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) On 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. For this you will simply need a large book with blank pages ( the bigger the better) and yoru favorite kind of colorful art supplies: markers, watercolor paints, colored pencils, or even crayons. A calligraphy pen or too would add a wonderful dimension to what you will make.
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 have 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) Connecting in Community: Join our Facebook group to share your thoughts, poems, images inspired by our sessions.
Recommended films for the Pilgrimage to Scotland:
Rivers and Tides and Leaning Into the Wind are two documentary films about of Scottish land artist Andy Goldworthy creating archetypal forms in nature ..Use these as inspiration for your own creativity.
The pixar film Brave prominently features the Callanish Stones and gives you a wonderful sense of the "tale telling" traditions of Scotland.
Harry Potter films: All of the exterior scenes of Hogwarts (including the train) were filmed primarily in Scotland.
Outlander has many wonderful scenes of Scotland-- if you can handle the intense violence ( I had to give up).
Celtic Benediction and Listening to the Heartbeat of God by John Philip Newell are indispensible introductions to the spirit of Celtic spirituality.
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill ends with St. Columba's voyage to Iona and evokes some of the key stories of one of our pivotal figures. 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 on all of our Virtual PIlgrimages.
This weekend, it will be my great joy to bring you to Scotland 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,