March 23rd-26th 2023
Singing The Bones Retreat:
Find Healing, Connection, and Meaning Through Cultural Self-Discovery.
With Lydia Violet Harutoonian and Leah Song of Rising Appalachia
Hello, Beautiful Folx!
This is an incredible opportunity for Singing the Bones students that Leah and I have been mulling over for years and finally brought to fruition! The first IN-PERSON Singing the Bones Retreat, in Leah’s mystical backyard in the Appalachia Mountains, a place that has inspired a depth of folk traditions and sounds, the perfect backdrop for this magical experience!
We are thrilled to combine our powers in-person, and create a grounded and mystical learning environment. By continuing this exploration into your cultural heritage, both lessons from shortcomings and wisdom from life-enhancing traditions, we hope to create a space for healing parts that feel orphaned and facilitating personal growth and self-discovery.
We are excited for all of us to take a break from our daily routine and fully immerse ourselves in our Singing the Bones material and the retreat experience. What a gift!
This Retreat is for you if…
- You’ve taken the Singing The Bones online course and want to dive deeper into your ancestral culture and traditions. (in a supportive, immersive, and in-person environment!)
- It excites you to have uninterrupted time with incredible facilitators while gaining knowledge in a healing container. (with practices that engage somatically, intellectually, creatively, and spiritually)
- You’d love to build meaningful connections with others in the diaspora and create a greater sense of belonging.
- You seek to improve your well-being through the healing power of cultural reconnection
- You’re curious about harvesting wisdom and finding meaning by exploring your cultural heritage.
- You’re curious about the ancestral instruments and music styles singing in your blood.
- You’d love to get nourished by the nervous-system-regulating vitamins of singing and sharing stories together.
Disoriented and culturally orphaned, we yearn for roots in sturdy ground…
As diasporic peoples, there is a cultural separation many of us inherit. With this separation comes disorientation from land, language, and tradition, which leads to assimilation into modern cultures based on capitalism and white supremacy.
When we learn about the lessons and blessings of our ancestors, we root down into who we are and choose consciously what we bring forward as we shape culture with our lives. To do this brings with it ancestral healing, cultural repair, and breaking patterns that have become toxic to us.
Many times the medicine for the adversities our ancestors faced is in that very culture itself. All humans gathered around imagination and creativity. Confessing their life stories, land-based skills, musical prowess, and prayers. Their humanity often came forward through these outlets, creating medicine for the hardships of life.
You have the gift of already having gotten started down this healing path. This is big work, and we are excited to create a supportive portal for another big, deep dive into your healing and reconnection.
During this retreat, you will have the opportunity to learn and grow in a more interactive and immersive learning experience. You’ll participate in lectures, group discussions, folk singing and dancing, evening storytelling celebrations, and extended Q&A sessions with Lydia and Leah. This synthesis of elements offers an opportunity to integrate more of your learnings when it comes to your ancestral cultures and traditions.
This retreat will be limited to 35 participants, whether staying on or off site, off-siteensuring an opportunity to build meaningful connections with others in the diaspora and create a sense of belonging and community. In a world that can feel isolating, this opportunity to weave our ancestral healing work as a coherent tapestry can soothe the pangs of that isolation. You will dive into learning about the instruments and music styles singing in your blood. You will see the connections and differentiations across cultures. And most importantly, you will practice reconnection within the diaspora, defining what a relationship with your ancestors means for you.
Your Groovy Facilitators
Lydia Violet Harutoonian (she/her)
Lydia Violet brings with her a robust scholarship in cosmology, archetypal psychology, and group work facilitation aimed at individual and community repair. Through compassionate and grounded facilitation, Lydia’ is able to move her groups through both intellectual study, somatic tending, and emotional mending in a way that balances mind, spirit, and heart.
Leah Song brings with her 15+ years as the frontwoman of internationally-renowned folk group Rising Appalachia, born from her own lifetime immersion in a variety of folk music traditions. Leah is also passionate about somatic healing, offering groups her own unique synthesis of yoga, dance, meditation, and vocal exploration.
Community Welcome Dinner!
Sofreh Altar building with ancestral objects.
Meet your cohort and set your intentions.
Community Singing Lullaby Session.
Session 1: Why We Start with Story: Psyche, Soul, and the Nature of Archetypes
Healing in the Diaspora
Session 2: Archetypal Story Figures from Around the World, The Patterns Humanity Shares, Connecting to the Psyches of Our Ancestors Through Story
Meet with Small Counsel Group
The Literal Truths and Mythic Truths Found in Folk Stories and Mythologies, and What They Can Tell Us About the Lives of Our Ancestors
Stories from Around the World: Ancestral Reconnection Oral Storytelling Circle
Session 1: Folk Music Traditions: Drums, Winds, and Strings from Around the World!
Session 2: Vocal Workshop with Leah Song: explore sound vibration and body movement as tools for self-awareness.
Embody the physical art of making sound from all the many resonators in the body, and expand your voice.
Meet with Counsel Group
Session 1: Music As Medicine: Why All Peoples Make Music, and Learning A Song In Your Blood.
Session 2: Songs from Around the World!
