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Sacred Seasons

A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Wheel of the Year

Registration Fee: $250 USD

Program Description

The Celtic Wheel of the Year is an ancient way of understanding the unfolding of the seasons and the slow turning of the earth. These eight hinges have ancient, pre-Christian roots, and link us to a cyclical rhythm, rather than a linear one.

As the Christian Church developed, many of these festivals were supplanted by Christian liturgies, and reclaiming the connection helps us to deepen our understanding of the original inspiration for the sanctity of these times of year. We can begin to bridge the richness of possibility these potent times offer to us through a myriad of doorways.

A closer intimacy with the rhythms of creation offers us a wisdom about the patterns of rise and fall, fullness and emptiness in our lives. A great attentiveness to the liturgical rhythm connects us to an ancient way of praying through story and narrative.

The Celtic framework is an indigenous tradition for many of us and our ancestors. Even if we don’t live in Ireland or the British isles, we may feel a kinship and connection to this understanding of the year’s rhythms.

Join us for a vibrant yearlong offering. For each of the 8 festivals and hinges of the year you will receive an invitation to dive into the spirit of this season through a PDF file with a mini-retreat. It will offer you a guided experience through audio and video of the webinar offered during the community version,  reflections on the season written by Christine Valters Paintner, and biblical reflections by John Valters Paintner, invitations to contemplative practice and creative expression, poems, art, music, and dance. A wonderful way to spend a day of reflection as a holy pause and chance to tune into how your inner world is being called forth by the outer world.

We are also excited to include a series of new meditative songs by Richard and Trish Bruxvoort Colligan for the feasts of Spring Equinox through Winter Solstice written for the Abbey, accompanied by movement prayers from Betsey Beckman.

*With sincere apologies to my southern hemisphere friends, but the alignment of seasons and liturgical feasts are reflective of the northern hemisphere. You are welcome to register but you will have to translate the materials into your context.

What's Included

November 1: Samhain, Feasts of All Saints and All Souls

December 21: Winter Solstice and the Feast of Christmas (December 25th)

February 1: Imbolc, Feast of St. Brigid, Presentation, and Candlemas

March 20:  Spring Equinox and the Coming of Easter

May 1: Beltaine and Pentecost

June 21: Summer Solstice and the Feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24th)

August 1: Lughnasa, Transfiguration, Assumption, and Pilgrimage season in Ireland

September 20: Autumn Equinox and Feast of St. Michael (September 29th)

At each of the 8 sacred hinges of the year you will receive an email with a link to a pre-recorded webinar and PDF with your mini-retreat. As described above, the mini-retreat will contain reflections and opportunities for practice and integration including music, dance, working with herbs, and other creative invitations.

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.

John headshot 2

John Valters Paintner, MTS

John 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. He now works as Prior of the Abbey of the Arts alongside his wife of twenty years, Abbess Christine. Visit the “About John” page for more information.

Betsey Beckman, MM

Betsey Beckman 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. Betsey’s publications include books, recordings, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. Find out more about her work at her website: The Dancing Word.

Praise for the Course

It's Easter Monday and I am sad to see the end of this Creative Flourishing retreat, but oh so grateful for the multi-layered experience. I made the decision to take this journey at the last minute, but with great conviction it would deepen my Christian life. I had no idea what it would be like. It was like nothing I have experienced before. Thank you to Christine for originating the idea and doing such a thoughtful and tender job of guiding us through this journey. My deepest joy was to reconnect with the artist within me. The art literally flowed from me. Like living water. A well-spring fed by Christ himself.
Laurie Wagner
I'll be stepping into the season of Easter and spring with more ease, joy and awake from having prayed with, reflected on, moved with and daily witnessing of the mandalas during the past five and one half weeks. Thank you Christine for your vision, knowledge, design and guidance throughout this Lenten season; Hildegard of Bingen is now a living Saint for me. Betsey, i've become more embodied, through participating in your interpretations of Hildegard in dance and chant. This spiritual community has filled my heart with divine blessings. I will pass these blessings on.
Beatrice Randall
I'm so grateful for this retreat. It has been the most amazing experience of learning and growth, spiritually, artistically, and emotionally. Most of which I was not expecting when I signed up. Christine, I want to thank you again for this amazing Lent retreat. It was a joy, honor and privilege to attend. This has been an experience I won't soon forget. I've learned so much about myself and this process of healing through artistic expression. I look forward to doing more with you
Tamara Mapp
Thank you, Christine, for the best retreat I've ever experienced. I'm hooked on Hildegard! She will ever be part of my spirituality as she has added both depth and richness to my faith.
Evelyn Jackson
Sincere and grateful thanks for this marvelous retreat. Your guidance and song will live in my heart. Hildegard's presence has been a source of light and love. Your ministry is much appreciated. We are greener!
Mary Mason
This has been a very rich retreat. I have loved creating, singing, breathing, moving, reading and praying with you. Thank you.
Judith Bryan
My heart is so full. This has been the best retreat in my life.
Louise Thigpen


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