RELIQUARY Pilgrimage Sept. 1-7, 2019, in Teotihuacan, Mexico

Join Emily K. Grieves and Rosamaria Polidura for a very special circle of resonance and raising vibration, of reprogramming our relationship with the sacred within ourselves, and of igniting creative philanthropy in our hearts! Contact for details and registration. Sign up by July 25 for a $200 discount!


We invite you to the inaugural ceremony and celebration retreat at Villa Las Campanas, Emily's very own creativity-based inn & retreat center in the village of San Sebastian Xolalpa in Teotihuacan!



A Container for the Sacred

with Emily K. Grieves & Rosamaria Polidura


As I walked out of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, my Muse fairly screamed this word into my ear: “Reliquary!” I knew that this would be my offering to you. This would be the new pilgrimage of encounter with that which we regard as sacred and holy, that which we venerate … a quest to find holy relics within our own hearts and to build a worthy container of devotion to hold these relics fast.


As I discovered on a journey to sacred sites and saints’ tombs throughout Italy, a relic is an object associated with a holy person or event. These objects may be a garment, a possession, or even a body part like hair or bones. A reliquary is a special container in which the object is placed so that it can be safely held in veneration. Often these reliquaries are placed on altars, or under them, becoming the center point of an entire site. It is not uncommon to find a vast church built around the reliquary, as if it were fundamental to the construction itself, an integral part of the foundation not only spiritually but physically also. Pilgrims visit these sites to be in proximity to the reliquary and make its unique energy the focus of their prayer and contemplation. That was certainly the case at the Basilica of San Marco, where we passed in silent awe before the tomb of St. Mark for whom my son is named.


In the treasure chambers and high altars of numerous other churches, we observed medieval glass vessels, adorned with gold filigree and faceted jewels, containing relics of saints and people who had lived their lives in a holy way, questing for connection to the Divine through their way of living – through prayer and contemplation, through action, through faith in miracles. The relics ranged from actual organs like hearts held in gold heart-shaped flasks to hand bones encapsulated in silver glove-like containers. A reliquary at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome apparently contained a fragment of wood from the Nativity cradle of Bethlehem. We saw St. Francis’ blood stained stockings with the mark of the stigmata in Assisi. We saw St. Clare’s rough-hewn gowns, hair shirt, and clippings of her own hair. We saw how visitors came from faraway lands to kneel between monks in mutual silent prayer before these reliquaries.


There is a quality to these ancient reliquaries that some may consider beautiful and precious, while others may see them as gruesome or morbid. I love finding things in life that present me with juxtaposition or duality. Every time I ran across a reliquary, I had the opportunity to ask myself, what do I venerate? Where does my devotion lie? If I could identify the focus of my veneration, of my reverence, how would I keep it safe? How would I elevate the object of my devotion into a space of beauty? Would I place that which is most precious to me in my life in plain view on top of the altar? What do I hold most sacred in my life at a time when the world at large seems to be on a path of desecration and destruction?


In those questions, I also got to ask myself about my relationship to the Divine in general. I am actually not Catholic, but have a deep attraction to the ritual and ceremony of that religion, and the art that has been created for centuries around it. I am deeply aware of the history of the Church and that much of that history is filled with darkness and conflict, conquest and oppression. I have spent decades holding Christianity at an arm’s length because of the global pain that has sadly accompanied the development and enforcement of much of its dogma. And in the way of duality, I have to admit that I love saints. There are saints in many religions and traditions, not just the Catholic, and I am inspired by the idea that humans anywhere in the world might live a life dedicated to the Divine. I love the Virgin Mary, just as I love the Divine Mother by any of her faces or names around the world. In the Catholic tradition, which has defined the imagery of the Western spiritual world I grew up in, I love the icons that seem to emit a profound energy of healing and possibility.

These images seem like portals to other dimensions to me, as if through contemplation of the icon, the image swings open like a doorway and I can step through. These open doors extend a path in front of me that leads me on a pilgrimage into my own heart. As in any spiritual path, there are moments of darkness and moments of light.


Let our inquiry for this “Reliquary” pilgrimage be: What do I hold most sacred in my life? How can I create a container for it, so as to understand its holy nature, interact with it, open it, and amplify its blessings into my life? How can my reliquary be a window of blessings pouring into the world that is in such need of our healing prayers at this time?


