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Group of happy multiracial friends having fun together on the beach, dancing and laughing.

intentionally designed retreats for queer folks,
by queer folks with a focus on celebrating our identity 

If you've felt like you've had to do any of the above, you've come to the right place. We believe in the process of queering. A process of becoming that strips away the things we're told we should be, what we should accept, and how we should show up in our world. We see the impacts of isolation, fear, self-hatred, shame and minority stress and we believe we deserve better. 

You don't have to be alone

You don't have to accept the minimum

You don't have to be afraid to wander

You don't have to hide who you are

Rising: (noun) a movement upward; an act of opposition against those in power

New Moon Retreat: Charlottesville, VA

Quirk Hotel
Charlottesville, VA

Quirk Hotel, Charlottesville nestled in the heart of historic downtown Charlottesville is more than just a place to rest your head -- it's an invitation to curiosity, inspiration and beauty. Quirk celebrates the region's culture and history, with a focus on lifting up local artists, respecting historic charm, offering innovative and locally sourced dining, and providing expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Charlottesville is known for its welcoming and diverse community and embracing LGBTQIA+ folx by creating safety, acceptance and celebration.

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What's Included:

  • Group coaching in a safe, collaborative environment specifically designed to help you feel empowered and joyful in who you are 

  • Opportunity for one on one time during "orbit hours" where you can meet with Brianna or Marley for individual coaching intended to provide clarity as you take it all in

  • All breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, with opportunities for self-guided dinners with fellow retreaters in the evenings

  • Excursions including a vineyard tour and tasting, a cooking class, a hike in the blue ridge mountains, and a special group bonding activity that we're holding back until you arrive

  • A closing ceremony that'll leave you with memories that last a lifetime

Prices below include:
4 nights lodging, most meals, all adventures

$1,500 for a limited time

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Standard King Room, City View

$2,000

$1,700 for a limited time

$2,200

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Deluxe King Room, City View

$2,500

$2,000 for a limited time

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Premium King, Mountain View

$2,800

$2,300 for a limited time

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Balcony King Room, Skyline View

Rising is the process of moving from Self-Acceptance to Self-Celebration

We see this process as a lifelong one, often mimicking the waxing and waning of the moon. We learn, we grow, we learn, we shed and this cycle repeats as we move through life. Our retreats are designed to nurture you no matter where you are within those phases. Our goal is to help you achieve self-celebration in the following ways.

Wellness Coaching

Through their work as psychotherapists, Brianna and Marley have designed an intentional group and 1:1 coaching framework to help you develop insight, examine societal bullshit, and come to understand yourself in a way that empowers, uplifts, and celebrates the joy of who you are.

Holistic Rest & Fun

All retreats include yoga classes and at least one additional holistic wellness service (because we all need to rest and rejuvenate). Offerings may include massage, sound baths, reiki, or other energy work. Our retreats are held in peaceful spaces that encourage immersion in nature.

Community Building

This is where the secret sauce is: we carefully pre-screen prospects to ensure goodness of fit not only for each retreat, but also among attendees. We strive to create joyfully cohesive, dynamic, and supportive groups that will foster community that lasts beyond the time spent on the retreat.

Joy

Working on self-love doesn't have to be painful! We're going to laugh, play, and have FUN. We've got excursions designed to tune into our inner children and allow space for us to let loose and enjoy ourselves and each other.

We can't wait to meet you

Here we are in Tulum shortly after we got engaged

We're Brianna and Marley. We are both trained therapists, entrepreneurs, and adventurers. In our two years together, we've traveled to over half a dozen countries, and collectively been to nearly twenty. We see our ability to travel and expand our frame of reference as key to our self-knowing. We also know that navigating policies, customs, and attitudes while traveling as a queer person can be intimidating and downright scary. This is why we’re so thrilled to be able to create intentional retreats for LGBTQ+ folx that encourage the process of growth we've experienced in ourselves while providing a layer of safety that allows for peace of mind. 

 

Outside of traveling, we have provided individual, relational and group therapy to hundreds of clients with a focus on meeting the needs of our LGBTQ+ clients through a lens of social justice and self-empowerment principles intended to shape how clients react to their inner and outer worlds. We see our work as therapists as a huge asset to our ability to create a framework that can help you move towards a place of self-celebration within your own identity.

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Community is where it's at

We were built for connection, not for isolation. We live in a time where we are more alone than ever before, and in isolation, our negative self-talk and beliefs can feel utterly crippling. This compels more isolation, and worse, shame. When shame is left alone to fester, it grows. 

The key to healing shame is getting connected.

 

Our quality of life, our ability to feel seen, our readiness to revise the limiting stories we have about ourselves, is healed in spaces where others feel and understand and validate the same. Together, we gain clarity about ourselves and our needs in a way that is so much harder to achieve on our own. And? We get to do it in an environment that fosters curiosity and joy - something we are routinely denied in our everyday lives.

