2017 Hidden Monastery Retreats and Offerings

New Monthly Wisdom Council 2017

Time to be Determined

What if you had a Wisdom Council, a monthly place to navigate and find guidance during these big currents of change, an online monthly circle attuned to Greater Forces, especially Love, in our personal, communal and planetary life.  Would it help you to tap collective Spiritual Intelligence among amazing artists, thinkers, and spirit people? Would you like to help bring wisdom forward in support, discernment and service?

If body and soul and expressive arts are key to you, if you are sensitive grace maker psychically attuned to heaven, mystic cosmologies, dreams, unseen guides, ancestors, and Mother Earth, if you wonder how to support those around you this year as you build capacity to love, lead, create, and grow………….please consider this your invitation to attend and explore a Wisdom Council.

When Will We Meet? Arranged by the group at a time that suits as many as possible.
Support: A $49.00 monthly contribution supports this practice. Special arrangements provided for all people of color, millennials, and low income to honor limited resources..


Dying to Live Tour and Cabaret Retreat High Hope Ranch,Texas 

Friday May 7, 5:30 pm dinner to May 9, Sunday lunch
High Hope Ranch, Glen Rose Texas
Guided by Cynthia and Stephen Winton-Henry

with hosts Krystyna Jurzykowsi, Madeline Udashen and Hans York

Where we honor death at the sacred center of life in a magical place with beautiful hosts, great food, and good company. 

Come join the “Dying to Live” cabaret, a gathering place both solemn and celebratory where partners, family members, friends old and new, claim and share the biggest dance we do: Live and Die.

Stephen and Cynthia embrace Sister Death as holy companion and teacher to orient to and prepare for the improvisation of a lifetime: Living and Dying.

The rewards are rich: greater honesty, hope, joy, and body wisdom. But, death is hard to bring up, particularly our own or that of someone we love. For this we need dedicated space, time, ritual and companionship. This doesn’t have to be sad. Some of us are dying to live and want more than a class as we move from the misnomer of individual deaths to the truth of dying in community.


The Dying to Live Cabaret invites our arts, spirits, lessons, and questions. Cynthia and Stephen bring resources from Die Wise by Stephen Jenkinson, Ira Byock’s Four Things That Matter Most, Tina Cole Kreitz’s amazing resource– The Last Gift Box: A Present to Those Who Follow Me, Cynthia Winton-Henry’s Move: What the Body Wants, resources from Creative Aging and our decades of helping people get into and out of their bodies.

Friday 6pm Dinner, introductions and orientation
9-12      The Dance of Death
2-3:30   The Poetry of Life & Free Time
4-6         Happy Hour The Art of Legacy
7:30       The Cabaret of Community: Stories, Songs, Dances,Tellings

9-12 Song of the Soul
12:30 Lunch

High Hope Ranch is a beautiful oasis of love near Glen Rose Texas cared for by InterPlayer Krystyna Jurzykowski. Spring is one of the best times to visit. Don’t miss your chance to visit adjacent Fossil Rim Wildlife Center to receive blessings from the animal community. There is nothing like having your palm kissed by giraffe lips.

Stephen Winton-Henry, hospice chaplain, spiritual care manager, pastor, and grief educator since the 1990’s, it was losing a parent at a young age that initiated him in the need for spiritual companionship throughout life. A graduate from Foothill Theater Conservatory, an InterPlay leader, avid reader and amateur ukulele and guitar player, hanging out and playing is what he does best.

Cynthia Winton-Henry, cofounder of InterPlay, recovering serious person and host of the Hidden Monastery, a virtual community of playful prayerful mystics and artists. Having taught a generation of seminarians at Pacific School of Religion to dance and producing Unbelievable Beauty of Being Human concerts worldwide she currently teaches Changing the Race Dance Workshops and supports millennials to bring art and body wisdom back online. Her books include Move: What the Body Wants, Dance, the Sacred Art, and Chasing the Dance of Life.

Come to the cabaret, old chum?  Special arrangements provided for all people of color, millennials, and low income to honor limited resources.

Santa Fe Hidden Monastery Retreat
Embrace the Beauty Way

November 8-12,  4 nights, 5 days.
Wed 6pm- Sun lunch

Imagine the beauty of New Mexico desert skies awaiting those who come to listen to and connect with the Divine in powerful ways.

If you embrace a Holy Wild Love, seek belovedness in body and soul, attune to earth, and hunger for a community that embraces the mystic creative path, Cynthia Winton-Henry guides this retreat in honor of spiritual intelligence, joy, and wisdom.

