A healing journey
Athens - Delphi - Pelion Tempe - Olympus
September 06 - September 16, 2019 (11 Days)
Immerse yourself in a pure natural environment. Awaken your senses with the sights and tastes of traditional Greece. Access the profound traditional healing wisdom of Mounts Pelion and Olympus. Let your imagination roam with tales of gods, heroes, nymphs, oracles, and healers. Be inspired to begin your own inward journey to greater wholeness by the eternal symbolism of the Orphic mysteries.
In the Footsteps of Chiron is a unique journey organized by experienced tour leaders who specialize in natural medicine, traditional cuisines, wisdom traditions, and ancient civilizations. Together Carina, Sakis, Jennifer and David possess decades of experience in Greek tourism and group experiences. Dr. Carina Lopez has extensive experience studying homeopathy in the Greek island of Alonissos. Sakis Stamou has worked as a chef and culinary tour leader in the Pelion region as well as the island of Ikaria and Athens. Jennifer Kellogg has organized and led tours for the Harvard Alumni Association in Greece as well as many college student groups. David Leskowitz merges the wisdom of astrology with the healing power of the Centaurs as they exist in myth, planet, and spirit. Your guides have also dedicated themselves to deep study of healing modalities drawn from centuries-old traditions.
This retreat holds tremendous transformative potential through a personal encounter with the eternal stories of Greek myth. Discover the continuous current running between Greek mystery practices of both ancient and Christian Orthodox traditions. Participants will reconnect with their own deep well of health and divine wisdom.
The retreat schedule allows for ample time for relaxation and reflection. Your guides will be available for one-on-one meetings for massage, dietetics, and astrology readings.
Ascend the sacred rock of the Acropolis, a place of worship of Athena, the city's patron goddess.
Explore the most famous oracle of ancient Greece, Delphi, regarded as the center of the world.
Hike the path of Centaurs in Mount Pelion and discover the Chiron's cave.
Learn to identify and harvest the healing herbs sacred to Chiron and Asclepius.
Sail to the small island of Palaio Trikeri and enjoy fresh seafood and the beauty of the Aegean.
Discover the Vale of Tempe, where the ancient Greeks dedicated to the cult of Apollo.
Restore yourself in the majestic natural beauty of Mount Olympus, home of the powerful Olympian gods.
Be enchanted by the archaeological site of Leivithra, a magical hill of the Muses and the mystical Orpheus.
Learn about traditional food, wine and medicinal practices of ancient and modern Greece to heal yourself.
Discover ways to connect with the healing guides of ancient Greece through meditation.
meet your RETREAT GUIDES
Dr. Carina Lopez
Naturopath, Homeopath & Acupuncturist
Dr. Carina Lopez is a bilingual Spanish/English naturopathic doctor, homeopath, licensed acupuncturist, master herbalist and biosyntonist. Using a supportive environment, Dr. Lopez assists with a spectrum of issues using the body’s own healing potential and natural, safe, effective treatments. She began her career in conventional medical school, a model of healthcare that disillusioned her. During this time she became quite ill and thus learned the profound connection between health and happiness.
In search of a new model of healthcare that would be more fulfilling, she traveled to Belize, working with shamans. She then enrolled at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, specializing in homeopathy under Dr. Florence McPherson, Dr. Eleanor Herschberger, and Dr. Eugene Zampieron. She studied acupuncture at the University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Institute and herbalism the School of Natural Healing. Dr. Lopez has also attended the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy in Greece for Post-Graduate studies under George Vithoulkas. Dr. Lopez has spoken for professional institutions such as New York University and Bridgeport University Naturopathic Institute. On her time off she enjoys wildcrafting herbs with her soulmate Sakis Stamou, cooking healing meals, sailing, meditating, reading, knitting, writing, and living life to the fullest.
The slopes & the shores of Mounts Pelion & Olympus is a place where traditional wisdom of the earth is still practiced and preserved.
Jennifer R. Kellogg, PhD
Hellenist & Astrologer
Jennifer is a 2018 graduate of Adam Sommer’s Exploring Astrology Apprenticeship certificate program. She holds a B.A. in Classical Philology and has studied ancient civilizations and languages for over 25 years. Her passion is the Greek world and she has lived in Greece, speaks fluent modern Greek, and is now a literary translator of Greek poetry. In 2013 she earned her doctorate in Modern Languages and Literatures from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium. Jennifer has worked in academia, non-profits, and in professional fundraising.
