This writing is based on the aspects used by Star of Azazel. You can read about them from azazel.fi/en or from Book of Paths. In this blog post I will try to find ways to approach these aspect with different kind of retreats in mind. If you are not that familiar with these aspects you might still get the idea of their use.
To people with emphasis on black aspect complete isolation from other people, including connection via internet, is recommended. A remote place, cabin or shelter in vast wilderness could be perfectly suitable. If possible, the best season for this is during late autumn and in the middle of winter when the amount of sunlight is limited (in the northern regions). Optimally you could concetrate on the very basic operations of living and appropriate spiritual practices based on mortification. This practice can be formed of fasting (also including deprivation of speech, music, internet etc.), contempation of death, specific ritual approaches and other individually thought out activities. Because the energy levels might be lower than usually and the potential cold season, physical activities should not be too draining. Keeping this in mind a warm place with fire and enought heat, an ascetic cabin, is possibly the best option.
Red aspect is based on will and due to that it can also include challenging physical action, climbing, running and generally more sporting outlook although the occult inner side should always be kept as the priority. In this sense the retreat could be arranged so that physical challenges can be united with the spiritual practices. In Black aspect the retreat should always be done alone but with Red emphasis it can be either solitary or group practice. With Red emphasis it is recommended not to have too much of a gap between the ways of life during retreat and normal daily life. These both should be arranged to balance and support each other by learning skills, taking care of your physical condition and reflecting your life through the experience gained during and after the retreat. To leave behind the petty predispositions and self-indulgence the strength and insight you gain will be used in the greater process of sacrifice.
With White emphasis the retreat can be organized on intuitive progress. The beauty and greatness of nature and creation will get special attention to be meditated upon. All elements of Nature will have equal importance in the work and their balance within the pilgrim himself should be noted when making decisions on how to proceed. Though many various methods can be merged into this practice generally a slower pace and harmonious state should be the key elements that are seeked.
Often all these aspects will be present simultaneously and retreats will have elements from all of them. Such mixing of elements is fine though in some cases it might be better to give attention to one aspect over others. If you are already familiar with the more devotional ways of retreating you might realise that your experiences already follow these different aspects and that they manifest naturally. If so, some analysing could be made to interpret their meaning and whether certain elements should get more space in your personal practices. Following the seasonal rhythm of the year is also a potential way of arranging these aspects to give a new depth to experiences and the methods used.
Arnošt Hofbauer: Pilgrim, oil on canvas, 1905.