  • I am an ally. Can I attend?
    Short answer: not yet! We love our allies and are excited to curate an experience for queers and cis-het folk alike with a wider focus on allyship and understanding the queer experience. However, the coaching component of this particular retreat is specifically designed for queer folx.
  • I'd like to attend, but I am not out. How will you preserve my privacy?
    We're so glad you're here! We wholly respect that your coming out process is YOURS and give all attendees the option to opt out of all photographs, videos, and other promotional materials that could be identifying.
  • Are retreats gender inclusive?
    Hell yeah! All Rising retreats are gender inclusive, age inclusive (21+), ability and size inclusive. Basically if you're queer, we want you here!
  • Can I meet other retreaters before we go?
    Abso-freaking-lutely! We aren't going to make you go blind into a foreign country! We will be hosting several virtual hangs before we go so that you can meet other folks, and connect well before you get wheels down in Costa Rica. These will be informal, with some guidance from us, in an effort to build connection early. We will also add you to a Slack channel so that you can connect with folks via text as well. Finally, we will be sharing folks contact information so that if you happen to be in the same city as another retreater, you can coordinate traveling to Costa Rica together.
  • Will I like the people on the retreat?
    We have created an intentional and thorough pre-screening process to ensure that all participants meld well together. This includes exploring values, willingness, personality types, and a general vibe check. We want everyone to walk away from each retreat feeling like they've made lifelong friends.
  • I'm a current or former client. Can I attend?
    Unfortunately, no as this would create a dual relationship, which can damage the integrity of the therapeutic relationship. We will however have travel packages and other educational materials available for purchase on our website. Stay tuned!
  • What if I'm driving?
    Depending on where you're driving from, we suggest sticking to highways as the backrounds route from areas outside of Charlottesville are more rural. Be sure to program your GPS app to stick to highways. If you need help, don't hesitate to connect with us.
  • Do I have to participate in every excursion?
    No way! All excursions listed under ‘inclusions’ are included in the cost, but are not mandatory! We expect that folx will pick and choose what activities excite them and leave the rest! We respect that everyone has different tastes, limits, willingness, etc. We will create opportunity for you to opt-in/opt-out of every aspect of this retreat
  • What should I pack?
    We're going to be doing a mix of things, so be sure to pack for both activity and relaxation. We will send out a cute packing list closer to the retreat so that you have specific details, but think exercise clothes, hiking shoes/boots, casual day wear, and one fancy-pants outfit for our closing celebration (interpret that how you will 😉).
  • Where do I fly into?
    You can fly into Charlottesville (CHO), Richmond (RIC) or Washington Dulles (IAD). From there you'll want to rent a car to be able to explore Charlottesville in it's entirety.
  • Can I get a schedule of what the week will look like?
    We are excitedly keeping exact details of the retreat a secret until just before arrival. We are hoping this builds anticipation, and not anxiety. We are very big proponents of doing only as much as feels good for YOU, so know that you are welcome to opt in or out of anything we do. If you have specific questions about what to expect, please email us! We're happy to help.
  • Are my meals included?
    Nearly all of your meals are included. We will be providing breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and two dinners. We want to give you the option to wander and connect with your fellow retreaters for your other two dinners. We can share recommendations for fun and safe restaurants in Charlottesville to try!
  • So, if y'all are therapists will you be providing therapy?
    While group and 1:1 coaching will certainly be therapeutically-informed, we will not be providing traditional psychotherapy on Rising retreats. To learn more about the differences between psychotherapy and wellness coaching, refer to our blog and podcast: Queer Tides
  • Will I be able to share my feedback on the retreat -- before, during and after?
    Yes! Brianna and Marley have devised a fool proof strategy for receiving and implementing attendee feedback. This ensures that you as the participant will have opportunity to be actively involved in the curation of your experience. While we will handle all logistics to provide a stress-free experience, we also deeply value collaboration and are devoted to hearing you out and making modifications to our approach so that your retreat is tailor-made.
  • How will you ensure my safety as a queer person?
    We meticulously vet retreat locations both based on what countries and regions are historically safe for queer folx and also based on culture and attitudes of specific hotels, retreat centers, and excursions. As trained therapists who are deeply passionate about ensuring safety, we are staunch advocates for our people and will not tolerate hatred of any kind directed toward any retreat participant. This is achieved through constant communication with retreat hotel management and regular check-ins with staff while on the retreat to provide corrective feedback should any issues arise. We see Rising retreats as a way for queer folks to safely and supportively expand outside of our comfort zones. As retreat leaders, we take our responsibility to create safety seriously.
  • Why choose Half Moon Rising retreats over another retreat business?
    We have a particular edge up on the retreat industry as we put as much emphasis on holistic wellness as we do on play (because play IS holistic wellness, too)! Rising retreats won’t leave you with a month-long hangover, but they also won’t make you feel self-conscious to kick back and have a couple of beers by the pool. We also aren't going to leave you with a month-long emotional hangover either -- we want you to be curious about yourself AND have fun. When you return home you'll feel rejuvenated, and inspired to continue to break through your own rainbow glass ceiling.
Tropical Plant

You don't have to wander alone

We're going to do this together. Join us for an opportunity for community, clarity, and joy.

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