The slopes & the shores of Mounts Pelion & Olympus is a place of profound transformation based on the mythical traditions of the hero’s journey, the centaur healer-prophets and the orphic mysteries.
Chef & Herbalist
Hailing from Greece, Sakis brings a bit of unabashed Greek hospitality to all his customers, providing education as a teacher and advisor. He moved to New York in 2015, where he met his other half, Carina Lopez and got married. Right after graduation from The School of Engineering at the University of Thessaly in Greece, he followed his passion of cooking and became a chef. He worked for some of the finest restaurants in the Athens, Mykonos & New York. While he was living in Athens, Greece, he studied Holistic Herbalism & Eastern Dietetics at the Academy of Traditional Chinese and Ancient Greek Medicine with his teacher, herbalist and naturalist Dr. Nick Samaridis. This experience changed his life forever. Now, he has expanded his knowledge and horizons, studying Alchemical Herbalism with Sajam Popham and the Art of Spagyria with Phoenix Aurelius. Sakis, stays up-to-date on the latest herbal discoveries that are rooted in healing traditions. When not striving to keep his customers happy and healthy, he enjoys hiking, sailing & traveling with his wife, family and friends.
The slopes & the shores of Mounts Pelion & Olympus is where he was inspired to start working with food, plants, medicine, and ancient wisdom.
Astrologer & Ritual specialist
Our Ritual Specialist, David Leskowitz, is a life-long student of the Gods of Indo-European tradition, and has over the last seven years fostered a deeper connection with the Centaurs in particular. A ‘mystic of the now’ through insight into planetary alignments, energetic awakening, and meditative healing traditions, he is tasked with holding space for the Centaurs’ presence on our journey together.
David earned a BA in Religion from Vassar College, followed by nine years of devoted astrological study and practice. His pilgrimage feet were trained during two years of travel among sacred sites of India and Europe. Apart from helping clients progress on their paths to self-understanding and healing, he loves studying ancient languages, practicing meditation, and tuning his sitar. He is enthusiastic about this opportunity to dive in to the Greek mysteries with such an inspired group of fellow pilgrims.
ANCIENT MYTHS & MYSTERIES
The Centaur Chiron guided arts and medicine in the ancient Greek mythological imagination. Adopted by Apollo, Chiron taught generations of Greek heroes the craft of traditional medicine, sacred creative expression, and divine prophecy. As an immortal half-man and half-horse, he lived between realms, privy to divine and terrestrial wisdom.
The beautiful wooded slopes of Mount Pelion were Chiron's vibrant paradise. In myth, this area was a magical forest where gods and mortals came to be healed, cavort with nymphs and muses, and experience ritual transformation.
Our journey will explore the forests, streams, and caves where Chiron is said to have practiced his healing, creative, and prophetic arts. With the guidance of experts in natural medicine, we'll explore the traditional foods, medicines, and healing practices of generations of Greeks living in this area. As we wind our way through Mount Pelion's slopes and coastline, we'll unravel the myths of Chiron, his fellow centaurs, and the heroes they influenced.
In modern times, Chiron is known as the "wounded healer." After his arduous death, Zeus let him ascend into the heavens as a constellation. As an immortal mortal Chiron is a guide to both the terrestrial and celestial realms. At Pelion, we will initiate ourselves into the Mysteries of Chiron by learning the powerful centaur attunement method. David will introduce this step-by-step over three days, culminating in a group circle within Chiron’s Cave.
In addition to Mount Pelion, we'll visit the southern slopes of Mount Olympus and continue to immerse ourselves in forest glens, gentle streams, and sacred caves. Here we'll come face-to-face with the remains of Orpheus' and Dionysus' mystery cults which promised transformation, transcendence, and ecstasy through redemptive underworld journeys. As we traverse the vale of Tempe and the southern slopes of Olympus, we'll visit Orthodox churches and shrines that continue to offer the promise of miraculous healing.
The myth of Orpheus and his mellifluous lyre has remained an inspiration for musicians and artists for thousands of years. Enchanted by muses, he is said to have danced and sung his way through the forests we will visit. But the story of Orpheus and the spiritual practice he founded is more than just inspirational music. The basic tenet of the Orphic mysteries is to embrace darkness and the underworld in order to receive illumination and transformation.
Our journey together will reveal the stories, symbolism and places where Greeks have sought regeneration for thousands of years. Tread the path of initiation through the realms of gods, muses, and centaurs in contemporary Greece.
