Visionary, Warrior, Healer, Sage: Archetypes to Navigate an Unravelling World
May 8 – June 10, 2023
with Melissa Layer facilitating the forum
Mondays May 8, 15, 22, 29, and June 5
Every day there is something happening to break our hearts. All around us the world seems to be unravelling at greater velocity. It can be an overwhelming place to be at times, but there are many resources available to help anchor us in a sense of steadiness and deeper wisdom to guide our responses.
One of these resources is the archetypes, which are internal energies or patterns of being which appear across cultures. We are each a multitude of inner voices. Some of these voices are loud, while others may rest hidden in the shadows. When we actively work to cultivate our connection to particular archetypes, we can summon new perspectives and ways of seeing into our lives. They help to illuminate our gifts as well as our blind spots. They appear in dreams, myths, fairy tales, and in our daily lives through synchronicity to empower us to move through the world in more loving and life-giving ways. Developing these capacities within ourselves helps to empower us for greater sovereignty and loving presence in the world.
Week 1: Orientation and Introduction
We invite you to join us for a five-week program where we will begin our first week with an orientation to introduce you to our themes, ways of working, and resources to draw upon, followed by four weeks where we will dive into each of the following archetypes to invite us into new perspectives and transformation.
Week 2: Visionary
We will explore the visionary archetype through figures like Gabriel the Archangel, St. Hildegard of Bingen, Mary as Star of the Sea, Jesus and the Transfiguration, and the Irish goddess Fedelm. We will also connect to the element of air, wind, and breath and contemplate the witness of hawk or eagle.
The Visionary is the one who sees beyond the horizons of our own limited lives and perspectives. It is the part of ourselves that reaches ahead of us to imagine new possibilities. Visionaries trust in the divine unfolding, seeing past their own insecurities and limitations.
The Visionary is a collaborator with the creative upwelling already at work in the world and helps us to pay attention to dreams, nudges, synchronicities, intuitions, and inner knowing even when they don’t quite make sense.
What are your dreams for the world? What hopes do you carry like treasure? What might be the possibilities beyond your imagining? What gets in the way of this? How might your inner visionary help you with discernment for more meaningful ways of being?
Week 3: Warrior
We will explore the warrior archetype through figures like Michael the Archangel, St. Patrick, Mary as Protectress, Jesus at the Temple with the moneychangers, and the Irish goddess Morrigan. We will also connect to the element of fire and ask what we are passionate about and how we are ready to defend that.
The warrior archetype may be one many of us in find challenging. Especially if we are committed to peace and nonviolent ways of being. But the warrior is about more than doing battle or going to war. At its heart it is about protecting our boundaries and saying no with firmness and conviction (while also being kind). It is the part of us ready to protect and defend what is necessary, including ourselves. Healthy boundaries and a clear sense of our ‘yes’s and ‘no’s are life-giving.
What boundaries do you need to create? Are you able to enter into life-giving energetic exchanges with others or do you often feel depleted? What are the injustices in the world you are ready to fight for? How can you strengthen your commitment to the practices which sustain you?
Week 4: Healer
We will explore the healer archetype through figures like Raphael the Archangel, Brigid of Kildare, Mary Untier of Knots, Jesus as Healer, and the Irish goddesses Brigid and Airmid. We will also connect to the element of water, especially the healing of holy wells and lakes, seas, and rivers.
The healer is one who overcomes divisions in body, soul, mind, heart, spirit. Healing is not curing but allows wisdom to come through difficult experiences. The healer helps us to welcome in the stranger, the abandoned and hurting places within ourselves that need loving attention and care.
Healing is not a form of doing but a way of being that helps us to come into alignment with our deepest gifts. The healer helps us hold the paradox of the world – terrible suffering alongside incredible beauty and joy. The heart of healing work is transformation – transforming pain, wounds, limitations – into grace and gift.
What are the wounds and inner divisions in your own life? What is the healing medicine you offer to the world? How can you work with healing rhythms in your life including cycles of rest, play, and work?
Week 5: Sage
We will explore the sage archetype through figures like Uriel the Archangel, St. Benedict, Mary as the Seat of Wisdom, Jesus as Wisdom teacher through his parables, and the Irish Goddess the Cailleach. We will also connect to the element of earth and the wisdom of remembering our earthiness, how our mortality can deepen our wisdom about living.
