The Guild for Spiritual Guidance

November 2022 Newsletter

Monthly Reflection

by Cari Keith

Beannacht: A Blessing for the New Year -- John O’Donahue 
“On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.
And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.”

Autumn, Halloween aside, is a most magical time of year. The ancient Celts held this time as sacred, thin, liminal; a time when the veil between the worlds was at its most luminous. It is a threshold time between equinox and solstice; between summer’s harvest and winter’s fallowness; between long days of light and long days of darkness; between one year and the next. The Celtic spiritual tradition has always begun its celebration of a new year with gratitude for the bounty of harvest and with an honoring of the darkness that brings rest and new birth. October 31/November 1, the New Year festival of Samhain, is a reminder of our connectedness to the earth and each other, as well as the rest required for renewal.

This Celtic New Year time presents the Guild membership with an opportunity to give thanks for the programs we have been privileged to experience, for a new AP class, a new supervision program, and a new eco-spiritual program (Re-wilding). It is an invitation as well, to ponder the support we might give in order that these program offerings will continue to be available to seekers in the future. In your prayers of thanksgiving this autumn, please include the Guild. In your pondering during this threshold time, please consider, and share with the board, your thoughts for next steps toward our future. Everything will be gratefully received and pondered; everything from buying lottery tickets to disbanding the organization will be held and considered. The Guild continues to offer programs of depth, but our reality is that these offerings are possible on a shoe-string of funds and a handful of people. We seek the wisdom of the greater whole, of all of you, to offer new ideas and insight. With gratitude for all of you, I share this New Year blessing poem by John O’Donahue.

With care and gratitude,

 The Guild Needs a Treasurer

After many years of faithful service, Steve Allen is resigning as treasurer of the Guild effective January 2023, so we need to fill this important position. 

The treasurer must be knowledgeable about the QuickBooks bookkeeping software, since all financial record-keeping uses this software. (Proficiency is desirable, but not necessary.) Monthly tasks include: receiving, posting, and depositing all checks; recording appropriate donations in the Network for Good database; entering donations received through Network for Good into Quick Books; paying stipends and other bills; creating and mailing statements to program participants; creating financial reports for board review; and reconciling bank statements. Other tasks include: assisting with budgets; maintaining mailing and office supplies inventory; backing up Quick Books as prompted; monitoring cash flow; modifying the chart of accounts; arranging for yearly tax reports; and providing program financial status reports as requested. This position usually requires 1-3 hours per week.

If you are interested or if you would like to nominate someone for this position, please contact Cari Keith at


How Do You Connect with the Guild?

Do you feel connected with the Guild since completing your apprenticeship program? If so, how do you connect? If not, why not? Do you have any suggestions for the kinds of programs you would like to see the Guild sponsor?
If so, please email Expect an email in November asking you more on this topic.

Regional Get Togethers

If you are interested in hosting or coordinating a regional Guild get together, please contact Cari Keith at Philadelphia area members, contact Lou Anne Bulik at

 Save the Date for the Annual Meeting on December 4.
More information will be forthcoming.

Explore the Natural Cycles of the Earth Community with “Rewilding with Creation: Living the Rhythms of the Seasons” to Begin January 2023.

Guild members and friends, come delve into the natural cycles of the earth and our embedded experiences of them in a new year-long Engaged Wisdom program, Rewilding with Creation, starting in January 2023.

Rewilding with Creation ask participants to consider the following questions:

  • How do we participate in the natural cycles of the earth community?

  • How do we develop and support our capacities to co-create with the earth?

  • Is there one consciousness embedded in creation?

  • How do we relate to the synergy of the deep cycles of the earth?

  • How do we receive and celebrate that relatedness? 

If these questions resonate with you, consider registering for this in-depth, 12-month course. You will explore your local bioregion, journal about your experiences with nature, and employ contemplative practices. 

