Stories From Standing Rock -
A Fireside Evening at the Dayspring Farmhouse Thursday evening, January 12, from 7 to 8pm
On this fireside evening Jim Hall will share stories from his recent visit to the Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock and give an update on what is happening there now. There will be time for reflection, for questions, and for prayer.
In this time when hatred is so rampant around us, and in us as well, Jim was compelled to go and experience what is happening at Standing Rock first hand. A young man from the Sioux nation told him what he could do: amplify the message. So on this fireside evening he will bring that message to Dayspring.
Reverend John Dear described
what's happening at Standing Rock, calling it One of the finest non-violent
movements in history.
The water protectors there have stood in prayerful resistance for many months; hundreds have been arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience. Police and security guards have attacked them with dogs, mace, tear gas, and rubber bullets. Over time support has grown as they have been joined by over 200 tribes, indigenous people around the globe, environmentalists, and thousands of US military veterans.
“Even if the pipeline goes through,” says Charles Eisenstein, “another kind of victory will be won; when we choose to love in the face of enormous temptation to hate, we are issuing a powerful prayer for a world of love. When thousands of people sacrifice their safety and comfort to protect the water, a powerful prayer issues from their gathering. Some day, in some form, it will be answered.”
Earth Sunday School
On the first Sunday of every month we have Earth Sunday School at Dayspring Church. Following a Children's Story in worship, we explore the meadows, woodlands, creek valleys and ponds of Dayspring, letting God's word speak to us through all of creation. We try to let ourselves experience whatever the outdoor conditions of the day offer us, with appropriate clothing and footwear, but when needed we may take shelter in the solar greenhouse or a comfortable room upstairs in the Farmhouse. Some photographs of our activities are in the image gallery.
If you plan to join us some first Sunday, please call ahead of time to check about any special preparations to make for the activity planned (301-916-4827). For information about Dayspring Church worship please call 301-515-4399.
Contemplative Earth Prayer
March 10, 2017
Workshop for Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation Program
Contemplative Earth prayer is about seeing God in all things and seeing all things in God, deepening our awareness of God in nature.
As we wander in the natural world we enter into a prayer that is already happening. The natural world is not just a backdrop for prayer, but the prayer itself. In this way of prayer we restore our ancient citizenship in the sacred world around us, a world that greets us, welcomes us home.
In this workshop we experience this prayer as we walk on the land, as we engage our bodies with the body of the Earth, as we bring images to a four seasons wheel and reflect on how the natural world mirrors our inner world. We share stories of our experiences of the wildness and mystery of God as we have encountered it in deep forests, vast deserts, mountains, and in backyards, parks, and gardens where we live.
Stories From Standing Rock - A Conservation Cafe
Thursday, March 16, 7-8 pm at Audubon Naturalist Society 8940 Jones Mill Road Chevy Chase, MD
One of the finest non-violent movements in history. That's how Reverend John Dear described what’s happening at Standing Rock.
The water protectors camped by the Dakota Access Pipeline construction have stood in prayerful resistance to the overwhelming power of corporation and government militarized police forces ... standing for clean water for everyone today and for future generations, and for honoring treaties made between the US Government and Native Peoples. Their commitment and sacrifice have inspired the world.
In this evening of images and stories, Jim Hall will share with us the story of his own time at Standing Rock, and some of the larger, many layered story of this remarkable moment in the history of conservation.
register with the Audubon Naturalist Society at http://www.audubonnaturalist.org/index.php/nature-programs/adults
Vernal Equinox Ceremony
Sunday night, March 19, 2017, 7:00 to about 7:45 pm at Dayspring
We'll be meeting at the Farmhouse at 7:00 pm and then walking together in silence to the center of the meadow where the fields, forest, and wide-open sky will surround us. Once there, per our tradition, we will be sharing the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address with time for silence both before and after the Address. All, including children, are very welcome. Please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you plan to come. Note: The actual moment of equinox occurs the following morning at 4:30 am.
