The Wisdom Council formed when we realized that we needed some more formal structures of support for the work we do. We invited several trusted and long-time contributors to our community to join us. Each has a strong kinship with the monk and artist path. We call on them for wisdom when creating new programs, considering new ideas, or navigating challenges. They offer their time and guidance to us and so are also in service to the wider community. Many of the members also help facilitate or teach portions of our programs, both live and online. We are so grateful to have this vibrant gathering of both spiritual and practical support for the contemplative and creative programs we offer. In addition, several of the members are available for spiritual direction via Skype, phone, or email. Please contact them directly to inquire about fees, availability, and whether they might be a kindred spirit to support your journey.
Aisling Richmond is a Somatic Therapist and transformative guide who is deeply inspired by nature and the wisdom of the soul. Aisling is currently undertaking a PhD in Psychology and Transformative Leadership to work with cultural change. She shares a home with her partner in the rugged wildness of Donegal, North West Ireland. Aisling works as a therapist, supporting people to resolve trauma and life challenges through body-psyche-soul wisdom. She also mentors people in finding their deep soul purpose, and teaches a rich range of transformative programs online. Aisling is passionate about soul centred living, where nature and the feminine are deeply valued. Having worked collaboratively with many organisations including Amnesty International, Aisling has also been a guest lecturer with both Galway and Limerick Universities.
Aisling is available for somatic therapy, for mentoring sessions, and for group programs online. Feel welcome to contact her to inquire.
Amber Andreasen is a contemplative, ever desiring to deepen into and dance the rhythms of monk and artist. She has trained as a spiritual director, receiving her M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from The Institute of Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology. Wherever she finds herself, she desires to nurture a compassionate space where others can be listened and loved into fuller being by the Beloved. She is continually awed by the body as sacred storyholder and storyteller, and her heart beats loudly for the weaving together of creativity and spirituality in the discovering of what it means to live an embodied, fully human life in all its mystery and wonder.
Amber is available for spiritual direction by Skype, phone, and email. Email her to inquire.
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. As dancer, choreographer, author, mother, wife, teacher and spiritual director, she is passionate about living life fully and fostering creativity in all those with whom she shares life and ministry. Betsey’s publications include books (she is co-author of Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Expressive Arts to Spiritual Direction), recordings – including producing the Abbey of the Arts CD collections, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer, many of which companion the Abbey CDs. She offers the gift of playful improvisation whenever possible.
Carmen Acevedo Butcher
Carmen Acevedo Butcher is an award-winning translator, poet, and workshop leader. She has been interviewed on the BBC’s Compass, NPR’s Morning Edition and Dante’s Old South, and many others. Her Cloud of Unknowing translation received a 46th Georgia Author of the Year Award, and Martin Laird calls her translation of Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence “the new standard.” Carmen holds degrees in Medieval Studies from the University of Georgia, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of London, and teaches in the College Writing Programs at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in the Bay Area, and is working on a chapbook of poetry. Visit Carmen online.
Cassidhe Hart, MDiv
Cassidhe Hart, MDiv., wrote her first poem as a toddler with her mother’s help, dictating words onto a scrap of construction paper. She’s been writing ever since. As a poet and liturgist, she writes at the intersection of faith, ecology, community, and ritual to explore the ways we tell stories about our inner and outer worlds. She comes from a long line of settler-colonists and is committed to listening to systematically oppressed voices and to growing an anti-racist, decolonizing ethic in all her work. She has been commissioned to write prayers, liturgies, and songs for various worship and retreat contexts. In all her writing and facilitating, she seeks to cultivate a tender and radical attention to God’s presence among us. Her list of favorite things includes sunlight through tree leaves, children’s novels, jasmine tea, and her nephew’s drawings of rainbow narwhals.
You can visit her website here: CassidheHart.wordpress.com
Claudia Love Mair
Claudia Love Mair, MFA is a writer, artist, and Ringmistress of the Beautiful Soul Circus, a private Facebook group for creatives, queers, and tender souls. She’s an Inspirationalista who, when she’s not creating something herself, helps other creatives tap into their deepest intuition and longings through writing and painting. Claudia is the author of the God Alone is Enough, the critically acclaimed novel, Zora and Nicky, and her memoir, Don’t You Fall Now. She is a Certified Intuitive Painting and Expressive Arts Facilitator and the Coordinator for the Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative. Claudia lives in Lexington, with two of her adult children, and three cats, including one who thinks he’s a dog.
