Virtual Celtic Pilgrimage: The Wisdom of the Irish Saints Brigid, Ciaran, & Gobnait
with Christine & John Valters Paintner and Simon de Voil
And guest teachers Deirdre Ni Chinneide, Dara Molloy, Jenny Beale, and Pius Murray
January 31-February 8, 2022
Daily gatherings via Zoom*
Pacific time: 7-8:15 am
Eastern time: 10-11:15 am
Ireland/UK time: 3-4:15 pm
*all sessions will be recorded for those unable to join us live
You are invited on a journey of the heart. In the Celtic imagination, the portal to cross thresholds into other realms is as close as our breath, as near as the pulse of our aliveness. You are invited onto a pilgrimage where you might physically walk only a few steps, but your soul can travel vast distances.
Beginning on the eve of the feast of St. Brigid and the Celtic feast of Imbolc in the northern hemisphere – a threshold and thin time in the turning of the year – we will gather for a Novena which is an ancient practice of praying for a special intention over nine days.
Imbolc is the time in Ireland when the ewes are pregnant with new life and the ground begins to rumble with seeds erupting in the darkness.
What might your intention be in this season of your life?
What are the seeds you feel rumbling inside of you?
How might making a 9-day commitment to your inner journey reveal new pathways into the future?
During a time of pandemic our travel opportunities become more limited. Maybe we aren’t able to travel long distances at all for other reasons. Abbey of the Arts has created this virtual pilgrimage with the help of our wonderful filmmaker friends at Morgan Creative and some of our favorite guides in Ireland as a way to invite you into the beauty of some of Ireland’s sacred places without having to pack a suitcase.
We will gather daily via Zoom for nine days. Each Zoom session will last approx. 75 minutes and will include teaching and meditation from Christine Valters Paintner, music and prayer from Simon de Voil, invitations into embodied prayer with Betsey Beckman, and beautifully filmed videos with local guides Dara Molloy, Deirdre Ni Chinneide, Jenny Beale, and Pius Murray offering their wisdom and insight into aspects of Celtic pilgrimage and spirituality. These 10-15 minute videos were filmed at Brigit’s Garden and the islands of Inismor and Inisheer (two of the Aran islands off the coast from Galway).
All the Zoom sessions will be recorded and made available later the same day for viewing. If a nine-day pilgrimage is too intense for your life commitments, you can spread them out over nine weeks or nine months as you have lifetime access to them. Pilgrimage is time outside of time, so however you are being called to journey is perfect.
We will be exploring the gifts and invitations that Saints Brigid, Ciaran, and Gobnait have for us. Each day we will explore a different theme connected to their life and vision. Each day you will be invited into meditations to connect to the Celtic imagination and unearth your heart’s deep longings. There will be suggestions for practices of contemplative walking and other meditation between sessions.
Your Guides for the Journey
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Christine is the director of AbbeyoftheArts.com, 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.
John Valters Paintner, MTS
John Valters Paintner is the online prior for Abbey of the Arts, where he assists his wife Christine in ministering to global community both online and through in-person programs. John was a youth minister and pastoral associate for four years before becoming a high school religion teacher for twelve years. He has a Masters of Theological Studies from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. His love for the Bible, particularly the Hebrew Scriptures, emerged when he taught the “Old Testament” at an all-boys high school. John is also a lover of the art of story-telling and has written dozens of short stories, one-act plays, and short films in a variety of genres.
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.
Deirdre Ni Chinneide
Deirdre Ni Chinneide is trained as a psychotherapist / spiritual director and workshop facilitator. She has worked all over Ireland, the U.S.A. and Europe including Bosnia and Kosovo. The Aran Islands with its unique history, culture and natural beauty provides a special setting for the retreat work, and was the place of inspiration for Celtic Passage, a journey of the heart which she leads through music, reflection and prayer.
Deirdre divides her time between the Aran Islands and the mainland offering retreats, workshops and performances of spiritual music and also works part time with Partners in Faith, a Catholic adult faith education programme working in marginalised areas in Ireland.
Deirdre has also co-authored the book Journey to the Well: Connecting to Celtic Ways and Wisdom
Dara Malloy is a Celtic Celebrant, pilgrim guide and author living on Inis Mór. His publications include Legends In The Landscape, a guide book to Inis Mór, which is now available in six languages, and The Globalisation of God, Celtic Christianity’s Nemesis. This latter work is the result of Dara’s lifelong interest in Celtic spirituality and Celtic monasticism. Visit Dara’s website here.
Jenny Beale has always found inspiration in the natural world and is particularly interested in the intersection between Celtic spirituality and nature. Fifteen years ago she founded Brigit’s Garden in the West of Ireland, a Celtic-themed garden celebrating the Brigit tradition. Brigit’s Garden is a place of tranquillity, closeness to nature and environmental education, and welcomes pilgrimage and other groups from all over the world. Visit Brigit’s Garden online.
Pius Murray N.T., B.A., H.D.E.(Hons.), LL.B.(Hons.), Diploma in Celtic Spirituality has his own guided walks business, Walk With Pius. He is a founder member of Pilgrim Paths Ireland and a member of the Burren Ecotourism Network. He is a member of the Burrenbeo Trust and a Burren Conservation Volunteer. He organises and leads walks, especially Inspirational Walks which enable walkers to connect with nature and with the spirituality of the landscape in the Burren and on Inisheer, for visitors of all nationalities, students of all levels and a variety of associations and organisations. Pius lives in Corofin, County Clare with his wife and family. Visit Pius’ website here.
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Terms and Conditions
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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.
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