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The Armoured Heart

25th September – 6th October, 2023
Fireflies Intercultural Centre, Bangalore 

“Once in the far-off dawning of the elder time, there was the man Tead, who had left his home in despair. Tead lived in a time of great strife, all about the land men and women were caught in battles about this and that. They had fought for so long they had forgotten the reasons for the wars, only that to fight the war was the right thing to do. This one man had lost all his family to the wars and his grief and anger had brought him to a place of nothing, a place of paralysis, a place of hopelessness. Tead saw the world as a dark place, a joyless place and place without purpose. For him the purpose of being right and valiant, strong, and courageous had been lost.

And so, like a ghost of the shadows Tead wandered the land avoiding all contact and when he did, he fell into the soulless routine of battle and destruction.

But the ghosts followed him and sang to him and reached out to gather him in their dance of despair….”

From the story of The song of The Otter

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To put on armour is to protect ourselves from the assailment of the weapons of the world.

We place the armour about our body to keep us from harm, a harm that we, in some way, have come to expect!


Over the years of our lives, we are beset by the attacks of others that our fragile ego cannot always endure. It learns to protect itself from similar attacks in the future. It creates a shield over the heart when it is vulnerable to repeated breaking; builds ramparts and defence on the shoulders that are subjected time again to inappropriate responsibility; hides the eyes with a visor to blot out the injustices and pains we are confronted with. Piece by piece the heart creates and puts on armour, creating that impenetrable barrier to keep the world from hurting it further. 


Over time our hearts somatise this armour into its soul as if it were a ‘true’ part of itself. This armour becomes layered with additional pieces, each piece more impenetrable, heavier than the piece below it. Eventually the armour sinks into and beneath the very physical fabric of the heart, spirit, and body and in a very real sense becomes the fabric of a traumatised soul. 


The armour becomes rusty with age, useless with forgetfulness, fused with stagnation. At this point physical ailments manifest in response to the repressive hold of the armour, emotions become caged by the armour and psychologically the mind loses itself in the self-imposed prison. 


The armour prevents us from being close to others, engaging with the possibilities and potential of creation around us; in keeping others out it traps us within. Like an intrusion the armour controls and manipulates our life and suppresses our destined journey. The armour becomes the ghost that haunts us.


As with all ghosts, truth is hidden, reality is masked, dreams disappear, the soul gets lost on a forlorn journey of forgetfulness.


The Armoured Heart Retreat, will be an intrepid adventure of heroes and heroines, seeking out the ghosts of armouring, and the armour of love and choice, and finding the path back to the spirit of our heart’s true nature.


“Hidden deep inside the heart of everyone and thing is the passionate fire of creation. This fire sings the song of life, of wonder, of union with all the flames of all the songs. The flames of this fire dance in response to all the song, inviting others to sing and dance. Such is the passionate heart. It is the armour of fear that oppresses this passionate flame.”


Fireflies Ashram is an inter-cultural centre located just off Kanakpura road. The ashram is the brainchild of an avid writer and activist, Siddhartha.  You can find some of his work among the amazing stone-carvings and sculptures scattered around this oh-so-green space. 


A place of peace and tranquility in a green almost forest setting, where the spirits of nature, earth & sky sing to us, inviting a heart to soul relationship.

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The Armoured Heart Retreat & Gathering is made up of three parts:

Drum-making Workshop: September 25th

Wisdom & Healing: September 26th - 30th

Retreat: September 30th - October 6th


The entire Gathering Event, is a full heart and soul experience of community and healing, and is fully inclusive of meals and accommodation.


There is an ‘add-on’ opportunity, Wisdom & Healing, prior to the Retreat section, offering introductory learning, personal and group healing sessions, and the participation in workshop ceremonies. This ‘add-on’, opportunity runs from Tuesday 26th September, and includes meals and accommodation.


On offer is also a drum-making workshop, Monday 25th September, which includes meals and all materials and personal instruction to make a personal red stag skin, spirit drum. The drum making can be a separate attendance, or can be an additional element of the whole event.

There is also an option to join the Gathering on the 25th, without making a drum, to have a quiet, reflective day before the Gathering, to support and celebrate those making drums, or as a preparation day. There may be an opportunity to partake in simple healing rituals from student members.


Please inquire with any questions.

Find the full Event Programme here.

With a schedule of events and descriptions of the ceremonies and sessions that will make up the Gathering.

“…And Tead returns home, without his bloodied armour and sword, rather with a song he thought he had forgotten.”


With Love and a shared hope and holding for patience, understanding, compassion and transformation for us all and all living beings and the planet, we all being One. 



Registration for this event is closed, waitlisted registrants will be informed on a first-come-first serve basis, if spaces opens up.

This retreat had limited spaces, however there is a Waitlist Registry in case you would like to put down your details for future programmes.

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All prices are kept at cost, include relevant taxes.
Invoices to non-Indian Nationals will be sent in their currency.

A non-refundable (after a 28-day grace) deposit of Rs 3000 will secure a place;

Fees must be paid in full by August 15th after registering.

Those opting for Drum-making must pay the drum-workshop fees by JUNE 1st.

Deposits to be paid within 7 days of invoice date.

Deposits are non-refundable 28 days after booking.

All registrations after August 15th to pay in full upon receiving the invoice.


Cancellations and refunds:

50% refunds less deposit up to July 30th. No refunds after July 31st.

Upon registration an invoice will be sent detailing all payment processes.

Please register using the form below and select the appropriate options:

Waitlist Nomination Form

Please choose one:
For Drum-making (Sep 25), please choose one:

For further information and clarification on the programme please email

All information is gathered in strictest confidence and used only for registration purposes.

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