Listening to body wisdom we gather as a hidden monastery for four nights and five days to rest, InterPlay in movement, story, and song, dance on behalf of one another and the Earth, and make desert pilgrimages.  Body Wisdom tools, rituals, and art projects are woven through the

Whatever your art, questions, seen or unseen gifts, here is a place, a people, and a process that will delight in you.

Synergia Retreat Center, outside of Santa Fe, an hour from the Albaquerque Airport welcomes you to this earth sensitive sight, beautiful dance studio, excellent food, playful art, and restful accommodations.

Room for 15-20 people. Single rooms are limited. Reserve a room now with a $100 deposit.

Total cost includes
$350  tuition/ 300 before October 1/ $300 for all Mystic Tech members.
Plus Accommodation, space use, and food packages:
  • Singles with bathroom $600
  • Singles with shared bathroom $500
  • Shared room $400

Special arrangements provided for all people of color, millennials, and low income to honor limited resources.

Mon/Thurs Online Dance Chapels


 Is Movement Your Best Way of Praying?  
Join this intention international online community. 
Monday 5pm pst or Thurs 9:30 am pst. See world clock to find your time.

Cynthia Winton-Henry and Nancy Pfalztgraf welcome you to the rare dance chapel where silence, voice and music are the super highways of peace-making and healing.

The Online Dance Chapel is based on decades of research on body and soul and visionary strategies developed while cofounding InterPlay, teaching in seminaries, transpersonal psychology schools, and at the Sophia Center founded by Matthew Fox. You can expect to

1  Warm up your dancing spirit.

2  Request prayers for family, community, and world

3. Notice your own body wisdom as you move, share and integrate it.

4. Reboot grace and gratitude for your week.

5. Hear and share your own poetry and music.

6. Connect to a Hidden Monastery facebook group to engage and receive additional resources.

Special arrangements provided for all people of color, millennials, and low income to honor limited resources.



Because more and more people are finding community in the Hidden Monastery I want to honor the exchange with Memberships: $110 includes all Hidden Monastery offerings: Dance Chapels, one to one sessions, and Wisdom Circles. (normally $175/month). Special arrangements provided for all people of color, millennials, and low income to honor limited resources.

To register for any events email cynthia@interplay.org


Homecomings: Online Intro to the Art of Creating & Relating to Home 12/28

Join Ellen Solot, founder, artist, and guide on Thursday 4pm pst.

Get ready for the new year with a complementary home tour where Ellen shares ways to explore and enliven Your Home. Peak into grace spots that will surprise and delight you as you think about what makes your bodyspirit glad!

Participants will be able to share an item from home and dance on behalf of the journey to bring our homes into present time.

* How to be More at Home in Your Home
* How To Express Yourself Through your Home
* How to put your Values & Needs into your surroundings
* How to Play with what you have to Enliven You and Your Home.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach said, “Chanukah is the holiday of the inside light, the hidden light, the light which is burning amidst the deepest darkness.” 
And how do we honor that hidden light? Sing, dance, be poetry, bring light home!

Ellen Solot is a teacher, artist, therapist, and founder of Homecomings®: The Art of Creating and Relating to Your Home. She holds a BA in Creative Arts, SFSU, an MA in Somatic Psychology, Naropa University, and 7years of study in Japan. Her work is an integration of visual anthropology, Qigong and mindfulness practice, art, body psychology, and her love of spontaneity and processes like InterPlay!

Cost: Free/ Register Here. 



Ensoulment’s Key Question: Will it dance?


Great Love invites me to dance, play, create, serve and live in the wonder of every aspect of life on Earth. I know that it’s not that easy. As one mystic friend said, “Choose your hard.”

I’ve had many times of feeling incredibly distraught. Remarkably, love keeps arising out of nowhere, an answer to prayer. One time this love really did a number on me and I couldn’t resist dedicating my life to it. Ever since I’ve been signed up for amazing lessons like “Clarity of Vision, Efficiency of Energy, Courage to Love.”

Is someone at work behind the screen, a magical engineer or fairy godmother who seems to know what we need next? Some days I would say yes, that’s how miraculous and strange it feels each time I listen to and get help or a new assignment revolving around body and soul.

One of my very first assignments was to bring body and soul together by fostering freedom and love through dance and the arts.  This is particularly challenging in a culture and time that is bent on material possession, promises of safety, production and ME ME ME

Still, when Phil Porter and I discovered that we could create dance and theater on the spot, streaming a synchronous reality where each movement seamlessly falls into place we knew we wanted to share that creative conscious  joy and that it could have world changing effects. InterPlay arose to offer grace-loads of fullness, beauty, wisdom, and connection IN BODY among those who  play with movement, voice, words, stillness and connection. This seems critical to the dream of healthy happy soulful people.

