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

Visionary, Healer, Warrior, Sage: Mentoring through Archetypes & the Expressive Arts

with Christine Valters Paintner, Melissa Layer, & Jamie Marich

+ Simon de Voil & Melinda Thomas assisting with facilitation

Four Mondays: January 24 + February 7 + February 21 + March 7

8:30-10:30 am Pacific time

11:30 am-1:30 pm Eastern time

4:30-6:30 pm UK/Ireland time

This program is currently full. Please submit an application to be added to the waiting list.  

Program Description

For several years Christine has received inquiries from people about whether she would consider leading some kind of mentoring program. These requests come from those wanting to build their own online communities, or discerning a call to spiritual direction and retreat work, or to develop their love of expressive arts into work that serves others and are curious how Abbey of the Arts was created and how it continues to develop.

Christine asked her treasured colleagues and friends Melissa Layer and Jamie Marich to join her in creating a series of live Zoom sessions that explore some mentoring questions through the lens of four archetypes of Visionary, Healer, Warrior, and Sage and the expressive arts (writing, visual art, and movement).

The four sessions will be held every other week starting January 10th. They are via Zoom and it is a program for those who can join us live for the scheduled sessions rather than relying on recordings. This is a program that requires engaged participation for transformation and new insights to occur.

The archetypes can offer a helpful container, a way of looking at certain themes in our lives and finding the parts within us we can access to bring those gifts into the world. We assume in joining this program that you have a relatively strong connection already to your inner monk and artist and we will be cultivating those dimensions each week through centering and meditation, learning times, and creative exploration times.

Each week will also dive into one of the following four archetypes to invite us into new perspectives and ways to cultivate certain aspects of ourselves as an ally in our discernment and offering our work to the world.

Limited to 20 participants
Program Fee: $420 (limited partial scholarships available)
(Payment Plan 3 x $140)




What is your dream for your work? What gets in the way of this? How might your inner visionary help you with discernment? How might you cultivate more support for what is unfolding (through people and calling on angels, saints, and ancestors as well as the land where you live and the elements)? Are there skills or tools you need to develop to help support this dream?



What are the wounds you have experienced which have guided you to a call to heal? What is the medicine you offer to the world? How can you work with healing rhythms in your life including cycles of rest, play, and work? How might you transform your relationship to things like marketing and money?



What boundaries do you need to create around your work? This includes the time you spend actively working, your availability to others, and what feels like a life-giving energetic exchange for what you offer. How can you strengthen your commitment to the practices which sustain you?



How might you draw more deeply upon your own intuitive and embodied wisdom? How can you cultivate a deeper alignment and congruence with your teaching and the way you live? Is there a council of wise others you can gather to support you? Are you willing to experiment and make mistakes and then commit to beginning again?

For each of these themes Christine will share some of the journey to create Abbey of the Arts and the practices which have sustained her in the process. This is not about making business plans (something Christine has never done and so can’t speak to their effectiveness). This is about learning to follow the thread, listen to what is unfolding, and allow the process to be organic and the skills and practices which help to nourish and support you along the way. She is delighted to be joined by Melissa and Jamie, both offering their vibrant creative work in the world.

Program Format

Each session will follow this format:

We will begin with some time for centering, Christine will provide an introduction to the theme and teaching and lead a short meditation, Melissa will lead a creative art exploration to deepen into the theme (writing or visual art), Jamie will lead a mindful movement exploration to further deepen, followed by facilitated small group sharing and processing, then time for questions and noticing your experience with the large group, and a closing.

Practical Details:

We are limiting the number of participants to create more intimacy and safety in this learning community (and you will all fit on one screen on a computer during the Zoom sessions).

We ask that if you are interested you first consider whether you can make a full commitment to attending all four sessions. Do you have time and energy to show up fully for yourself and our gathered community?

Second, we invite you to pray with the possibility (read this entire page) and notice what happens in your body. What wisdom does it offer to you about whether this might be the right fit?

And third we ask you to fill out a short application. This is to make sure you are the right fit and is a chance for us to get to know you.

We will take applications on a rolling basis until December 20th or until the program fills whichever comes first (Program is currently FULL). Once we receive your application expect to hear from us within two weeks. If your application is successful, we will send you a link to register and ask that you make your payment within 72 hours of acceptance as a gesture of your full commitment and to hold your space.

We will record these sessions for registered participants only. The breakout groups are never recorded for the sake of privacy. However the recording should be considered as a way to deepen into the concepts after attending the live session and not in place of it. We understand that emergencies do happen, but if you expect to miss any sessions in advance it would be better to wait until another time to join us.

Please note this is not a training program. We are not equipping you to lead expressive arts with others. The arts are for your own personal process and deeper listening and journey of discovery. Our hope is that you finish the program with more clarity about the questions that are calling you forward rather than leaving with a set of answers.

Your Guides for the Journey


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Christine is the director of, a virtual monastery exploring contemplative practice, creative expression, and ways to nourish an earth-cherishing consciousness. She is a spiritual director, teacher, pilgrimage guide, and author of nine books on spirituality and the arts. Her deepest belief is that the earth is the original monastery–a wisdom guide and mentor in living a soulful and vibrant life. Visit the “About Christine” page for more information.

Melissa Layer Head Shot

Melissa Layer, MA, LMHC

Melissa Layer 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.

Visit Melissa’s website here>>

Read Melissa’s guest post for the Abbey here>>

Melissa is available for spiritual companioning through online platforms, phone and written correspondence. Contact her to inquire >>


Jamie Marich, PhD LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, REAT, RYT-500

Dr. Jamie Marich (she/they) describes herself as a facilitator of transformative experiences. A clinical trauma specialist, expressive artist, writer, yogini, performer, short filmmaker, Reiki master, TEDx speaker, and recovery advocate, she unites all of these elements in her mission to inspire healing in others. She began her career as a humanitarian aid worker in Bosnia-Hercegovina from 2000-2003, primarily teaching English and music while freelancing with other projects. Jamie travels internationally teaching on topics related to trauma, EMDR therapy, expressive arts, mindfulness, and yoga, while maintaining a private practice and online education operations in her home base of Warren, OH. Jamie is the author of numerous books on trauma recovery and healing, with many more projects in the works. Marich is the founder of The Institute for Creative Mindfulness.

Forum Facilitators and Small Group Guides

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.

Visit Simon’s website here>>

Read his Monk in the World guest post here>>

Simon is available for spiritual counseling in person or by Skype. Contact him to inquire>>

Simon de Voil playing guitar

Melinda Thomas, E-RYT 500

Melinda Thomas is our Executive Assistant. She is a dedicated yoga practitioner, teacher, writer, and the author of Sacred Balance: Aligning Body and Spirit Through Yoga and the Benedictine Way. She lives in North Carolina with her son. Visit her website >>


Terms and Conditions

Please consider your purchase carefully and review the many free materials we have on our website to make sure the program will be a good fit or get in touch with any questions.

We ask that you honor our work by not sharing the program materials with others who are not enrolled.

Please contact us for permission to quote in settings beyond the program

These videos are made available to registered participants and may also be included in future versions of the program including self-study. If you choose to speak during a recorded gathering, you are giving us your consent to record that contribution. If you prefer not to be seen or heard, you can of course switch off or mute your camera or microphone at any time. Chat sessions are recorded and posted as well. Participation in the chat function is also giving consent to their recording. Breakout groups are never recorded.

If you choose a payment plan and stop payment before fulfilling the commitment without contacting us to make other arrangements, your access to the program will be removed.