Epiphany from O.Fr. epiphanie, from Gk. epiphaneia “manifestation, striking appearance”
I am at the beginning of a 6 week online course ‘Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist‘ taught by Christine Valters Paintner. I don’t know how to express just how wonderful, exciting and challenging it already is. I have been longing to explore contemplative prayer, the confluence of the sacred and creativity in my own art making and how to have a daily relationship with the Divine in a way which is meaningful to me. Way of the Monk pretty much sums all of this up.
First of all, the format of the course is amazing! It’s all online! Christine sends weekly materials via pdf and mp3 and we have an online forum to meet and interact with our fellow student/monk/artists from all over the world and where we can upload our art work. Besides being very organised and professional as a teacher/guide, Christine is mindful that this journey can be challenging and invites us to be gentle with our selves and to practise self-care.
One of my Christmas presents from Steve was a Sony Walkman and I’ve put this week’s exercise/meditation on it and took it into work with me so I could listen to it in the medieval chapel at lunchtime. While I was in there, I took a photo of the nativity scene and the magi, who are on their way to the manger to meet the Divine as represented by baby Jesus.
It was my day off yesterday and we had snow! Steve and I went for a walk in the countryside, just outside of our town. My personal image of the Epiphany is the catkins growing from the bare winter branches. What a miraclulous manifestation of the Divine!
I loved these invitations to journey on new paths, one through an archway of winter trees
and the river flowing through the frozen landscape. Even if we can’t actually travel down a river in a vessel or walk along it, just being next to one can take us on a journey if we listen to where it has been and where it is going.
When we returned home, I took a hot bath while Steve prepared soul food for dinner. We had slow roasted ham hock with carmelised onions and Southern-style collard greens, cooked with another ham hock and seasoned with cayenne pepper and vinegar, swimming in lots of delicious, soul-nourishing pot likker.
After we took the rest of our Christmas decorations down, I went into my studio and completed my first visual art project for Way of the Monk. We were asked to make three Wisdom cards, each asking a soul question to our inner monk, artist and both of them together.
Here are mine and I may go into one or all of them more in depth at a later time as I reflect on them.