Jubilee House Retreat Center

July 16 to 20, 2018

Next Workshop at Jubilee House

In Southwest Virginia, the historical town of  Abingdon there is  a delightful retreat center filled with light and good energy to host an iconography workshop. We will have long mornings and afternoons to meditate, paint and enjoy the atmosphere. Great conversation and exchanges always arise at these workshops, the subject and tradition make for a fascinating mix of ancient technique and contemporary revival of eternal wisdom. Do not miss this opportunity to take time out from your busy life, to accept some instruction and meditate on what an amazing thing it is to be alive and here now.

This is an ancient language handed down from Byzantium times, 1,500 years ago. The practice reveals itself through the image and patient application, one brush stroke at a time.  Each  movement, breath, emotion or insight is left on the surface as a small history recorded as a witness to who you are.

The idea of moving small particles of sand around with a brush to create a divine image is exhilarating, it is contemplative.

Details on our website, Sacred Icon Retreat

Some say, “It is a surprise to be here, or I know nothing about this kind of painting  or this is amazing”. It is a wonderful time out,  a chance to gaze into icon images with silent satisfaction. Keeping the mind still and focused as seeing and listening “is” prayer. It could be someones first encounter with an icon and could be their last but one thing I am certain of, the experience and meaning are unforgettable. I am a rebel icon painter, self taught and un-orthodox but not without tremendous love of icons, its theology and an honest desire to share what creating them has taught me.

For info contact  and cost  Karen & Bob Vaughan  http://jubileeretreat.org/

Or write to Mary Jane Miller millericons@gmail.com

The facilities mountain atmosphere, good food and labyrinth circle make for a perfect retreat center. All ages welcome as well as all levels, no experience necessary.

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Lecture in San Miguel Allende

Mary Jane Miller is fast becoming a voice for exploring new attitudes. Miller has been inspired for the past 25 years by the question, “What, besides spiritual awe, does religion tell us about the our human condition and our desire for the divine? Can we still receive guidance from the a worn out Christ story through interpreting ancient images and text in a new light? The answers she finds led to a new faith and hope for new contemporary images based on that old story, and today that means including women.


Currently she has finished a large body of work, published in her new book, IN LIGHT OF WOMEN. The book focuses on the absence of Women in Iconography. The collection includes full page color images with her commentary beside them. Iconography is the discipline of transcribing biblical text into pictures. Think for a moment about all those images of the last supper you may have seen. Mary Jane has painted many traditional images of the last supper, and now with several small changes. She included cultures from around the world and of course the women among them.

Religions around the world profess to want a more loving relationship with God and creation. Her images have the potential to enrich the traditional celebration of sacrament and mystery with a wider view for humanity in general. We are a global community, ready to share and flourish by seeing ourselves side by side with one another in every possible way, with no gender bias.


History tells us the man named Jesus was a person who transformed those he came in contact with. Mary Magdalene also experienced a transformation and became a female apostle, disciple and follower. She was a woman who tenaciously held onto Christ through difficult times and today the new icons by Mary Jane Miller hope to celebrate, inspire and expand the feminine visions of the divine. Women are finding themselves in a new world, after 2,000 years. The church has no choice but to reached out to women by revisiting the documentation and significance of what they have known and learned by having Christ in their lives.


We hear nothing about Mary Magdalene after she was sent by Jesus to the apostles. Whether Mary went to a cave in France pregnant with his child or to the Egyptian desert to meditate, we will never know for sure. The Gospel of Mary retrieved from the sandy deserts of Egypt have given painters like Mary Jane a fuller picture of Christ’s early teachings and his conversations with women. For Women, the unraveling has begun. Few of us know if the Gospel of Mary was considered for canonical inclusion or not. The text scrolls found in1896 have been rejected by the traditional church “authorities”. However, in September of 2016 the Vatican finally recognized Mary Magdalene as the undiscovered mystic she might have been. The name Mary means, ‘Barer of the Light’ and Magdalena means ‘Elevated, great, magnificent’.

Mary Jane’s studio is open for a visit and some lively conversation.

