Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship


ELCA News Service

History was made in August when the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) ushered in its first female presiding bishop. Bishop Elizabeth Eaton now holds the highest office in a denomination that is home to almost 4 million members.

Guest Author: 
Wendy Rudd

What are Windsails, you may ask?

‘Windsails’ form a meditative art installation.

One hundred and eighty curved cane and paper triangles are suspended together in groups to form gently moving mobiles. This installation has been shown in many locations in the UK and was on display in the church of St. Paul in Palm Springs, California, USA during Lent this year.

The idea for Windsails began while I was staying on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. This sacred place, one of the birthplaces of Celtic Christianity lies off the Northumberland Coast on the east side of England, UK. I noticed the crab creels piled up on the harbor and became fascinated by the spaces between them.

Guest Author: 
Betsey Beckman

When I recently picked up Avis Clendenden's book, Experiencing Hildegard, I found her opening line quite timely, "In the context of Western patriarchy, women have been marginalized again and again to the edges of history and out of collective consciousness." She explains that this is precisely why we need to rediscover and uphold Hildegard's wisdom today—to integrate her unique and feminine voice for much-needed balance in our times.

Guest Author: 

Are you curious to learn what the landscape of Saint Hildegard’s Germany looks like?

Imagine what it would be like to be a pilgrim in Germany. In our newest SDI video, Reverend Dr. Carol Vaccariello talks about the connection between Saint Hildegard of Bingen and spiritual direction.

Revered Dr. Carol Vaccariello has been called to be with others on life’s journey through fear, to love; from separateness, to wholeness. She is an ordained person, close to Earth/Creation, and is loving, open and affirming, and open to all possibilities. Vaccariello is also highly trained to walk beside and guide others.

Guest Author: 
Rachel Katz, MA, MEd

I often dance with mortality and mystery as an interfaith spiritual director and companion to the dying at Zen Hospice Project, which trains volunteers to practice these Five Precepts of Hospice Care developed by its founder:

1) Bring your whole self to the bedside.

2) Welcome everything, push away nothing.

3) Find a place of rest in the middle of things.

4) Cultivate "don't know mind."

5) Don't wait.

Years ago, as a new hospice volunteer and spiritual director overflowing with compassion, openness, and newly acquired skills, I was excited to practice all that I had learned—especially the five precepts.

Everything changed as soon as I met “John.”

Guest Author: 
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD

“I am the fiery life of the essence of God; I am the flame above the beauty in the fields; I shine in the waters; I burn in the sun, the moon, and the stars. And with the airy wind, I quicken all things vitally by an unseen, all-sustaining life. For the air is alive in the verdure and the flowers; the waters flow as if they lived; the sun too lives in its light; and when the moon wanes it is rekindled by the light of the sun, as if it lived anew: Even the stars glisten in their light as if alive.”

 —Hildegard of Bingen

Guest Author: 
Dr. Helen Kwon

Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning upon her beloved? (SO 8:5a)

Guest Author: 
Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffmann

The opus of the soul consists of three parts: Insight. Action. Endurance.

—Carl Jung

Hurriedly we leave. The bread
does not have time to rise.
The journey to freedom compels.

At the beginning, we know.
A cloud by day, a pillar of fire
by night. The shackles of bondage

float to the heavens with our gratitude.
Bondage is strange though.
There is comfort in the known.

The desert is harsh, unforgiving.
The joy of freedom evaporates
under the hot sun. Our feet

yearn to turn backwards towards
the familiar. The land of milk and honey
is not visible, still but a yearning.

Guest Author: 
Michele Tamaren

“I turn my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come?”  

—Psalm 121

My home sits at the rocky edge of the sea in Marblehead, Massachusetts, USA, yet my heart called me to the desert, home of my Israelite ancestors, in preparation for Passover 2013. Over three thousand years ago, Moses led the Jewish people out of Egyptian slavery, over treacherous slopes and burning sands until they reached the Promised Land. Today, Jews the world over, celebrate Passover, retell the freedom story at seders, and look inward to recognize and release our inner, personal bondage.

Guest Author: 
Mirabai Starr

All my life I have been a mountain goat in disguise. The minute I encounter a sandstone outcropping, a grassy hillside, or a mountain pass, I convert into my animal self and cannot resist the urge to scramble up the slope and sprint back down. So when I had the opportunity to climb Boboquivari Mountain with my fellow travelers on the SDI pilgrimage last month, it was only with the utmost discipline that I managed to take up my appointed position at the rear to assist less experienced hikers ascend.


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