The Alcyon Center - Cultivating Beauty in the Desert

Nov 30-Dec 4 — The Beauty of Silence
with Eric Erickson

The Book of Privy Counseling, a mature work of the 14th century author of The Cloud of Unknowing, has long intrigued readers by the way its endearing, earthy language guides from the simplest practice to sublime union with God. The author uses humble images to lead to profound imagelessness, from “blind awareness of one’s naked being” to being beheld in the gaze of Love, to participatory knowing (gnosis) through unknowing (agnosis).

One of the great, modern champions of this work was Evelyn Underhill, who described the experience in her book, Mysticism:

The heart outstrips the clumsy senses, and sees—perhaps for an instant, perhaps for long periods of bliss—an undistorted and more veritable world.  All things are perceived in the light of charity, and hence under the aspect of beauty: for beauty is simply Reality seen with the eyes of love.

In this five-day, silent retreat, we will read and engage with one another this brief, down-to- earth letter of spiritual direction that uses plain, clear language to usher us to awareness of speechless beauty. Four nights, single room, $650.


Aug 8 — Listening to the Plants
with Brighid Doherty, Solidago School of Herbal Wisdom

Explore the Alcyon land with herbalist Brighid Doherty and learn how plants are used to nourish health and heal common ailments. Brighid will explain how to identify, ethically harvest, and prepare medicinal plants that grow right here at Alcyon, then lead us in preparing remedies with the plants we harvest. Participants take home their remedies, including flower essences, tinctures, vinegars, and oxymels. We’ll discuss the importance of
listening to the plants and how to connect with them to form lifelong relationships.

$75: includes lunch (at 11:30) and program (begins at 12:30) Guided herbal walk and harvest. Participants create and take home plant remedies.

Brigid Doherty, founder of Solidago School of Herbal Wisdom and the Dandelion Herbal Collective on Deer Isle, ME, is an herbalist of the Wise Woman Tradition. She leads medicinal plant walks and hands-on medicine making, and offers herbal spas and retreats that inspire self-reliant health care by educating people about how to bring herbal medicine into their lives and how to form relationships with the plants in their kitchens, gardens and the wild.


The Alcyon Center is an experience of being welcomed, body, soul and spirit into the life of a small, practicing contemplative community.

The vision for the Center is rooted in a desire for bold and practical ways to meet the spiritual hunger of our times.