Beauty in the Desert

 Guest Teacher Series 2020

Click on individual programs below for fuller description and registration.

In 2020, The Alcyon Center seeks to deepen and expand its training programs in contemplative presence and leadership for our times by offering a series of programs with guest teachers on the theme Beauty in the Desert. For years at Alcyon we have been asking what contemplative cultural research and repair looks like for our world. We invite you to explore these questions during a weekend at Alcyon.

We've asked the Guest Teachers to bring the  emerging edge of their work and practices as these respond to the desert of deep hunger and suffering of the world.  In what ways does Beauty speak when ugliness is the norm?  We have encouraged them to risk sharing what is not fully formed in their minds and hearts, e.g., What are you seeing now? What questions are you carrying in your work? How are you living with Beauty in the Desert?

Introduction As Americans, many of us find ourselves journeying through a spiritual desert. To live in a culture that engages in the obfuscation or near total erasure of the sacred from our public life is to inhabit a desert.  We find consolation in Dostoyevsky’s phrase, “Beauty will save the world.” In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature, Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave voice to his faith that when Truth and Goodness fail to penetrate human blindness Beauty has the power to do so.

The desert is a place of disorientation and breakdown that pushes us to our spiritual limits. In the face of imminent and momentous climate collapse, we feel we are living in a cultural desert: environmentally, politically, religiously, and in terms of social justice. Throughout 2020 we will approach Beauty in the Desert with these fine guides.  Please join us!

 These registrations are still open —

Aug 8 — LISTENING TO THE PLANTS
with Brighid Doherty

Herbalist Brighid Doherty leads a day connecting with Alcyon’s plants and creating remedies with what we find - and what finds us. $75, includes lunch. 9:30am-5pm.

Nov 30-Dec 4 — THE BEAUTY OF SILENCE
with Eric Erickson

With Christian contemplative Eric Erickson, we turn our attention and longing to a 5-day silent retreat with time alone and together. Four nights, single room, $650

 These Programs have been suspended, thank you for your patience and understanding. —

Mar 21 — BEAUTY IN DYING
with Janet Booth & Julia Polter

A sacred conversation, grounded in experience and hope, with end-of-life educator Janet Booth and priest/chaplain Julia Polter. $75, includes lunch. 10am-4pm.

May 15-17 — THE BEAUTY OF BEING FULLY HUMAN
with Robert Sardello

Author and teacher Robert Sardello brings his cultural soul research to illumine the way through the darkness to Divine Beauty. Two nights, $510.

Jun 19-21 — YOGA Sutras & 12 Steps: SPIRITUAL PRACTICES FOR MODERN MALADIES
with Liz Leuthner

Explore the yoga sutras and 12 steps as sacred paths of recovery from addiction with Iyengar yoga teacher and therapist Liz Leuthner. Two nights, $150-$200

Jul 17-19 — THE HEART OF THE DESERT
with John Chryssavgis

A weekend with Greek Orthodox priest John Chryssavgis gleaning wisdom from the ancient Christians about today’s cultural and spiritual desert. Two nights, $510

Jul 31-Aug 2 — TEA IN THE DARK
with smudge studio

Jamie Kruse & Elizabeth Ellsworth of smudge studio co- create tea practices for the Anthropocene.
Two nights, $510

Sep 18-20 — THE GREAT CONVERSATION
with Belden Lane

Exercises, music, and storytelling for communing with nature and the soul led by author and theologian Belden Lane. Two nights, $510

Oct 9-11 — DIALOGUES WITH SILENCE
with Martin Laird

Augustinian priest Martin Laird leads desert-inspired practices on how to transform breakdown, woundedness and failure. Two nights, $510

Nov 19-22 — WORD & IMAGE
with Susan Webster & Stuart Kestenbaum

Experimental image making and writing in silence and the natural world with artist Susan Webster and poet Stuart Kestenbaum. Two nights, $510