Soul Care Institute online learning: January 9-February 19, 2012
Register now for A Midwinter God: Making a Conscious Underworld Journey (click the link for more details)
Open to all soul care practitioners (spiritual directors, chaplains, counselors, pastors, etc).
In a dark time, the eye begins to see. —Theodore Roethke
Wisdom comes with winter. —Oscar Wilde
Our western culture denies the reality of difficult feelings, demonizes the experience of darkness, and rejects the invitation of winter to move into a place of unknowing and mystery. Our religious institutions don’t leave any room for the experience of doubt and despair. Certainty, planning, and achievement always trump unknowing, mystery, unfolding, and fallowness. We are encouraged to move full steam ahead through every season, never taking time to rest.
The seasons of the year offer us a profound invitation to embrace the gift of darkness and mystery, and to honor what I call the Midwinter God. John of the Cross describes one aspect of this experience as the dark night of the soul which is a spiritual journey of having one’s attachments stripped away.
In the midst of anxiety and distress, how might we begin to cultivate our ability to stay awake and present through the dark night of the soul we experience both individually and collectively? How might these descents into the underworld become an experience of initiation into wiser ways of being in the world? What if the very experience we are resisting is a source of profound creative renewal so necessary for this moment in history? What if we could stay fully awake in dark and difficult times, emerging wiser and more resilient? What might happen if we cultivated a non-anxious presence in ourselves and on behalf of all those with whom we minister? What gifts might emerge from creating safe holding spaces for folks to do their own deep inner work, wrestling with the shadows, expressing grief, and embracing the mysteries of life? I intentionally ask more questions in this description than make definitive statements, because the very quality this journey asks us to cultivate is an ability to be with life’s questions.
For this 6-week online journey we will draw upon Christian mysticism and contemplative practice, myth and archetypes, sacred scripture, yoga philosophy, and the creative arts as our guides. Support will come from the voices of a variety of wise guides across centuries and from our own community of fellow pilgrims gathering virtually to share our own wisdom.
*Limited to 15 participants*