This 4-day retreat is an international gathering of gay and bisexual men who seek to enrich their lives through deeper insights, awareness and connections to both the community and oneself.

We will be learning about physiological, psychological and spiritual tools to help create healthier and more fulfilling lives while forging bonds and friendships with other men who share the desire to have more meaningful connections to life.

The program includes informational and instructional sessions as well as exercises and participation by all the attendees with attention given to the full body-mind-spirit connection. We use a variety of different techniques, including meditation, inquiry, transformational breath work, healing touch, and much, much more. You will also have time for social activities and relaxation during the retreat.

There are many reasons why people come to this retreat. Some examples:

Finding the serenity of being in a relaxed setting away from the everyday hustle and bustle.

Seeking spiritual development and opportunity to connect with like-minded and supportive people.

Overcoming the sense of isolation that can occur when you don't feel supported by those around you in the ways you truly need.

Pursuing new ways of understanding life and gaining freedom from limiting beliefs and fears.

No matter what your reason is, you will likely be getting more out of the experience than you expect.

Who Can Attend?

Everybody is welcome, regardless of age, nationality, looks, etc. The retreat was originally created to help support those who are living with HIV, and over the years it has evolved into a spiritual retreat that embraces all men who are attracted to other men. No matter what our personal story is, as a community we are all impacted by HIV, and it has become an inherited trauma in many of our communities.
The only requirements to attend are that you are:
Over 18 years old.
Identify as a gay, bisexual, or pansexual man.
This is a drug and alcohol-free event. If you are struggling with addiction, we ask that you have at least 60 days without using any substance that you may be addicted to prior to joining the retreat. Please contact us if you have any questions around this.


Our location is a beautiful and comfortable retreat center in the Poconos near Stroudsburg, PA. The scenery is magnificent, with forests, mountain ridges, swimming ponds, and hiking trails.
The center has a long tradition of hosting inner work groups, and it has been a welcoming and inclusive institution throughout its history: gay groups found a safe gathering space here as long ago as the 1970's.
Lodging is in single, double, or triple rooms. The total costs of the program are listed below (prices also include lodging and meals).
Three home-cooked, healthy meals will be served daily. There will be vegetarian or vegan options for those who request it and some meat or fish dishes at most meals. Coffee and tea will be available throughout the day. If you have other dietary needs, please let us know when registering. Special meals could incur an additional cost. Please check when registering.
You should not expect 5-star luxury accommodations, but clean and friendly lodging in a serene setting. There are no private bathrooms; however, some rooms have their own sink & vanity. The number of available showers and restrooms is adequate for our size group.

Travel Information

There are several different modes of transportation to consider:
From New York City you can take a bus which is about a 90-minute ride from The Port Authority Bus Terminal.
There are also buses from Philadelphia. Driving directions will be sent to all registered participants as well.
You can also fly into Lehigh Valley International Airport (formerly ABE), which is about 45 minutes away, and is the closest airport.
We may be organizing some carpools or group tickets for the bus. Information about this will be sent out to registered participants prior to the retreat.


The format of the retreat will be a combination of individual and group experiences. We will have some sessions in smaller groups and others with everyone together.
Some exercises will be partnered while some will be performed on your own.
Particular aspects of the retreat can be emotionally challenging as we look more deeply at ourselves and explore some of life's deeper mysteries.
Topics we explore will focus on how to live more authentically, with the freedom to be true to yourself and have better relationships in your life. We invite looking at what gets in the way while also exploring ways for us to expand and grow our capacities for living a fulfilled life.
You are always free to not participate in a particular activity. While we encourage you to challenge your beliefs about your limitations, it is also important to respect where you are at and not go further than you are ready for.
On the first day beginning around 3:00 pm, everyone will be arriving and checking in. We will also share this time meet other participants and get acquainted with the retreat center.
Dinner will be served at 6:00 pm. Following dinner, we will have our introductory session devoting this time to connect with one another and become familiar with techniques used throughout the weekend.
On days 2 and 3, we will begin with a "Morning Movement Meditation" for those interested in an early start.
Breakfast will be served at 8:00 am followed by our morning session.
Lunch will be served following our Morning session, around 12:30 pm. After lunch, we will gather for our afternoon session.
In the evening, dinner will be served followed by our evening session. Note, our evening session may start later to allow for added down time and socialization, and may end later to allow us to continue our work.
On the 4th day, we will also begin with a "Morning Movement Meditation" for those interested in an early start.
Breakfast will be served at 8:00 am followed by our morning session.
Following the morning session, lunch will be served. After lunch, we will have our closing ritual followed by departures until 6:00 pm.

