Amongst the figures who are most known to us from Medieval history, two stand out as beacons of resilience. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-11 79) was enclosed in a monastery at the age of 8. In her extraordinary long life, she was composer, artist, theologian, botanist, natural healer, spiritual director, abbess, and counselor to politicians and religious figures alike.
in the 14th century, Julian of Norwich lived a full life as a wife and mother in England before her family was destroyed in the Black Plague. Surviving her own near-death experience, she elected to become a voluntary anchorite, and remained enclosed inside two tiny rooms attached to a local church where she “prayed without ceasing” for the welfare of the world for the rest of her life. Despite her bleak background and enduring confinement, Julian went one to write the first work in the English language penned by a woman. Her Revelations of Divine Love is a magnificent guide to finding serenity and peace in the midst of darkness and suffering and ends, astonishingly, with the utter conviction that “All shall be well“.
In this six week creative seminar, we will encounter the Archetype of the Anchorite: a deep spiritual seeker whose time of confinement yields profound wisdom, creativity and contentment. Guided by the lives and words of the Medieval mystics Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich and their roots in contemplative monasticism, we will find a rhythm of our own during this time of enclosure so that we can embrace the transformative spiritual potential of our times and connect more deeply to our hearts.
Included in the course is an invitation to a private online group for sharing your own creative work.
Week One: The Anchor of the Heart
Altar, Ancestors, Nature and Symbols; How to Create Sacred Space
Week Two: The Heart’s Flowering and Abundance
Identifying the pathways of consolation and desolation; Veriditas and Ariditas- where we are green and juicy and where we become bitter, dry and hard of heart; the Wisdom of the Desert Fathers and Mothers
Week Three: The Song of the Heart
Practices of music, poetry and chant
Week Four: Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart
An introduction to icons, art meditation and Visio Divina
Week Five: Listening with the Ear of the Heart
Lectio Divina and Holy Listening
Week Six: The Rhythm of the Heart
Finding a daily and seasonal pattern that nourishes the heart and keeps you balanced
Kayleen Asbo, Ph.D is a musician, retreat leader, spiritual director and interdisciplinary scholar who has lectured on Medieval monasticism and its relevance for ordinary folks at places like Chartres Cathedral, the Assisi Institute of Depth Psychology, Oxford University and colleges, churches and universities throughout the country.