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. Throughout the years, I received empowerments, transmissions, extensive teachings and instruction from Buddhist meditation masters and healers in Kathmandu Valley.
Dakini Wisdom Pilgrimages are offered to individuals and small groups. If embarking on a pilgrimage feels like a calling for you, please contact me 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 is also in private practice as a transformative counselor for women.
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 ritualistic celebrations. She can be of great support for 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.'
Boudhanath, Nepal is the pulse center of the Vajrayana path of Buddhism and it is where we call home during our pilgrimage. There are many shrines and temples with depictions dakinis— Simhamukha, the lion-headed dakini, Yeshe Tsogyal, also known as the Victorious Ocean of Knowledge, and Vajrayogini, the enlightened queen who leads us to bliss, clear light and emptiness.
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.
Tours may be customized to your interests.
One week to 10 day pilgrimages include:
* Boutique hotel accommodations
* Ground transportation
* Tours to sacred sites including: Boudhanath, Swayambunath, Pharping and Sankhu with side trips to Kirtipur and Patan
* A visit with healer Kusali Devi (emanation of the grandmother goddess Ajima)
* Meditation instructions
* A lesson in sound healing
* Tibetan yoga (theory and practice)
* Lectures on dakinis
* Tara dream practice
* 2 day Mountain Retreat
Dharma talks with Tibetan Buddhist teacher and master Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and an audience with Semo Khandro Saraswati, the direct emanation of dakini Sera Khandro and daughter of Dzogchen master Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche, 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 in the spring and fall 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 Buddha dharma, yoga and bodywork are especially encouraged to join us. 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.
PLEASE NOTE YANA IS CURRENTLY ON A SABBATICAL