Posts under 'Rites & Rituals'

A Meditation on The Feminine Divine

The week before Mother’s Day we did this meditation at Monkfish Abbey. I’m interested in trying to capture images that speak to the feminine aspects of God, and this was our attempt at retrieving our foremother’s knowledge, lost to us when only men became the scribes. (Read a little more about that here.) The really interesting visualization phrases are about two-thirds of the way down, so scroll down if you only have time to read that bit.

This led us to have a very interesting conversation about gender, and God, and self-identity. I wish I could have recorded it all and just podcast it here. My dear monkity monks are stunningly insightful. I feel privlidged to be exploring with … {read more…}

A Healing Rite with Hot Stones

I hosted a time of healing for the monks a couple of weeks ago. I still feel like it’s very brave of me to do things like this. Even though I’ve been doing them off and on for a couple of years now. Even though they are usually well received. I have to gather all my energy and concentration to walk people through this kind of meditative work without feeling (and sounding) like a flibbertigibbet. (Which is actually what I am best at, flibberdigibbeting.) At any rate, I thought I’d post the basic outline of what I did, in case it appeals to anyone else out there.

Note: I used special “facial massage stones” which I paid a ridiculous amount … {read more…}

Lent and Beyond

It’s Holy Week, the final days of the Lenten season and the turn to Eastertide. My own Lenten practice this year was to create more silence in my life, especially in the car where I’m only just now beginning to feel the “what’s going on in the world” affect of not listening to NPR for several weeks. Silence is such and important, but difficult, discipline for me. I need it to clear my head of negative migraine energy, to make space for new things to grow, and to nuture reflection on this Jesus-y season.

During Lent I’ve been tooling about with some bead work. A few Lenten seasons ago I took up the habit of praying the Anglican version … {read more…}

St Patrick’s Day

Tonight we will celebrate St. Patrick — patron saint of my homeland and beloved reason for people everywhere to drink Guinness. Before dinner I’ll sing this as I light the three-wick candle. Then someone will read this this prayer:

Like the goodness of the five loaves and two fishes,
Which God divided among the five thousand men,
May the blessing of the King who so divided
Be upon our share of this common meal.

Followed by someone reading this blessing:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand

Then we’ll be eating … {read more…}

Hiver: A Zine for Midwinter

Many of you have traveled with me through the saga of chronic migrianes. About a year and a half ago I wrote about packing up all of my art-and-writing projects and putting them in the box headed for the basement. When I did that I had just begun on and idea for a ‘zine — actually for a series of ‘zines — and that is the project who’s death I mourned the most.

It’s truly a sign of my increasing health then, to introduce to you my first, flawed attempt at a ‘zine.


This tiny edition, Hiver, is a collection of essays, songs, recipies, and petite pieces of art to get you through the grey … {read more…}

Winter Solstice

I am gathering up yards of fabric, wrapping it around my forearms, letting it move through my hands. It slips across the threshold of the sewing machine, changing before my eyes from simple yardage into the magic of a gypsy tent.

I gather the lengths up in my arms, run up the stairs to a room large enough for its spread. I measure and clip, and pin; then run down the stairs again to sew another long, almost-perfect seam. Through the din of an almost-ignorable migraine and the slight fuzz of vasoconstrictors, I watch as the purple velvet joins the blue-on-blue stripe knit joins the panels of mahogany micro suede joins the remnants of dark denim embellished with ivory ribbons. … {read more…}

Poetry Slam

Four diverse poems from our French Pantoum experiment. Enjoy!


Anger grips my heart
Anger makes me see red
Words will not express it
I scream in frustration

Anger makes me see red
It fuels the pursuit of change
I scream in frustration
Change takes too long

It fuels the pursuit of change
Words will not express it
Change takes too long
Anger grips my heart

-Tonya Hyde

Bon’s Song

Morning sunrise
Kissing her good morning
Sharing the drive
Evening sunset

Kissing her good morning
Holding her hand
Evening sunset
Kissing her goodnight

Holding her hand
Sharing the drive
Kissing her goodnight
Morning sunrise

-Timothy Ray

mama god papa god

skin like ebony —
or is it alabaster?
clothed in saris airy white
shot through with color
they come

laughing on bare - - or sandaled –feet
bejewlled and painted
strong arms of sculptor’s sinew
now outstretched,
now clapping

their mouths sweet with cream
and honey
tangy of … {read more…}

French Pantoum

Wish you were drinking cafe in Paris, writing ever-so-wonderful poetry in your journal while you wear your beret? Get a little taste of the writer’s life by trying your hand at a French pantoum. Feel oo la la and tres intelligent by using this pattern to turn simple phrases into a surprisingly good poem.

Send me your results and I will put them all up in a virtual poetry reading post — with a link to your own website or blog, bien sur! You can reach me at urbanabbess at monkfish-abbey dot org [new address: moi at magpie-girl dot com].

Many thanks to Christine Valters Paintner at Sacred Center for introducing me to this art-as-spiritual-practice technique.

French Pantoum

{read more…}


Rebecca’s bath tray is beautiful – a deep dark-stained wood covered with mysteries. There is a large bottle of oil with a stopper. A small hand-blown vial with a twisted lid in the colors of fire. A squat round jar with a lid of woven silver holds pale blue salts. A candle burns in the middle, the same soft shade of buttery yellow as the lotion bar molded into the shape of the smiling moon.

“I like your bath tray.” I say, as she carries it through the warm afternoon light of the dining room.

“I don’t take a bath,” says Rebecca, “I have a ritual.”

I love rituals. They mark holy time, holy space. I have so many of them … {read more…}

Fall Communion Liturgy at the Abbey


The Invocation
With the lighting of the candles the host invokes:
“Eternal Father and Mother, Spirit, Word.”

The Grace
Sung together as you are comfortable with the content and/or as you learn the tune.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at eve’n,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my … {read more…}