The collection of icons from IN LIGHT OF WOMEN, delightfully deviates from the orthodox norm. Part of what Miller discovered while looking for the Women to be illuminated through icons was the fact that there are so few icons with women in them to use as inspiration. The book can be purchased on line through the Web site millericons.com

Lecture to be given March 13 at the Biblioteca at 11 AM.

BUY A BOOK Click here

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Catholic Church; Status of Women and Tradition

Cultural bias against women has to a large extent been overcome in the societies of developed nations, however, the tradition and status of women is still unfortunately inferior to men around the world. Jesus strongly promoted the dignity and equality of women yet the early Christians leadership greatly reduced their roles in an effort to build the institution which reflected the cultural norms of the day. For 2,000 years women have been marginalized and I expect many will agree it is time for change. It will not come without effort from everyone one on every side to stop the prevailing ingrained bias and prejudice against women.

For centuries they were physically seen but not heard, present but confined to areas behind grills, convent windows or to one side of the isle. The liturgies are still filled with subtle references to him and his, men of God and mankind. To some extent this is language. On the other hand, women often allow for the injustice and filter the teachings to include themselves or simply accept our names are not mentioned, and our voice is not heard.

According to the Gospel accounts, Jesus’ attitude towards women was one of love and respect. Jesus did not differentiate between men and women; both genders were invited to participate in the future kingdom of God. He walked through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news to God’s people. Prophets, Saints, Disciples and Apostles were named and called in both genders. They were all instructed to love, heal, teach and share the words of Gods instructions for the benefit of humankind.

The Women who knew Jesus

Mary Magdalene was one of his travel companions present at many events recording to the bible, yet women of that era normally didn’t speak to men in public. John 4:7 – 5:30 records Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan, an outcast, a foreigner and a woman, why would Christ even speak with her? The women who touches the hem of His garment He calls a “dog” ! The disciples argue over who will be the wife in heaven after 7 brothers have passed her from bed to bed! The women who washes His feet with her hair illustrates an act of extravagant love yet she is referred to as a prostitute simply because she wears her hair loose. Jesus cured a woman who suffered from menstrual bleeding, curious ailment? yet this healing was possible with God. I call on the priesthood to review these stories and give us a clearer, deeper interpretations, ones where women are seen as valuable and wise rather than their being lesser then men, dirty or in need of healing.

One example of a women who knew Jesus involves the story of Veronica’s veil. As Jesus walked with His cross, a woman called Veronica seeing His blood and sweat, drew out her handkerchief and wiped His brow. Later on, she reverently caressed the piece of linen and later found the image of the blood-stained face of Jesus imprinted on it. This small act of kindness set in motion the whole tradition for iconography.

Women are unnamed disciples of Christ

Women followed Jesus at the baptism, feeding the five thousand, the last supper and Pentecost, etc. They had to have been there witnessing beside men because of His open and inclusive teachings. Women proved their commitment to Christ, at the foot of the cross, at the tomb and afterwards in service to the community as wise women apostles and disciples. Paul’s letters in particular yield strong historical evidence that the leadership roles of women in the infant church got distorted. Contrary to this the artwork in the catacombs appears to indicate that women took an active part in leadership in the early Church and also in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Christian Feminism

Many women are restless and dissatisfied with the Churches refusal to dignify women. They find no benefit from their long devoted silence. No matter how much female devotion and dedication to the teachings, the Church institution continues to limit the service of women. Most women active in today’s church have come into contact with those in control who refuse to re frame the outdated “ancient” teachings institutionalized by men. Women are tired of always getting permission from a man. The bias towards them has changed too slowly.

In 1960 the Roman Catholic Church changed celebrating mass in Latin to each countries native language, before that it was Latin everywhere. It was a necessary alteration in the mass. People had changed and many no longer studied or spoke any Latin anywhere. In addition for centuries Catholics were encouraged not to read the bible independently for fear of false or misleading interpretations. The church had to change a long tradition to suite the times. This was a magnificent change opening communication and debate and thinking. How the church treats Women is a similar landscape which also needs change. Imagine men went to the moon in 1964 but after 2,000 years only a few nations are beginning to ponder the position of women in today’s church or society.

