“We clasp the hands of those who go before us.”
– Wendell Berry
“And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see—or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.”
–Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens
The Christian feasts of All Saints and All Souls on November 1st and 2nd honor the profound legacy of wisdom our ancestors have left to us. These feasts coincide with the Celtic feast of Samhain which marks the beginning of the dark half of the year in the northern hemisphere and is a festival of the final harvest and remembering the dead. These moments on the great turning of the year’s wheel is believed to be a “thin place” where the ancestors are especially accessible to us across the veil.
Join us for an online self-study retreat experience welcoming in the gifts of the dark time and honoring the many saints of our heritage. We will explore the gift of our genetic and spiritual roots and celebrate the coming of the fruitful darkness (in the northern hemisphere) when the seeds of new beginnings are planted. November is traditionally the month of remembering the dead (although this retreat can be experienced at any time of year). Welcome in the presence of the Communion of Saints who support us in each moment.
Connection to our ancestors can give us a powerful anchor and sense of belonging. We carry stories in our blood. Honoring them and giving them voice helps us to claim our own stories more fully.
You will be invited to honor this very sacred time through ritual, poetry, art-making, song, and movement. These will be our tools to grow in awareness of those who walked the earth before us and to listen for the wisdom they offer to our own life circumstances.
Do you long for ways to enter more mindfully into this holy time of year? Are there stories you would like to remember and honor?
What is Included:
- This retreat will be hosted on our easy-to-navigate platform with Ruzuku, a private website with access to the materials.
- A live webinar session with Christine on Monday, October 30th at 5:00 p.m. Irish/UK time (because Europe ends DST a week earlier than the U.S. and Canada, please check here for your local time – when your register the webinar page will have the correct time for your time zone) to cross the threshold into the season of remembrance together with shared reflection and ritual. Please note: To participate in the live sessions you must log in from a laptop or desktop computer. Unfortunately Apple web browsers on ipads and iphones do not work for the live sessions. However, you will be able to watch the recordings from these devices.
- Monday through Friday for three weeks you will receive emails each day with links to our course site where you will find photos, reflections, suggested practices, and questions to ponder.
- A guided meditation podcast from Christine to help you enter this holy season
- Two guided movement videos with Betsey Beckman for Week 1 and 2
- Two song recordings – one of the "Grandmother Song" by Lorraine Bayes and the other a Litany created by Betsey for this retreat
- A list of suggested songs about the wisdom of ancestors
- A vibrant community forum facilitated by our wondrous guides Melissa Layer and Amber Andreasen.
Program fee US$75
Please note: If you have registered for the self-study version of this retreat in the past, you will be sent a discount code for 50% off the program fee. If you did not receive it check your spam folder first and then contact us.
Please read over the Abbey of the Arts online Class Policies and FAQ. There are no refunds for online purchases.
Discounts are available for small groups wanting to move through the material together: 20% off when 3 people register together, 30% off for 5, 40% off for 7 and above. Please contact Christine by email to request an invoice. We require that one person take responsibility for full payment for the group.
Limited partial scholarships are available for those for whom participation in the retreat would otherwise be a hardship. Please contact us with your reasons for wanting to take the course and a prayerful consideration of what you can afford to pay. We do our best to honor as many requests as we can, but due to limited funds we may not always be able to fulfill your full request.
Your Guides for the Journey
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD (visit the "About Christine" page for more information)
Betsey Beckman, MM, is nationally acclaimed as a spirited dancer, storyteller, teacher of SpiritPlay and dancing Spiritual Director. With her extensive repertory of sacred storydances, she is regularly featured as artist/presenter at national conventions as well as local churches. She earned her Masters in Ministry degree from Seattle University, her certificate in Movement Therapy from the Institute for Transformational Movement, and is a certified InterPlay leader. Betsey’s publications include books, recordings, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. Find out more about her work at her website: The Dancing Word.