6 - 13 April 2020
This retreat is limited to 8 participants
Retreat leader : Alexander John Shaia
Early bird price before Dec. 1st:
ensuite single 1,295€
After Dec 1st
ensuite single 1,395€
Through presentation, ritual gestures, poetic prayers, contemplative exercises and quiet walks Alexander John Shaia invites you to recover the mystical Easter of early Christianity (pre 500 CE). This ancient Easter celebration is quite different from the ones we know today. It prays with the cosmos, recognising that earth's daily movement through darkness to sunrise and tells the great story of our own continual dying and greater rising. The core symbols of this Easter are: a wash basin, the four - armed equidistant cross, a fallow stillness, the fruitful dark, dawn's first light and our prayer to be in union with All that is within us and without.
What we Coming to Pray Again?
If you have some familiarity with Roman Catholic/Anglican/Lutheran/ Orthodox traditions, you may recall that the final days of Lent hold a sequence of services known as “Holy Week.” The eight days - Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday - were lovingly crafted some 700 years ago as a dramatic meditation on the imagined last days leading to Jesus’ arrest, trial, death, and resurrection. What may come as a surprise is to know that this prayer is not the origin of Easter. Many centuries before “Holy Week”, Christians marked Easter as a sacred Three Day (Triduum in Latin) or 72 Hour Festival - over three nights and three days. Christians celebrated the dynamic dying and rising of Jesus the Christ in the midst of their diverse community and family. The prayer of The Three Days? "That All may be One.”
When and What are The Three Days?
Day One "Good Friday" sunset of Thursday to Sunset of Friday Service of Footwashing in the Night & Reverencing The Cross in the Day.
Day Two "Holy Saturday" sunset of Friday to sunset of Saturday 24 Hours of Quiet.
Day Three "Easter Sunday" sunset of Saturday to sunset of Sunday Great Night Vigil & Great Dawn Services.
Like my sharing about Advent and Christmas, Easter is intended to be a journey with The Christ as we PRAY WITH THE EARTH as she awakens from Winter and we move through the thrice repeated pattern of arriving at sunset, moving into darkness, coming to dawn, then full light and finally returning again to sunset. In my mind, there is no more valuable practice in these turbulent times than coming to know that our spiritual journey is an ever repeating cycle beginning with the arrival of darkness and ending with the arrival of the next darkness. Truly we travel from holy darkness to holy darkness.
Our earliest ancestors believed that as we participate in this repeating cycle of dark to light to dark again and that we deeply participate in an ever ongoing dying and rising with Jesus the Christ. And as we do so, we recognise that we live Paradise Today - powerfully expressed in the ancient Baptistries which were the Easter altar.
.. and then The Three Days were Gone
In the Seventh Century, Christianity was thrust into a time of dramatic change. Roman civilization was gone. Churches suddenly became hospitals, police stations, government councils, schools, and churches as well. Education dimmed. In this new reality, the village priest was often the only one who could read and write a little. This is the cultural moment when we lost the entirety of the four Gospels, receiving instead some 60 gospel passages to be read each year on the same Sunday or Feast Day. Most likely, this greatly reduced reading matter was support for priests who had only a small ability to read and write.
This also appears to be the moment that atonement theory began to overtake theosis theology. Along with it, The Three Days of Easter began to fade. Gradually the four Passion accounts were lost to memory and it is easy to understand how Christians of that time slipped into a lesser truth, coming to believe the Passions were created imagined history of Jesus' last days. As decades and centuries passed eventually, this imagined history came to be woven into a powerful dramatic Passion Play or Pageant that extended from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. By the Middle Ages, this week-long prayer became known as "Holy Week."
It is Time to Begin Again
The Passions are about four distinct internal/eternal moments in us. Each Passion is about a Today, we understand the Four Passions are not about history, though based in history. Rather, distinct type of life question and spiritual practice.
Matthew's Passion: How Do We Embrace the Work of Betrayal?
Mark's Passion: How Do We Move Through Great Pain and Sense of Isolation?
John's Passion: How Do We Receive Joy and Practice Greater Union?
Luke's Passion: How Do We Live 'Paradise Now' in the Midst of Daily Life?
As our understanding grows wider, so to must our prayer and worship. The Roman, Anglican and Lutheran traditions began restoration of The Three Days in the 1970s and 80s. The work dimmed in the 90s. And tragically by 2000, all research and efforts came to a standstill. I urge us to take up the work, all of us regardless of tradition.
Why was a Springtime Easter Created?
To Help Us Move from Tribe to Individual & from Individual to a Living Jeru-Shalom In his book, "The Kingdom Within" (1970), John Sanford writes:
"By instinct, man is a group animal. For hundreds of thousands of years he has existed through the group, and the individual has found his identity and meaning by virtue of his inclusion in the tribe, clan, or nation. But the Kingdom of God calls us to go beyond this ancient herd instinct and to establish an individual consciousness of oneself and of God. Being a disciple means following the call in an individual way, and inevitably this will mean the separating out of oneself from the collective psychology of the group."
In 2019, I ponder a further step. Culturally, we have begun to establish an individual fulfillment of an individual consciousness. Now might we take further steps and to begin authentic communities that enable each of us to live our inherent gifts and share them in a diverse union.
By grace, living a new form of human community was the spiritual practice and the true fulfilment of the ancient Easter. Can there be a more noble cause for us today? Do we not need to return to the ancient wisdom of our elders who wait to teach us how to create, sustainand deepen in a vital and diverse communion?
Let us begin so that we may offer our children's children a living Jeru-Shalom.
Alexander John Shaia
Open to people of all faiths or non, we warmly welcome you to celebrate Easter with us at Flores del Camino, on the the Camino de Santiago.
You can find out more on this link to a video of Alexander: "Being the Resurrection" https://vimeo.com/312851040
Alexander John Shaia, PhD, is a thoughtful and poetic man, living the ancient rhythms of his Lebanese, Aramaic and Maronite (Eastern) Catholic heritage. He is an author, educator, cultural anthropologist, spiritual director, Jungian psychotherapist known as a creative, multi - disciplinary thinker and internationally sought out speaker. With deep conviction, he invites us into spiritual practices for the 21st century - ones that cross traditional boundaries, encourage vital thinking and inhabit a genuine community of the heart. For more than forty years, Alexander has worked to recover the mystical Easter of early Christianity.
Preliminary timetable for 6 - 13 April 2020
6th Arrival in the afternoon, after 3pm, opening at 5pm and welcome evening meal
13th Mid - day departure following closing ceremony.
The price includes :
Seven nights accommodation
Teaching and materials
It does NOT include airline tickets or travel to the retreat centre. HOW TO GET HERE?
Once we confirm a place is still available, you can secure it by making a 300€, non refundable deposit. The remaining amount is to be paid two months before the retreat. Refunds are only available if all spaces are filled or you can find a replacement for yourself. You can make the payment via Pay Pal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact us should you prefer a different method via bank card (via phone payment - see phone number below ), transfer or Transferwise. Please note to make sure you cover all transaction or conversion fees.