Ancient Wisdom for Troubled Times: Tending the Sacred Fire, Protecting the Sacred Water
A Thursday evening class at Dayspring Church Farmhouse during the Lenten and Easter Season, March 30 - May 25 (except April 13)
In this class we seek
genuine knowledge about how to act when the dark times come round again and the balance of the world tips away from order and slips towards chaos. .......from The Old Woman Weaves the World as told by Michael Meade
This class will draw on the work of Joanna Macy, Bill Plotkin, Richard Rohr, among others, bringing that work into the context of contemporary Christian contemplative and mystical tradition. Learning will largely be experiential through exercises and activities in class and assignments between classes and will include readings, poetry, story, time in nature, dream and deep imagination.
All class sessions after March 30 begin with dinner at 6:30 pm followed by class from 7:30-9:15 pm (There is no dinner on March 30; class at 7:15) Teachers: Jim Hall and Cheryl Hellner
To register or for more information contact email@example.com
Earth Vigil: Outdoors on the land at Dayspring
Saturday, April 15, 2017, 7:00 to 8:30/9:00 pm
...hope is the hardest love we carry
(from the poem "Hope and Love" by Jane Hirshfield
In the midst of all that breaks our hearts in our world today, we come together, from different spiritual traditions, to keep watch, to sing and chant, to dance and pray, to walk in silence and devotion,as we keep a vigil for the healing of the human family and the healing of Earth.
All ages are welcome. Gather at the Farmhouse. Dress for the weather and bring a flashlight for returning to your car. The vigil closes with the lighting of the Easter fire, followed by conversation and light refreshments.
For more information: call Dayspring Earth Ministry 301-916-4827
We live in the shadow of each other
. -- Gaelic saying
Spring Wildflower Walk
Sunday, May 7 at Dayspring, noon to 1:30 pm
Join us for a Spring Wildflower walk at Dayspring Creek after worship on Sunday May 7. We will leave at noon from the Farmhouse and return by 1:30pm. Bring a snack to eat ahead of time if you wish. The walk is a little over a mile round-trip. The trail is steep in some places, rough and rocky in other places. Among the flowers we expect to see are wild columbine and rue anemone.
Children of the Earth
Rolling Ridge annual retreat for children ages 6-10 and their parent, grandparent or other adult mentor
Saturday, May 6 through Sunday, May 7, 2016 (Mother's Day Weekend)
This retreat is designed as an inter-generational experience of nature including:
- Campfire stories and songs
- Nature arts and crafts
- Discovery hikes and guided Closingadventures
- A ceremonial time to celebrate our discoveries
The retreat begins with an opening gathering and outdoor activity Saturday morning at 9:30 and concludes with lunch on Sunday. Overnight lodging will be in the Rolling Ridge retreat house or in the campground.
Rolling Ridge Study Retreat has a six-bedroom retreat house on 1400
acres of wilderness in the foothills of the Blue Ridge between the
Shenandoah River and the Appalachian Trail. Deer, turtles, birds,
frogs, butterflies, and grasshoppers call these hiking trails,
woodlands, streams, waterfalls, and open meadows Home.
Fees: $145 for adult and child together in the retreat house; $130 for adult and child together in the campground (must have your own camping equipment)
Leaders: We share a passion for nurturing children’s relationships with the land and all its’ beings. Luke Bauer is a wild food forager, woods walker, certified permaculturist, and delighted dad of fiveyear-old Wren and two-year-old Gael. Linda DeGraf is an artist, storyteller, and educator with thirty years’ experience teaching and developing curriculum in elementary and early childhood settings. Scot DeGraf brings a lifelong love of nature and extensive experience with outdoor education, hiking, camping, mountaineering, and birding. Cheryl Hellner, of Dayspring Earth Ministry, has been guiding children and adults into rich experiences of nature, ceremony, art, and story for twenty years.
To Register and for more information go to http://rollingridge.net/children-earth-2017/
Summer Solstice Ceremony
Sunday 6/20/17 -- 7:30 pm to ~8:30 pm
Though we'll just be entering the throes of summer from a calendar perspective, during this Summer Solstice time the Earth will be shifting to a time of shortening days. It's a reminder for us to pause, take a breath, and focus on the rest of life that will also be experiencing this change. You're invited to gather together with us to formally and peacefully express our gratitude for all of the precious life on this wonderful planet that we live on.
We'll be meeting at the Dayspring Church Farmhouse at 7:30 pm and then slowly & intentionally walking down into lushness of the creek valley. Once there, we will be sharing the Haudenosaune Thanksgiving Address. There will be time for silence both before and after the Address. All, including children, are most welcome.
