The peace within

Tune in with your soul and get inspired in this boutique holistic retreat on Auckland’s West Coast facing a protected native forest and magnetic view on Karekare Beach

Moving clouds on the ocean, the energy of a green forest, the fresh drops falling from a waterfall, the immaculate singing of birds, a soft breeze among the blossoms. In the vibrating nature of Waitakere Ranges, 40 minutes drive from Auckland and a few miles from Karekare Beach, you’ll find a peaceful place to be. Close enough to the city but far enough to unplug, Sacred Earth Retreat is as remote as you can imagine. Not only it’s surrounded by a green carpet of native ferns and Kauri trees, spectacular miles of hiking trails and refreshing water holes, its position facing the ocean instantly lets the mind fly away.

The dream

Creating a spiritual retreat where a community could live in harmony with nature, working on something meaningful and giving relief to troubled souls. The dream was in a pocket, until the time came and the magic happened. It all started around 25 years ago in India, when owners Phil and Jenny went to visit the ashram of spiritual master Sathya Sai Baba. A voice guided them to meet sage Sukonadi, and their questions were finally answered. The description of the hill and the garden, the idea of a little Eden and a full blessing. Soon after, following a serie of lucky coincidences, things started to move in the right direction. Blessings can travel many miles and will last forever.

“When we came to see this property, we just knew it was the place” Says Jenny with smiling eyes. “I don’t even remember how many rooms were there, if there was a kitchen or so. We immediately loved it”. First Satyavan, cosy house overlooking the forest and the ocean, and piece by piece the project came true. With three luxury lodges and eco-friendly cottages hidden in the bush, Sacred Earth Retreat welcomes short-term guests and a growing number of residents. Like Leslie, who lived here since the beginning. With her kind words and her adorable manners, she is always ready to share her wise happiness: “There’s nothing else I could desire”.

Wisdom is about being able to see the gift in everything around us and be grateful. It’s the meaning of He Pou Rerenga Wairua, the captivating Maori carving that stands in the middle of a sunny glade, facing north. A spiritual Waka, floating canoe reaching up towards the heavens and celebrating Aroha, the love of Father Sky and Mother Earth. “This special bliss belongs to all of us, it cleans our energy and helps us to continue our inner journeys”, says Matua Louis Kareopa sapiently. Inspired by this idyllic place and the knowledge of a millennial tradition, he carved the Pou out of the ancient wood of a Totara tree that was submerged in Tongariro river. Deep and humble, he touches this first artwork of a series of 12 and adds, laughing: “Don’t forget to look at the original bark of the timber at the back, nature’s work is much better than mine!”.

A place to rest

A home designed with love, bits of wilderness that come in through the open windows, a magnetic sunset on the coastline. It’s the perfect combination to connect with Gaia and begin a life-changing experience. It may start with a deep breath sitting cross legged on the grass, while birds are singing and a salty wind flows quiet. Or with a guided meditation in Savitri temple, a breathtaking octagonal building that sits on top of a hill and receives vibrating energy from the sea and the forest. Dedicated to Sathya Sai Baba and his teaching of the oneness of all people and all religions, it celebrates the universality of all beings and is open to all faiths and paths. If you hang around that area, you will definitely meet Tom, a blessed heart that would  give you relief just by standing next to you. “Self realization is knowing who you are”, he says smiling, “and underneath our ego, we all are Atma, which in Sanskrit means collective soul, the one big spiritual plasma that connects us. All are one”.

While meditation and yoga classes are held regularly in the temple, you can come over anytime. Here or on a wide wooden deck facing the ocean, you’ll find the ideal location to dive into your body, find stillness and deepen your practice. Joyful and caring, Mary will guide you to places you’ve never reached before through her angelic voice and the rhythm of the harmonium. Laugh, cry, go everywhere, come back to yourself. She will show you how to get rid of tensions until complete relaxation with her Yoga Therapy. And if you just want to lay down effortlessly, ask for an integrative Aromatouch massage, you won’t regret it. Once the body is feeling well, you can think about nourishing it and maybe ask her for a healthy catering or a raw whole food cooking class. “I like to involve people in the activity rather than teaching old-style”, she shrugs her shoulders. It’s much more fun.

No matter if you are going for lunch or you sit quietly familiarizing with yourself, mindfulness is the key. Even walking in the bush becomes an opportunity to discover something new. Warm peaceful soul, naturopath and director of Wellpark College in Auckland, Phil will guide you through the forest highlighting the native medicinal plants traditionally used by Maori tribes. Manuka tree, Kawa Kawa, Mapoe, the abundant unfolding Ponga and many more. “The leaves with holes from insect bites are the best ones. Always trust animals”, he blinks. Acknowledging the perfection of this marvelous living earth will make our stay much nicer and more respectful: once you reach this connection with nature, nothing will ever be the same.

Life in the community

Creatives, spiritual minds and wondering souls come to Sacred Earth to derive inspiration from this tranquility. Walking in the retreat on any ordinary day, you can meet amazing people like crystal healer and artist Kimi, who found the perfect workspace in her lovely hut in the forest. Sweet, dreamy and sensible, she crafts gorgeous wearable talismans and blesses them in the water of Karekare waterfalls. Or Lynn, childrens’ book illustrator, storyteller, teacher and awaken being that combines her skills with shining devotion and passionate work. And Aaron, scholar, author and publisher with profound interest in esoteric world. Reflective, calm and accurate, he would guide you to a better understanding of Alchemy or give you a detailed Astrology reading using ancient techniques from Greek and Egyptian knowledge.

Every individual here has something to share. Spiritual soul and unconventional healer, Tony would dig into your heart with his touching words, his scanning eye-gaze and his fulfilling light. You see him walking in his Maori tattoos followed by his playful dog, and he will do the rest. Also, you may be lucky and get the opportunity to join an exclusive sound journey, where you will connect with the purifying vibrations of mantras, traditional music instruments and guiding spirits. Reiki master and physical healer Will would take you to a dreamy escape far from this planet and closer to yourself. Or clean your energy, release your blocks and give you emotional balance with his sapient hands.

For Jenny, the community is the most important thing. Everybody brings bits of sunshine in and the result is pure harmony. Like a warm hug. It’s already in her visionary mind the project of sharing this heaven with people in need, running rescue programs to help troubled minds. According to psychological studies and experimental projects, it takes three months to introduce any longterm transformation. “We all grow beautiful flowers if we get the right context”, she says warmly, “here everyone can find an idyllic setting to find focus and discover the true aspect of who he really is, which is pure divine love”. In other words, happiness.

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