The Templar Rose And The Bright Morning Star
July 21st-28th, 2018

Deepen your appreciation of the Camino, it’s beauty and mystery by studying the art and architecture of our ancestors.

During the first five days of the retreat, on site at ‘Flores Del Camino’, we will explore the symbolism and geometry of sacred buildings along the pilgrimage route to Santiago; the octagonal churches of Eunate and Torres del Rio, the magnificent Ucero,   as well as Wells cathedral in England.  Part of this exploration will consider the Fibbonacci ratios 8:5 and 13:8  which  relate to the Marian symbolism of the rose and the morning star. Our explorations will be continued in the final two days by visiting the related sacred sites, along the Pilgrimage to Santiago.

The ‘Morning Star’is an epithet used for both the Risen Christ as well as for the Virgin Mary. In cosmological terms the Morning Star is the planet Venus because she rises just before the sunrise and then as the ‘evening star’ she sets just after the sunset. The symbolism of Venus has also long been associated with the rose and this appears to be related to the cosmological phenomenon known as the Venus Pentagram in which the orbital interactions of planets Earth and Venus plot out the coordinates of a pentagram star over the course of an eight year cycle. Such five-fold symmetry naturally emulates the five petals on a wild rose or the five mystery beads on a rosary.

The rising of Venus in the east is also symbolically understood to be an image of the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday after He rises up from His journey through the underworld that He entered on Good Friday. This part of the Easter storyline naturally reflects the ancient cosmological myth of Innana –the Sumerian Venus. After she sets in the west as the evening star she journey’s down into the underworld and experiences death for three days and three nights. She is then reborn as the morning star in the east and ascends back up to her heavenly origin.

In this retreat we will focus upon the influence of this ancient cosmological symbolism on medieval Christian culture including the symbolism of the rose in the chivalric tradition of Courtly Love and also the use of cosmological symbolism in churches in the Camino region that are associated with the Knights Templar. We will also consider the same cosmological symbolism in the design of Wells Cathedral –the first English Gothic cathedral –with its pentagonal Lady Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and situated at the cathedral’s east end.

The original rose window of Santiago Cathedral appears to depict the eight-year cosmological cycle of Earth, Venus, Sun and Moon. We shall draw the window’s geometric design. The Camino de Santiago is itself a symbolic journey of death and resurrection in that it leads westwards toward the setting sun and the evening star. After the journey westwards is complete the pilgrim is reborn into a new existence and walks home eastwards towards the rising of the bright Morning Star.

These explorations will result in some beautiful geometries on tea stained paper using natural pigments. 

During the retreat we will be nurturing the traditional “pilgrims’ communitas”. You will be enjoying home cooked meals under a pergola in the courtyard shaded by a vine and fruit trees.  Each evening, after diner, we will make a fire under the star lit Milky Way. Right at the start of the retreat you will have the special opportunity to experience the“La Magdalena” festivities dedicated to the Patron Saint of the village Mary Magdalene which will include processions, traditional Maragato dress and dances.

This retreat is in collaboration with Tom Bree a tutor from the Princes Foundation, School of Traditional Arts and expert of Wells Cathedral

Preliminary schedule (possibly subject to change)

Saturday 21st: Optional 4pm pick up from Madrid airport.  Arrival and evening meal/snack, welcome.

Sunday 22nd: La Magdalena festival, tea staining, introduction to the Templars and geometry of the sacred buiding. Circle and square, octagon and pentagon. Eunate.

Monday 23rd: Exploring the symbolism and geometry of Wells Cathedral and Eunate, Torres Del Rio with particular reference to León and Burgos cathedrals. Comsic patterns and the dance of Venus 8:5 and 13:8 ratios.

Tuesday 24th: Ucero and the Templar rose.

Wednesday 25th:  Morning: geometry and symbolism of Santiago Rose. Afternoon: choice of free time or opportunity to develop something that interests the group.

Thursday 26th: Morning: geometry of the Santiago Rose. Afternoon: choice of free time or opportunity to develop something that interests the group.

Friday 27th: Visits – Early morning silent visit to León cathedral. Lunch in Burgos. Torres Del Rio. Spend the night at Puente la Reina.

Saturday 28th: Morning at Eunate (on site geometry) . Lunch at Ucero. 4pm drop off Madrid aiport.

For images of Flores Del Camino, where you will be staying see here

Castrillo de los Polvzares where you will be staying for the majority of your retreat is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. In 2017 it was voted the most beautiful village of Spain! See here for more images of the village.

Price: includes all materials visits, food and accommodation.

Early bird discount - book before May 1st 

Ensuite single 1100 €

Ensuite shared 1000 €


After May 1st

Ensuite single 1200 €

Ensuite shared 1100 €


To secure your place:
We ask for a 250 euro non refundable deposit
The remaining amount to be paid two months before the retreat.