The Buried Moon Virtual Spiritual Retreat

Week One, Day Two

Today we voyage into the ancient and sacred practice of making art. The earliest known cave paintings date back to 75,000 BCE and affirm that art has long been a part of our sacred human experience; it is how we connect to the land and connect with one another. Whether or not you are coming to this retreat as a confident artist, a curious creative dabbler, or complete beginner, we all possess 'chispa', which the ancients describe as a sacred ember, a spark of divine creativity that we each contain within ourselves. 

We will engage in art as a spiritual practice, which is essentially art-making that is rooted in intention and focused on process rather than product. Give yourself plenty of permission to simply create without inner judgments. No one will see these paintings/images but you, and the process of making them is for you alone. This is a meditative time to feel a sense of flow and connection through the act of creating. 

Gather up your art materials: paper or water color paper, watercolors, brush, cup of water, or colored pencils, and candle. Follow the simple instructions below. 

Spiritual Art Practice
1. Light the Candle and mark this time and place as a space for retreat.

2. Bless the Tools: To set aside this practice as sacred and intentional, gather up your paint brushes or pencils, hold them in your hands, and say a small blessing over them. I've included a sample blessing below, but feel free to use your own if you wish. 

  May we be here. Now is all there is, there is no other. May these creative tools be blessed as vessels of sacred knowing. May the feel of the brush, the pen, the pencil be a guide as we seek what shimmers inside ourselves. May the blank canvas before us help us unfold the hidden corners of our hearts. May we savor each colored jewel: cobalt, ruby, ochre, umber, lilac, and linger within their gifts. May this creative process be a blessing we did not know we needed. 

 3. Creative Prompt: During our art practice today we will delve into the importance of place. In a time where our travel is so limited, many of us find ourselves exploring the ground at our own feet, the small neighborhoods in which we live, and learning how to be local in a new way. The myth of The Buried Moon very intentionally takes place in a bog. Peat bog covers 17% of Ireland's surface and are pieces of ancient earth known for the power of preservation. Iron age bodies have been found in several of Ireland's bogs, preserved for millennia by the unique oxygenation qualities of the peat.
            Bogs are intricate webs of small pools of water and stretches of damp earth. This week's section of The Buried Moon highlights the importance of the bog roads, or boreens, which were easily maneuverable during the day and perilous at night. These bog roads were often made up of hard-tread earthen paths, small wood bridges, or stepping stones placed between tussocks of grass.  Spend a few minutes now to breathe in silence, close your eyes, and imagine what your own personal bog road might look like. 

4. Paint/Draw: Enter into a practice of painting or drawing as process-you don't need to necessarily produce images or anything coherent. Instead, as you reflect on the prompt above, follow your heart and senses into what colors, and lines, and symbols rise up in you. When you are ready, begin to paint the bog road you envisioned. Take as long as you need to feel as though you have poured out your heart on the page. 

Questions for Reflection
Sit quietly for a moment, gazing at the image you have just created, and meditate or journal on these queries. 
  • What colors did you choose? What do they represent for you in this moment? 
  • What shape does your bog road take? Is it a straight or winding path? Continuous or broken? Why? 
  • What is preserved for your amidst all of this swirling transition? What remains? 

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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