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A magical and mystical ‘Weekend in the Woods’

Nestled within the majestic hills of Hockley Valley, lies a spiritual oasis. Once a year, Deborah Kolody, owner of Visions in the Woods (, opens her stunningly beautiful home, store filled with sacred items and property to the public for an incredible outdoor wellness and healing event unlike any other. The Weekend in the Woods, which was held this year on Saturday August 16 and Sunday August 17, is designed to create emotional, physical, mental and spiritual balance in your life while focusing on the 5 elements of nature; water, wind, earth, fire and storm.
My photographer friend Amy Woodcock and I were both impressed with not only the enchanted fairy like setting but how well this event was organized. The genuine warmth and friendliness of everyone who volunteered their time to make this a special occasion for all was infectious. There was free parking and even a shuttle bus from the Hockley Valley Resort to the site. We received a beautiful large green tote bag made of recycled material filled with little gifts and our own personal journal from Visions in the Woods to take notes in. There were over 60 vendors in the marketplace selling a variety of fascinating spiritual products and services and over 40 intriguing workshops planned around the 5 elements of nature. There were draws for great prizes and 7 free chakra power bands handed out by different vendors. Participants who registered for the event in advance were even given their own free astrological birth chart.
We were serenaded from the moment we entered the site by the magical and mystical healing sounds of recording artist Michael Moon. All my stress vanished and I was instantly put into a blissful and relaxed state which remained throughout the day. Michael told us that he was heading for a career in science when he became sick in his early 20's. He had a spiritually profound experience at that time which forever changed him. He discovered healing sounds in nature and became well as a result. He remembered hearing a voice outside his body telling him to reconnect humanity to nature through music. He now devotes his life to this mission. You can check out Michael Moon's healing music at his temple of sound website (
A ceremony followed opening sacred space.
Strolling through the marketplace, I was drawn to a number of booths. Debra Jones, one of the event organizers, is a Natural Healing facilitator with a truly impressive list of credentials. She has appeared in books and on television. Her exquisite jewelry, made from recycled silk, is taken from the waste fibre collected from sari manufacturing. These exotic pieces support less fortunate women and families in India and Nepal. You can check out her products and services at
Lorraine Bordiuk at had over 100 small colourful bottles on display in her booth. I discovered Lorraine was a spiritual psychotherapist who was into Aura-soma which is colour therapy. I was told to select 4 bottles that stood out to me. Each bottle had its own unique vibration and picking 4 coloured bottles helped to reveal my life and journey. I picked a gold/yellow bottle indicating teacher energy (I am a former teacher). I picked a magenta/turquoise bottle indicating mass communication (I write for 3 newspapers and have written 3 books). I picked a red bottle which turned out to be the Christ bottle revealing strength and courage. The last bottle I picked indicated that grounding was needed. Lorraine works with her client in more depth based on the colours they choose.
Amy was busy checking out the whimsical natural cotton and knitted wool fashions of Sabrina Olivieri of Foret du Cheval Blanc while I was busy focusing on the gourmet delights of her husband, Executive Chef Alexander Olivieri, ( especially his candied oranges in chocolate, marinated over 3 days and baked slowly for 8 hours.
After that, we were treated to sample Island Breezes natural body products from SpaHket owned by Hilda Crick-McDermott and her husband Barrington. The St. Vincent, Barbados and Jamaican hemp, coconut oil, shea oil and beeswax lotion left my skin feeling like silk.
Karen Armstrong ( demonstrated Biophoton Therapy to me, a powerful and scientific healing treatment based on energy and light which can cure many ailments of the body and mind. I watched with fascination as she diagnosed a woman with weakness in her small intestine based on an energy exam. The woman, Lisa, admitted she just had gallbladder surgery in the area Karen located. Lisa said she felt much better after just one short session of Biophoton Therapy.
In another booth, Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioner Nira Lall ( helped me to identify emotional blocks and release them.
Before the workshops began, we wandered over to the booth of artist CJ Shelton ( and added the word “Courage” to her Empowerment Storm Mandala. CJ created 5 powerful mandala paintings based on the 5 elements of nature. Her mandala, “Genesis – The Wheel of All” which incorporates all 5 elements into one breathtaking painting is truly a masterpiece. I was also drawn to the beautiful spiritual artwork of Janine Newhook as well (