Please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you plan to come.
Ancient Wisdom for Troubled Times:
Tending the Sacred fire, Protecting the Sacred Water September 15-17, 2017 Rolling Ridge Study Retreat, West Virginia
What's going on here is a struggle for the imagination and for the soul of America -- Michael Meade, storyteller and mentor of troubled youth
What you need to do is activate your inner water protector -- Cheryl Angel, Sacred Stone Camp, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, North Dakota
We live in a time of intense turmoil -- social, political, and planetary. But the deeper conflict is at the level of soul. We have lost the ancient wisdom of soul and nature, and so we have lost our way in the world. How can we recover this soul wisdom for our people?
In this retreat we return to ancient ways: tending the sacred fires of imagination, protecting the sacred river of soul. As we wander among our natural relatives on this wild and numinous land, we seek:
not only solace, but to be transformed
not only to dream, but to be dreamt
not to shape the natural world, but to let it shape us.
We believe, with Bill Plotkin, depth psychologist, ecotherapist, and wilderness guide, that "Healthy, mature cultures emerge from nature, from the depths of our individual and collective psyches, from Earth's imagination acting through us, from the mythic realm of dreams and the Dreamtime, from soul, from the soul of the world, from Mystery.
Hall and Cheryl Hellner, longtime members of Rolling Ridge Study
Retreat, have apprenticed nature-based soulwork through numerous
programs for many years. Jim's visit last year to Standing Rock opened a pathway that continues to inspire them both.
This retreat will be held at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat House, a six bedroom cabin in a wilderness setting near Harpers Ferry, WV. The retreat begins with supper at 7 pm on Friday and concludes with lunch on Sunday. Fee for the retreat is $280 and includes lodging, six meals, and program. Two people registering together and choosing to share a room may pay a reduced fee of $230 each. Camping further reduces fee to $210. Scholarships are available. Registration is limited to 12 people. For information and to register email email@example.com or visit www.rollingridge.net
Autumn Equinox Ceremony:
September 22, time TBD
Come join us as we take time at the Autumn Equinox to give thanks for the many, beautiful aspects of the natural world -- especially the Dayspring permaculture garden at Dayspring. As the season turns from the exuberance of summer to the time of harvest and letting go, we mark this passage with ceremony. This year the Autumn Equinox Ceremony at Dayspring Church will be held 2 days after Autumn Equinox.
We will meet at the Dayspring Farmhouse at 6:30pm and then walk in silence through the permaculture garden to the center circle. Once there, we will be sharing the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address with time for silence both before and after the address.
Children are most welcome.
For questions or to let us know you’ll be coming, please contact:
Jim or Cheryl at 301-916-4827
Solar House Tour
Simple Gifts Cottages and Greenhouse at Dayspring
Saturday, October 7 from 11am - 5 pm
Grace, beauty, and ecological integrity.
These are the principles embodied in the Earth Ministry Simple Gifts
project at Dayspring. This project has arisen out of a passion to
explore ways of living more simply, justly, and in harmony with the
The Simple Gits project includes two staff cottages and a solar, straw-bale greenhouse. Each cottage is 1250 square feet, and is designed to provide a well-crafted and energy-efficient home for a couple or a small family. The cottages have accomplished this in different ways; between them they include the following features: passive solar heating and cooling, well-insulated walls and roof (structural insulated panels/ blown cellulose), top energy efficient windows and appliances, insulating window shades, living roof, FSC-certified framing lumber, geothermal heating and cooling, grid-tied and grid-independent photovoltaic panels, solar hot water, masonry heater, oak and cherry trim from trees on the land, earth plaster and milk paint wall finishes, stained concrete slab floors, bamboo floors, fiber-cement composite siding and trim, roof water collection and landscaping with native plants. Integration of these features and "simple living" practices have resulted in these cottages being nearly zero-energy homes and a delight to live in.
The solar, straw-bale, year-round greenhouse and permaculture gardens demonstrate one approach to meeting the need for healthy, nourishing, locally grown food. The greenhouse incorporates stone, wood, and clay from the land.
Tending our Mythic Stories:
Welcoming Messengers from an Unseen World
November 3-5, 2017 StillPoint Mountain Retreat, WV
What are the mythic stories that live in us, perhaps even live us? On this retreat, through time in nature, gathered times of ceremony, and soulful conversation, we will explore the world of myth and deep imagination looking for wisdom that can shift cultural consciousness in this time of turmoil and transformation.
