I am so delighted that you will be joining us as we journey in the footsteps of the mystics in the Hebrides Islands.
During our time together, we will be sharing in story, image and spiritual practices that I hope will enable you to feel as if you are transported across time and space to the sacred sites of Scotland that were places that have inspired amazing works of art, music and poetry. It is my deepest hope that our class together will help us nurture the seeds of creativity within us as we create a global virtual community.
The rhythm of our time together will follow an ancient pattern that is designed to open us to the depths of these teachings.
Prelude (done individually at home): Please allow yourself at least 20 minutes before class begins to settle your mind. Celtic music would be particularly appropriate as a prelude to our class, or Felix Mendelssohn' s lush Scottish Symphony, inspired by his journey from Edinburgh to Iona.
Opening Circle ( 11:00 am PDT) We will being with a ceremony of lighting of candles, followed by a reading of poetry, music sung by Robin O'Brien, an opening meditation and a setting of intentions for the day.
Lesson and Reflections (11:30-1 pm ) We will explore a story and theme each day through a a series of lectures by Kayleen and other guest teachers woven with a plethora of images that evoke the beauty and grandeur of Scotland. Each day, a creative or spiritual practice will be introduced, followed by a closing circle of sharing.
Integration (done individually) IOn our first session , Katherine Witteman will introduce the practice of keep a Blessing Book- a form of art journaling that we encourage you to do as we travel together. .Your experience will become all the richer if you print out pictures to download and collage into your journal, or if you sketch, paint or otherwise “illuminate” your pages. We will invite you to share your pictures, writing and responses in our sharing circles on the last day. This is a marvelous way to spark one another’s creativity. On o
Enrichment and Immersion Of course, nothing can replace the experience of actually being in Scotland but a few of these suggestions will deepen and enrich your experience.
1) Ritual: Try to establish a morning routine that can support and deepen your experience. Spend a half hour before class taking a walk, sitting in the garden, meditating, or doing yoga, chi gong or tai chi. These are all things that can help center yourself and open your body to receive.
2) Sensorial experience: To bring the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of these sacred sights to you, you might want to try one of these traditional Scottish recipes and ha e a box of Scottish Breakfast tea on hand. You may wish to seek out films set in the locations for viewing in the evening
3) Walking: If we were doing this in person, we would be spending a few hours each day walking after our morning lectures while we were on site. This is a wonderful way to process the information—even if you are only retracing the same old familiar paths in your own neighborhood. Solvitur Ambulando was a favored motto of the Middle Ages: It is solved by walking. Strapon some earphones and listen to Medieval pilgrim songs.
4) Creating Community: start a “watch party” with your friends or fellow students to watch one of the movies on the recommended movie list and then discuss how they mirror the topics of each day and share your own revelations.
Recommended films for the Pilgrimage to Provence:
Mary Magdalene- the 2017 film stars Rooney Mara as a Mary Magdalene who mirrors the woman we will discover in the Gospel of Mary: courageous, compassionate, the faithful witness who best understands Jesus's message
My Mother's Castle and My Father's Glory are both sweet and poignant French classics that were filmed in the Var region of Provence, very close to the sites we will be sharing
Rivers and Tides is a documentary of Scottish land artist Andy Goldworthy creating archetypal forms in nature . Many of the large stone cairn "eggs" were created in on the Trail of Time, a medieval pilgrim path to La Baume that is found the Haute Provence. Use this as inspiration for your own creativity.
Into the Great Silence is a documentary about a year in the Grand Chartreuse monastery in France. The visuals are stunning and the film offers an insightful glimpse into the most austere form of male monasticism that traces its contemplative roots to La Baume.
5) Dive into reading and studying The Gospel of Mary, with commentary by Jean Yves Leloup is available on kindle as well as in paperback. It will be the backbone of our study this week
The Soul of a Pilgrim and The Soul's Slow RIpening, both by Christine Vaulters Paintner are excellent orientation guides to the practices of the "Blessing Thread" we will be following through the coming year.
The Gospel of the Beloved Companion is another text which has emerged in the past few years. Translator Jehanne de Quillan asserts that this is the original Gospel used by the first centuries of Provencal Christians. It is a work that is largely parallel to the Gospel of John, but includes additional material that also appears in the Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Mary. You may also wish to click here to watch a one hour video of my lecture on this fascinating and very controversial text. This weekend, it will be my great joy to bring you to Provence in a journey that I hope will ignite your imagination, kindle your courage and open your heart.
I so look forward with great anticipation to sharing this adventure with you,