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ISTA Level 1 one-week Tantric retreat—New Zealand

  • Highden Manor 220 Green Road Awahuri, Manawatu-Wanganui, 4476 New Zealand (map)

This is a revolutionary and empowering one-week immersion that deepens your relationship with yourself (coming back to your WHOLE, full, powerful self) and others (learning to relate with authenticity, spontaneity, vibrance). It gives you key tools for living a life where we're free to be authentic in the way we live and love.

The super well-designed training enables you to come back to you. Letting go of guilt, fear and shame, you're able to feel truly at ease in yourself and with others, experience a deep connection to self and others, personal empowerment, mindful and rich self-compassion, refined emotional intelligence, and sexual wholeness and power. 

This retreat is for people of all genders, sexual orientations, relationship paths (single, celibacy, monogamy, polyamory, or other) and all intellectual and spiritual approaches. No prior knowledge of Tantra, shamanism or sacred sexuality is necessary (newbie-friendly) and people with previous experience are welcomed (expert-friendly).

At this retreat, we provide a space for you to:

  • Stop, feel and take a look at yourself in a whole new way. This is an opportunity to wake up to your life.
  • Remember how to love yourself, to feel the healing power of pleasure and expand your sexuality and orgasmic potential.
  • Learn to experience and create healthy sexual, loving and connected intimate experiences. No more being stuck in your mind, fearing others, or repeating same patterns.
  • Begin to deeply heal wounds around trauma, sexuality, gender, the body, grief, lost love, self-love, mother and father wounds and other core wounds.
  • Discover how your inner self (emotion, thoughts, energy) are at war within and be guided to bring yourself back towards inner union, love and integration. No longer enemies with yourself, but lovers! This is huge!
  • Tap into the knowledge of your emotions and body, not just your mind.
  • Learn essential life skills we all should have received as teenagers (sexuality, communication, boundaries, self-love, pleasure practices).
  • Come to really believe "I matter"—embody yourself as a powerful and free sovereign being.
  • See, show and live from the you that lies beneath the mask. Expressing who you really are beyond the guilt, fear and shame we've picked up from parents, culture, religion and society.
  • Meet and explore your edges in a safe container.
My friends went to the retreat and were all the proof I needed—I knew it was going to be life changing. I was scared to sign up, but am incredibly glad I did. I am so proud of myself for going for it. Top 5 things I’ve done in my life, I’d say. I’ve been recommending it to my friends ever since—everyone should do it as part of the school curriculum!

It showed me what I’m capable of, gave me a new confidence and joy, opened up new doors and dimensions within me and my life. All in a supportive, safe environment with the most beautiful people imaginable.
— Freya, ISTA Level 1, Melbourne


What you'll do there

Guided by three faciltators and many assistants, each day includes sessions and practices from 9am to 9pm. There are some nights off too! The days are filled with practices that dive into:

  • Yoga, meditation and embodiment practices
  • Dance meditation, mindful movement and ecstatic dance
  • Emotional release
  • Voice dialogue practices
  • Neurological reprogramming
  • Shadow work (looking at the scary we bits we reject in ourselves, or judge
  • Conscious communication
  • Rituals of initiation
  • Energy tracking—identifying where/why your emotional + spiritual energy sinks, leaks or longs
  • Self-love, self-care and boundaries
  • Powerful sexual clearing and activation processes

You'll also meet in small groups and have opportunties to work one-on-one with facilitators if so requested.

Your Facilitators

Three highly skilled Temple Arts faculty from around the world will teach, share, inspire, guide the retreat.

Rex McCann (lead facilitator)

A native New Zealander with a global heart, Rex McCann has been leading transformational programmes with men and women for 25 years. Founder of Essentially Men, the ground-breaking mens work of Aotearoa New Zealand, co-founder of the Heart Politics Gatherings and author of Fatherless Sons (Harper Collins) and On Their Own (Finch) he is trained in group work, psychodrama, expressive therapies, co counselling and has a masters in Social Ecology.

Ellie Wilde 

Ellie is an edge dweller, a seeker of truth and advocate for the heart. She works with the emotional as well as the physical body. She's a Certified Somatic Sex Coach, Shamanic healer, International ISTA facilitator, Mother and artist. 

Araminta Barbour

Founder of the unique retreat space The Sanctuary in Guatemala, Araminta is an International Speaker, Coach and Workshop Facilitator, collaborating with ISTA since 2011. A Certified Red Tent Women's Guide, Araminta has a Master’s Degree in Indian Religions from the University of London (SOAS), 5+ years experience in the sexual reproductive health non-profit sector and over 15 years exploring numerous holistic health modalities and esoteric traditions. A speaker at International Consciousness and Sexuality Conferences in the US and Europe, she has led intensive workshops in Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ireland, Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom and currently collaborates with the Online University of Love and Sexuality and the Institute of Conscious Sensuality in Hawaii.


