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Event Details

Earth Monastery Intensive: Nourishing Intimacy with Nature
Date: June 12, 2018- June 17, 2018
Location: Perth, Scotland

June 12-17, 2018 at the Bield at Blackruthven retreat center in Perth, Scotland with Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE and Betsey Beckman, MM

Limited to 12 participants


How necessary it is for monks to work in the fields, in the sun, in the mud, in the clay, in the wind: these are our spiritual directors and our novice-masters. –Thomas Merton

In the Celtic tradition, it is said there are two great books of revelation, the first being Nature and the others the sacred wisdom texts. Everything in nature can become a catalyst for our deepened self-understanding. The forest asks us to embrace our truth once again. The hummingbird invites us to sip holy nectar, the egret to stretch out our wings, the sparrows to remember our flock.

Each pine cone contains an epiphany; each smooth stone offers a revelation. When we watch and witness as the sun slowly makes its long arc across the sky, we begin to discover our own rising and falling. The moon will sing of quiet miracles, like those which reveal and conceal the world every day right before our eyes.

Spring invites us to blossom forth, summer calls us to our own ripening, autumn demands that we release and let go, and winter quietly whispers to us to rest, to sink into the dark fertile space of unknowing, releasing the demands of productivity and calendars and to do lists and to simply be.

Earth is the original monastery. 

Join us for a five-day intensive exploring contemplative and creative tools for nourishing a deeper intimacy with the earth. Drawing on Celtic spirituality, wisdom of the monastic tradition, embodiment work, expressive arts, and plant spirit medicine we will immerse ourselves in ancient ways to illuminate our modern lives and deepen our intimacy with the earth.

We will be based at the beautiful Bield at Blackruthven retreat center in Perth, Scotland with its labyrinth, walled garden, gorgeous trees, walking paths, and lush farmland surrounding us. Days will begin with morning ritual and then grounding time, meditation, and movement exploration. Afternoons will be spent exploring various landscapes through embodiment and expressive arts. We will engage in movement, creative arts, and meditation as we listen for the ways that landscape, seasons, and elements, offer us wisdom for our own journeys and in our work in service to others.

This intensive is geared toward those who are soul care practitioners (spiritual directors, chaplains, counselors, pastors, healers or ministers of any kind) who want to bring an earth-nourishing consciousness into their work and service, as well as find ways to sustain their ministry. Others who are discerning a path into these kinds of work, or who are deeply drawn into an intimate encounter with the earth, are also welcome. If you are unsure, please contact us and we can discuss further if the program might meet your needs.

There will be time for solo exploration and group process, indoor and outdoor sessions. Please dress for all weather possibilities (waterproof jacket, trousers, and boots). Bring a camera (a phone camera is fine), journal, pen, and comfortable clothing.

You do not need to have previous experience in the arts, movement, or nature exploration to join us, just a sense that this is calling you to your heart!

The program is designed to be interspritual and inclusive of persons of any faith background (or none at all).  In our teaching, we do draw on sacred stories from the Christian monastic tradition as they are part of the story of the land. We also share stories of the pre-Christian Celtic tradition, and draw extensively on the gifts of poetry. Our work together is in service to the ministry of companioning and/or offering healing to others in whatever context this takes place.  The arts, movement, and nature explorations offer tools and practices for being present to the ways that call unfolds.

Participants should be able to walk 2-3 miles at a moderate pace on uneven ground. These are not rigorous walks, but you should be able to navigate some uneven terrain. Please be in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

*This educational event provides 26 hours of continuing education that can be applied to the educational hours required by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. We can provide you with a letter or certificate of completion upon request stating the number of hours successfully completed which you can then submit to your governing body for CEU credit.


To register please complete and submit the form below and then pay the nonrefundable deposit to hold your space.

Total program fee: Single £1350 | Double £1150

Nonrefundable deposit: £350 (due upon registration to reserve your space)

Balance: Single £1000 | Double £800 (due no later than March 15, 2018)

*Once we receive your deposit you will hear back from us within 48 hours to confirm your space.

Fee includes: 5 nights lodging in single or double rooms with shared bathrooms, breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, all art materials and instruction.

We begin on Tuesday, June 12th with an opening prayer experience at 5:00 p.m.  Please plan to arrive between 3 and 5. Our final day, Sunday, June 17th, we will be finished by noon with lunch following.

Please note: There are no refunds available for the deposit at any time, or the program balance after March 15, 2018. This is a small and intimate gathering of kindred souls and we ask that you make a commitment to be with us. When you register we reserve a space for you and prepare for your arrival. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect against any losses that might occur if you have an illness or other emergency.

Registration Form – accessible here: http://abbeyofthearts.com/programs/live-classes-and-retreats/earth-monastery-intensive/