The Buried Moon Virtual Spiritual Retreat

Week Three, Day Four

   One of our core shared human experiences is that we all have bodies, and whether we like our bodies or not they are our sacred vessels for emotion, memories, wounds, joy, and connection. Our two year old danced before he could walk, before he could even crawl; we each have felt that pull to move, regardless of ability or talent, and experienced the joyful release of motion. Mother Moon incarnates herself into a human body in order to explore and engage with the villagers she loves so much. This section of The Buried Moon includes diverse forms of embodiment: able-bodied men, a physically limited elderly woman, an injured and physically bound Moon. Each body shapes the story and has a role to play in this sacred myth. 
     We will employ Visio Divina to experience dance as a sacred offering. Each bend, twist, leap, and step leads us into a deeper sense of affirmation for our own holy bodies. The performance is titled 'Moon Water' and is choreographed by Taiwanese artist Lin Hwai-min. The dance is rooted in a Buddhist proverb, “flowers in a mirror and moon on the water are both illusive,” and also incorporates Tai Chi tableaus and movements. We will then reflectively respond to 'Moon Water'  with an ancient celtic embodied spiritual practiced called Walking The Rounds. 

Sacred Aesthetic Experience:
Visio Divina with Dance
"Moon Water" choreographed by Lin Hwai-min
Produced and performed at Taiwan's Cloudgate Theater
1. Light your candle and set this time and place apart as retreat space. Set aside about twenty minutes for this practice of Visio Divina with dance. 

2. Cue up the video link above making it full screen and easy to switch tabs into from the prompts below. 

3. Watch the 'Moon Water' dance with sacred attention. Notice when your body reacts to certain motions, postures, or tableaus. Be present to all that is stirring within you and breathe in this offering of movement.  After the dance is finished, take a few moments and try to picture in your mind which movements shimmered for you. 

4. View the 'Moon Water' dance a second time. This time try to discover the story it is telling. What is the narrative it is sharing with you? Does it reveal anything new about The Buried Moon for you?

5. Spend a few moments in silence and stillness and reflect or journal on what you may have unearthed within yourself as you engaged Visio Divina with Dance. 

6. Meditative Movement: We will respond to this gift of movement with movement. As a closing blessing we will participate in the ancient celtic practice of Walking the Rounds. Instructions are below. 
Movement Meditation: Walking the Rounds
Holy Well in Galway, Ireland
    In Ireland one of the most common sacred practices is to Walk the Rounds. This is traditionally done at holy wells, sacred sites, ancestral graves, or special trees that hold particular meaning for the walker. Walking the Rounds is a sort of pilgrimage in miniature; the act of making a journey inward through outward movement. It is a practice in presence, making us fully aware, present, and attentive to what is before us. It is a practice in discernment, allowing us to spiral inward and to pay attention to what is already within us rather than forging a clear path ahead. It is a practice in blessing the earth with our feet. It is a practice of slowing down and letting go of our need to think linearly. 

 Creating a Sacred Center: I am guessing there is not a holy well or sacred ruin in your living room or backyard, but you can create a temporary altar on the floor of a quiet room with your retreat materials, photos of loved ones, or a simple candle. If you are able, it is even better to get outside and encircle a nearby tree or pond or simply feel the soggy earth underneath your feet.

Walking the Rounds: To Walk the Rounds, you simply walk sunwise (clockwise) three, seven, or twelve times. These numbers hold sacred symbolism in the Celtic tradition, but you may also choose another number that is special to you.  Then, you simply walk in a circular sunwise direction slowly and intentionally. If you are unable to walk, you may turn your seat in a circle or simply roll your head on you neck in a sunwise direction.

Contemplate and Bless: Some people say prayers or blessings as they Walk the Rounds, other simply practice it as silent meditation. You may want to carry within your heart your experience of the 'Moon Water' dance, reflect on this week's section of The Buried Moon, or contemplate your own spiritual embodiment. Let your thoughts and feelings evolve as you spiral inward and savor each step. When you have completed your final circle offer a silent breath of gratitude and blessing. 

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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