Day 1, September 06, Athens
Arrival in Athens; check into hotel after 2:00 pm. Join the group for a stroll through Monastiraki and a welcome dinner in the Plaka neighborhood.
Day 2, September 07, Athens
Visit the sacred hills surrounding the Acropolis, as well as the Acropolis and its Museum.
Lunch in the Kerameikos neighborhood. Walking tour of the Kerameikos archaeological site and museum. The Kerameikos was the potter’s quarter of ancient Athens and was located next to the central public graveyard.
Topics to explore: Ancient Greek Religion in Context – Funeral Practices – Eridanos River
Day 3, September 08, Athens - Delphi - Portaria
Transfer to Delphi. Tour of the ancient site on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Delphi was a site sacred to Apollo where worshipers came to consult the Delphic Oracle and participate in cultural and religious festivals. At Delphi, we will consider our healing intentions to prepare for our time at Pelion.
After touring Delphi, we will stop for lunch in the quaint mountain town of Arachova before continuing on to Mount Pelion.
We will be staying in Portaria. It is a traditional village in the region of Magnesia, known for its fresh water mineral springs, historic homes, and village square with a majestic plane tree. Portaria will be our home for three nights.
Topics to explore: Apollo—Oracles & Divination—Cthonic Deities
Day 4, September 09, Portaria - Makrinitsa - Chania
Start the day with a scenic hike on the “path of the centaurs,” where these mythic creatures were thought to roam. This is an easy, two-hour forest walk among burbling streams and beautiful trees.
From there we’ll make a brief stop in Makrinitsa, a charming village with beautiful views of the Pagasetic Gulf.
For lunch, we’ll visit a local farm and prepare a farm-to-table menu together.
In the evening, the Vitalist Healing Traditions team will lead a workshop on local healing traditions of Mount Pelion.
Topics to Explore: Centaurs — Chiron — Nymphs — Asclepius
Day 5, September 10, Tsagkarada - Milopotamos Beach - Vizitsa - Milies - Volos
Begin the day with a visit to the village of Tsagkarada and its thousand- year-old plane tree. Have coffee under the great plane tree and absorb some traditional wisdom. Next, continue to the secluded beach of Milopotamos for a swim.
For lunch, we will join a local women’s cooperative to partake in a traditional meal.
After lunch we will continue to the village of Milies, on the slopes of Mount Pelion. This village is rich in natural abundance as well as history, thanks to its location and the role that the village played in the Greek Revolution.
In the evening we’ll continue to the metropolis of Volos to explore its shops and traditional tavernas.
Topics to Explore: Hippocrates & Ancient Greek Medicine
Day 6, September 11, Chorto - Vathospilia - Milina - Tzasteni - Palaio Trikeri - Kala Nera
Today will be spent on the coast and at sea.
We begin at the village of Chorto, built on the site of an ancient settlement. We’ll tour a cave known as Chiron’s cave and discuss the possible role that this cave played in the ancient Orphic mysteries.
After our visit to Chiron’s cave, we’ll sail to the tranquil cove of Tzasteni to enjoy a brief swim before embarking on a sailboat for the journey to the small island of Palaio Trikeri.
On the island we’ll walk the cobblestone paths and visit the monastery of the Annunciation of the Virgin before having lunch at a seaside taverna.
Topics to Explore: Chiron - Argonauts—Orphic mysteries
Day 7, September 12, Tempe - Palaios Panteleimon - Platamon
Today we depart Pelion for the slopes of Mount Olympus to explore the realms of the muses and Olympian gods. We’ll begin with a visit to the Vale of Tempe, playground of Apollo and site of Eurydice's death. In Tempe we'll see the church of St. Paraskevi, built into the rock face and possessing a holy underground spring. This underground spring at connects Apollo with the healings waters of his daughter Chariklo, wife of Chiron. This is also where the mystery traditions converge because it is where Orpheus is said to be born.
Next, we’ll ascend to the village of Old St. Panteleimon, built in the 1700s on the slopes of Mount Olympus. We’ll visit the church of St. Panteleimon, the healer, and have lunch in the village. Old St. Panteleimon will be our home for three nights which will afford our psyches integration of these paradoxical traditions, while we welcome the blessings of Greece's celebrated healing saint.
In the afternoon we’ll visit the Byzantine fortress in Platamon and stroll through the seaside village.