During our time here in Teotihuacan, Mexico, we will be looking at the sacred containers in the world around us as mirrors of those within us - 2000 year old pyramids and temples, the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, symbols in murals, ancient artifacts rising out of the earth, the 18th century church across the street. The land itself will hold us and support us in our ceremonial work. We are calling this circle of women together to enter into a ceremony of co-creation. We will be activitating the new creativity center that is Villa Las Campanas, our host home for the week. We will be activating new codes within ourselves as we define and awaken to the sacred container of our devotion. We will be activating our own compassion in a call to action, to contribute to making change in the world through creative philanthropy. 


Imagine 6 days of laughing, praying, painting, loving! We will make an altarpiece of the heart during our time together - exploring mosaic, painting, playing with clay, finding connection through the red thread. No previous art experience is necessary - just an open heart and mind! This experience is open to women of all spiritual paths and traditions with respect for our infinite ways of communing with the divine. 


Rosamaria Polidura, a fellow Intentional Creativity teacher and a native of Mexico City, will be sharing teachings from her exploration of the Four Petal Flower, a symbol that has served as a compass for life since Teotihuacano times and appears on the Virgin of Guadalupe's pregnant belly. 


We will be staying at Villa Las Campanas in Teotihuacan, Mexico, which is a creativity hotel/retreat center close to the pyramids and has ideal space for our ceremony, painting, processing and prayer. It is in the very center of the village of San Sebastian in one of the oldest buildings in town with a gorgeous view of the 18th century church from our studio. 

Your pilgrimage investment of $1300 USD includes 6 nights double occupancy stay at Villa Las Campanas in the village of San Sebastian Xolalpa, in Teotihuacan, Mexico, group meals, group ground transport, a guided group visit/day trip to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, entry fees, and all art materials. Private rooms are available for an additional $300 USD.  Investment does not include round trip airfare to Mexico City, individual transport, travelers insurance, gratuities, and personal expenses. A $500 deposit holds your spot!

Early registration special!
Sign up by July 25, 2019, and receive a special discounted price of $1100 for your pilgrimage! 


25% of proceeds will be donated to RAICES - Refugee and Immigrant Education and Legal Services. We are committed to compassion in action through Intentional Creativity!


Contact for details and registration.



Emily K. Grieves received a BFA degree in art from the University of Montana in 1993, followed by study of art history in Berlin, Germany, as a Fulbright scholar. She lived in San Francisco, California, for 10 years where she began exploring symbolism, mythology, and ritual in her artwork, drawing inspiration from the celebrations and mysteries of life. She has been a practitioner of shamanic healing and hands-on energy work since 1997.

As of 2004, she makes her home in Teotihuacan, Mexico, where she has painted murals at the Dreaming House spiritual retreat center and has created a body of artwork influenced by the cosmological imagery left in the ancient pyramids and by her relationship with her Muse and the Divine Feminine. In 2014, she opened her studio Taller de Arte El Refugio, in Teotihuacan.

Emily is a certified Intentional Creativity Teacher in the Color of Woman Method developed by Shiloh Sophia. She is also a member of the Intentional Creativity Guild, an international organization that promotes intuitive artistic expression as a way to make positive change in the world. Visit her at

Rosamaría Polidura is the founder of Transforming World Education and lives in Mexico City. She has been in a journey of discovering and learning the healing arts of psychotherapy, energy healing, coaching and facilitation for the last 20 years. As a result she holds a PhD in Gestalt Psychotherapy from which her Body of Work was born into a model that integrates the human energy field, interpersonal neurobiology, gestalt psychotherapy and intentional creativity.   Her mission is to create a culture of hope, connection, creation and beauty that redefine the arts, thus the new generations of the world can evolve into their full genius and potential. She deeply believes that as women we have a deeper calling to unleash the wisdom and the power of the heart in resonance with the mind, in such a way that we can create a new lineage for humanity and the face of the planet can be changed forever. A teacher at her heart, finally she is fully embodying and sharing the new iteration for the evolution of humanity beyond the common way of education: Intentional Creativity, she is a member of the Intentional Creativity Guild, as well as, MUSEA a living museum formed by more than 200 women all over the world. She is working on her book: The Flower of Creation. A new Culture of hope, creation, connection and beauty.