InterPlay showed me that the body’s genius is PLAY! This form of embodiment doesn’t ask for change or improvement. It triggers unconditional instincts and asks only for willingness. It doesn’t need wealth, status, or achievements. Mistakes, judgment, progress aren’t too important to play. Most amazingly, the play so often consider irrelevant fosters conditions conducive to Ensoulment! Play is magic. It unlocks the genuis of soulfulness.  This is why the spirit of play and creativity is emblematic to every course I teach. YAY!

Another initiation to being fully ensouled is learning how to regulate sensitive energy states. I wondered how I would ever manage the highs and lows in my crazy interactions with self, others, and god when I didn’t even know how to pay attention to them? Being so open, my enthusiasm drove me like mad, I’d get high as a kite, and hit the skids without knowing how I got there. I got triggered by unusual energy states and communications. Hormones? Fortunately, teachers, artists, healers, mystics, and psychics showed me how to keep energy on a more even keel.

Initiations are a different way to approach a fully embodied ensouled life. For those with higher than normal sensitivity life is not just about healing. Those who have gone before us know the way. Who are your teachers? What soul skills are you practicing?

In my next post I will be sharing some exciting new offerings that support listening to body and soul!  Stay tunes. 

If you are a first time reader, do consider signing up for letters, posts, and events from the Hidden Monastery. Check out the new look and name of my site at cynthiawinton-henry.com

InterPlay, Mysticism, Feminism, Nature, and Dark Times: Year End Review

There is too much in the title above. 

That’s the problem.  There is always too much to put in a word or sequence of words. Yet the words “InterPlay, Mysticism, Feminism, Nature, and Dark Times” are the mythopoetic standing stones of my experience, especially right now. I cannot let go of any of those words.

I bow to InterPlay! This is my way to enter into the continuous integrative birthing and rebirthing of life in connection with body, earth, and divine Source that I encounter that upholds me so well that it causes intense love to flow endlessly from me. Service is the name I give to my best actions.

InterPlay: the intersectionality of so many things…

  • body, mind, heart, and spirit;
  • me, you, us, earth, the All;
  • movement, voice, word and silence (the creative intellects of human wisdom);
  • creating, destroying, releasing, renewing;
  • all people and ideas;
  • wisdom and lack of wisdom;
  • time, space, energy, effort;
  • purpose married to unconditional purposelessness or play.
  • sending, receiving, indwelling, having, and claiming of information

It seems that this would be complicated. Yet, when I dance or sing in the moment with supportive formulas and friends I can be simple. I can also be vast. 

Dance and song/breath birth experience. They locate our energy and plug us into the big system. Susanne Langer, art philosopher, sees dance as creating a virtual realm of power. She recognizes the rhythms of sound and breath as activators of Elemental Time

If you want to find, position, release, or receive power from the wider system- dance. If your want to come into sync with time, engage your voice.. If you do not, you are left to slower methods.

The Feminine Earth: To dance with sound and beat, breath, and word is a form of birthing. As a birther, or an artist, what comes through me is both of me, but immediately not mine. This is also the nature of feminine consciousness, or mothering. I invest in creation in a direct energetic way. In psychology we call this attachment. I am fierce in my attachments. Too much so. In order to honor the birth therefore I must not only protect, I must dignify what I birth. This requires me to release it. Detaching from what we birth DIGNIFIES creation. This is true nurture. It is also the nature of a divine feminine justice.

As a dancer, a sacred dancer, I am a mystic. This simply means I acknowledge the magnitude of mystery in birth, life and death. As a woman, born to birth, AND to be myself, balancing the hormonal floods of suffering and joy, and wired to work and play relationally, I don’t aspire to transcend what I am blessed to touch, form, dance.  The idea of transcending into the divine as an escape, I understand, but not unless what She has birthed has turned to pain alone.

I am very glad that a few weeks ago I was given a dream. In the dream I looked into a dark cave of water descending like a well. Like a great birth canal going down into the center of the Earth, I saw that it was lit at the surface in golden light. In it there were dancers swimming as if it was a bath.  It was the baptism of the dancers.