Me (Caitlyn) among other excellent + skilled people who work in/geek out in the sacred sexuality field.

About ISTA

Our vision is a world where humans have a peaceful, pleasurable, shameless, fearless and loving relationship with their own bodies, sexuality, emotions, hearts, minds and spirit. 

ISTA is a modern synthesis of: 
a) a spiritual transmission—a satsang of being
b) a mystery school where the Temple Arts are taught
c) a new era of community who are networked together globally and sharing in innovative ways.

ISTA collaborates with many groups, organizations, and communities in many locations around the world. Collaborations include International Goddess Congress, OSHO Communities, Tantra, Meditation, and Yoga Schools, Mystery Schools, Madonna Ministry International, and more.

Find out more about ISTA here.

The Venue 

Where you'll be staying!

Where you'll be staying!

An historic gem, Highden Manor was built in 1896, and extensively renovated to hotel status in 2009. For a century, the estate was unavailable to the public eye (first as a private home, and then as a Marist Novitiate for student priests), but now you can stay at this extra-ordinary mansion in the Manawatu countryside. Situated on 36 acres of parkland, native forest and formal rose gardens, you can enjoy the magnificent rooms and suites, relax in the elegant and spacious Drawing Room, or on the surrounding veranda, and explore the gardens. 

Check out the Highden Manor.


For seven days of full, life-changing immersion practices, dormitory style accomodation at Highden Manor, and three healthy mostly-vegetarian meals a day:

Earlybird - $1995 NZD (first 13 places)
Full Price - $2295 NZD
Repeat Price - $1550 NZD

Single rooms are available in the dormitory at an additional cost of $20 per night ($120 for the whole training).

Accomodation is also available in the manor at Highden which is more luxurious. See here for details.

Book tickets

Yay! You're coming! You're gonna bloody love it.

A $500 (NZD) deposit secures your space. Please put into this account:

Kiwibank 38-9016-0061220-00
Email once this is done or if you need to contact him about International payment.

Once a commitment to come has been made from an inner knowing that you need to be there, the deposit is made, then your workshop starts and you are part of the larger field.
Refunds for deposits aren't given—a credit to a future ISTA training in NZ with administration fees being charged. This will only happen when attending the training has become impossible.

All accounts must be settled by November 1 2017, this allows everyone to be present to the workshop process itself and not distracted by financials.

Enquiries & to secure your place please contact the organisers:
Regan Pryor - 027 725 0475

Vicki Grey - 027 564 9240

Frequently Asked Questions

How challenging will it be?

The program is really well designed. Each step is a step up—and you feel ready for it. The week progresses from introductory-level work into some more expansive and challenging work (and fuuuuun).

We're digging into some pretty massive cultural stories and personal issues here—it's territory that'll probably feel a bit new or edge-y for you at times. AND, this is where the healing, expansion, and release lives! This is what you're here for, right? We encourage you to be bold and honour your needs throughout the retreat so you always feel safe.

Do I have to do stuff? Or just listen to the facilitators talk?
You have free choice at all times. All exercises are 100% voluntary and you can choose to sit and watch if that is what feels best for you. The workshop will be a little bit of listening, mostly doing. It's experiential—this allows you to learn things & make shifts with your mind, emotions and spirit. Powerful stuff.

Is it for single people? Or people with partners?
Both: it's suitable for everyone whether you're single, celibate, monogamous or poly.

For people with partners, this workshop can transform your relationship. Make sure you have a deep discussion about boundaries and things beforehand.

All genders- and queer-friendly?

This workshop is for everyone of all genders and orientations.

Who attends the retreat?

A mix of people! CEOs, students, mums, dancers, programmers, entrepreneurs, sex workers, sacred sexuality practitioners... Some people take this training for their own personal evolution, to gain a deeper self-connection and to enrich their relationships and empower their lives. Others are interested in exploring how it will add to their own professional life, whatever that may be, and some are interested in the professions of Sacred Sexual Practitioner or Sexuality Educator.

Is it ok if I'm a newbie?

No prior knowledge of shamanism or sacred sexuality is necessary. People with previous experience are welcomed too.

How intimate is the training?

Nudity and intimate touch are optional parts of this training. The cornerstone of this work is about consent, developing healthy boundaries and communication. You don’t have to do anything, ever—you’re fully in your personal sovereignty 100% of the time.

If you have any niggling questions, please get in touch with me!

Cover image by Jack Haddow Photography.