The Buried Moon Virtual Spiritual Retreat

Week One, Day One

Dear Ones, 
                As we begin this sacred journey inward, take a deep breath, light your candle, and feel the warmth and welcome of the dozens of souls scattered across the globe taking this journey with you. We begin this week with the first of three sections of the celtic myth of The Buried Moon. This tale is a complex one and this first section might particularly stir in you vulnerable feelings of longing, sadness, and anguish. We invite you to take time and space to linger in those fragile places; honoring that in the discomfort there is the possibility for tremendous growth and transformation.
                In the setting of a wild Irish bog, The Buried Moon lifts up archetypes of light and dark (or rather, the absence of light); these elements are used as oppositions in the tale. In today’s world we must be vigilant and aware of the harmful ramifications of posing light against dark; which can be used to reinforce racist rhetoric. In this retreat, we will embrace both darkness and light as crucial conduits to our own spiritual growth, and as we inhabit this myth we will explore each of them as symbolic archetypes for our own inward spiritual journey. The bog holds both light and dark in equal measure, and both have a pivotal role for us as we dig deeply into our own hearts. 
                    Blessing to you all for this beginning, 
                                                                 Brittany and Raymond

Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina, or "divine reading" is a simple practice for experiencing and contemplating a text. There are three steps that will invite you into reflection and contemplation of the myth of The Buried Moon.

Begin by lighting your candle to set your intention to listen to what comes and to mark the space as sacred or as an intersection of the present with deeper meaning. 

First, listen to the audio recording of the story and pause it after the first reading. You may also follow along with the text of the reading below. As you hear the story, listen for a word or a phrase that stands out to you. Take a minute or two to reflect on this word or phrase. How do you experience it? Does it evoke senses like sight or touch? How is it resonating in you?

Second, continue the recording and as you listen again, contemplate how the story is speaking within you. This is not so much an intellectual search to understand, but rather a mode of receptivity so you can hear. Pause the recording again for a few minutes of contemplation. 

Third, resume the recording to listen to the last reading of the story. This time reflect on how the story is connecting with you. What are the points of consonance? Has it created any openings? What responses are gurgling up with in you?  Spend a few minutes reflecting on the story through journaling. 

Finally, spend a few moments in silence to conclude your encounter with the story. Blow out your candle, take a stretch, and turn your attention to the open book of the day. 

Play the audio recording
Myth of the Buried Moon
Week One
A long time ago, the bogs were full of dark Things. Shadowy creatures and crawling horrors; scuttling, biting Things and wet, slimy sucking Things. Nobody knew much more about them than that. It wasn’t so bad when the Moon was shining; then the dark Things would sneak away back into the crevices and hollows, and the people of the land could walk down the boreens unafraid, almost as safe as they were during the day. But when the Moon was dark and hidden in the night sky . . . well, then, it was a different story entirely, and the Things that dwelt in the darkness would come out and terrorise anyone who might happen to be passing by. Sometimes those people would not be seen again; sometimes they returned mad to the village. 

It happened one day that the Moon heard about this: about the darkness that filled the bogs during her absence, and the dark Things associated with it. Being the good mother Moon that she is, she was sorry for the people of the land and wept over their pain. And then she dried her tears and decided that she’d better see what she could do about it, and so the Moon came down from the sky to the bogs to find out for herself what happened during the dark times. For the only bogs that she knew were those that were lit by her own beautiful light, with the reflection of her face in the pools and small lakes, and the pale beauty of wet rocks and the shining chandeliers of tears that dripped from the gorse bushes in the early morning dew. At the end of the month, down from the sky the great Moon stepped, first wrapping herself in an enormous black cloak, with a big black hood over her shining white hair so that no one should know who she was. 

She trod the bog road and everything was dark, dark – dark but for the faint glimmer of stars in the pools, and the light that came from her own tiny white feet, peeping out of her enormous black cloak. The Moon drew her cloak tighter around her and trembled a little to see such dark, but on she went until the track ran out and she stepped as light as the wind from tussock to tussock between the greedy, gurgling waterholes in the deep, dark heart of the bog. But just as she came near to an especially large dark pool her foot slipped on a flat wet rock, and she began to tumble in. She grabbed at a gorse bush to steady herself but the spiky leaves surprised and pained her and she let go and in she fell, deep into the still, dark pool. She looked up, trembling in the cold, and all around her she saw them – shadows and shifting Things, creeping towards her. She grabbed at a long bramble stalk to try to pull herself out, but as soon as she touched it, it twined itself around her wrists and held her fast. The more she pulled, the tighter it held, and its thorns bit into her pure white skin. 
(By Sharon Blackie from If Women Rose Rooted)


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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