Join us for a three-hour mini-retreat during the season of Advent to encounter the wisdom of Mary and the Sacred Feminine during this time of growing darkness. The journey of Advent is one where we each hear a call, gestate, and wait, and then finally welcome the holy birth into our midst.

We will focus on three names or aspects of Mary which invite us into our own process of responding, incubating, and birthing our dreams.

Virgin icon of Mary by Kreg Yingst We begin with Mary as Virgin. We will explore the archetype of Virgin as one that has more to do with wholeness to ourselves than it does with physical intactness. Mary was given a call and had full agency to say yes or no to the divine. When we embrace the Virgin within, we are empowered to choose or not the direction our lives might take.

Our Lady of the Underworld icon by Kreg Yingst Once we hear a call that sparks our sacred yes, we enter into a period of waiting, gestating, incubating, allowing, and slow unfolding. When we rush the growth process we risk intervening before our dream can come into fullness. Mary of the Underworld companions us in this time and reminds us that this is a time of being more than doing, of resting into the darkness rather than reaching for the light.

Mystical Rose icon by Kreg Yingst Finally, when the moment of full ripeness is ready, we birth the holy. Medieval Franciscan monks Meister Eckhart and Angelus Silesius saw the journey toward Christmas as intimate and archetypal. We are each called to bring our gifts in service to the world. Christmas only has meaning when we each participate in this holy birthing in our lives. Mary as Mystical Rose will midwife us through our labors until we hold our new creation, fully unfolded, in our arms.

Our three-hour retreat will be from 9 am – 12 pm Pacific, 12 – 3 Eastern, 5 – 8 pm Ireland and UK on Saturday, December 4th.

Gather with us for this holy pause in a season filled with rushing and frenzy. Make a commitment to slow down and listen, to wait for the shape of what is ripening within you to emerge into fullness. During our time together, we will engage in meditation, visio divina, song, gentle movement, writing explorations, and small and large group sharing to allow our bodies and hearts to speak with clarity around the season we are in. Mary will be our companion in her various guises, empowering us and summoning us to live into the fullness of who we are.

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, is the online Abbess of Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery and global community which integrates contemplative practice and creative expression. She is the author of 18 books on spirituality, the arts, and poetry including her forthcoming Birthing the Holy from Ave Maria Press in Spring 2022. The Mary icons on this page and 29 others by artist Kreg Yingst will appear in the book. Christine lives on the wild edges of Ireland with her husband John and dog Sourney.