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The Lyceum

Workshops & Trainings

The Lyceum is a vibrant and vital gynocentric shamanic pathway that works with the honeybee and the serpent as its central motifs and living glyphs. Due to its gynocentricity, all the teaching events offered are taught for women, by women.

These courses are progressive, and those women wishing to undertake any of the advanced Lyceum courses must first complete The Way of the Melissae workshop which is typically offered twice each year.  These advanced courses cover diverse bodies of teaching and include The Trembling Veil & The Roar of the Roses, and Secret Sister & Spirit Spouse.  In 2012 a ten day Lyceum retreat – Melissae Lyceum Lectorum – was added to the curriculum which is open by invitation, with the one-year training Arte Triptych Melissae being open by application. Those women who complete the one-year training may also apply to undertake an advanced three year training, Return of the Pythoness as well as the new workshop The Void.

Working with Naomi and Kate on the Lyceum trainings has been the most extraordinary and transformative journey in my life. These women are truly amazing. Their loving presence; along with gentleness, strength and sheer truth shine forth and encourage all in their presence to be the best person they can be at any given moment.
Lisa Tolland

The Way of the Melissae

with India Rose Waters and Deborah Willimott

The Way of the Melissae is a well-trodden path for distaff members of a European shamanic conclave known as the Lyceum. This workshop offers a rare opportunity to work directly with women from the Lyceum who will be sharing teachings that have traditionally been passed down ‘from mouth to ear’.

The work itself harks back to a time when the guiding lore of the feminine principle lay at the heart of all things, and as an underground current it continues to inspire new pathways down which a woman may walk today, embodying this age-old knowledge and transforming it into the ever-new. Those women who walk this indefinitely ancient path carry particular bodies of teaching, orientated towards encouraging the student to become both the flower, the flow-er and the pollinator of honeyed wisdoms, a vital salve for the fragile and delicate times we live in, and a calling to women to change the face of the world through the facets of her own body.  We will excavate aspects of the feminine principle that have become buried and then balance them alongside the divine masculine, seeking equanimity and the fluid movement of both within.

The work will include a pattern of praxes that will guide each woman as deeply along this path as she wishes to go.  These forms can be worked with for a lifetime to unlock the secrets of ourselves, and the extraordinary prima materia that is woman herself.


Dev Aura Retreat Centre, Lincolnshire

£795.00 (fully residential; fee includes accommodation, food and tuition)

Maximum number of participants: 22

Please Note: The Way of the Melissae workshop is the prerequisite for all other Lyceum courses & trainings.

Arte Triptych Melissae

with India Rose Waters and Deborah Willimott

Arte Triptych Melissae is a private, three-part training for women in the ways of the distaff members of the Lyceum, namely the Melissae. The Melissae draw their inspiration from a different spring than most: it is an arcane discipline, a vein, an underground working – difficult to trace but easy to recognise once encountered. The training itself is imparted in three folds, each educating the participant in the ways and wiles of one of the three sisterhoods associated with these vibrant ways.

Here, specific meditations and ceremonial practices that revolve around the Lemniscatic Volatus – the Dance of Infinite Flight – are imparted and utilised to move between worlds and step outside and beyond the circles of time. Students will be stretched so that they might reach through the surface of these ways, accessing practical applications of the work to be applied to themselves and others. Within these practices and accompanying ceremonial work and ritual action, a path is laid leading to physical and metaphysical health and simultaneously a pilgrimage is made towards a vital and radiant life and the tableaux of honey and sting.

This training is by application only and enquires should be directed to India Rose Waters & Deborah Willimott at Applications for 2023 are now being considered.

Please Note: To attend this training you must have completed the The Way of the Melissae workshop.