More information coming soon
Children of the Earth
Rolling Ridge annual retreat for children ages 4 - 6 and their families Friday, May 6 through Saturday, May 7, 2016 (Mother's Day Weekend)
Rolling Ridge Study Retreat has a seven-bedroom retreat house on 1400 acres of wilderness in the foothills of the Blue Ridge between the Shenandoah River and the Appalachian Trail. Deer, turtles, birds, frogs, butterflies, and grasshoppers call these hiking trails, woodlands, streams, waterfalls, and open meadow Home. ( www.rollingridge.net)
The retreat begins with dinner at 6:00 p.m. on Friday (arrive anytime after 4pm) and concludes with supper on Saturday. Delicious home-cooked meals provided. Overnight lodging will be in the Rolling Ridge retreat house or in the campground.
Fees: $145 for adult and child together in the retreat house
Courting the Realm of Dream and Deep Imagination: Encounters with the Sacred in Nature and the Human Soul September 16-18 at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Center -- Leaders: Cheryl Hellner and Jim Hall
In the beginning was the dream. Through
the dream all things were made, and without
the dream nothing was made that has been made.
-- Thomas Berry in The Dream of the Earth
Since ancient times the dream world has been understood to be a source of powerful messages, inspiration, and a pathway to wisdom and healing. Like everything around us, we humans were born from the dream world, from the heart of Divine mystery.
Today, entranced by rationality, efficiency, and our newfound technological powers, we've lost our connection to that mystical world and the treasure it holds. As a result, our Earth Home is in grave peril. The Earth cries out for our return to the world of the dream.
In this retreat we will explore three paths of return:
Opening more fully to our nighttime dreams through conversations with dream characters, through images and symbols we find or create, and through simple gestures and ceremonies.
Cultivating a dreamlike consciousness in the dayworld, walking into forest and creek valley, along ridge and river, paying exquisite attention to all of its enchantments and allurements.
Entering the dream of Mountain, Forest, Wind and Waterfall, asking what images, what songs, what words are rising up now from Earth's deep imagination, and asking what is our gift in response to this vast unfolding dream.
Leaders: Jim Hall and Cheryl Hellner, longtime members of Rolling Ridge Study Retreat, have apprenticed nature-based soulwork through numerous programs with the Animas Valley Institute. They live and work at Dayspring, a 200 acre retreat center in Germantown, Maryland
This retreat will be held at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat House, a six bedroom cabin in a wilderness setting near Harpers Ferry, WV. The retreat begins with supper at 7 pm on Friday and concludes with lunch on Sunday. Fee for the retreat is $280 and includes lodging, six meals, and
program. Two people registering together and choosing to share a room
may pay a reduced fee of $230 each. Camping further reduces fee to $210. Scholarships are available. Registration is limited to 12 people. For information and to register email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Thriving on the Threshold: Becoming a Community of the New Story
Friday to Sunday, October 21-23 at Stillpoint Mountain Retreat near Harper's Ferry, WV
"You are in the time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.
The path you took to get here has washed out.
The way forward is still concealed from you.
The old is not old enough to have died away.
The new is still too young to be born."
We live on the threshold between two kinds of stories. The stories that have guided our civilization have led to great unraveling of the planet and of our culture. We long for a new story even as we notice signs of its quiet emergence. Many of us realize our personal stories are changing as well. In this difficult and uncertain time we wonder, where can we find a place of true connection and belonging?
On this retreat, we will align with the energies of this emerging new story and root into a deeper reality. We will awaken to the whole living world around us, in both its immense suffering and its generosity and beauty.We will take long, contemplative walks in the ridge and river landscape that is itself so much a threshold, a thin place, between our everyday world and the realm of nature and soul. We will let things happen to us, let words and gestures and dances and melodies come to us from the beings we encounter.
We will listen to the stories we tell each other of our journeys in this other world, live into ancient myths of mystery and wonder, and imagine bringing what we discover back into our everyday lives with family, friends and coworkers. We will become a community of the new story.
"We belong to this world. The web
of life is calling us forth at this time."