Topics to Explore: Neptune — Titans — Apollo — Pan — Nymphs
Day 8, September 13, Leivithra - Palaioi Poroi - Karya - Palaios Panteleimon
Today we will visit an area where the sacred geography of Olympus merges with the valley of the muses. The pure spring water channels that run through this area were considered passages to other realms. We will visit three sites that embody sacred springs and feminine energy.
The first is the archaeological park of Leivithra. This site was sacred to Orpheus and the Muses and was inhabited from the 8th century BC through the first century BC.
From Leivithra, we’ll travel to Palaoi Poroi (Old Passages) for lunch. Then we’ll continue on to the village of Karya to take a hike to a karst cave, hollowed by underground springs.
We'll also visit the Kanalia Mother of God nunnery.
Topics to Explore: Orpheus — Muses — Orphic Mysteries
Day 9, September 14, Mount Olympus - Litochoro - Neoi Poroi
We’ll begin this morning with a hiking tour of the region around Mt. Olympus called Prionia. On our hike, we’ll visit clear mountain springs, rocky gorges, the "Holy Cave" and Monastery of St. Dionysios. (It is considered an easy level hike of 2 hours with a of distance 6 km. For more details, click here.)
After a full morning, we’ll return to Litochoro to have lunch reflecting on our experiences and visit the shops of Litochoro and Neoi Poroi (New Passages).
Topics to Explore: Dionysus and mystery religions — Zeus and the Olympian Gods
Day 10, September 15, Kokkino Nero- Ambelakia- Athens
Today we’ll visit hot springs for one final healing experience before returning to Athens. We'll stop for lunch in the village of Ampelakia and then return to the big city of Athens.
We'll conclude with a group discussion.
Topics to Explore: Continuing our Healing Journey at Home
Day 11, September 16, Athens
Today the trip ends after breakfast at our hotel. Make sure you schedule your departing flight any time this day or continue to explore Greece on your own.
This itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control. However, we will do our best to fulfil the intentions behind the itinerary and find a suitable alternative if necessary.
Accommodations in boutique hotels or traditional guesthouses (3-4 stars).
All breakfasts and lunches, plus a welcome dinner the first day, as noted in the itinerary. (Breakfast will be traditional Greek and/or American, lunch will be traditional Greek, including one appetizer per two people, one large salad for four people, one main dish, one dessert and one drink per person.)
In-country transportation with a VIP minivan.
Guided tours of all archaeological sites with expert bilingual guides.
All entrance/ticket fees to museums and archaeological sites.
One hands-on cooking class.
One wine tasting.
Optional one-on-one healing sessions with your guides.
Dedicated hosts to accompany our activities.
One sailing day trip with licensed crew.
what's not included
International airfare tickets.
Insurance of any kind.
Other meals that are not noted in the itinerary.
Extra alcoholic beverages that are not included in the menu of the provided meals.
Optional tips for your guides and drivers.
Any items of a personal nature.
Room service, minibar, and incidental hotel charges.
The following fees are in US Dollars:
3,595 Total early-bird fee if paid in full by April 15, 2019. (Save $500!)
4,095 Total fee if paid after April 15, 2019 and by June 15, 2019. (Registration closes June 15, 2019.)
595 Non-refundable deposit holds your place in the retreat.
3,000 Balance due after deposit, if paid in full by April 15, 2019.
3,500 Balance due after deposit, if paid between April 16, 2019 and June 15, 2019.
695 Single supplement.
The above prices are per person for double occupancy.
A non-refundable deposit of $595.00 per person is required to hold your spot in the retreat date.
If you have not paid the full retreat amount before the registration closes (June 15, 2019), Vitalist Healing Traditions retains the right to cancel your booking with no refund of your $595.
The single supplement fee of $695 will be applied if you request single accommodations. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.
If you choose to share accommodations with a same-gender roommate, there will be no single supplement fee.
In the event you opt to share and we are unable to pair you with a same-gender roommate, you will not be charged the single supplement fee.
If you are sharing and, once the tour begins, you are unhappy with your roommate for any reason, you may opt for a single room. The best thing to do is to speak confidentially with us. In this case, we will assign you a single occupancy room if available, and you will be responsible for the additional charges based on the hotel’s current rates.
Both the deposit and the remaining balance may be paid by logging into your WeTravel account and paying by credit card or direct from your checking account. Alternatively, you may pay in person by check or in cash.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
All monies are due by June 31, 2019. Registration closes on that day and no payments will be accepted after this date.
