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Autumn Equinox on the Isle of Iona

Start Date: 16/09/2023
End Date: 23/09/2023
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Rest and rebalance as you celebrate the Northern Hemisphere’s Autumn Equinox at Traigh Bhan, our retreat house on the West Coast Isle of Iona.

Traigh Bhan on the island of Iona, with the beach and sea behind (Photo by Mark Richards - Aurora Imaging)

Equinox harmony

The Autumn Equinox, when both day and night are of equal length, is a special time of balance and harmony. It coincides with Mabon, the celtic harvest festival, a celebration to thank Mother Earth for the abundance and gifts of nature.

In this seven-day retreat we’ll explore the depths of our inner world and contemplate the inner and outer cycle of life and death. We will explore shadow and light as it moves within us, and attune to the Equinox energy to restore inner balance as needed, and harvest the gifts and learning we have received.

The island, the retreat house and your focalisers will hold a safe space that allows you to relax and deepen into the peace of Iona.
You may not want to join all the activities, but we’ll prepare meals and eat together each evening, creating a heart-centred container and bonding as a group. We’ll share the cooking between us, in the warm kitchen.


What you’ll enjoy

This retreat brings together the energies of Iona, Traigh Bhan and the Celtic cycles of light and dark.

In our seven days together, there will be group time and sharing, as well as time on your own for contemplation and reflection.

We will be in silence and meditation both indoors and outside with mornings dedicated to group sessions, meditation, contemplation, sharing and exploring.

Afternoons are given to individual exploration, sometimes task orientated, or sometimes free time.

Iona’s gifts to you

The Traigh Bhan sanctuary and retreat house offer a profoundly supportive space for inner work, as many feel that the veils between the realms are particularly thin on Iona.

Being immersed in nature and the elements at the far north of the island presents beautiful opportunities for self reflection, self observation and learning about shadow issues – and how they show us where we need to pay attention.

Together with your focaliser and group of five fellow souls on this journey, we’ll celebrate the magic, beauty and abundance of life.


Your Experience

  • A seven-day Autumn Equinox retreat led by Maria Olsthoorn
  • A seven-night peaceful stay at Traigh Bhan, located on the sacred Isle of Iona, off Scotland’s rugged West Coast
  • Three nutritious vegetarian meals per day
  • Free wifi
  • Unlimited coffee, tea, and refreshments

Sleeping just five guests, the house is a gentle space to rest a while, away from life’s busy-ness, within a safe, small group that allows you to reconnect with the invisible, the mystical and the magical.

Combined with the energies of Iona, the Sanctuary at Traigh Bhan is a powerful place to connect with spirit.

The price of £1,435 includes seven nights’ accommodation, activities with your guide, and all your meals.

The bedrooms and bathroom are shared. One room has four private bunk beds, each with a privacy curtain, individual bedside lamp and bookshelf.  The other room has a double bed and a single bed.

We look forward to welcoming you to the peace of Iona!

Call our bookings team +44 (0) 1309 691 653 or contact us with any questions.

We provide you with the essentials, so you won’t really need very much once at Traigh Bhan, but we do recommend bringing:

  • Toiletries/ Electrical appliances (Hairdryer etc.)
  • Warm and waterproof outdoor clothing – the weather is changeable
  • Good walking shoes to enjoy exploring the island
  • A water bottle
  • A journal for insights

Try to travel light as we carry our goods to the house in a cart or on our backs (or you can book the taxi!) It takes about 25-30 minutes to walk to the retreat house.


You will meet your facilitator in Fionnphort located on the Isle of Mull at 11.30am on Saturday 16th September, where you will then take the ferry to Iona and walk to the house together.


Check out is 9:30am on Saturday 23rd September, you will be accompanied by your facilitator to the ferry.

The Findhorn Foundation Bus is generally the easiest way to reach Iona. The Foundation bus departs from Findhorn early on a Saturday morning and will bring you back a week later.

Contact the Findhorn Foundation Transport Department for inquiries.


Alternatively, if you would prefer to make your own way to Traigh Bhan, the nearest travel hub is Oban, which is easily reached from Glasgow (about 2h40 by car, or 3h30 by public transport).

From Oban:

  • Take a Calmac Ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull (about 1 hour – you can take a car)
  • Craignure to Fionnphort (about 1 hour by car, or 1h30 by bus)
  • Take a Calmac Ferry from Fionnphort to Iona (about 10 minutes) – leave your vehicle in the community centre car park (free).
  • Another main centre is Fort William (this is best done by car): South of Fort William take the Corran Ferry from Nether Lochaber to Ardgour Terminal (about five minutes)
  • Drive to Lochaline (about an hour)
  • Cross to the Isle of Mull on a Calmac Ferry from Lochaline to Fishnish.
  • Drive to Fionnphort (just over an hour).
  • Take a Calmac Ferry from Fionnphort to Iona (about 10 minutes) – leave your vehicle in the community centre car park (free).


This seven-day retreat is open to everyone from age 18+.

If you have specific requirements please contact Bookings before you book to ensure we can meet your needs. Please also include details with your booking form.

Your Autumn Equinox Focaliser

Maria Olsthoorn2

Maria Olsthoorn

Maria has a long-standing passion for healing through connecting with the subtle energy realms, and has been teaching Subtle Energy Perception and shadow and light work to clients and groups both in the Findhorn Foundation and in her private healing practice for many years, in person and online. She teaches exploring aspects of light and shadow as they live within us.

A long-term community member, she holds a deep love for Iona and Traigh Bhan. She has visited many times since the early 90s and also lived on the island for a year. Maria loves painting and, since she’s a former art teacher and artist, you may well find yourself immersed in colours and creativity as part of your exploration.



Start Date: 16/09/2023
End Date: 23/09/2023


Traigh Bhan, Iona
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