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Insight and Image: A Creative Pilgrimage to the Scottish Isle of Iona

Creative Workshops & Retreats

Join Catherine for a creative pilgrimage to Ireland or Italy, or attend a creative workshop with her in NC, VA, OR or NM.

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Insight and Image: A Creative Pilgrimage to the Scottish Isle of Iona

Join Catherine and Karen Nardi as we blend our passions in offering an experience on the magical island of Iona, Scotland that takes you on both an inner and outer journey as you explore the landscape of the island and the elements of earth, air, water and fire which surround us. Our activities will include:

  • SoulCollage® card-making each day

  • Creating a Portable Altar of the Elements to use with your SoulCollage® cards

  • Contemplative photography

  • Mindful photography walks to Monks Beach, St. Columba Beach and other parts of the island (optional as you can choose to stay at the hotel and make cards instead)

  • A deepening of your understanding of Celtic Spirituality and the history of Iona

  • Creating a walking labyrinth on the beach

  • A visit to Staffa island with a biologist to see the puffins

Pilgrims have been journeying  to the tiny remote island of Iona, in western Scotland  for over a thousand years.  A monastic community flourished for centuries at the  Iona abbey in this peaceful isle that has been called “a cathedral of earth, sea, and sky.”   On this this five-day pilgrimage in Iona, we will explore the island’s most important sites - the majestic abbey with its chapels and monastery, Monks Beach and Saint Columba’s Beach with its holy pebbles.  We will also walk an outdoor labyrinth recently built on the island.  We will take a pilgrimage walk to the top of the island to visit the hermit’s retreat and a pool said to keep those who drink from it young. 

All walks will be optional, and you can choose to stay at our retreat hotel and continue creative activities while the rest of the group goes walking.

The practice of soulful travel is to discover the overlapping point between history and everyday life, the way to find the essence of every place, every day: in the markets, small chapels, out-of-the-way parks, craft shops. Curiosity about the extraordinary in the ordinary moves the heart of the traveler intent on seeing behind the veil of tourism.
— Phil Cousineau
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In addition to SoulCollage® and mindful photography walks, we will also incorporate daily meditation, movement, prayer and solitude into our time together to enjoy the peacefulness of the long tradition of monastic life on Iona. 

We will be staying at the Argyll Hotel on the island of Iona, and the entire hotel will be reserved for our group in the mornings.

Our inner spiritual world cannot be activated without experience of the outer world of wonder for the mind, beauty for the imagination, and intimacy for the emotions.
— Thomas Berry
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The cost will be $1,995 which includes all accommodation, breakfast and dinner, art-making supplies, creative workshop instruction, and our visit to the island of Staffa which inspired Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture.

This retreat is now full. Contact Catherine if you would like to add your name to the wait list.

Accommodation choices:
6 single garden view en-suite rooms (FULL)
2 twin bed sea view en-suite rooms (FULL)
4 double bed sea view en-suite rooms. If you would like one of these as a single there is an additional $500 cost for the 5 nights) (FULL)
1 back view twin en-suite room (FULL)
1 courtyard view single en-suite (FULL)
1 courtyard view single with private bath (FULL)

Please indicate your first and second choices. Rooms will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Not included is your costs of travel to Iona, lunches, drinks, travel insurance and personal expenses. We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance the day you register to ensure that your deposit is covered should you have to cancel.

To reserve your space, you can pay the non-refundable deposit of $250. A second payment of $750 is due on or before December 20th, 2019 and the final payment of $995 is due on or before April 20th, 2020.

You can download the registration form here.
You can either scan (using Notes on the iPhone) the form once you have completed it to email it back or mail it directly to Catherine using the address on the form.

Insight and Image: A Pilgrimage to Iona


  • Your deposit reserves your space in the retreat and is non-refundable.

  • Should you cancel between December 21st, 2019 and April 20th, 2020, your payments less $500 will be refunded.

  • There are no refunds after April 20th, 2020, but you may find another person to take your place on the trip provided they agree to the terms of the agreement.

  • Written cancellation is required to process a refund.

  • In the unlikely event of it being necessary to cancel the retreat for any reason, all payments will be refunded in full.

Sacred landscape offers thresholds to sensual secrets, deep yearnings and spiraled awakenings.
— Tonja Reichley

Getting to Iona

Click here for downloadable instructions on getting to Iona from Edinburgh or Glasgow
If there are enough people interested we can arrange a private van from Edinburgh Airport to Iona. Examples of costs are: private sedan that can hold 3 people is £290 and a van that can hold 8 people is £325.

More about your Guides

Karen Nardi: Karen is a SoulCollage® facilitator in Northern California who studied for many years with Seena Frost, the birthmother of SoulCollage®.  She is also a student of the western Christian wisdom traditions and was in the first graduating class of John Phillip Newell’s School of Celtic Consciousness. Karen has made a number of pilgrimages to the island of Iona and knows it well.

Catherine Anderson: Catherine has a passion for exploring, personally experiencing and distilling an ever-expanding range of creative activities and processes: “slow photography”, Labyrinth activities, SoulCollage® and other forms of collage, mindfulness, visual journaling, and much more. Catherine is a dedicated teacher who excels in finding tantalizing ways to support other people in connecting with, deepening and fully enjoying their own creative journey. An experienced traveler and retreat leader, she loves to guide others towards taking wing through the experience of beautiful and unfamiliar places.

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