Dena Jennings, D.O. is a luthier, musician, writer, Virginia Master Naturalist, and an Internal Medicine physician with certification in Ayurvedic practice. In addition to over 30 years of medical practice, she completed a 4-year apprenticeship with a sculptor and luthier in Ontario, Canada where she learned to design and built the gourd instruments of cultures around the world. In 2013 Dr. Jennings married her best friend Donald Jennings and moved to their organic herb farm and wildlife preserve in Nasons, VA which they lovingly call the Farmashramonastery. There, she practices medicine and counselling, hosts contemplative retreats, hikes, and meditation, and raises angora rabbits.
In the larger community, she conducts conflict transformation workshops including one for artistic ambassadors through the US State Department in Washington, DC. She has developed accredited curricula of meditation for racial justice, and for cultural sensitivity in artistic performance. In 2019, she was appointed to the Virginia Commission for the Arts where she serves as the chairperson.
Since 1996, Dr. Jennings has been the Executive Director and founder of Imani Works, a human rights advocacy group that enjoys consultative status with the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs. Through Imani Works, she provides evaluations for asylum seekers. You can reach her for bookings, consultations, and counselling by visiting
D.G. Hollums, is clergy in The United Methodist Church, born and raised in north west Texas and currently lives in Austin, TX. He is a geek, foodie, contemplative photographer, contemplative carver, daddy, husband, self-described “extroverted contemplative”, and considers every person he meets to be someone he can’t wait to get to know. He has been an associate pastor, lead pastor, church planter, director of online communications for the global United Methodist church, as well as worked for Tesla Inc. and Apple Inc.
D.G. is currently developing a new non-profit called The Order of the Trinity that will be a local and online community who promote a simple rule of life based around our 5 senses for a neo-friar-like people who love out their lives through art, creativity, and rhythms to make a difference in their communities. www.OrderOfTheTrinity.com
Jamie Marich, Ph.D., LPCC-S, REAT, RYT-500, RMT travels internationally speaking on topics related to EMDR therapy, trauma, addiction, expressive arts, LGBTQ issues, spirituality and mindfulness while maintaining a private practice in her home base of Northeast Ohio. Jamie is also the developer of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts practice. Jamie is the author of several books including Dancing Mindfulness: A Creative Path to Healing and Transformation (2015, with foreword by Christine Valters Paintner) and Process Not Perfection: Expressive Arts Solutions for Trauma Recovery released in 2019, heavily influenced by the growth she has experienced through her study with Abbey of the Arts! Now primarily a North Atlantic Book author, she has recently released Trauma and the 12 Steps: An Inclusive Guide to Recovery (2020), Transforming Trauma with Jiu-Jitsu (2022), and Dissociation Made Simple: A Stigma-Free Guide to Embracing Your Dissociative Mind and Navigating Life (2023). Visit Jamie’s website here.
Jamie is available for spiritual direction, coaching/consultation, or expressive arts therapy in person or via Skype. Contact her to inquire>>
Kayce Stevens Hughlett
Kayce Stevens Hughlett, MA LMHC is a soulful and spirited woman. In her roles as ponderer extraordinaire, spiritual director, life muse, author, creative coach, and speaker, she invites us to playfully and fearlessly cross the thresholds toward authentic living. A strong proponent of compassionate care in the world, Kayce’s live and online work focuses on the principle that we must live it to give it.
Kayce’s official titles include: Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Spiritual Director, Life Coach, Speaker/Facilitator, and co-creator of SoulStrolling® ~ a movement for mindfulness in motion, at home or abroad. She is the author of three books, including her body-mind-spirit travel memoir, SoulStroller: experiencing the weight, whispers, & wings of the world. Kayce is a member of Abbey of the Arts Wisdom Council and co-leader of Awakening the Creative Spirit.
Kayce is available for coaching/spiritual direction by Skype, phone, and email (and also in person for those living near Seattle, WA). Contact her to inquire>>
Melissa Layer, MA, LMHC honors the unfolding journeys of our wild and precious lives as compelling invitations for creative, integrative meaning-making in BodyMindSpirit. Her sacred calling and formal training as a psychospiritual therapist, hospice grief counselor, and spiritual director have taught her about the potency of thin places in thresholds and dark nights of the soul. Cultivating curiosity, Melissa offers expressive exploration of the Great Mystery through journaling, collaging, poem-making, dreamwork, visio and lectio divina, creation of rituals and altars, and engaged encounters with nature. Like the honeybee for which she is named, she claims her role as “a bee of the invisible…passionately plundering the honey of the visible in order to gather it in the great golden hive of the invisible” (Rilke). Melissa offers a compassionate, attuned presence and deep listening with the ear of her heart from the Pacific Northwest in Washington, where the Salish sea meets the evergreen forest.
