Earth, Our Original Monastery
A companion retreat to the book
Registration Fee: $150 USD
Earth is our original monastery. Our original cathedral. And our original scripture, saints, spiritual director, icon, sacrament, and liturgy.
Through the wisdom of monks and mystics, as well as scriptures, we discover a vital strand of the Christian tradition which deeply honors Earth as the place of sanctuary and revelation, of guidance, and witness to celebration.
Christine Valters Paintner’s book Earth, Our Original Monastery is a book that invites you to not just read and digest, but to enter into and immerse yourself in a set of practices that help to embody a renewed way of being in relation to the natural world. Filled with reflections on how contemplative practice and creative expression can break open the divine presence in new ways and deepen our love for Earth.
Paintner provides seven ways of seeing the earth in light of faith and pairs each one with a set of practical invitations to practice, as well as creative explorations. These include:
- the earth as original cathedral—where you first learn to worship and feel God’s presence around us, paired with the practice of stability
- the earth as original saints—plants and animals live their calling without trying to be something they’re not and inspire you to do the same, paired with the practice of gratitude
- the earth as original icon—nature can serve as a window to the holy in the same way that icons do, paired with the practice of lament
Join our self-study offering of this online retreat with recordings of webinar sessions offered during a community version of the retreat, a series of songs that accompany each theme with movement prayers, suggestions for herbal practices, and audio guidance for visual art-making, poetry writing, meditations, and contemplative walks inviting you to be in nature in a particular way.
Six days each week you receive an email with a link to the day’s content. The 7th day is a time for rest and integration. The materials are in written, video, and audio format which you can view and listen to at any time. You have lifetime access to the materials in the course.
Day 1: Webinar recording with Christine Valters Paintner includes overview of the week, meditation and reflection time together, and an invitation into an herbal ritual (recorded during a community offering of this retreat).
Day 2: Scripture Reflection with John Valters Paintner + Audio Recording with Christine for the Meditation
Day 3: Song and Movement Invitation with Betsey Beckman (a song has been chosen to deepen into each week’s theme)
Day 4: Audio Guidance with Christine for the Contemplative Walk
Day 5: Audio Guidance with Christine for the Visual Art Exploration
Day 6: Audio Guidance with Christine for the Poetry Writing + Closing Blessing Video
Day 7: Sabbath rest and integration
- 7 hour-long webinar audio recordings with Christine introducing each chapter’s theme and an overview of the contents, including an herbal invitation.
- Ongoing access to the materials in our private and easy-to-navigate retreat platform on Ruzuku.
- Audio recordings of Christine guiding you in each chapter’s meditation and offering some guidance for the contemplative walks, visual art-making, and poetry writing.
- A song (downloadable audio) each week with an accompanying gesture prayer (streaming video format) from Betsey Beckman to deepen your experience through movement.
- A beautiful video each week offering you a closing blessing on the theme.
- Not included are the herbs we will be working with each week or a copy of Christine’s book Earth, Our Original Monastery. Please order a copy ahead of the program.
The Gates We Enter, The Thresholds We Cross
All stories have gates that the reader enters alongside the protagonist. The gate leads to a threshold that once crossed, initiates a series of challenges and invitations for the protagonist and for us. We find the Selkie within us.
“Holy Now” song © Peter Mayer (used with permission)
Photos © Christine Valters Paintner
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 poet, spiritual director, teacher, pilgrimage guide, and author of fifteen 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
Betsey Beckman, MM
Purchase the Companion Book
The book is not included in the registration fee. You may purchase the book at the links below or at your local book seller. Thank you for your support!
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
Some self-study retreats include video or audio recordings of sessions that were recorded in a live community offering of the retreat and may make reference to forums or other modes of sharing. Please disregard these as self-study retreats do not have these available.
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.