Fees are quoted in US dollars. Vitalist Healing Traditions reserves the right to increase (surcharge) the price of the trip after your booking has been made. Such price increases will be limited to those resulting from unforeseen increases in transportation costs (including fuel), dues, taxes (including VAT), fees chargeable for services, government action, adverse currency fluctuation or exchange rate variation. In the event that a surcharge increases the price of your experience by 10% or more, you may cancel your experience and receive a full refund. We will, in any event, absorb the first 2% of any price increase, and no surcharges will be made within 15 days of departure.
In the case of a dramatic fluctuation in the US Dollar/Euro exchange rate, Vitalist Healing Traditions reserves the right to charge a supplement due to any disparity in currency rates.
It is essential and a condition of booking with Vitalist Healing Traditions, that you be covered with comprehensive travel insurance, including emergency medical insurance, during your experience. For this reason, Vitalist Healing Traditions strongly recommends that you purchase the most appropriate travel insurance to protect your investment. You should check your policy to determine your coverage. If your policy does not cover you, you can purchase inexpensive temporary medical insurance and trip cancellation insurance from any agent you choose. Participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation insurance in the event of illness or family emergency before the trip begins.
Participants will be required to sign a Waiver of Responsibility.
The minimum number of participants is twelve. Vitalist Healing Traditions reserves the right to cancel the tour if there are not enough participants. You should wait until notified before purchasing your airline tickets.
For the full details of "Retreat's Terms & Conditions", click here.
The deposit of US $595.00, which is applied to the total fees, is non-refundable.
If you cancel after June 31, 2019, 30% of total fee will be retained.
If you cancel after August 15, 2019, 100% of total fee will be retained. (We are required to make non-refundable payments, in full, to our tour operators and hotels by this date.)
Trip Cancellation Insurance is required. Please do not book airfare until your retreat has been confirmed.
Depending on circumstances the Cancellation Fee may be covered by your insurance. Requests for changes or cancellations must be made in writing by the person who completed the original booking by email.
In the event that Vitalist Healing Traditions cancels the trip due to unforeseen circumstances, any money you have paid to us will be refunded in full.
Airline tickets: Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure that the trip is confirmed and that we have reached the minimum required number of participants.
Travel Insurance: We strongly recommend that you purchase the most appropriate travel insurance to protect your investment. If you need any assistance, do not hesitate to contact us. We can recommend travel insurance companies.
Dietary restrictions: Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions, food allergies or any special considerations, and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Special requests: Whilst we will endeavor to comply with any special requests (for such things as dietary requirements or specific room features), we are unable to guarantee such requests will be met. We will pass any special requests to the relevant supplier but will not be liable for any loss suffered in the event of such requests not being met.
Medical condition: Except as disclosed in your application form, you confirm at the time of booking that you are in good health, physically capable of undertaking all aspects of the trip, and unaware of any reason why you may be unsuited to taking part, or may be likely to suffer illness or injury during the trip, taking into account its challenges and purposes. If you are unable to give this confirmation for any reason or have any medical condition or disability which may affect your participation, you must contact us before you submit your application form so that we can assist you in considering the suitability of the trip for you. If any information given in the application form or medical questionnaire is shown to be materially incorrect or incomplete, we reserve the right to cancel your booking or terminate your participation in the trip, depending on when we become aware of the true circumstances. In this situation, cancellation charges as set out in cancellation policy will apply and we will not be responsible for any costs or expenses incurred as a result.
Weather: While the month of September in Athens is still quite warm, the summer heat starts to cool off as the fall season approaches. The average temperature this month is 24°C (75°F), while the average low drops to 19°C (66°F), and the average high is still a warm 28°C (82°F). The beginning of September brings plenty of sun, no chance of rain, and an average daily temperature of 24°C (75°F). The middle of the month is still very sunny with virtually no rain, and the average daily temperature drops to 23°C (73°F). The end of September also sees sunny skies, with a minimal increase in the amount of rainfall, and the same average daily temperature as the middle of the month at 23°C (73°F). The lowest ever recorded temperature in Athens in September is 12°C (54°F), while the highest ever recorded temperature is 37°C (99°F). For more details, click here.
Please feel free to contact our co-organizer, Jennifer Kellogg, by phone or email. Or alternatively fill in the form below, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
PHONE NUMBER: 585-633-8692