In Judaism and Christianity water rituals are about purification and change in identity and commitment. The Jewish mikvah, a bath of ritual immersion, “leaves the person floating–momentarily suspended without breathing–substituting the usual forward moving nature and purposeful stride that characterize his or her waking movements with an aimlessness, a weightlessness, a detachment from the former environment. Individuality, passion, ego–all are submerged in the metamorphosis from the larval state of the present to a new existence.”  

The women with whom I shared my dream shared similar encounters with the Divine Mother. Through them I recognized the invitation to be held by the Earth and the Divine Feminine in a new way.  For me this may be the first time I can fully claim the power, joy, privilege, and gravity of being a Sacred Dancer, a term I have resisted for 40 years.

Dark Times:  Those of us who know intense violence, who have been violated and shunned, and who are shoulder to shoulder with other oppressed people, live with underlying dread. To see violence blatantly advocated by a world leader and his cronies would be unbearable for me if I didn’t have the Universe of Love and Lovers, The Way of Art and Healthy Ritual Practice and enough to secure me through the Tragic State of Affairs we are now in.

The good or bad news is that I am in training for times like this.  When 9/11 hit I was coming out of a holy breakdown and had some horrendous and hopeful dreams. I was prepared to respond in love.

It feels to me that this whole year has been preparatory. Here are a few lessons.

  • Learn to sit at the foot of the cross.  When others are in agony do not flee, do not problem-solve, be faithful in love, and recognize the power of what is transpiring.
  • Be fortified by art. Receive the offerings of others as often as I can. In the Spring I was given a great windfall of such opportunities. Do not resist beauty.
  • Be in covenantal community. Last winter I went to church leaders to share my grievances and ask for support. (Few know my story of renouncing my ordination.) Now I am doing the pew work and struggling to live in the tension of what I can and cannot change. Why? Because I haven’t found people outisde church who covenant to hold each other through death, show up for others in food, prayer, and art. As a mystic I need this.
  • Dance my prayers. In the winter I began co-hosting two online dance chapels in order to specifically pray in dance. I’ve never found a church to welcomes this in worship as a regular practice. Rev. Nancy Pfaltzgraf is my partner. I don’t expect to be transformed when we pray. I do it to build prayer muscles and because I trust Earth’s response to my bodyspirit more than I trust the perceptions of my mind. Perhaps these dancing prayers are why I dreamt of the baptism of the dancers in Holy Mother Earth.
  • Rejoice in and claim the work of others. I have so many amazing friends doing stellar work, taking actions that I cannot.  I consider myself part of their body, supporting them with exoskeletal muscles. Soyinka Rahim, Selisse Berry, Rinku Sen, Krystyna Jurzakowsky, Coke Tani, Caroline Blackwell, Phil Porter, Stephen Winton-Henry, all of the InterPlay Life Practice Program Leaders and a whole slew of people in the Hidden Monasteries that I visit.  I welcome you to claim my work as yours as well.
  • Go Out to Respond with Art. With Catherine Jolly we prayed into the dream to respond to violence by bringing beauty and mercy to places of distress. With her we designed a template that is now in place and has been used four or five times. Each time we feel the relief of prayer as we embody together in community the love and faith we have in the Earth’s best wisdom.
  • Change the Race Dance.  Racism is a body deal. To change racism we need body treatments. Song and Dance are the best medicine, safer and more energizing than discussion and rebuke alone. Getting in the dance together can move discussions to a more powerful and direct and transformative place. Following Soyinka I support this practice to deepen into broader community and leadership in the coming year. Each time I lead this, I am humbled and empowered to really be present to partnering for a sacred world order.



This week I will gather the Hidden Monastery at High Hope Ranch in GlenRose Texas with 15 other InterPlayful Mystics from Ohio, DC, North Carolina, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Chicago, and California. We will be resting into one of the holy and hidden places of love on Earth next to Fossil Rim Wildlife Sanctuary. We will begin with the blessings of a Supermoon. We will listen alongside other mystics, receive guidance from each other and pray for wisdom. We will have a blessing of rattle. Through the few years I have been leading this I am assured that powerful support will arise, not just for us and our leadership, but for the wider community.  I wish I could tell you how magical this is—but hopefully you already know.


I will take you in prayer as I always do, incredibly grateful for all who love me, and for teachers who are everywhere, and the inheritance of wisdom that is flowing through us now from the ancients, the elements, and the unborn. I pray into the depths of life for a quick end to abuse of power and a glorious flowering of compassion.


With particular homage to Christ, Thomas Merton, Connors McConville, Carla deSola, Alanon pals, Soyinka, Phil, Stephen and Katie.


If you would like Resources and Love in this Shifting Ground Time Link here to see and download poetry and wisdom Post Election.