“Rewilding with Creation” covers four modules of three months each: Season of Dormancy to Quickening from January through March; Season of Life Bursting Forth from April through June; Season of Harvest from July through September; and Season of Preparation for the Dark from October through December.

Guild member, environmental educator, and longtime staff member with the Vermont Wilderness School Amy Hyatt will lead the program.
Learn More

Join us in a Pilgrimage to Assisi: May 2023

by Paul Kimmerling and Rev. Br. Mark D’Alessio

Perugia: City of Exile and Captivity

“In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare”, the Guild’s Pilgrimage to Assisi in May 2023, is an
opportunity for you to call forth what is deepest within you as you experience the marvels
of Assisi and beyond. During Pilgrimage A, we encounter Francis and Clare through their life
experiences and writings, with visits to major sacred sites within Assisi. In Pilgrimage B, we
journey beyond Assisi to 4 cities with Franciscan heritage – Perugia, Gubbio, Greccio, and
La Verna.

During these visits, we explore significant events and legends related to Francis and Clare
through the lens of the Guild’s 4 strands. This second day trip to La Verna allows us to
expand our vision, as we look through the lens of Mystic Spirituality, to what possibilities
abound – for Francis; his spiritual descendent, Bonaventure; and for us – when body, mind
and spirit are open to Source in one of the most naturally spectacular “thin places” of
Franciscan legend.

Here are some highlights you can look forward to on Pilgrimage B when we visit La Verna.


Our second day trip, to La Verna, allows us to experience this very special Franciscan sanctuary. It is located on the Tuscan Apennines, nestled within monumental forests of beech and fir, on a mountain whose peak (4,200 ft) is cut vertically from three sides. Above the rock and surrounded by the forest is the large complex of sanctuary buildings that house numerous treasures of spirituality, art, culture, and history. The main church of the sanctuary was completed in 1459 and is surrounded by other, smaller chapels and outbuildings.

How did La Verna get its name? An online source, provided by the Poor Clares, tells us that it was named for the pagan goddess Laverna, who was the protector of refugees, ravines, and hiding places typical of this mountain territory. Unfortunately, she may also have been the protector of thieves who felt safe to dwell in the thick forests and caves, from where they would exit to plunder passers-by and then return quickly to their safeholds.

How did Francis first come to La Verna? Through the generosity of a nobleman. In 1213, Francis and Brother Leo were crossing the Montefeltro region and heard about a party at a castle nearby. They joined the party and Francis took the opportunity to preach. Among the listeners was the Count of Chiusi in Casentino (a nearby town), named Orlando Catani. So moved was he that he offered Francis the use of his land at La Verna. Pictured here, we can see the natural shelter, under the overhang on the left, where Francis would have prayed. He would make several visits to La Verna during his lifetime – its natural beauty, silence and sense of remove fostered his receptivity to God.

Franciscan legend tells us that during his last stay, in 1224, Francis prayed to be able to participate with his whole being in the Passion of Christ. In return, Francis’ devotion marked him, over time, with what some said are the signs of the crucifixion, called stigmata.

Thirty-five years later, Bonaventure, Franciscan theologian and official biographer of Francis, made his own visit to La Verna. His important insight, received at La Verna, was that Francis modeled the way into union with God through his own prayer practices. This became a cornerstone of Bonaventure’s classic book, The Soul’s Journey into God.

La Verna has an incredibly rich heritage that we will explore to better appreciate mystic spirituality and the Franciscan tradition. And La Verna’s numinous qualities may birth something within you that longs for oneness.
During a visit to La Verna, we find exquisite examples of Renaissance artwork as well as treasured relics of St. Francis. As to the first, there are numerous bas relief panels by Andrea della Robbia, a masterful sculptor and ceramist who specialized in the technique of polychrome glazed ceramics. His works, often in two-tone white and blue, are scattered in churches and palaces throughout Tuscany and Umbria. Among the most stunning are the large panels in the Sanctuary of La Verna – the one pictured here is of the Ascended Madonna. Many more of his works are found in Florence at the Bargello Museum. 

