Posts under 'Rites & Rituals'

Morning Cuddle Part Two: More Prayers with the Mini Monks

Eden's Image of the Holy Spirit
Eden’s Image of the Holy Spirit.
Read about it here.

Okay, I promised to tell you about the other forms of prayer we use during our Morning Cuddle time, so here are two more:

Rhyming Prayer:
When the kids are feeling giddy and not ready to settle into a time of focused prayer or meditation, they often request that I make up a ‘rhyme-y prayer.’ To do this I just pick simple things that they will be doing on that particular day and give thanks or ask a blessing for them. For instance, one bright morning in October I prayed something like this:

“Thank you God … {read more…}

Morning Cuddle: Praying with the MiniMonks

I’ve been posting several times a week over at Minti. If case you haven’t had a time to mosey on over there, here’s a post about praying with the kiddos that the urban abbess readers might like:


One of the things that interest me most about parenting is watching the spiritual development of my children. I enjoy watching and watering their little souls, and they engage with the world around them and the emotional and spiritual unseen world that seems to occupy so much of my girl’s time. As an ordained minister and a Jesus-y kind of person, I’m pretty attentive to soulcare and spiritual growth. But I’ve also see how damaging organized religion can be to supple … {read more…}

Ramadan ‘06

It’s Ramadan. Every year at Ramadan I think about how much I’d really love to have Muslim friends. Right now the closest I can get to saying ‘I have Muslim friends’ is that my neighbor Helene, is Muslim-ish, and that Cate has two adorable little schoolyard buddies who are Muslim, one of whom even wears the veil. (You should see her self-portrait in the school hallway, it’s so adorable!)

I’ve been shamelessly using my six-year-old’s ‘connections’ for two years now, as I vie for an invite to Eid ul-fitir. I’m not getting very far. Here’s a feel for how my playground conversations usually go.

Urban Abbess: Hey Zainab! How are you?

Zainab: Good. (giggle giggle)

U.A.: Hey, it’s almost … {read more…}


Ah, it’s 86 degrees and Summer is upon us.

If I were convinced of the cause-and-effect nature of prayer (an idea to which I am only intermittedly a convert), then I would say the now-sunny weather has everything to do with the fact that we remembered on Solstice.

Our annual Monkfish Abbey Solstice party/worship fest was all candlelight and fire light and spinning torches. Fire and flame in the back yard — our burnt sacrifice offered as an act of thanksgiving for the Sun and her Source. We are a pagan-y people.

It strikes me, in the afterglow of this fire-ringed night, that perhaps there is no better a metaphor for God than our ever present guiding orb — transendent for … {read more…}

Speaking the Name: Last Week at Monkfish Abbey

Sorry to have been so absent folks, but the Urban Abbess is busy, busy, busy. Doing what, you might ask? How about: buildling floats for the Solstice Parade on Saturday; doing the solo-parenting thing while Paul’s in Boston for eight days; babysitting overnight for two kids ages 1 and 4 (one of whom threw up); pet sitting Spike, the girl guinea pig (who came without her water bottle, thus necessitating a trip to Petco to buy a new one); running Cate has her last dance rehersal before the recital; attending her Kindergarten graduation (hat, gown, and all!); buring a deceased sparrow complete with a burial bed made of poppy flowers and a prayer circle; coaching a teenager finals; … {read more…}

Last Thursday at Monkfish Abbey: Life in Black and White

For several months now Rebecca has been gently suggesting that I hand over some of the duties of the Abbey to Other People. When she started pointing double entendres in my own writing that indicated that I needed more help, I finally listened.

In March I asked the Monks to sign-up to bring dinner. I like making soup for the Monks. I turn on nice music, I put on the chef coat’s Paul indulged me with one Christmas, and I try to be very present to the chopping and stirring. If I have time to bake something, I pray for each person as I add ingredients and stir or knead. Then I set the table and pick a … {read more…}

Truths and Lies: Last week at Monkfish Abbey

At Monkfish Abbey we have some spaces in our annual cycle where we just kind of float. For instance, we sort of slip past Eastertide and Pentecost and use the time between Lent/Easter and Solstice as a bit of a reprieve. We call it Ordinary Time – thought it doesn’t correspond with the actual Ordinary Time of the Church Year. It suits the rythm of our living, it work for us.

During this little lull of Ordinary Time, the monks have signed on to help host and cook at our Thursday night gathering. Last week it was Melissa turn. She read to us from a Barbara Ueland’s If You Want to Write: A book about Art, Independence, {read more…}

Blogging Al Fresco

Hello my blogginng lovlies!

The Urban Abbess has been sorry to be gone so long, long, long. But I’m afraid I’ve submitted to the call of the wild – which being the urbanite that I am, means I’ve been lured into the “great outdoors” of our front and back yard. Right now I’m writing to you from the porch swing, wearing my floor-length India-print wrap around skirt ($5 at Goodwill) and a tank top — and I am not even cold! It’s 80 degrees and breezy, last night we slept with the windows open, and people have been boldly venturing out in sleeveless things and flip flops without fear or trepidation. If you live in Phoenix, or maybe Alaska, you might … {read more…}

Powershouse Blessing

Here are my notes from the Blessing Rite we did for the Powerhouse — worskhop to the amazing Fremont Solstice Parade. Liza, one of the parade organizers, asked me to bless the space with light and peace. Enjoy!


Welcome to all! Intro: Rachelle, Abbess and Monkfish Abbey (a generous soulcare community) and Jen, one of our community members. My family and I have totally adored the last four years of celebrating the Summer Solstice with this community, and we’re honored to be invited to bless the workshop space. Thank you!

This is a three- part rite of blessing:
• Invocation
• Personal blessing
• Infilling of the space.

If at anytime you feel uncomfortable, feel free to opt out and simply observe.
Non-sectarian rite …we’ve tried to … {read more…}

Under the Lilac Tree

lilac dinning

“In this house, everyday is a party!”

Sometimes, things are so good I start saying things like this in my head, even though I know it isn’t technically true. I read somewhere that this is a Scorpio trait –this mild schizophrenia. Who knows? Anyway…last night at Monkfish Abbey we had dinner in the back yard. It was unseasonably warm, and that spring-fever vibe was in the air. I’d just rescued two old kitchen chairs from one of those side-of-the-road furniture piles, and was completely obsessed with gathering up six of them and recovering the seats with retro-patterned fabric. I’d managed to get the first two covered and was determined to launch our … {read more…}