Return of the Pythoness

with Naomi Lewis and Deborah Willimott

I am that serpent-haunted cave
Whose navel breeds the fate of men.
All wisdom issues from a hole in the earth:
The gods form in my darkness, and dissolve again
The Pythoness – Kathleen Raine

Together with the bee, the serpent is the oldest of the known symbols of female power, and the serpent priestess – the Pythoness – is a mortal embodiment of this power of plenty, affording what the alchemists of old referred to as regessus ad uterum or ‘the return into the uterus’. This training will be a pythonic endeavour aimed at deepening ones engagement with the uttering’s from the uterus – an organ that has long been seen as separate & sentient in folklore and superstition. For those who walk the pollen way it is known to hold a shrouded script that gives rise to the mantic voice of the vulvic vate. Each student will be led across a verdurous yet barely perceptible landscape to the pythonisms of the Mossy Hole leading to the Golden Flower and it is here that the hidden script – the manifesto of exulted living, exiled from our current view and essential for our times – will be resurrected anew.

This six-fold, three year Pythoness training will embrace expressive and explosive practices that draw out the specific dialect of each of our Lower Mouth voices, leading to a collective yonic choir that offers itself forward in service of the feminine, masculine and androgynous principles and a more balanced horizon for all. These actions demand courage and the entertainment of risk. The rewards can be ecstatic, the aphrodisiacs of awe and wonder impelling us to change our shape and return the Pythoness to her rightful place. Now, more than ever, we need to issue forth new creation myths, from the coils and dark places of our serpentine selves, translating them into our relationship with all life.

Over the three years we will move in serpentine fashion through the following bodies of work:

  • Becoming pythonic in the expression of ourselves and our lives, and in this endeavour identifying our holy work and how we plan to offer it out to others and Our Earth. Each woman will be mentored throughout this process by the facilitators and the group, with the intent of arriving at clarity and purposeful direction on how to manifest her particular weave.
  • Deepening into and becoming artificers and practitioners of the sacred tools of these ways in such a way that a healing practice may be offered to clients. This will include training in The Pollen Method.
  • Tutoring in an immersive approach towards the art of mistressing and administering the nektars, employing them as meaningful salves, ichor’s and liquid wisdoms for self, others and the Earth.

Return of the Pythoness will be taught by Naomi Lewis and is strictly limited to 22 places. It is open only to those women who have completed Arte Triptych Melissae. Those women interested in attending should in the first instance make their interest known to Naomi Lewis at

Each fold will take place twice a year, each over seven days.

Venue: Dev Aura Retreat Centre, Lincolnshire.

Applications for 2023 are now being considered

The Trembling Veil & The Roar of the Roses

with Deborah Willimott and Allison Brown

There is a pythoness in every one of us, and a Delphic cavern,
namely our imagination, into which we must retire if we
are to accomplish anything of worth.
JFC Fuller

Within Lyceum teachings the expression ‘The Trembling Veil’ refers not only to the diaphanous liminal divide that exists between the physical and non-physical supernal worlds, but also to the metaphysical or spiritual hymen that dwells within all women, irregardless of their sexual standing, be they maiden or menarche, crone or scarlet woman. Comprehending and engaging with a living knowledge of this interior veil allows any woman to step into the status of virgin (‘innocent one’) repeatedly. Journeying into this visceral knowing is initiated by undertaking an especial ceremony of womb sanctification and sacred reclamation of the distaff Cavern of Creation; which – once embraced and completed — brings about a ‘roar’ from the attendant interior stars or roses, as they are referred to in this context.

Each woman attending will engage with the central ceremony of womb empowerment, purification & blessing, together with other practices from the Lyceum that have not been previously shared outside the conclave, all of which will be woven together lemniscatically as we continue to traverse this funambulatory path.

Dev Aura Retreat Centre, Lincolnshire

£585 (fully residential; fee includes accommodation, food and tuition)

Maximum number of participants: 22

Please Note: To attend this workshop you must have completed the The Way of the Melissae workshop.

Melissae Lyceum Lectorum

A Ten-day Immersion Retreat for Women

This ten day training retreat is designed to allow participants to experience an in-depth immersion into the distaff line of practitioners within the Lyceum over an extended period of days and nights. Unlike other Lyceum workshops and trainings, it offers the opportunity for participants to live, move and have their beings in a similar fashion to the classical model and manner of the Melissae when residing together as a ‘cell’.