Songs from Around the World: Oral Songshare
Lads of Trad– A Traditional Irish and Old Time Dance Party, from the Heart Of Appalachia
The Retreat Center:
Prama Institute & Wellness Center
Prama, meaning “dynamic balance” in Sanskrit, is a sustainable community providing holistic education for people and planet. The is located on 150 acres of forest, meadows, streams and farmlands in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. With plenty of hiking trails and areas to explore, the center borders the scenic French Broad River and is only 25 min from downtown Asheville, 5 min from historic Marshall NC and 2 hours from Charlotte.
If you live locally or would like to find your own accommodations, you are welcome to attend the retreat during the days only, for a reduced fee!
If you would like to stay with us on-site, Prama Institute has a few options for housing: 3 private rooms with 2 beds in each, as well as are 4 dorm rooms: 2 with 6 bunk beds and 2 with 8 bunk beds. All of the bathrooms are shared in this building.
Prama Wellness Center, an adjacent building to where we our gathering space is, has 3 rooms with a double bed, 1 room with 2 beds and 1 room with 4 smaller twin beds. All these rooms have bathrooms.
When you fill out your application, you’ll indicate your first and second choices for the type of room you’d like to stay in.
All our food is vegetarian with a strong leaning to vegan.
Prama is well known for serving delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals incorporating as much seasonal, local and organic food as possible. They can also meet many diets such as gluten free, vegan and more, and you will have a chance to specify any dietary preference on your retreat application. Your registration feel includes dinner Thursday, 3 meals Friday and Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.
There is a ramp that enters the main dome where we meet through the kitchen. There are two rooms on the main level with no stairs, but do not have bathrooms. The bathrooms for those rooms have a 3inch step into the shower .
In the Wellness center, there is one room with a shower room suitable for disabilities and an accessible pathway to the main dome. If you need this room, please indicate so on the application.
There are also 4 rooms at the wellness center available without stairs, however, those bathrooms are not accessible.
If you have any other questions about anything including accessibility and accommodations, please contact Emily at email@example.com
Cost & Registration
$650 excluding accommodation. You will also have access to more room choices the earlier you sign up!
We have all the room and board options listed for you on the application.
3-month payment plans are available for you! Please just choose this option on the application to let us know if you’d like a payment plan.
When accepted, we will send you a payment link based on the accommodations you chose.
Due to high interest, our barrier-reduced registration spots are now full! We apologize for this limitation, and hope that our payment-plan option can help support more access to our retreat.
For questions , please email care@
The Covid-19 pandemic is a shifting landscape, and we do our best to navigate the variety of needs present in our communities.
For this workshop, everyone will be asked to do an antigen-rapid-test within 48 hours of our start time, and then we will also be testing everyone upon arrival to Prama Retreat Center. We also require that participants wear masks while on public transportation to our retreat, which includes planes, buses, trains, etc. We do this to try to ensure as much as possible so that at the retreat itself, we can be mask optional.
To ensure as much collective care as we can, we take these precautions very seriously, especially the request to mask up while traveling. We are doing our best with the resources we have access to to create an internal space with as much freedom as possible. Thank you for helping us to this end.
Right now mask use during our retreat will be optional, but we are also open to adapting as needed. We will do our best to tune into the desires within the group and accommodate as we can.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When does the Retreat start and finish?
Participants are welcome to come anytime after 4pm on Thursday, March 23rd, have dinner provided by the retreat center, and our first group session will start at 7pm on Thursday, March 23rd. Our final retreat session will end at 12:30pm Sunday, March 26th, with participants welcome to stay for lunch before leave the center.
Can I pay on a payment plan?
Yes, 3-month payment plans are available for all payment tiers.
Is there a deadline to register?
The early bird pricing deadline is 30th of January, besides that we will close the door when we reach 35 participants but there is no specific deadline for registration.
What should I bring to the retreat?
Comfortable clothing, and layers for the early-Spring Blue Ridge Mountain weather!
Hot Drink Mug
Journal and Writing Untensils
Dance Party Outfit
Sleep Aids (ear plugs, eye mask)
How far is Prama from the nearest airport?
Asheville is a 35 minute drive from Asheville Regional Airport, and 2 hours 20 minutes from Charlotte International Airport. We will do our best to put participants in touch with each other to arrange carpools.
How many people will be at this retreat?
Prama can accommodate 35 participants at full capacity, so we will be an intimate group, with plenty of time and space for connection!
Is it okay if I have to arrive late or leave early?
While this isn’t preferable, we can accommodate folks who may need to miss a session in the beginning or end of the retreat.
What is the cancellation or refund policy?
100% refund until February 23rd, 50% refund after Febraury 23rd.
“By the end of this retreat, you will have a deeper understanding of the cultural artifacts held within your lineage (s), a deeply medicinal endeavour in our time. You will explore how story gives way to culture, which in turn gives way to tradition, and how this tradition melts into diasporic identities.”
Will you join us?
We cherish this opportunity to meet all of you in-person, and continue this dedication to healing and learning. Let’s sing over the bones, and in doing so hear the song of healing coming through all of us in these times. If you’d like to join us, please fill out our simple application by clicking the button below.