Our inner sage is our inner wisdom guide. We often seek wisdom outside ourselves forgetting that we have within us a source of wisdom. Our inner wisdom guide knows that our entire lives are journeys of discovery, of learning. Humility is at the core of wisdom – to know there is much we don’t know and gain wisdom from all the moments and people in our lives where we might least expect to learn something. Questions rather than answers are at the heart of wisdom.
How might you draw more deeply upon your own intuitive and embodied wisdom? How can you cultivate a deeper alignment and congruence with 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?
The live sessions will follow this format:
During our live sessions on Monday (always recorded if you can’t join at the scheduled time) Christine will offer teaching about the theme, including visual images to help deepen our connection to the archetype, and then lead us in a meditation to bring this awareness inward. There will be time for questions and sharing as well. Simon de Voil will also be present in these sessions to offer the gift of song.
The rest of the week we will be engaging content from our guest teachers to embody the archetype through visual art, movement, nature connection, and reflection.
Weekly Rhythm of Content
Each day there will be new content to explore which will help to deepen your journey with a particular archetype. We will have a forum for sharing in our retreat platform which will be facilitated and lovingly tended. The live session each Monday will last an hour.
Tuesday through Friday there will be a daily video from one of our guest teachers (Aisling, Jamie, Melinda, Polly) which is about 10 minutes long and will be an invitation to creative exploration of the archetype we are focusing on.
Saturday we will offer some questions for reflection and integration. Sunday is a day of Sabbath rest and integration with no new content.
We will also have a facilitated forum on our retreat platform where you can find kindred spirits and participate by leaving comments at any time, sharing your reflections, experiences, and questions. It will be lovingly held by Melissa Layer.
Monday: Live Zoom session with Christine Valters Paintner
- A weekly one-hour webinar where Christine will offer teaching on each archetype and lead us in a meditation. Simon de Voil will be present to offer his gift of song to deepen your reflection. There will be time for large group sharing and questions as well. All sessions are recorded if you can’t join us live and posted later the same day (technology allowing).
- Every Monday from 11-12 Eastern / 4-5 pm UK+Ireland time.
Tuesday: Yoga with Melinda Thomas
- Each yoga practice will invite you to connect with the elements and archetypal energies in the body through breath work and a short series of gentle standing, seated, and/or reclining postures.
Wednesday: Sacred Doll-Making with Polly Paton-Brown
- We will explore creative practices to help us deepen our experience of the archetypes. This will include looking at what animals in our lives have embodied them for us, creating collages and making poppets (simple prayer dolls) for each archetype.
Thursday: Somatic Intelligence and Nature Connection with Aisling Richmond
- Aisling will offer you a rich weave of practices to deepen your wisdom, well-being and response-ability in these epic times. Through embodiment, soul quest, depth psychology and leadership theory, you will be supported to grow your roots deep into the earth, so as to reach your branches outwards and offer your unique gifts to the world
Friday: Dancing Mindfulness with Jamie Marich
- Dancing Mindfulness is a come-as-you are meditation and expressive arts practice that uses dance and other creative movement as our primary vehicle for engagement in present-moment awareness. Participants are given a great deal of options to engage movement in whatever way is sustainable for their bodies and personal practices.
Saturday: Questions for reflection
- At the end of each week, we will post some questions to help you sit and listen to what each archetype is inviting you to consider.
Sunday: Sabbath rest and integration
- We do not post any content on Sundays to allow for a day of rest from processing and give you a chance to integrate.
Your Guides for the Journey
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Christine Valters Paintner 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 numerous 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.
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. Visit Aisling’s website here>>
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.
Melinda Thomas, E-RYT 500 is the Executive Assistant for Abbey of the Arts providing program, logistical and mentoring support as well as offering monthly yoga classes. She has been studying and practicing yoga for more than twenty years. In each of her classes and workshops Melinda weaves spiritual and contemplative themes into accessible, alignment based movement practice. Melinda is a 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 whose room is often littered with LEGOs and who still wants to cuddle. Visit her website >>
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. Visit Polly’s website here>>
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>>
Melissa Layer, MA, LMHC
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. Visit Melissa’s website here>>
Your registration constitutes an agreement with our online program Terms and Conditions below.
2 monthly payments of $75
If you need a different payment plan or a greater scholarship to make this program accessible, please get in touch with us.