On this immersion training, there will be three cells of 6 women, each being looked over and guided by a teacher from the Lyceum. Each day will carry a precise ritual order to it, weaving together three aspects or ‘rays’ that hold particular import within the Lyceum namely: Love, Power and Wisdom. Each day will commence with prayer, followed at midday and evening when certain salutations to the hidden teachers are offered.

Each of the ten days will also have as part of its focus one of the ‘Ten Nektars of the Flow-er’, the Nektars being naturally occurring bodily fluids that are transmuted via corporeal alchemical practices into agents of healing and transformation. The daily work will further include transmissions, meditation and mediation engagements supplemented with profound dreaming practices including the construction of a Dreaming House and initiatory work using the oniricell, being a hexagonal structure used for merging and dreaming work.

This immersion retreat calls for a high level of commitment, and we therefore call only to those women who consider themselves ready for the metamorphosis that will carry them ever deeper into a life lived passing back and forth through the golden and honeyed veils.


This retreat is lead by Deborah Willimott and Allison Brown and is open by invitation only. Enquires should be directed to Deborah Willimott:

Please Note: To attend this training you must have completed the The Way of the Melissae workshop.

Venue: Devaura Retreat Centre, Lincolnshire

The Void

with Deborah Willimott and Allison Brown

When you gaze long into the void, the void also gazes long back into you.
– after Neitzsche

It is for those few who long not to avoid but rather engage with the Void, that this exploratory encounter has been created.

We shall be setting sail on our finely honed lemniscatic craft to the space that exists between one thought and the next, accepting that there will be no firm ground upon which to rest during our explorations. Together, we will make a willing leap into the dark matter of the unknowable, reaching into the unchartered material of the great uncreate, the quantum fabric of the All and the Everything. As Eve, we shall eat fruit from the forbidden tree. As Prometheus we shall steal fire from the gods of Mount Olympus. And as the seer gazes into the surface of her mirror, we shall gaze into the Void itself for her instruction; where everything that has happened and everything that will happen is occurring simultaneously. And when the Void gazes back, we shall submerge, merge and emerge into her pure awareness, using the temple-laboratory of the self to explore and distil its stygian yet radiant teachings.

The scryer and her scryings, the creatrix and her creations, the mystical sister and the cista mystica, the knowledge of silence and the silent knowledge; the Void awaits these all and those who make this pilgrimage should not expect to return unchanged


  • Fri 27 Jan – Tue 31 Jan 2023

Dev Aura Retreat Centre, Lincolnshire

£685 (fully residential; fee includes accommodation, food and tuition)

Maximum number of participants: 22


Please Note: To attend this workshop you must have completed the The Way of the Melissae workshop and the year-long training, Arte Triptych Melissae.

Secret Sister & Spirit Spouse

with Naomi Lewis and India Rose Waters

Within the Lyceum, the transhistorical arte of developing a relationship with a spirit-spouse or spirit mate is a keystone praxis. This spirit-spouse relationship is typically initiated and chaperoned by a further member from within the Lyceum kinship system, namely the Secret Sister, who comes forward from one of the three sisterhoods that make up the distaff lineage of these ways. The Secret Sister is so named as she is largely hidden from mundane view, but also because she is a mistress of the secret of secretions or nektars, which play a crucial role within the spirit- spouse relationship. It is here that the erogenics of necktars and their surrogates are taught, hieros gamos (sacred union) is sought and an initiated understanding of the art of shunammitism & gerokomy and the transference of vital power and its associated health-giving properties are explored. This advanced initiatory course affords entrance to a verdant opus of sacramental relationship in which some of the fertile and fecund aspects of our work are explored and celebrated.

Dev Aura Retreat Centre, Lincolnshire

£585 (fully residential; fee includes accommodation, food and tuition)

Maximum number of participants: 22

Please Note: To attend this training you must have completed the The Way of the Melissae workshop.