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A love note from your online Abbess

PLEASE NOTE: We are taking a break from the weekly and daily emails from August 1-27 for a summer sabbatical and holy pause.

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
Lughnasa (pronounced Loo-nassah) is one of the ancient Celtic feasts celebrated on August 1st marking the time of the beginning of the harvest and the gathering in. It is said to honor the Celtic sun-god Lugh who was an ally to the farmer in the struggle for food. With the Summer Solstice six weeks before, you can start to really feel the shortening of the days in August in Ireland. There is a subtle shift in the light and the air that leans towards autumn’s crispness and cooler days.  The energy in the world is changing.
Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons so I love this time of just beginning to really feel the darkness growing. The doorway to mystery is beginning to open. In the mystical tradition of Christianity, darkness is seen as a rich time of incubation and rest. The fullness of summer’s growth has reached its peak and is now starting to wane and you can just begin to see the signs of nature moving toward her own storing up of energies for the journey inward the seasons ahead will invite.
Lughnasa is a time to gather in and to reap what has been sown. The other side of the wheel from Lughnasa is Imbolc, February 1st, when the very first signs of spring started to rumble awake on the earth. In these last six months, we have seen a cycle of flourishing and fecundity, both around us and perhaps also within.
It is sometimes thought of as the time of “first fruits” and is when the grain is gathered in. One of the central rituals for this feast is cutting the first corn and making it into a loaf for the Mass at church on August 1st or 2nd. In the Hebrides in Scotland, it is recorded that families would celebrate Lughnasa on August 15th in connection with the feast of the Assumption of Mary. Each family member would take a piece of the bread and walk sunwise around the festival fire and sing a song to Mary.
There is also an ancient tradition at this time of year in Ireland to go on pilgrimage, especially to climb the sacred mountains. The weather made for good traveling and sleeping under starlight. A pilgrimage is, of course, not a vacation, but an immersion in a landscape and a courting of holy disruption along the way.
This was an excerpt from our online self-study retreat Sacred Seasons: A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Wheel of the Year. The retreat includes invitations to reflection, contemplation, and creativity all rooting you in the call of this season.
We are taking a summer sabbatical from our daily and weekly posts starting tomorrow. We will be back on Sunday, August 28th

With great and growing love,


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Photo  Â© Christine Valters Paintner

Continuing Education Program and 2017 Ireland Pilgrimages | *Updates*

Awakening the Creative Spirit: Experiential Education for Spiritual Directors in the Expressive Arts

November 13-18, 2016 with Kayce Stevens Hughlett, MA & Betsey Beckman MM in the Pacific Northwest. Two spaces have opened up in this program. Click here for more details>>

May 2-7, 2017 with Christine Valters Painter, PhD & Betsey Beckman, MM in Perth Scotland. This program is starting to fill already! Click here for more details>>

This five-day intensive immerses you in an experience of the bringing the transformative power of the expressive arts to spiritual settings. Join a small group of kindred souls to dive deep together in exploration and discovery and come away with new skills for your soul care practice.

We are delighted that our pilgrimages to Ireland for 2017 are filling up and so want to give you an update:

Monk in the World: Pilgrimage to the Sacred Edge of Ireland
August 29-September 6, 2016 â€“ ONE SPACE LEFT

Soul's Slow Ripening: Celtic Wisdom for Discernment
March 28-April 5, 2016 | September 19-27, 2016 | Just a few spaces left!

Writing on the Wild Edges: A Creative Pilgrimage & Retreat in Ireland
April 21-27, 2016 | October 5-11, 2017 | Just a few spaces left!

Click here for more details and registration info>>

Projects Created by the Earth as the Original Monastery Grant

I am pleased to share two of the beautiful projects created with the Earth Monastery Grant.

Monica McDowell, MDiv's The Girl with a Gift “Mustard Seed” Project. This was a creative and contemplative project used as “mustard seed” to multiply “earth as our monastery” awareness. The creative aspect of my project was my book, The Girl with a Gift, an eco-fiction, coming-of-age novel appropriate for ages 13 and up. It features climate change, spirituality, and earth care as background and foreground in the plot. The contemplative aspect of my project was the book discussion questions at the end of the book that groups read and discussed. The “mustard seed” aspect was offering my books to church/spirituality groups to read the book, discuss the questions at the end of the book, come up with their own earth projects as inspired by the book, and to share their projects with their larger communities. Click here to read more about The Girl with a Gift Project >>

Philip Wood's Litany for the Wayside. Litany for the Wayside is a liturgical and poetic sequence with visual and musical responses.  It is rooted in a shared practice of attentive walking.  The primary vehicle of the Litany is journeying and the main location is the road, but elements of the sequence (poems, prayers, reflection, art and music) may stand alone or combine with others, whether in recital, protest, performance, exhibition or lament. Click here to read more about the Litany >>

Monk in the World Guest Post: Dianne Morris Jones 

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission for the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Dianne Morris Jones' reflection titled “They Ruined Our Trail. . . .”

"There are so many things fundamentally wrong with that statement!  However, it WAS the statement traipsing through our minds as Roger and I recently slipped and slid our way through the muddy “new” terrain of a favorite hiking trail.

We’ve hiked this trail often—through the icy cold of winter, watching the deer explore the frozen pond; through the budding beauty of spring, listening to the symphony of birds; through the heat of summer, consistently amazed at the green and the growth; and of course, through the changing lens of fall, absorbing the palette of fall colors as they unfold.

Click here to read the rest of Dianne's reflection >>

Two New Reviews of Illuminating the Way!

Spirituality and Practice and Christine Sine at GodSpace have both reviewed Christine's newest book. Click over to read more and see below for details on our free monthly guided journey.

I also have a guest post over at GodSpace with a brief excerpt from my chapter on St. Brigid and the archetype of the healer. 

Click here to order your copy>>

Join us for our free video seminar series on Illuminating the Way - next free call is August 29th

Join us for a FREE 12-month journey through Christine Valters Paintner's newest book Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics. Each month Christine will host a teleseminar where she will explore some of the themes of the monk and mystic featured, lead a meditation experience, and read one of her poems, as well as offer the opportunity to ask questions. The recording will be available if you can't participate live on the call. This is a wonderful way to move slowly and intentionally through the material. You do need to purchase your own copy of the book to participate but the online journey is free to all of our wonderful email newsletter subscribers. 
Our next call is Monday, August 29th on Dorothy Day and the Archetype of the Orphan.  (Time: 8 a.m. Pacific U.S. time / 11 a.m. Eastern U.S. time / 4 p.m. Ireland/UK Time / 5 p.m. Central European time)
If you missed last Monday’s call on Mary and the archetype of the Mother you can access the recording at the link below.
Click here to enroll>>

Subscribe to Daily Nourishment from the Abbey

Abbey of the Arts is now offering daily emails to nourish and inspire your journey with quotes and reflection questions from Christine’s work.

Click here to update your preferences then check the box for daily emails. You can always change back to the weekly option if your inbox is feeling too full.


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