Lenten Desert: Myths Monsters Logosmoi

Desert 1

Some of you will remember the Lent Course John did in 1987:

Contemplative Prayer and Inner Crisis

In the middle of the night I call your Name’

Skinner 1987 ©

Recently Sheila Hay was able to send us the original typed version with all the old illustrations…it was brilliant to receive it and remember that time in our history.

We would love to find the original audio tapes if anybody has them?

John included material from that course in the 1993 January Retreat, and many of the stories and themes have an on going meaning and relevance to the life of the community. On our New Monasticism Facebook page we are publishing excerpts from the original material for Lent….we thought you may like to join us, either here or on our Facebook page….thanks Linda

LENTEN DESERT: Myths Monsters Logosmoi


In the garden at Hetton Hall in Northumbria UK, hidden beneath the trees, was a small wooden hut.  It had no windows; the furniture was simple, a table, a chair and a candle.  Of the many visitors who come to visit the Community, many found their way to the Poustinia.  We call it Poustinia because it means Little Desert and it is a place of retreat, solitude and conversion.

The Poustinia, with the Coracle are symbols of a new type of monasticism which emerged from this Ancient Northumbrian Kingdom.

Like the wardrobe in C. S. Lewis’s, ‘The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe,’ the Poustinia opened  a Door  to a world which is strange yet familiar, exciting yet perilous, and which like Narnia is forever near us.

Some lasted minutes in the Poustinia, until the fear of being alone without distraction forced them to leave. Those who went through the Door often needed direction and assistance on their return, from somebody who had been before them, who understood the landscape and its many inhabitants.  Especially the Witch, who seeks to entice the traveler and subject them to her will by appealing to their vain appetites.  Sadly, like Edmund, some were seduced and needed a firm love and a roaring truth to disenchant them.  Many hear a deep purring in the distance, which holds their attention and calls them forward, confident not in themselves, but in the One whose voice echoes in their heart. They discovered for themselves that Aslan is ‘not a tame Lion.’

Join us on a journey through the Landscape of the heart….

Reading Mark 1 v 13

Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days and was

tempted by the Evil One, and he was with

the wild beasts and the angels ministered to him.


Almighty God

Whose Son Jesus Christ fasted 40 days in the wilderness,

and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:

give us grace to discipline ourselves

in obedience to your Spirit;

and, as you know our weakness,

so we know your power to save;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

ASB 1980

Lenten Desert: Myths Monsters Logosmoi are extracts from the lecture series Landscape of the Heart © January Retreat 1993 Northumbria Community/John T. Skinner

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