Sacred Pleasures

Dancing in the Dark

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Befriending your shadow
Led by Dossie Easton & Newman Alexander

15 - 22 April 2018 | Nr Glastonbury
Level 3 retreat

Are you ready to meet your shadow and make friends with it?
Are you brave enough to get in touch with your blind spots?
Do you dare to dance in the dark with us?

Dancing in the Dark is a new week-long residential retreat led by Dossie Easton and Newman Alexander. We welcome you on a deep dive to some of your darker places. Here you get to meet parts of your shadow, befriend and transform them.

We're excited to welcome you to this profound week of self-exploration and healing. Here we create a heady brew, fuelled by Kundalini and drawing on conscious kink, psychodrama, constellations, ritual magic and shamanism, to take your personal growth to the next level. It’s going to be an intense journey but you’ll come out the other side enlivened, invigorated and more empowered than ever before. 

Dancing in the Dark is a unique new offering from two outstanding practitioners of this work. Between us we’ve been exploring transformative and transcendent kink for over half a century. Do not miss this exceptional retreat!

I can feel changes and transformations developing within me ... I feel more present in the world and in myself”
— Emma (from Old Skin, New Skin)

Is is time for you to take the plunge and dance in the dark with us? Please read on to find out more about the retreat and apply to attend.

What's going to happen at the retreat?

The retreat is structured as a journey into your shadow and out the other side. Each stage is designed to ensure your safety as you go deeper. Imagine climbing down into a particularly spectacular cave: first you learn your way round the equipment, then you do a few practice sessions in smaller caves, then finally you take the deep dive. We structure like this to ensure that you’re ready to go there when the time comes.

The focus of this retreat is to create and participate in your own bespoke Healing Ritual. These take place in three rounds: in turn each person creates a transformative sequence with 1-3 other members of the group. You pick your team uniquely for your Ritual, so you can work with the people who best represent the characters or archetypes you’re working with. This can be literal (e.g. someone who reminds you of your father) or more figurative (e.g. someone who gives you the bullied feeling you’ve encountered throughout your life.)

In the first three days of the retreat we offer you skills and experiences to prepare you for your Healing Ritual. This includes work around boundaries and gender, a range of kinky skills, teaching around how to create the score for your Ritual and kundalini breathwork to open you up. Everything is designed to give you the tools you need for the Rituals that are the climax of the retreat.

Read Newman's account of a recent Shadow Healing Ritual

After the Rituals there’s time to chill before we dive into a beautiful erotic puja and play party on the Friday. This is a place for celebration and release, a way to shake it all loose and assimilate your new transformed self through play.

On the last full day there’s space for integration and some free time to connect: a last chance to enjoy this beautiful group and the people in it.

The facilitators were inspiring, and the space securely yet gently held. Participants were led in easy stages, practicing interpersonal skills and experimenting with the unknown in a measured and light-hearted way— to be prepared and able to embrace the deep transformational work that formed the culmination of the workshop.
— Ruth (from Old Skin, New Skin)

We're still working on the schedule and so far it looks like this:

  • Sunday 15th April: arrive early evening, dinner, icebreakers
  • Monday 16th & Tuesday 17th: kinky skills training, breathwork, group expansive ritual, more skills
  • Wednesday 18th: skills training, shamanic walk, Healing Ritual 1
  • Thursday 19th: Healing Ritual 2, Healing Ritual 3
  • Friday 20th: lazy morning, puja, play party
  • Saturday 21st: lazy morning, integration exercises, free time to connect in the evening
  • Sunday 22nd: closing ceremony, lunch, departure early afternoon

(Note: this is a provisional schedule and is subject to change as we get closer to the event. Hopefully though it gives you an idea of how the journey will look.)

We’ll continue to develop the content of this retreat over the coming months and you’re welcomed to check back here to see how it’s shaping up. We'll also work dynamically with the group and things may change on the spot - “all the best laid plans" and all that.

Whatever happens, you can be sure that we have your safety in mind at all times and will respond to any issues that come up with care and diligence. The only way to go deep is for it to be deeply safe!

Who leads this retreat?

Dossie Easton

Dossie is one of the world's foremost practitioners of conscious kink and personal transformation through BDSM. She has been practising, facilitating and teaching this work for over 30 years, both in the US and internationally. She is the co-author of The Ethical Slut, one of the definitive guides to polyamory, and Radical Ecstasy, a breathtaking account of her "kinky journeys to transcendence". 

