Matera was about as exotic and unusual a place to find oneself coming from the Hudson Valley as I could imagine. This small city was like an ancient, vast, earthen honeycomb in which we explored innumerable chambers, one opening into the other. Each were filled with awaiting mysteries and precious discoveries. Every stone resonated with centuries of human activity, secular and sacred. The frescoed grottos in Matera, and that we visited outside of town on our excursions, were highlights I will long remember.  To practice in such an environment was exactly appropriate. I felt the entire setting underscored and amplified the concepts of our workshop. The teaching was professional, thoughtful, and what I learned in the workshop changed my life. I felt remade a gentler, kinder, stronger, more profound creature. The group of fellow practitioners are now my friends. I think the slow interweaving of energies and the growing support from the others in the group over the course of the week was so nurturing and empowering. Matera is so rich in so many ways that I think any visitor cannot but help find each day there a wonder and a revelation. I know I did. I feel that the myriad mysterious causalities of life brought me to Matera. I am so fortunate that they did! ~ anonymous, 2010

Matera is a wonderful place to for somatic exploration. The energy of the stones is so strong, like being in the deep womb of the earth and in the vastness of the universe. In the old side of the city the quality of the silence is very special, the color of the stones reflect a lot of light. In  the evening when you are walking among the houses and there is fog you can feel yourself like in another dimension. During the workshop we had time to go out and visit some caves and other sacred places. These times helped me to feel more in relationship with the people of the group, to know them more so when we were in the work all was very easy without many words. I didn’t know the others  but at the end of the workshop I felt very connected with them like a new family.

The hotel is nice and very comfortable. The workshop space was prepared by Elaine with love and care. I  felt very safe. I liked to work in the dark  I didn’t feel afraid because the energy among the people was so connected so I didn’t feel lost. In the darkness all was easier, like flowing in space and then from this space I could enter in a deep stillness and openess in particular of the heart.

The interesting material I received in the workshop was about the awareness of the energy and fluid moving along the spine and in the body through sound, breath and movement. I experienced more awareness and freedom of my spine and what it can express. I am using this material also at home now. It helps me expecially when I am tired or I have pain in my body. It gives me a lot of support and joy.

I could feel Elaine’s harmony, strength and passion from her teaching. The way in which I received the teaching was not too difficult for me even though I can’t speak and understand American language very well. From the presence of Elaine I received a great reflection of female energy and her grace. I was and I am very grateful to her and to this practice. I keep this experience like a precious lightfilled pearl in my heart.  ~ Simona, biodynamic cranial sacral therapist, 2009, 2010

Memories of Matera……stone steps leading suddenly into buildings carved from the stone, courtyards of crumbling antiquities.  Homes perched over each other, wild fennel and rosemary scenting the air.  Doorways freshly painted that lead into remnants of limestone that serve as museums; ancient lands pockmarked by neolithic graves.

Somatic exploration inside of a cave room, veritable womb of creative exploration incorporating the deepest past and shimmering present.  At night, spirits slithering over ceilings, pacing cat meowing outside my door as shaman’s rattles (or was it crickets?) vibrate through the room.

Local food, hearty, rich and true, grappa at Fornaci’s.  Crypt of Original Sin, the colors bringing to mind Tarot, the Empress, perhaps Demeter from beyond the Christian overlay.  Alberobello with the trullis’, the squat houses with the pointed roofs, displaying their hex signs from shephards long ago.

The gracious and smiling people of Matera so eager to welcome strangers and friends to their piece of heaven on earth. ~ Cathy Stubbs, 2008