The Buried Moon Virtual Spiritual Retreat

Week Three, Day Two

     Today we will use the framework of Intentional Creativity to paint watercolor mandalas. Intentional Creativity creator, Shiloh Sofia, describes the practice as, “simply working with mindfulness in whatever we set our hands to. Whether it is creating a soup, a garden, a business plan, or a painting. We are more present because we choose to be and the results are different than if we are not paying attention. It is an approach to creating that yields greater access to who we are now and who we are becoming, and what is possible for us and our unfolding future.” By approaching our art practice with such intentionality and mindfulness, we blur the line between secular and sacred and engage ourselves in a meaningful spiritual journey.
        Mandalas are present in cultures across the world. The word mandala in sanskrit simply means 'circle' and can be an incredibly simple or profoundly complex circular design. Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Christianity, and even Ancient Mayans and Aztecs have all used mandalas to establish sacred space or guide personal meditation. Some Buddhist sects create ornate sand mandalas which are swept up a few days or weeks after creation and sprinkled in nearby flowing water as a meditation on impermanence. 
       Throughout history circles have been seen as particularly sacred shapes; by creating mandalas we will contemplate the symbolic shapes embedded within the myth of The Buried Moon.

Spiritual Art Practice: Creating a Mandala
1. Light your candle: breathe deeply, and set this time and space apart for retreat. 

2. Bless your tools: Gather up your watercolors or pencils, paper, cup of water, and brushes in your hands. Offer a spoken or silent blessing. I've included an adapted celtic encircling blessing by Bruce Epperly below but please use your own if you wish. 
Circle of love,
Open my heart.
Circle of wisdom, 
Enlighten my mind.
Circle of trust,
Protect my path.
Circle of creativity, 
Grant me new sight.

3. Revisit the story: Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and envision the shapes that are represented in The Buried Moon. What colors and forms do you see? Hold these in your heart as you begin to create. 

4. Paint or Draw: Your only guideline is to paint in a circle. Your mandala may be intricate and colorful or simple and monochromatic. Imagine you are entering into the story of The Buried Moon and trust your brush to guide you into your own heartspace in this process. 

5. Reflection: Once you feel your mandala is complete, spend a few quiet moments looking into it. Then, silently reflect of journal with the queries below. 
Questions for Reflection
  • What did you experience in the process of creating a mandala?
  • Did you find the circle format confining or did you find the boundary helpful? 
  • Did you experience challenge in this art-making practice or a sense of ease and flow? 
  • What shapes and colors called to you? What do they represent for you? 

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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