Pilgrimages to Nepal
What is a pilgrimage?
A pilgrimage is a sacred journey and actually begins the moment we decide to go.
The purpose of a pilgrimage is to broaden our perspectives and to invite transformational experiences that lead to consciousness expansion, profound healing, as well as to provide us with deeper levels of understanding ourselves and our relationship to each other and the environment.
A pilgrimage can be described as profoundly heart-opening. Upon return, life is seen through different eyes.
The wisdom gained from our pilgrimage experiences greatly enhances our lives.
For over two decades, I have led pilgrimage tours for spiritual seekers. I live part time in Nepal and am fortunate to have traveled extensively to many of its power places, received empowerments, teachings and instruction in practices from Rinpoches in this very special environment of the Kathmandu Valley. Dakini Wisdom Pilgrimages are offered for one person or couple at this time. If going on a pilgrimage feels like a calling for you, please contact me (see Contact Page on this website) for further information.
Yana Castle, Ph.D.
Yana Castle holds a doctorate degree in Philosophy and Religion (Transformation and Consciousness) from California Institute of Integral Studies, a Master's degree in Humanities (Women's Spirituality) and a Bachelor's degree in Humanities (Archaeomythology). Yana has been leading pilgrimages for individuals and groups since 1998. She also has a private contemplative counseling practice.
I've been on a number of tours in my life, but none have compared to my tour of Nepal as designed and led by Yana Castle. Her amazing knowledge of, and sensitivity to, the complex spiritual and cultural dimensions of the Kathmandu Valley, as well as her deep and respectful friendships with local living goddesses, shamans, scholars, and artists, made this one of the best educational investments I've ever made. Some day, I hope to return!
Thank you for your interest in Dakini Wisdom pilgrimages!
In the Tibetan Buddhist Varjayana tradition, the divine female is depicted in both benevolent and fierce forms in sacred imagery and ritual celebrations. She can be of great support in our spiritual practices. Among the most well known female deities extant in the Kathmandu Valley are Tara, the female buddha and the dakinis (exhalted women of wisdom, also called 'skydancers') including Vajrayogini, Yeshe Tosoyal and Mandarava.
Along with concentrating on the dakinis and the sacred feminine in Tibetan Buddhism, we will take time to explore her indigenous Newari manifestations (Ajima, grandmother goddess and Hariti, protector of children, as well as learn about the Hindu deities Durga, Kali, Saraswati and Lakshmi.
Boudhanath, Nepal is the pulse center of the Vajrayana path of Buddhism and it is where we will call home during the pilgrimage. There are many shrines, temples with depictions of dakinis: Simhamukha, the lion-headed dakini, Yeshe Tsogyal, the queen of the dakinis, fully realized adept, yogini and spiritual teacher, Mandarava, as well as the Green, White, Yellow and Red Taras.
Each tour is customized to your interests.
One week pilgrimages include (for example):
* Boutique hotel accommodations
* Ground transportation
* Tours to sacred sites including Boudhanath, Swayambunath, Pharping and Sangku
* A visit with healer Kusali Devi (emanation of Ajima)
* Meditation instructions
* Lesson in sound healing with singing bowls
* Tibetan yoga (theory and practice)
* In-depth lectures on dakinis
* Tara dream practice
* Mountain retreat (Nagarkot)
Dharma talks with the venerable Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and a visit with Semo-la Saraswati may be included, depending on their availability.
Namaste (nah-mas-tay) is a greeting in Nepal. It means: My soul honors your soul. I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united. We are the same. We are one.
about Yana's tours
Yana Castle's pilgrimage journeys, offered from March through August, are designed to appeal to those interested in Tibetan Buddhism, Eastern spirituality, healing, shamanism, ritual arts, personal transformation and the sacred feminine. Spiritual seekers, artists, therapists, healers, retirees, as well as beginning and advanced practitioners of meditation, the dharma, yoga and bodywork are especially encouraged. For an article describing one participant's account of her pilgrimage tour, visit Yana's blog. Please contact Yana for further information.
My time in Nepal with Yana was mind-expanding and magical. Nepal’s soulful, ancient culture taught me a lot about myself. It enriched me. As a result, I left Kathmandu feeling empowered and renewed.