Wintering: Tending the Dark Waters of Soul Grief Retreat

An In-Person Weekend Retreat

 Friday, January 12th 6pm – Sunday, January 14th 4pm 

Haw River State Park

Summit Conference Center

Brown Summit, North Carolina

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” -Joseph Campbell

Wintering: Tending the Dark Waters of Soul

A Grief Retreat at Haw River State Park

January 12th, 6PM – January 14th, 4PM

Summit Conference Center
Brown Summit, North Carolina




In winter, the ground has gone fallow and we are in the sacred pause. This is Demeter’s season to grieve the loss of her daughter, Persephone. Winter is not only a season of the natural world, but a place that our bodies and psyches often find themselves, a season that recurs again and again across a life. In winter, there is a seasonal invitation to slow down, to tend our losses, and rest. 

With the support of the shortened days, we invite 20 participants to seek the uncluttered quiet of the winter landscape of Haw River State Park in North Carolina, to reverently tend to what lies in the dark waters of our souls. With the company of northern cardinals, bare silver maples and white oaks, and the magic waters of the Haw, we will honor the sacred pause and engage in deep rest and self care. And just as the trees shed their leaves in winter, to become the rich humus of the forest floor, we will unburden our hearts and work with our sorrows to compost them into fertile soil.

Grief has always been communal in our long story as a species. This weekend we will enter the original healing matrix and offer one another a refuge safe enough to allow multiple layers of grief to be touched and released. Over the course of our three days together, we will use the tools of breathwork, movement, writing, and ritual to:


  • honor our resistance to our own vulnerability and the seasonal invitation to slow down
  • share our emotional selves to bring us into the arms of the sacred
  • deepen our trust in our emotional and body wisdom
  • cultivate poetic imagination to encourage our entry into the well of grief
  • explore grief’s allies, such as anger, emptiness, and numbness
  • make a refuge for gratitude and rest


Life’s water flows from darkness.

Search the darkness, don’t run from it.

Night travelers are full of light,

and you are, too; don’t leave this companionship.  ~ Rumi


Early bird pricing, full payment due by December 14th.

-$625 for single; $525 for double; $425 commuter


After November 30th $695 for single; $595 for double; $495 commuter

$100 deposit to secure your spot.


What past grief retreaters have said about our retreats:

"I cannot say enough about how powerful this experience was for me!! Hands down, it was the most powerful engagement of my entire life! Our culture deals with death/grief/loss/rage COMPLETELY WRONG and we, as practitioners, instructors, teachers, mentors, families, parents, etc must do our part to help spread the word that this experience (which we all have) doesn't have to be contained in such a negative, isolated, shameful space. I was definitely taught that this past weekend and now I'm telling everyone I know! "-AR

"It was a beautifully transformative experience for me. Summer and Samantha created a warm, loving, safe space. I am forever grateful for the insight I received and will integrate into my life. I felt loved and accepted by over a dozen people that I just met, and it feels like that is how the world should be. Everywhere we go, we should feel loved and accepted. I connected to some patterns and deep seated grief that are now in my awareness and I can observe them and work with them. I look forward to more retreats... oh and Haw River was the perfect setting. The food was incredible and the staff, warm and accommodating, and the surroundings so serene and full of life." -KP

"This retreat was so far outside of my comfort zone and I had no idea what to expect..I will be forever grateful that I took this leap of faith. My experience was absolutely amazing. My life has been changed for the better with the tools I took away from this weekend. There are not words to describe the love and bond I have with this whole group. Communal grief is an eye opening moment, one that I wish everyone in the world could have. Samantha and Summer are wonderful guides for this journey!" -AH

"Thank you for a truly outstanding retreat. The rich variety of ways you engaged us, your willingness to be vulnerable in our midst, and especially the way you trusted us to become a learning community for one another, was a great gift. You offered a very deep dive into a transforming pool and it seemed to me that all fifteen of us plunged right in!"-JB

"I’m so grateful for it. You created a safe pop-up village in which to explore parts of ourselves we may not feel comfortable with. I struggle with not feeling heard and seen. In that environment it almost felt as though that didn’t matter - that being being seen and heard was implicit and I was free to be myself without judgment." -RBH


To learn more, click here…

-Two highly trained trauma informed facilitators

-Tuition for the weekend

-2 nights lodging in single and double occupancy rooms

-Locally Sourced Meals:  3 meals on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday. Snacks, coffee, and tea.

Commuters : Lunch and dinner on Saturday, lunch on Sunday, light snacks (breakfast on Saturday and Sunday not included).

We do highly recommend for those who are local to Greensboro to strongly consider giving yourself the space to stay on location and be held within the container we are creating.

Friday, January 12th, 6PM – Sunday, January 14th, 4PM

Haw River State Park
Summit Conference Center
Brown Summit, North Carolina

Event is located at the beautiful Haw River State Park The Summit Conference Center. Accommodations are motel style rooms. When we are not meeting in the lovely Heron’s Roost for our group time, there are many beautiful trails to explore.  