In the spirit of good faith, we will do our best to maintain the current program; however, in the event of unforeseen circumstances, schedule and faculty may be subject to change without notice.


A minimum deposit of $245 is required to reserve your space. To request single occupancy, please add an additional deposit of $200. Single rooms are limited and offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Deposits are refundable for up to 30 days after your registration, minus a $50 administration fee. We cannot offer refunds within 60 days of the start of the retreat for any reason; however, the name on the registration may be changed at any time. Balances are due by June 20, 2024.

Scholarship, Work Trade, & Financial Assistance Program

Please contact us if you are suffering financial hardship and need a reduced fee to attend.
If you are able to afford paying a little more and would like to make a contribution to help make it possible for those with financial hardships to attend, feel free to add any amount to your registration. Your help would be much valued and appreciated and will be used directly to offset someone else's cost.


...from previous attendees on their Brotherhood Retreat experience

  • "Words cannot describe how powerful and engaging it has been for me to share an extraordinary sense of holiness, kindness and brotherhood with many individuals that I can call today my brothers. It has been a soul enrichment and an experience I will never forget."
  • "A brief glimpse of the endless possibilities in the world, a unique privilege and a turning point in my life."
  • "Transformative. An experience that creates the atmosphere and space to grow, to change, to love the spirit of life. I left with tools to continue growing with love."
  • "This retreat taught me so much about myself and human nature in general. Every Gay man—HIV+ or not—should attend this retreat at least once. It will put all in touch with who they really are and give invaluable instruction in this journey of life and being human."
  • "I have never been so moved in such an intangible way in my life. The yearning for connection with other gay men living with HIV was the purpose of my attendance at the retreat--however -- I never expected the spiritual and emotional healing that took place there."

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have certain religious beliefs to participate?

NO! In fact, we encourage you to not even believe what we say, but to take in the information and weigh it against your own experience. Our stance is that the truth is objective and will remain what it is regardless of what you believe. We will draw on the wisdom of many world religions in illustrating the spiritual connections and bonds we all share. We fully respect each person's beliefs whether they be religious, agnostic or atheist.

Is it safe to reveal my personal information when registering?

Yes. No personal information submitted to us is shared with any third parties or sponsors. The only people who will have access to your information will be the retreat facilitators and administrators.

What about privacy and confidentiality during the retreat?

We have a strict rule of confidentiality for all retreats and gatherings. This means that you are not authorized to reveal personal details about any other retreat participant to any third party. This obviously serves to protect every person at the retreat and helps create a safe environment where we can all relax and grow together. No cameras or recording devices will be allowed at any of the retreat sessions or public gatherings. However, you are free to take photos of people during off-times provided that they consent to being photographed.

Do I have to find my own roommate?

No. You will be matched with a roommate by us if you don't specify the person you want to share rooms with. Most people attending the retreat are coming by themselves. This is a great way of getting know another person better. A limited number of single rooms will be available on a first-come, first serve basis.

Can I drink alcohol at the retreat?

This is a drug and alcohol free event and we ask that you refrain from drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs for the few days that you are at the retreat. If you are noticeably intoxicated during any of our sessions or if you behave in a manner that is interfering with the enjoyment of the retreat for other participants you may be asked to leave without any refund or compensation.

Are drugs allowed?

No illegal drugs are allowed at the retreat. Any person found to possess or be under the influence of illegal substances will be expelled from the retreat with no refunds given. This decision is final and not subject to review. If you are taking legally prescribed marijuana or marinol, we ask that you limit your intake to what is absolutely necessary as it may have a negative impact on what you will get out of the retreat. Smoking of any kind is forbidden inside all buildings at the retreat center!