-- Joanna Macy
Retreat Leaders Julie
Gabrielli and Jim Hall share a fascination with the power of story to
heal, reconnect, and create our world. Experienced retreat leaders,
they bring years of dedicated studentship and mentorship through the
arts and outdoor exploration.
This retreat will be held at Still Point Mountain Retreat, on 1400 acres of sacred wilderness near Harpers Ferry, WV. The retreat begins with supper at 6 pm on Friday and concludes with lunch on Sunday. Fee for the retreat, including lodging, meals and program, is $299 for single occupancy. Two people registering together and choosing to share a room may pay a reduced fee of $249 each. Camping further reduces fee to $229. To reserve your place, email Lindsay.email@example.com and send $50 deposit to Friends of Silence, 120 Jubilee Ln., Harpers Ferry, WV 25425. or call 304-724-1069.
All Creation Waits: The Beauty, Wisdom, and Mystery of the Season of Advent
Friday to Sunday, December 2-4 at Dayspring Silent Retreat
In these small days before the winter solstice we gather to immerse ourselves in the mystery and gift of darkness, of our nighttime dreams, of the season of Earth's deep resting. All around us creation waits as we long for the miracle of new beginnings.
Leaders: Jim Hall and Cheryl Hellner live and work at Dayspring. Through poetry, storytelling, and contemplative Earth-prayer practices, they invite us into an ever deepening communion with the Sacred Earth and the Divine Mystery at the heart of all being.
Retreat at Dayspring is a time to be silent and open to an encounter with God in the interior and exterior silence. We believe that our world provides too little time and space for reflection, prayer and contemplation. The silence of retreat is a gift we give ourselves and others who are with us. To learn more and to register contact dayspringretreat.org
Winter Solstice Ceremony:December 20, 7:00 to 7:45 pm at Dayspring
To mark the season's shift from increasing darkness to a time of more light, we'll be gathering at Dayspring Church for our fourth Winter Solstice Ceremony to express our gratitude for the Earth and all of creation. The ceremony will be on 12/20 (Tuesday) at 7:00 PM and will begin at the Farmhouse. This observance includes a short, meditative walk in silence to our Earth Vigil fire ring and a simple traditional cleansing prayer using sage. As we gather around the fire, the ceremony will center on sharing the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address.
All are welcome to this family-friendly event. Please come dressed for the weather and bring a flashlight. Questions or to let us know you'll be joining us? Please contact Jim Hall or Cheryl Hellner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE PAST EVENTS
The Silence of the Stars: An Advent Retreat on the Beauty, Mystery and Power of Story
December 5-7, 2014 at Dayspring Silent Retreat
Leaders: Jim Hall and Cheryl Hellner share a lifelong love of stories, especially those that inspire us to re-inhabit the depth of our souls and this wild and sacred Earth.
Retreat at Dayspring is a time to be silent and open to an encounter
with God in the interior and exterior silence. We believe that our world
provides too little time and space for reflection, prayer and
contemplation. The silence of retreat is a gift we give ourselves and
others who are with us. To learn more and to register contact dayspringretreat.org
Sacred Fire: The Art of Creating Nature-Based Ritual and Ceremony
October 17-19, 2014 at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Center
"As long as there is one to sing and one to dance,
one to speak and one to listen, life will go on.
— Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation
To live in a sacred way is to live in a world where everything is alive, everything has soul, and everything speaks to us. Could it be that the deepest gift the human ones can give, at this moment in Earth's evolving life, is our gift for ritual and ceremony: our stories, our dances, our gestures, our songs?
In this retreat we will explore the art and practice of creating ritual and ceremony ? ceremonies to mark significant life passages, to honor our grief, to celebrate the seasonal gifts of creation, to pray for healing, and daily rituals to express our gratitude for the gift of life.
Much of our time will be spent outdoors:
- time alone wandering in the woods, creek valleys, and rocky places of this wild mountain land
- time together listening to the mystery and wisdom of our encounters with soul and nature.
Leaders: Jim Hall and Cheryl Hellner, longtime members of Rolling Ridge Study Retreat, have practiced the art of ritual and ceremony in their life together for many years. Since 2009, they have been exploring nature-based ritual and ceremony through programs with the Animas Valley Institute. They live and work at Dayspring, a 200 acre retreat center in Germantown, Maryland.