Amy and I picked one workshop under each of the 5 element themes. We began in the Storm tent with Joyce Barnes. Joyce gave a very enlightening and informative workshop on “Connecting with Your Soul Chakras”. Joyce Barnes ( is a medium and motivational coach who was a regular guest on City TV's Breakfast Television morning show. She had an experience with Mother Mary when she was 4 years old that opened her up to the other side. She now works with the Angels. Learning about chakras saved Joyce from an early cancer and helped a friend of hers who had stage 4 cancer of the uterus. Learning about her sacral and root chakras and eating and wearing the red and orange foods and clothes associated with these chakras and surrounding herself in those colours, actually reduced her friend from stage 4 to stage 2 cancer so that she no longer required surgery. Chakra comes from the Hebrew word “wheel” and there are 7 major swirling energy power centers in the body which connect us to the Divine. What I didn't realize is that the 7 chakras also represent the 7 sacraments. Joyce taught us that when we ask a question, the first thing that comes to your mind is right and don't question it. She led us in a meditation and asked us to picture Archangel Michael on our right, Archangel Gabriel on our left, Archangel Raphael behind us and Archangel Uriel in front of us. She guided us to open our heart and crown chakra and ask a question. She said the first thing you hear is correct. I am putting my house up for sale soon and wanted to know if I would be moving this year. The word that came to me was, “next”. I knew that the move would now happen in 2015.
After that, we moved over to the Water tent and enjoyed a tasty catered lunch while being entertained by musician Anthony Tilotta. Ironically, it started to pour with rain while we were in the tent but that didn't dampen the spirits of anyone. We stayed in the Water tent to participate in the delightfully playful, “Discover the Child Within” workshop given by Debra Jones and Lorraine Bordiuk. We were asked to pick a beautiful silk loot bag and fill it with symbolic items representing the elements. We got to pick our own rock, shell, candle, feather and magical marble…all gifts from nature and imbue the items with personal meaning. We learned of the important work of Dr. Masaru Emoto who experimented with energy on water molecules. Water makes up 70% of the planet including our bodies. Dr. Emoto photographed the crystal structure of water before and after being labelled with words holding different energy. Negative words like “hate” “bad” and “sick” changed the water molecules to distorted, unappealing shapes. Positive words like “love”, “peace” and “thank-you” turned the water molecules into beautiful crystalline structures much like snowflakes. If words can affect water so much, imagine what it can do in our lives. We sampled pure water placed in 7 different coloured bottles, each colour corresponding to a different chakra and got to taste how the colour of the bottle actually changed the flavour of the water inside. Red made the water sweet whereas blue gave the water a crisp, clean flavour. We coloured our own mandala and were even given candy at the end of this fun party honoring our inner child.
Once that workshop was over, the wind picked up, so we ventured over to the Wind tent to hear a lecture on “Living Miraculously” by Rebecca Tomlinson. Rebecca is a doctor of natural medicine who works at the One Energy Center in Shelburne. Rebecca is passionate about the fact that miracles are a natural and necessary part of life. She taught us how to increase our energy using Chi, tapping the meridians of the body and chanting.
We walked over to the Fire tent where we were greeted by Marsha Field of Prim Design. Marsha's workshop was “Let Your Intuition Be Your Guide”. I received another journal book with an inspiring quote attached, “Follow your heart and intuition, they already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary” Steve Jobs. Marsha is a great believer in the power of prayer and living in gratitude. Marsha taught us to always ask your intuition for help when making a decision. It will always guide you to an answer.
I took a peaceful walk through the woods on the groomed trails at this point and happily noted there were no mosquitos or bugs to bother me. I came upon the Crystal Storm Portal on the property which connected all the elements. Here I engaged in quiet self-reflection.
We ended the day in the Earth tent with Alex Hill. Alex spent 7 years learning in the Ancient Mystery Schools. He took us on our own personal and powerful inner journey to meet Mother Gaia. Mother Gaia presented herself to me as a strong and beautiful native woman with green eyes and long black hair. For Amy, Mother Gaia presented herself as a Golden Ball of Light. I was deeply moved by my own inner journey and thought it was a perfect way to end a wonderful day in nature.
There were many more workshops we would have liked to have attended. There was The Fire of Transformation and Let the Breath Heal You by Rita Linzi-Rei; Connecting to the Elements Through Sound by Michael Moon; The Ocean of Emotions, Cleanse Your Soul & Awaken Your Spirit by Sarah Ryan, The Power of Affirmations by Celia Missios and Giselle Theriault; The Five Languages of Love by Karen Armstrong; Heavenly Guidance and Boost Your Confidence & Self Esteem by Danielle Fagan; Source Energy Medicine by Fern Wolf; The Golden Sun and The Elements Within You by Aleksandra Ceho; Ho'oponopono (forgiveness) by Luciana Stan; Embracing Change and Empowering Yourself by Casey Campbell; Are You Ready to Let Go & Be the Real You by Ann Sahadath & Bill Little; Gentle Hatha Flow Yoga by Sharon Snider; Tai Chi by Wendy Williams; Qi Gong by John Patterson; Food that Fights Inflammation by Brenda Beattie-Gray and Great Canadian Super Foods by Kathy Shackleton; Balancing the Chakras by Angelika Tishler; Making $ense of Your Finances by Debbie Bullock; Dance Empowered by Michele Johnston; Drumming by Saikou Saho; Overcoming Emotional Blocks by Sandra Saradessi; Neuro Linguistic Programming by Martin Schueller & Carmello Colangelo and Symbol Quest: Creating Your Own Elemental Power Symbol by CJ Shelton.
There were so many more marketplace booths to visit as well. I realized by the end of the day, I didn't need a Weekend in the Woods. I needed an entire Week in the Woods!
This was a highly enjoyable, relaxing and informative spiritual event that I definitely plan to attend again next summer.
To learn more about this annual gathering, to volunteer, register for a booth or be a practitioner in 2015, check out

By Catherine Crow

Post date: 2014-08-27 14:52:49
Post date GMT: 2014-08-27 18:52:49
Post modified date: 2014-09-03 13:56:30
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