Melissa is available for spiritual companioning through online platforms, phone and written correspondence. Contact her to inquire >>
Michael Moore is a retired USAF Chaplain and pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) who currently lives in Orange Beach, Alabama with his wife and partner in life and ministry, Denise. His undergraduate degree is in Business Administration (University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire) and he earned his Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (Saint Paul, MN). He served two small, yoked Presbyterian Churches in rural Fergus Falls, MN for three years before going on Active Duty with the USAF for 21 years. Following his retirement from the Air Force, he has served churches in Florida, Colorado, Georgia, and Alabama. He has a Certificate in Christian Spiritual Formation from Columbia Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA.
Polly Paton-Brown MA UKCP worked for many years as a psychotherapist and trainer in the field of trauma. More recently, Polly’s focus has been on helping people explore their spirituality and prayer, using creativity and connection with nature. Polly has a particular passion for creating healing dolls as a portal to transformation.
Always a lover of nature, horses and creativity Polly now integrates all of these into her practice. She has trained in Nature Based Practice and Eco-pychology, Environmental Arts, Expressive Arts and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy. She is a licenced facilitator of Chakradance, The Art of Allowing , Creative Awakenings and the Wild Soul Woman Programme.
A member of the Iona Community, Polly was coordinator of their healing ministry for 11 years and when in that role ran regular retreats on the Isle of Iona. She is also a Sister of Belle Coeur. With roots in the contemplative and monastic traditions, Polly also draws wisdom from other spiritual paths such as Druidry and Sufism. She is passionate to help those wounded by the institutional church restore their image of God and themselves.
Polly is available for spiritual accompaniment and mentoring in person or by Skype. Contact her to inquire>>
Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, MA is a Psalmist, spiritual director and freelance musician. He enjoys all manner of projects in theology and the arts. Through his company, Worldmaking.net, he is publishing imaginative and adventurous songs for the ever-evolving church. Raised in the Midwestern United States, he is a husband to Trish and a dad to Sam. Faves: discovery, music, Star Wars, bosc pears, blue, laughter, naps.
Simon de Voil
Reverend Simon Ruth de Voil is an interfaith-interspiritual minister, sacred musician, spiritual counsellor, and chaplain.
His sacred work—both musical and interpersonal—explores themes of the inner landscape of the soul, the enchantment of the natural world, and the healing power of spiritual practice. As a chaplain and counsellor, Simon helps individuals and groups connect sacred presence with everyday life. Simon is also a transgender activist and a luthier in training.
Simon is available for spiritual counseling in person or by Skype. Contact him to inquire>>
Theresa “Te” Martin (they/them), has been studying and leading community singing since 2017. They were born on Ramaytush Ohlone land in san francisco and have been shaped by Ocean, Redwoods, circus arts, and theater games. Lately, some of the questions they have been asking are: “How can I offer song + ritual arts that are in service to healing?” and, “What are the sounds and stories of my Celtic ancestors?” Te holds a B.A. in Theology from St. Louis University and lives at the cross-section of spiritual practice, earth-connection, social justice, and artistic expression. Check out their EP, “Water & Bones”, and music video. Visit Te’s Patreon Page.
Therese Taylor-Stinson is a retired U.S. Federal Senior Program Analyst, formerly an expert in Federal Regulatory Activity, and remains on the roster of the U.S. Federal Interagency Shared Neutrals Program as a lead mediator for Equal Employment Opportunity disputes. She is a seasoned spiritual director, an award-winning author-editor, and an ordained deacon and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Therese, an organizer, won an award in 2018 as a Collaborative Bridge-Builder presented by Grace and Race, Inc., and an Indie Author Legacy Award for her edited work Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Stories of Contemplation and Justice. Therese is also the founder and organizer of the Racial Awareness Festival based in Washington DC, which recently closed with its sixth annual event and seventh organizing year. Therese also founded the Spiritual Directors of Color Network, Ltd., going into its 14th year and 8 years incorporated as a nonprofit. In addition to the above, she is a certified pastoral caregiver and an Emotional Emancipation Circle Facilitator. Therese is married to Bernard Stinson. They have a daughter and two granddaughters.
Therese currently has one space for a BILPOC directee to work together via Zoom. Contact her to inquire.