"ray-foo-ji" from the Catalan
refuge ∞ sanctuary ∞ shelter
- mountain retreat, sanctuary and creative residency in the french pyrenees -
A sacred place dedicated to time, space and living a creative life.
Stop and find the time and space to listen.
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then... you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it... And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. And some never awaken.”
―Anaïs Nin, from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
refugi began in 2010 as The House & The Hill, an experiment into the modern day monastic and a search for simplicity and beauty. It poses the question how do we live a creative, sacred and connected life, abundant and deeply rooted in a sense of place.
You can apply to take part in the refugi residency staying in the main house for a minimum of a month. Residencies up to a year long are possible.
Visitors and guests are invited to stay next door in The Loft, a converted stone barn retreat made with love. It is a restorative, private and nurturing space for you to come home to yourself.
the refugi residency
the refugi residency
You will discover the germinating power within
in the silence where a thousand seeds
are becoming the landscape of spring.
<jump straight to application> or scroll down
Come to me today beautiful ones and breathe.
Breathe, just breathe.
This residency arrived on the eighth year of my time in this place. The end of a seven year cycle that began as an escape that became a creative retreat which turned into a spiritual adventure and continues to be the story of a raw, most visceral homecoming. I feel it is now time to open the doors to the internal workings of a modern day homestead formed from shadows of a memory of Charleston House and the dust of a thousand years of sacred places.
When I sketched on a piece of paper the feelings surrounding that sense of calling on a warm spring day many years ago, a heart inside a house inside a mountain was the nearest I could get to an approximation of the deep and tonal beat that was telling me to find my place on this earth. To find that place and make peace with myself. Find that place and dig in.
The roots. It’s in the roots.
The fire at the foot of the mountain.
The refugi residency is something new to me. Something new and old. A she-bear waking from a warm, winter bed. Tentative and strong. I know it and yet here we are at that stage of dancing where the new partners face each other for the first time. The old habits of doubt begin to circle and I wonder if someone else has said it better than this before.
Should I try to emulate an Artist’s Residency and then try to explain why this is not that? It is of that, and it is not.
It finds it roots in the traditions of gathering in the spirit of a place. The homes of artists. The foundations of a church. The hermit monks with flaming torches who came together in divine inspiration and action to raise monasteries from the earth. The homestead women of the americas building homes and the first stones of communities in far away, isolated places. The old stories of desert mothers and cave dwellers. Heretics and mystics and pirates. The bear, the wolf and the lamb.
Open the doors. Open the doors to the forest.
Sit in rapture.
I have had my fair share of visitors to The House and The Hill and now is the time for more than that. To invite residents to be in this place with me over the seasons. For a minimum of a month because the comings and goings of humans need time and space to settle and see clarity from once muddy waters.
There are two rooms waiting. The residency runs all year round with no single intake date. It is an ongoing salon. If it calls to you, it is time. You become a member of the household and share my kitchen, eat at my table and sit by the fire. We give each other space and come together as the experience takes us. There are gardens to tend and pathways to sweep. Animals to care for. An art studio and workshop. A barn to raise, a founders hall to take form and a cathedral to build.
Put on your robes.
Put on your robes.
A gathering of souls in a quiet mountain place. Deep in practice. It is a sangha. A group who remind each other of the path when one amongst us has lost our way. An exercise in Dharma. Dedicated to art, beauty and truth.
We cook, we eat, we clean. We sweep, we write, we walk. We spend time together by the fire and make art. We pray, we sit, we sleep. We grow vegetables. We visit the market. We love our neighbours and greet them with a kiss. We swim in the rivers and lie in the sun. We read, we spend time under trees and by waterfalls. We walk the boundaries of this place, every footstep a prayer for protection and healing.
This is holy ground.
This is holy ground.
And when we are ready, when our time in the womb of the earth leaves us feeling ripe and replenished, we go out into the world changed. We look into the eyes of strangers and see only ourselves. We learn and we love and we live.
Grace. The goal is sublime grace.
Grace in the hills and gardens.
Grace is the fire at the foot of the mountain.
Emma Wallace, Winter 2017/2018
You can apply for residency in the main house at anytime during the year.
If you are invited to stay there are two residency places. With visitors and guests who come and go.
The minimum stay is one month. We sometimes accept two week stay - please just get in touch. After completing the initial residency there is an opportunity to stay longer, up to one year. Committing to a year allows you to benefit from the seasonal rhythms of the schedule and deepen your practice.
There is a financial contribution of €450 per month which includes your accommodation, access to studio space and shared use of a car (over 21 with a full license). Food, drink, transfers and insurances are not covered.
Visitors and guests are welcome to stay next door in our converted barn, The Loft (sleeps 2).
Additional accommodation in the village is also available via Gites de France which we can organise for you.
*Couples are also welcome, sharing facilities as each room is a double.
|resident couple||€650/monthly||one month|
- 40 minutes drive from Perpignan, France -
- 3 hours drive from Barcelona, Catalunya -
Daily business flights from the UK into Toulouse and Barcelona
Low-cost flights into Perpignan, Carcassonne and Beziers
High-speed TGV train links to Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona.