Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Join us for *Illuminating the Way: Epiphany & New Year Retreat with Monks, Mystics, and Archetypes* (starts January 4th!)



January 4-February 7, 2015 (5-week online retreat)


The feast of Epiphany launches us into the new year with a commitment to see the world anew. Full of enthusiasm for the way and the possibility of beginning again, we are joined by several monks and mystics as wise guides. Francis of Assisi, Amma Syncletica (one of the desert mothers), writer Rainer Maria Rilke, the Hebrew prophet Miriam, and modern monk Thomas Merton.

They each offer us profound wisdom for giving birth to the divine presence in our own lives. They also function as archetypes, which means that they break open various energies within us which offer inspiration for holy birthing.

Get in touch with your own inner fool, warrior, artist, prophet, and monk.

We will explore through written reflections, invitations to create SoulCollage cards, song, embodied prayer, and inviting the wisdom of herbs with suggestions for making teas.

Weekly Themes

Week January 4:                     Francis (Fool)

Week of January 11:               Amma Syncletica (Warrior)

Week of January 18:              Rainer Maria Rilke (Artist)

Week January 25:                    Miriam (Prophet)

Week February 1:                    Thomas Merton (Monk)

Weekly Content

  • Sunday: Introduction to monk/mystic and archetype
  • Monday: Reflection on biblical texts
  • Tuesday: SoulCollage invitation
  • Wednesday: Movement prayer
  • Thursday: Ritual herb tea invitation
  • Friday: Integration of the week and closing blessing
  • Saturday: Holy Pause (no content / a chance for integration)

Forum Facilitators:

Amber Andreasen and Melissa Layer will be present in the online forum to respond to posts shared by the community and help hold the safety and sacrednesss of this virtual space. (See more about them on the Wisdom Council page)


*Please read through this entire section before making payment*

Program fee: $150 Add to Cart

Includes access to the private retreat website (with ongoing access for several months following, weekly songs, videos, and reflections).

  • If the email address where you want to receive course notifications is different than the one you included for your payment (some folks use an alternate email for their Paypal account), please email the Abbey to update your registration with the correct contact information.
  • Please note there are no refunds for online classes, so consider your registration carefully. We have this strict policy in place to reduce the heavy burden of administration as we do not have enough support to handle this and thank you for your understanding and support for helping the Abbey to thrive. If you become ill and cannot participate, please know the materials stay available to you for several months, so you can always return to them at a later time. This is one of the gifts of the online format.
  • If you are not familiar with the Ruzuku online platform and format and have concerns about navigating the retreat website, please consider subscribing to our email newsletterwhich gives you access to our Monk in the World online class hosted on Ruzuku so you can test it out beforehand. Refunds are not given for technological challenges, but Ruzuku does have great support for participants. If you are able to navigate websites, receive email, and stream videos on YouTube you should have what you need.
  • Would you like to make an additional donation to the Earth Monastery Project and our Scholarship Fund (to support those who cannot otherwise afford to participate in programs)? Add to Cart
  • 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 10, 50% off for groups of 20 or more. Please email the Abbey to request an invoice (payment must be made through one person).
  • A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Please email the Abbey and indicate the retreat you are interested, how much assistance you are requesting, and why this retreat calls to you at this time in your life.

Guides for the Journey

Christine Valters PaintnerChristine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE is the online Abbess of, a virtual monastery offering resources, retreats, and pilgrimages which integrate contemplative practice and creative expression. She is the author of 8 books on monasticism and creativity including her forthcoming The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within. She lives in Galway, Ireland with her husband John.

John Valters Paintner on Inis MorJohn Valters Paintner, MTS studied education and earned a teaching certificate in his home state of California.  John later went on to earn a Masters in Theological Studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.  After working in parish ministry for several years, John returned to the classroom, teaching high school religion for twelve years.  After a sabbatical year abroad, John now works as Prior of the Abbey of the Arts alongside his wife of twenty years, Abbess Christine.

BetseyBetsey 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, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. She offers the gift of playful improvisation whenever possible. Visit Betsey’s website here>>

Kayce HughlettKayce 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 holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology with additional emphasis in spiritual direction and experiential learning practices and is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach. She is the author of As I Lay Pondering: Daily Invitations to Live a Transformed Life and the co-author of “Arts Centered Supervision” published in Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Expressive Arts to Spiritual Direction. Kayce is a trained SoulCollage® facilitator, a founding member of the Soul Care Institute, and has worked with groups and individuals for more than 30 years in a variety of settings.

Songs included by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Laura and David Ash, Carmel Boyle, and Betsey Beckman.

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