Standing in stark contrast to the exquisite refinement of the bas relief is the home-spun beauty of St Francis’ tunic, preserved at La Verna. This 800-year-old garment testifies to Francis’ embrace of poverty and simplicity. As we cast our gaze over the garment folds, it’s easy to imagine them gathered under the rough rope Francis used as his belt. Finally, as we consider all these artifacts together, we may sense the unintendedly ironic juxtaposition of this primitive robe with the elegant artwork that honors the man who shunned all worldly refinement.
Join Us!
Join us for “In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare”, to call forth what is deepest within you as you experience the marvels of Assisi and beyond. In the tradition of the Guild’s four strands, you will be introduced to Assisi and the countryside of Umbria in an intimate one-of-a-kind experience honoring all faith traditions. You will be invited into the stories of Francis and Clare as a pathway for touching the human and divine in us all.

You have a choice of three pilgrimages: A, B, and C (C combines A and B). Pilgrimage A highlights Franciscan sites in and around Assisi. During Pilgrimages B and C, we visit storied Franciscan sites beyond Assisi - Perugia, Gubbio, Greccio, and La Verna. 

Single and double rooms are available. Space is limited. ALL are welcome! To register and for more details, click on the button below or contact your pilgrimage facilitators, Paul Kimmerling and Br. Mark D’Alessio, at
Register Today!

Join the Virtual Coffee Cafe Tuesdays at 10 am 

Guild graduates, if you love the idea of connecting with friends from your Apprenticeship Program and other Guild graduates, join the Coffee Café every Tuesday morning at 10 am. There are people who would love to see you and reconnect.

There is no cost to attend the Coffee Café.
Join us via Zoom.

Silent Meditation Tuesday Evenings and Thursday Mornings

Gather for silent meditation and prayer on Tuesday evenings at 9:00 p.m. EST and/or Thursday mornings at 6:30 a.m. EST. There is no program as such. Log on, settle in, breathe, and sit together with our Guild family, holding the world, the Guild, our lives in holy space. There is no cost for the silent meditations.

Join us via Zoom.

 Upcoming Programs at Wisdom House

Wisdom House is an interfaith retreat and conference center presenting programs in spirituality, wellness, the arts, and ecology, while offering hospitality to academic, civic, nonprofit, and business organizations. Wisdom House hosts in-person weekends for the Guild Apprenticeship Program and Graduate Guild Retreats.

Check out these upcoming programs at Wisdom House
  • Psalm 23 and Me, Nov. 5
  • Parallel Teachings of Great Mystics, Nov. 11, by Guild Member Mark D’Alessio
  • Immune System Support in Body, Mind, Spirit, Nov. 12
  • Etuaptmumk: Two Eyed Seeing, Nov. 12
  • Retreat for Women in AA, Al-Anon & ACOA, Nov. 18
  • Advent Women of Hope, Dec. 9 by Guild Member Mark D’Alessio
Wisdom House Program Information

Upcoming Courses at Deep Time Network 

Evolutionary Rituals: Dancing through the Darkness to the Ecozoic, November 1-29

Deep Time Network Course Information

Writers and Artists Wanted

Would you like to write a reflective piece for the newsletter? Would you like to share your poetry, artwork, or remembrances of what made the Guild such a special experience for you? Would you like to write a profile of a Guild member for the newsletter? If so, please contact Lou Anne Bulik. 
You’re receiving this because you’re a member of the Guild or a Guild member has recommended you because of shared interests. We hope you enjoy hearing from us, but if you would prefer not to receive this, then feel free to unsubscribe at any time.   Shalom. Salaam. Peace.
November 2022
Copyright 2021, Guild for Spiritual Guidance, All rights reserved.
Header Photo Credit, John Keith

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The Guild for Spiritual Gudiance · 25 Gordon Avenue · Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510 · USA

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