be conjured,
but tastes best when it’s not lured.

Sugar le Fae (aka Zach Matteson) is a poet, teacher, song writer, photographer, and Radical Faerie. Dozens of his poems have been published by journals in the States and Canada. He currently resides in Nashville, TN

Visionary – Holidays Spirit and Me: The Christmas Heart

This is the third in our series of four pieces on the theme of The Holidays, Spirit and Me.


Doug Emerson

Doug Emerson

The Christmas Heart

Doug Emerson

I believe I first really got in touch with Spirit on Christmas Eve 1982. My roommate, a handsome man with such unbelievable eyes that his nickname became Blue, or Your Royal Blueness, and I were trying to manage to make it through the season. Money was short and friends were dying from AIDS. It just looked dismal.

Blue came home Christmas Eve in the afternoon with an unexpected bonus from his part time job. That led to the development of an event that became legendary. It began simple enough, we went to see if we could score a Christmas tree cheap. While we walked we chatted about how we could somehow give all of our friends a memorable holiday.

The scheme was hatched. I was sent to get champagne and snacks. Blue started calling friends with an invite our “First Christmas” party. By that we meant guests showed up at midnight to a party that was the first one on Christmas.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]About 4am, all of my beautiful brothers began to go home. Blue and I were ultimately left exhausted cuddling on the couch. [/pullquote]

We didn’t think we could pull it together and when it was midnight had come with no visitors, we had resigned ourselves to drink until we were out of our minds with cheer. Then the door buzzer went off. The first of over 60 men entered our small apartment to share love, humor and memories of friends here and gone.

About 4 a.m. all of my beautiful brothers began to go home. Blue and I were ultimately left exhausted, cuddling on the couch. Holding each other in that wonderful embrace of love and companionship that touched the spirit and gave the room a wonderful special feel and light.

That was the night that I really understood the meaning of family and the spirit that touched each of us that blessed night.


Doug will be spending this Christmas in Atlanta, GA. He hopes to share time with GSV family and renew and expand the circle of love and service. And says, “I continue to be grateful to you all in allowing me to shine.”

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