The Buried Moon Virtual Spiritual Retreat

Week One, Day Five
          Each week we will conclude with different creative writing practices in order to sit and simmer with all that is being cultivated within us throughout the week. Poetry is a wonderful way to process those mysterious and intangible shifts you may be feeling as you moved through lectio divina, art-making, civic reflection, and sacred aesthetic experience centered on this first section of The Buried Moon. Ireland has a rich poetic history that will inspire and guide our journaling today.
         First, take a moment to breathe and listen to Seamus Heaney read his poem 'Digging'; in which he reflects on his ancestral heritage in relation to his local bog. As Heaney admires his ancestors' tactile labor he forges a new path for himself with writing, finding power and promise in both shovel and pen.
Seamus Heaney reading 'Digging' at Villanova University in 2010
Digging by Seamus Heaney

Between my finger and my thumb
the squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
when the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down.
Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
bends low, comes up twenty years away
stooping in rhythm through potato drills
where he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
to scatter new potatoes that we picked,
loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.
My grandfather cut more turf in a day
than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
to drink it, then fell to right away
nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
over his shoulder, going down and down
for the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
the squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.
Pantoun with Dunadh 
Today we will engage in a reflective poetry writing process by using the model of a Pantoun. While Pantouns are French in origin they were used widely in Irish poetry as it is a less restrictive poetic form compared to a cinquain or a sonnet. The beauty of a Pantoun is in the power of repetition; in hearing our own words again and again we discover different facets and emphasis upon each reoccurrence. A defining feature of ancient Irish poetry is the dunadh, or beginning and ending the poem with the same word, syllable, or line. The dunadh creates a circular feeling to the poem, warmly enclosing us within the softness and power of each stanza. 

1. Light your candle and set this time and place apart as retreat space. Take a few moments to breathe and settle in. Holding your pen and journal in your hands, set your intentions for this time of creative writing. 

2. Write six phrases in your journal that come to mind when reflecting what you have gleaned so far from the tale of The Buried Moon. These do not have to be full sentences, and can simply be phrases or images that have stuck in your heart or have been swirling in your mind as you've worked through the exercises this week. 

3. Next, format these six phrases into the poetic form of a Pantoun ending with a traditional Irish Dunadh. Choose which order you would like your phrases to appear and write the poem in your journal. The poetic template is below.


-Stanza 1- 
Line 1 (new line):
Line 2 (new line):
Line 3 (new line):
Line 4 (new line):

-Stanza 2-
Line 5 (repeat of line 2 of stanza 1): 
Line 6 (new line): 
Line 7 (repeat of line 4 in stanza 1): 
Line 8 (new line): 

-Stanza 3-
Line 9 (repeat line 2 of stanza 2): 
Line 10 (repeat line 3 of stanza 1): 
Line 11 (repeat line 4 of stanza 2): 
Line 12 (repeat line 1 of stanza 1): 

4. Once your poem is written, read it aloud to yourself. This is a pivotal step. In hearing the phrases you created repetitively you are beckoned deeper into the poem's gifts. 

5. After having read it aloud to yourself, reflect or journal on the below prompts. 

  • What is it like to hear your own words and images repeated again and again? 
  • How does it draw you deeper into the experience? 
  • How does this poem shed light on the current state of your inner life? 
Sacred Sharing Circle 
Join us for a Sacred Sharing Circle this afternoon as we connect from all of the corners of the world to process our revelations from the Buried Moon, reflect on our inner spiritual journeys, and hold each other in a joyful community space. 
Even if you haven't had a chance to complete all of the retreat practices, still feel very welcome to join our Zoom conversation!
*We will meet today (Friday) at 1 p.m. EST*
Zoom Link is HERE

We hope you will spend Saturday and Sunday resting, catching up on retreat practices you may have missed, reflecting, and integrating what you have discovered about yourself and the world around you.
Retreat emails will resume on Monday, April 6th. 

Weekly Outline

Mondays: Listening Deeply with Lectio Divina
Tuesday: Spiritual Art Practice
Wednesday: Civic Reflection Journaling
Thursday: Sacred Aesthetic Experience
Friday: Creative Writing Prompt *optional Zoom gathering @ 1 pm EST
Sat/Sun: Time for rest, catching up, and integration

Previous Emails

If you would like to look back on previous emails of the retreat, they can all be found here.

Creating Space

An essential part of 'retreating' while at home is to create intentional space that feels sacred, designated, and distinct from your ordinary routine. This can be a small corner of your desk, a part of your shelf, a nightstand by your bed, etc. Objects you cherish can help create a special space.
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Bates Multifaith Chaplaincy · 163 Wood St · Lewiston, ME 04240-7687 · USA

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