The Buried Moon Virtual Spiritual Retreat

Week One, Day Four

Visio Divina translates to 'Sacred Looking' and is a way for us to engage any visual art as a source of sacred connection. Visio Divina has been practiced for thousands of years and is rooted in the belief that the Divine is everywhere; the sacred and the secular are on in the same. The rocks, trees,  dances, stones, paintings, oceans, photographs and sculptures are all showing us new expressions of the Sacred if we only we look with intention and reverence.
          It is so rare that we look at a photo or a painting for more than a few seconds, Visio Divina encourages us to savor what is right before our eyes. Benedictine Abbess and Art Therapist, Christine Vaulters Painter, writes, "This kind of seeing is our ability to receive the world around us at a deeper level than surface realities." By giving an image our precious time and attention in this way, we are able to draw new insights about ourselves and find a well of sacred connection within a piece of art.
         Find some quiet time, half an hour works well, and follow the simple Visio Divina instructions below and embrace this sacred aesthetic experience. 

Sacred Aesthetic Experience: Visio Divina

1. Light your candle and set this time and place apart as retreat space. 

2. Of the two images below choose the one that shimmers most to you. Enhance the image to fill your screen or print it out. Set an intention to spend about 20 minutes with that single image.

2. Look at the image and let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see. Keep your attention on that one fragment of the painting; let your eye be sincerely caught by one corner or section. Try to keep your focus from wandering. Breathe deeply and contemplate that part of the image for several minutes. 

3. Now, let your eyes gaze over the whole image. Take your time looking at every part of the painting. See it in all its wholeness. Reflect on the image as a single narrative for several more minutes. What story is it sharing with you? 

4. Continuing to look at the painting and meditate on the following questions  (and write a journal a reflection later if you would like): 
  • What emotions or thoughts is the image stirring in me? 
  • What is it inviting me to learn about myself? 
  • Is the image calling me into action or to try something new?
5. Finally, offer a prayer of blessing and thanks for the artwork, the artist, and the divine awakening that it has offered you. I've included a sample gratitude blessing below, but please say your own or observe silence instead if you wish. 

For the delight of spending more than a moment with a gift of art, I am grateful. For the wondrous vision and paint-covered hands of the artist, I give thanks. For the image before me, luminous and shadowed, offering freely its depths of grace, I am grateful. For the miraculous gleaning of new knowledge of my old soul, I give thanks.
May we continue to experience a sense of awe in each thing we see. 
Visio Divina Images
(choose one)
"Abstract Moon" by Melinda DeMent
"Full Moon" ink painting by Brenda Clark McDougal

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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