This retreat will be held at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat House, a six bedroom cabin in a wilderness setting near Harpers Ferry, WV. Rolling Ridge is accessible by car only. The retreat begins with supper at 7 pm on Friday and concludes with lunch on Sunday. Fee for the retreat is $200 (lodging inside) or $150 (camping), six meals and program. Registration is limited to 16 people. To reserve your place, email email@example.com and request an application to be returned with a $50 deposit. (More detailed instructions on how to prepare, and what to bring, will be mailed prior to the retreat.)
Restorying: Cultivating personal, cultural, and planetary stories for a new era
A weekend Retreat at Stillpoint Mountain Retreat near Rolling Ridge, WV September 12-14 (15), 2014
“It is all a question of story.
We are in trouble just now because we do
not have a good one.”
~ Thomas Berry
We have always lived by stories that told us how we got here, and what God and the Universe were up to. Today, the old stories have either been discarded or paint an incomplete or inaccurate picture of our world. The signs are everywhere as we struggle with economic havoc, social injustice, hunger, environmental degradation, violence, and depression.
Thomas Berry suggests, the task of our time is to discover and inhabit
new story from the personal to the planetary level. A new story is
waiting to be born, but has not yet emerged. We live in a time between
In this retreat we explore this
in-between realm -- letting go of old story, abiding in the unknowing,
searching for hints and glimpses of emerging new story, and committing
to live it. We cultivate a new story for ourselves as individuals and as
a planet, exploring new messages that are germinating deep in our
individual and collective consciousness.
wander on the land by ourselves to listen to the stories that mountain
and river, hawk and snake, and that ancient rocks and trees tell us,
these guardians and guides to the wildness and imagination of the Earth.
We explore the inner world of myth and archetype and nighttime dream,
we journal and write of what we hear. We gather to listen to what we're
learning, and for movement and ceremony.
who choose to stay on from Sunday to Monday noon will have an extended
time, with additional guidance, to absorb what has been received over
the weekend and to reflect on incorporating it into the life to which
Jim Hall, longtime member of Rolling Ridge Study
Retreat, lives at the Dayspring Retreat Center in suburban Washington,
DC,where for the past 25 years he has been leading retreats, classes and
outings on the land linking faith and ecology, and exploring ways of
living more simply, justly and in harmony with the Earth.
explores ways to experience belonging and cultivate joy, creativity,
and reverence. She designs buildings and places that marry the best of
old and new traditions, and works with other media, including fiction
and film, to listen for and tell the new stories that are emerging in
our culture. www.gabriellidesign.com
This retreat will be held at Still Point Mountain Retreat, a five-bedroom cabin in a secluded wilderness setting overlooking the Shenandoah River and valley. The retreat begins with supper at 6pm on Friday and concludes with lunch on Sunday or Monday. Fee for the retreat, including lodging, meals, and program is $210 to Sunday noon and $280 to Monday noon. Inquire about camping and scholarship options. This retreat, which was popular last year, has again filled, but there is a waiting list. email Lindsay@rollingridge.net to put your name on the waiting list and get an application form.
Casting Off From the Old World A Retreat for Men at Stillpoint Mountain Retreat May 16-18 (Friday dinner through Sunday lunch)
Give up all the other worlds, except the one to which you belong. - David Whyte
We live in a time between stories. For many, our old stories that tell us who we are and what life and the world is about no longer serve us well. A new story is emerging, but is not yet here. We know it is time to let go of much from our past to fully enter the new. It is time to cast off.
One practice that can help us say "good-bye" to what life has been is the "death lodge," often part of the preparation for a vision quest. The main focus of this retreat will be a long solo time on the land. Once you find a place that draws you to do this work, you then build a little lodge. Lying in that lodge you will invite people and other beings and landscapes one by one from the past for a final visit and conversation.
In the death lodge we may say good-bye to what no longer serves us and our world -- ways of loving and hating, places of home, social roles that gave us pleasure and definition, organizations and institutions that shaped and limited our growth. As we say good-bye we express our gratitude, love, forgiveness, and grief to each. In addition to this prolonged solo time (fasting from midmorning Saturday, sleeping out overnight, to Sunday morning before breakfast), our time together will include ceremony, ritual, and council. Leader: Jim Hall, longtime member of Rolling Ridge Study Retreat, lives at Dayspring Retreat Center where he and his wife try to live simple, soulful lives in communion with the rest of creation. In recent years they have been exploring the world of nature and soul with Bill Plotkin and other guides in programs of the Animas Valley Institute.