Dossie is based in San Francisco, where she works as a psychotherapist. She has presented her work at conferences around the US and all over the world, including workshops in the UK, Holland and Germany and a literary festival in India. She is widely regarded as one of the great sexuality pioneers of the last 50 years and it’s a huge honour to have her back at Sacred Pleasures to lead her first ever residential week-long retreat. 

Newman Alexander (formerly London Faerie)

Newman Alexander

Newman Alexander is a workshop facilitator, coach and shadow healer from London. Since 2007 they’ve been hosting great teachers and guides in the UK - including Fakir Musafar, Joseph Kramer and Dossie herself. Since 2011 they’ve facilitated workshops and individual sessions on sexual liberation, conscious kink, ritual magic and personal transformation.

Newman is the founder of Sacred Pleasures. They also present their work in Holland, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Australia and New Zealand. Since establishing their practice they’ve been a regular guest at festivals throughout Europe, including the Osho Leela Sex to Spirit Gathering (formerly the Conscious Sexuality Festival), Xplore Berlin & Copenhagen, The Art of Being (Czech) and the Tantra 4 Gay Men Festival. They are the co-curator of The Summerhouse Weekend, one of the hippest and most vibrant sex-positive events in the world right now.

Together with Sir Claire Black we led Old Skin, New Skin in 2013: a three-and-a-half-day workshop in London exploring similar territory. Dancing in the Dark builds on that work, allowing you to go further and be more daring in your exploration of your shadow and your blind spots.

Alongside Dossie and Newman, we're very excited to welcome Gayatri and Sir Claire Black as spaceholders for this retreat. Gayatri is part of the SP core team and runs beautiful Tantra Massage Trainings in London and Bristol. Sir Claire is a highly experienced professional dominant and workshop facilitator whose practiced and taught throughout Europe and in the US.

You created a safe nest with the amazing space holders, which gave the space to be vulnerable and small. And there was so much compassion and understanding from everyone, that it was possible to be so honest (first of all to myself).
— Petra (from Old Skin, New Skin)

Dancing in the Dark promises to be a rich, deep adventure for a group of brave explorers. We look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful EarthSpirit centre near Glastonbury next April.

Who is it for?

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Dancing in the Dark is a Level 3 event, which means it’s aimed at those with considerable experience of BDSM, conscious sexuality, personal growth or healing - or some combination of the three. This is the week for you if you’ve journeyed far and wide and you're looking for the next level of work.

Dancing in the Dark is highly suitable for healers, practitioners and teachers who want to deepen their understanding of how to work consciously with the shadow. It's not a full practitioner training but it does provide you with some powerful tools to weave into your practice.

Dancing in the Dark is not suitable for people who are new to this work. If you're looking for an introductory event, please check out Take The Reins (for women) on 2/3 December 2017 or The Purple Door (for all genders) on 24/25 March 2018.

If you’re at an intermediate level of experience, we recommend attending Together // Forever on 27-29 October prior to applying for this retreat.

Dancing in the Dark is open to people of all genders and orientations. We aim to create a diverse and inclusive space.

You can attend this retreat as an individual, a couple or a poly group. If you come on your own you're invited to work with different people throughout the weekend. If you come with a lover or partner (or several), you're invited to work with them as much as you want - and if you wish sometimes to work separately, that's also welcomed.

The Healing Rituals themselves are solo journeys, though you may choose to have your partner(s) work with you there. At all stages of the process we invite you to make choices that are supportive for you and we're there to support you with any challenges that might arise along the way.

If you're not sure whether Dancing in the Dark is for you, please email Newman (newman @ sacredpleasures . co . uk) and they’ll be happy to chat with you about it.

A few words about gender

At our workshops we aim to have a diversity of people across the gender spectrum. This includes those who are gender-queer, gender-fluid, trans or otherwise gender-identified.

The exercises and activities we invite you to participate in are never gendered and we don’t emphasize or reinforce ideas on how men, women or others are supposed to behave. Instead we create a space where you can discover what you want and how you want to express it according to your desires and preferences.

We ask all participants to bring awareness about their assumptions concerning gender and sexual orientation.

One assumption we sometimes meet in workshops is this: as a straight male participant, you’ll always partner with a female participant and you have the right to express consternation if that doesn’t happen. We do not support this assumption and we never guarantee the gender of the person you’ll be working with in any exercise.

That said, we encourage you to take care of your boundaries at all times if you find yourself paired with someone you’re not normally intimate with or aren’t attracted to. At the same time we encourage you to let yourself be surprised by the intimacy and connection that’s possible when you drop certain assumptions.

In brief: please come with an open mind, don’t assume anything and stay within your boundaries.