The closest airport to us is Greensboro (GSO). Participants flying in can also look into flying into Charlotte or Raleigh, NC..

Given the nature of this work and non-verbal communication, not masking is ideal.

Early bird rate through November 30th:  $625 single-occupancy / $525 double-occupancy/$425 commuter rate (breakfast is not included for commuters on Saturday and Sunday)

After November 30th: $695 single/$595 double/ $495 commuter rate

Registration will close on December 15th.

To secure your registration, please fill out the google form by clicking on the "Register" button at the end of this web page and provide a $100 non-refundable deposit. Payment options include check, venmo, and cashapp.

Venmo is found as Samantha DiRosa      @sdirosa

Mail a personal check to: Samantha Di Rosa: 1207 W. Northwood St. Greensboro, NC 27408

Cashapp to SamanthaDiRosa

Cancellation Policy: For cancellations prior to November 1st, a refund of 50% will be made. For cancellations after December 1st, a refund of 25% will be made. If we are able to fill a spot vacated by a cancellation, we will provide a full refund.

We will close registration on DECEMBER 15th, 2023.

  • Please bring a water bottle.
  • A journal and pen.
  • Items for our grief altar that are sacred and symbolic for you.
  • Weather will be cold. Wear layers for when we are inside and comfortable clothes. (elastic pants, cotton shirt, jacket, etc).
  • If wanting to walk on the trails and explore the state park consider bringing a heavy jacket or coat, gloves, beanie or warm hat.
  • Favorite snack(s) for your room and any other creature comforts you may want to nurture yourself.
  • There are no refrigerators in the motel rooms, however we will have access to a community refrigerator in our meeting space (Heron's Roost).

Masking is optional, but discouraged given the nature of this work where we all rely on non-verbal cues to communicate and find safety. We do not request vaccination or testing proper to arrival. However, if you are symptomatic within ten days prior to the program start date we ask that you please ensure that you are not contagious before arriving. This is self-monitoring agreement and we trust in your personal integrity. Thank you.


Samantha DiRosa, MFA, RYT, is a university art professor, yoga instructor, ritualist, and budding art therapist based in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She brings 20 years of facilitation and teaching experience in the realm of higher-education, alongside an artist’s sensitivity and depth of insight, to her work with groups.  Having trained with Francis Weller, author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow, and Joanna Macy, author of Active Hope, she believes in the power of ritual and ceremony to transmute sorrow and loss into the healing of individuals, communities, and the Earth.  Samantha lives with her daughter and her pack of non-human companions in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, the occupied lands of the Keyauwee and Saura Peoples. When she is not teaching, she maintains a small private coaching / consulting practice and spends time connecting with her Celtic and Sicilian ancestral roots.

To learn more about Samantha click here

Summer Estes MA, LCMHC, is a psychotherapist, breath facilitator, Enneagram teacher, and founder of Embodied-Intelligence. She has a special interest in deep inner work, that integrates both perennial wisdom, somatic, and mindfulness practices. She is curious about human development and consciousness and plays with her curiosity through the practice of Inquiry as a student of A.H. Almaas Diamond Approach. Summer has been a student of the Enneagram under the teaching of Russ Hudson since 2010 and completed her training through the Enneagram Institute in 2019.  Summer was naturally drawn to the work of Francis Weller and sees coming together to bear witness to ourselves and each other in sacred space as a vital nourishing practice. She loves facilitating learning and healing environments where participants connect to what is real and alive within themselves.  In addition to private clinical practice, Summer has served on faculty for the wisdom school, The Second Breath Center and led many workshops and retreats.   She has worked in the healing arts for over 18 years.

To learn more about Summer click here

How to Apply

  1. Register and pay now to reserve your spot!
  2. If you have any questions please contact us.

"Summer undoubtedly has a knowledge base, deeply intuitive nature, and wisdom that has allowed me to become a believer of what the enneagram offers and promotes, which I believe is healing. I am thankful for the ways in which Summer provided me with the skills and tools to really see myself and begin to trust myself."

—Genesis Adams

"I highly recommend Summer's classes. I really value her ability to incorporate practice into her workshops and to foster open and co-creative spaces. Summer has a great way of inviting presence, and has helped me to dig into what I am noticing and use it to enhance my understanding of myself and my journey."


"Over the past 5 years I have participated in workshops and classes, in person and virtually, led by Summer. She has an amazing spirit that creates a sacred space for discovery, trust, vulnerability and acceptance. My spiritual journey and discipleship have been fueled with her by my side."

—Julie Nelson

Awareness of interpersonal relationships is in part a gift to us as we seek to understand. Getting better acquainted in who we are, how we function, where we see ourselves in relationships, I think gives us a healthier perspective of humanity. I have found that this enneagram workshop is the bow that unwraps this gift.

—Chaplain Abel Moran


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