For more information contact Bob Sabath at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.531.7572. Cost of the retreat is $150, scholarships available, and includes food, lodging, and retreat materials. Registration is limited to 16 people. To register, send $50 to Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Community, 120 Jubilee Lane, Harpers Ferry WV 25425 and mark the check for "Casting Off."
Voices in the Wilderness of Soul
Encounters with the Sacred in Nature and the Human Soul
At Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Center
September 28-30. 2012 (Friday dinner - Sunday lunch)
Behold, I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her -- Hosea 2:14
So I returned to the river, I returned to the mountains, and I asked for their hand in marriage.
I begged, I begged to wed every object and every creature. And when they accepted, God was ever present in my arms. -- Meister Eckhert
Listen! A wild and tender voice is calling you! Beyond the world of being always busy, there is another world. We enter that world when we step over the threshold into the world of nature and soul -- a world filled with mystery, enchantment, wisdom, and romance. In this world we seek a rendezvous with the wild and tender One who awaits us in the forest, by the river, on the mountain.
On this retreat we will wander, as each one is led, in search of a waiting lover. We will listen for the tender voices of the Sacred in every object, in every creature, summoning us to conversation, to encounter, to romance. We will let these voices stir up our inner world of image and dream, symbol and soul.
What poetry will flow from our fingers? What songs will emerge from our throats? What dreams will this romance with Earth evoke in us? What surprises lurk in the shadows?
When we return from our wandering we will gather together in sacred ceremony to share our stories, poems, songs, and dreams.
Leaders: Cheryl Hellner and Jim Hall, longtime members of Rolling Ridge Study Retreat, live at Dayspring Retreat Center where they try to live simple, soulful lives in communion with the rest of creation. In recent years they have been exploring the world of nature and soul with Bill Plotkin and other guides in programs of the Animas Valley Institute.
A Room for the Holy:
Soul Encounter Through Sacred Story
and the Sacred Earth
Seekers Church, Takoma Park, Maryland
Tuesday nights, Sept. 13 - Oct. l8, 2011
There are undiscovered presences, beauty, wisdoms within the natural world and within each of us. If we give ourselves wholly to them. . .they will one day come forth
--Mary Southard, CSJ
Throughout the Bible, we hear stories of people who met the holy One in the wild landscapes around them and in the deepest landscapes of soul within. Wisdom traditions throughout the world agree that there is no greater blessing than to live the life of one's own authentic soul.
Jesus invited his followers into unfamiliar and mysterious territory beyond the bounds of conventional religion. He sought to lead them into encounters with soul, that vital center of holy love that holds the key to our life's purpose and meaning, and the gift that is ours alone to give to the world. It is not an easy journey. But what greater adventure could there be?
In this series of six evening sessions, we will journey together into the wild country of soul. We will listen again to stories of soul encounter:
--Jacob and his dream ladder
--Abraham, Sarah and the three travelers
--Elijah in the mountain cave
--The disciples on a night sea journey of wind and wave
--Lazarus in the tomb
--Jesus' soul quest, forty days and forty nights, in the wilderness
We will respond to these stories through:
--ritual and ceremony (some of these will be held outdoors)
--symbol and art
--honoring the mystery in our dreams
--the art and practice of wandering in nature
--the search for a landscape that mirrors the soul
--an encounter with our own death and the gifts that such an encounter holds for our life
These sessions are not a "class" in the usual sense. There will be only short readings and very little "discussion."
There will be "assignments" for you to do in-between our sessions; a series of guided exercises in listening for soul. Many of these will be done out in nature. We ask that you record your experiences each week in your journal.
Then, each time we come together, we will seek to create a "room for the holy"-- a place where we welcome and invite the shy soul to speak and a place where we listen with the ear of our hearts.
There will be a day retreat at Dayspring on a Saturday -- October 8 -- where we will have an opportunity to spend extended time in this wild landscape
--Jim Hall and Cheryl Hellner, Dayspring Earth Ministry
(Photo: "Sweet Dreaming" by Richard Hamilton Smith redoakcards.com)
"Listening to Earth's Heartbeat"
Mary Southard, CSJ
used by permission
"Light in August", watercolor by Julie Gabrielli