Will people be having sex?

This is not an orgy or sex party gathering. While we encourage you to make contact with each other, we ask that you hold off on acting on sexual or romantic attractions until you are back home from the retreat and have had some time to integrate the experience. If the connection is still there later on, you are free to do what feels right to you and any other person involved. Due to the sensitive nature of some of our work, having sex while at the retreat is not advised. Should a potential situation for sexual contact occur, it is imperative that all parties involved have clearly expressed their consent.

How do I apply for a subsidy?

In order to apply for a scholarship to the Brotherhood Retreat, pleasewith the following included:

Your age.
Amount of time being HIV-positive, if applicable.
Employment status.
Yearly income.
Amount that you feel you can afford to pay for the retreat.
City, state, and country where you live and will be traveling from.


Scholarships will be given in proportion to funds available and level of financial hardship. There will be no complete scholarships for total fee elimination, but it is our ambition to make it possible for all who wish to attend to do so. Some scholarship attendees will be placed in triple room accommodations.
How often do you hold these retreats?

These retreats have been held yearly most years since 2008, with a handful of exceptions including those caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are currently looking at increasing the frequency to more than just once a year. Join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date!

The Team


Claes Lilja

Founder & Lead Facilitator

Claes Lilja holds a degree in psychology from Linnaeus University in Sweden and is a certified Integral Coach through New Ventures West. He has more than 20 years experience of working in human growth and development, having started out working with Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson at the Enneagram Institute during the most innovative time there, helping develop the RHETI and some of the most significant Enneagram books published to date. Claes has also been featured as an Enneagram expert on many TV shows, including In Depth with Chris Matthews (CNBC), Starting Over on NBC, and FOX News among others. His extensive academic background also includes studying International Business at the University of Lund, Business at E.S.C.P., France, and Art & Photography at Santa Monica College.

He is the creator of Brotherhood Retreats, a program which has deeply impacted many lives through its multi-pronged, life-changing inner work process. Claes is also a long-time student of The Diamond Approach in the Ridhwan School with A.H. Almaas. He also works as a filmmaker and photographer on the side.

Juan Wulff

Breathwork Facilitator

Juan Wulff, CMT, TBP has been providing exceptional bodywork and breathwork for over 16 years. In 2000, he was initiated into the Healing Arts by master practitioner/holistic healer James Drake Carter of Bear Relief Therapies while getting his massage certification at the McKinnon Institute in Oakland, California.

In 2002, Juan was introduced to Soulful Breathwork, in which he completed the facilitation training and which since then has become the core of his practice. Juan continued his training as a facilitator for the Inner Journey and became an Enneagram Teacher to support the experiential and psychological aspects of somatic healing. He received further training with Dr. Fred Mitouer and the Transformational Bodywork Association, which enabled a deepened mastery of the healing arts including training in somatic release of past traumas, which supports the integration of previously fragmented aspects of the self.

In 2010, Juan was initiated as a Deeksha Oneness Blessing Giver, Perceptive Awareness Technique facilitator and Soma-pi practitioner. His work is based on the emotional body and its relationship to all other aspects of being human, inspiring a journey towards the highest expression of the Self.

Josh Wellman


Josh Wellman is a New York City-based theatre and publishing professional and an LGBTQ activist. He is currently the board chair and CEO of Positive Alliance, a New York-based not-for-profit focused on community building and community action in response to HIV and its impact on the LGBTQ community. He co-founded Positive Alliance and Impact+NYC and in the past supported the efforts of RUSA LGBTQ in response to Russia's crackdown on gay rights there. In one way or another, he has worked in the background to support the missions of other organizations like To Proudly Go, God's Love We Deliver, The Ali Forney Center, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

He has been a regular retreat participant since 2012 and is excited to take on a larger role in the event.

What to know more? and he will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Brotherhood Retreat


Mailing Address:

Brotherhood Retreats
112 N. Detroit St.
Los Angeles, CA 90036