Charlotte Haigh is a writer and priestess
During my 18-year career as a health journalist, I’ve contributed to titles including Stylist, Marie Claire, Woman & Home, ELLE, Grazia, Healthy and Women’s Health, as well as providing content and consultancy for brands. I have a special interest in writing about emotional wellbeing and relationships - the joy and pain of being human. I write fiction too and my short stories have been published in literary journals.
Having struggled with anxiety and low self-esteem in my teens and twenties, I found some answers through therapy and then spent three years training as a person-centred counsellor, volunteering one day a week at an addictions centre. I loved working with clients and still use many of the techniques I learned but after my training finished I felt the approach wasn’t quite right for me.
Losing two much-wanted pregnancies in 2014, followed by divorce, led me to an unexpected new path when I went to the Amazon jungle to drink the psychedelic brew ayahuasca with shamans. My formerly sceptical self would have laughed at what came next but psychedelics have a way of changing your mind - I started training as a shamanic practitioner, and as a priestess to the goddess Rhiannon with the Magdalene Mystery School in Glastonbury. I love holding space as a priestess and sharing lots of wild, wise, earthy, magical rituals with our retreat guests – along with my vegan cooking. It’s a total privilege to work with Sarah, blending our paths and our personalities.
Sarah Varela is a health writer, Reiki teacher and Nia Dance teacher
After uni, I worked at Cosmopolitan magazine for three years (man, I loved that beauty cupboard). Since then I've written freelance health and wellbeing articles for a wide range of publications including Marie Claire, Psychologies and The Sunday Times, and worked on several patient support programmes. I’m passionate about integrated health – where complementary therapies and orthodox medicine are used alongside each other.
Learning Reiki in 1998 helped me start to heal, untangling and releasing the grief I’d squashed down for 10 years after my dad was killed by a drunk driver the night before my 16th birthday. With each passing year my Reiki practice has helped me accept and love myself more. In 2008, my cousin and I wrote an Amazon best seller Bipolar Disorder – The Ultimate Guide to help us make sense of the condition that affects many members of our family. Training in Nia - barefoot dance classes with feelgood factor - in 2016 helped me connect fully with my physical self. Dancing the Nia way has helped me feel stronger, fitter, freer, leaner, lighter and more present in my body.
Hosting retreats with Charlotte makes my heart sing! For that day or weekend, the two of us take such pleasure in nourishing and nurturing our guests so together we can explore ways to invite more joy, love and peace into our lives. Our aim is to create a beautiful bubble around the group so we feel safe and free to express our true selves.