TRUTH Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.

Few biblical text defend the absence of Women’s voices. The words of ancient theologians fuel theological debates but unfortunately continue to perpetuate an ignorance of our contemporary world. Centuries ago women were accepted as inferior to men and considered unworthy, poor things were easily led astray. In the 2nd century Tertullian, said of woman: “You are the devil’s gateway”; in the 3rd century Origen wrote: “What is seen with the eyes of the creator is masculine, and not feminine, for God does not stoop to look upon what is feminine; in the 4th century Epiphanius said: “The devil seeks to vomit out his disorder through women.”

YUP outrageous, Harsh words indeed!

The early Gnostic influences must have really threatened the mainline developing church institution during the first two centuries. The teachings were decidedly unacceptable, too radical, too inclusive, too mystical to teach and therefore rejected, ridiculed and squashed. Many of the texts highlighted commonality and a common spirit shared equally within all of creation. Yet, the church chose to shape the cultural prejudice against women making them inferior to men by nature and by law. A male dominated church rose and kept the control. As late as St Thomas Aquinas 1250, we have a well developed attitude: “… the individual nature, a woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power….”. Theology like this altered the agenda of the day.

Ladies, if you have ever wondered where the teachings came from, the framework for our continual debasement, the doctrines which have been hailed as word of God, these kinds of text above are still being held to be truth. If the men are so enlightened and want to teach the word of God, those in power will have to recognize the error and make amends, for too long we have failed to see accurately the God given blessed commonality within the male/female relationship. Those in power have the power to omit the words and teaching which do not serve but only hinder and separate women. The past has passed and we are fast coming into a new age of awareness. We are waking up to a new world. The sky and the mountains and the oceans have always witnessed truth, only humanity has failed to see clearly how balanced creation is and how it fits together as a whole, male and female alike.

We Can Allow Change.

It is not heretical to think there is equality with difference between the sexes. We are by no means finished learning to be one body in Christ, we have yet to fully develop and honor the feminine side. Our leaders must condemn sexual discrimination in their congregations on every level and work to put an end to the subordination of women in every community and societies around the world.

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Andy Fletcher’s talks


You should love Big Bang because the discovery of Big Bang was the most amazing, stunning, unbelievable, extraordinary, mind-boggling, gobsmacking, paradigm-shattering, science-altering event in the history of human thought, and it brought the discussion over the existence of God back onto the table.

Initially, Albert Einstein rejected the Big Bang theory out of hand as ridiculous, and messed up a perfectly good equation. Not only did Einstein reject it, most if not all scientists rejected it. Einstein rejected it even though his own personal General Theory of Relativity predicted it a full decade before there was any evidence that the beginning of space might be a Big Bang. He didn’t put a Big Bang in there, so it was quite a shock when it popped out. When all the evidence started to line up in support of Big Bang, he had to go back and fix his equation, which made it beautiful once again.

The British astronomer Fred Hoyle rejected Big Bang cosmology saying it had a deep-rooted attachment to the first chapter of Genesis, God was the unknowable beginning. Ironically, science rejected it because it sounded too much like religion and religion rejected it cause it sounds too much like science.

In 1905 Einstein discovered that time is not a constant. Time has a speed, and its speed slows down as you speed up, space-time is actually flexible, bendable, and warpable. What’s more, he discovered that space and time aren’t separate – they’re woven together and maybe interchangeable.

Big Bang was that moment when space and time came into existence, Christians say, “In the beginning was God”. Before Big Bang, there was no … before. No space. No time. No nothing. There was no there, there for anything to be there in, no when for anything to be then in.

Then, in a tiny tiny fraction of a second, the rate of expansion perfect to one part in ten to the sixtieth, the universe blew itself into existence. In a moment, Singularity became a universe-sized universe, a cosmos-sized cosmos, the whole process taking far less than a nano second. We are the dust particles from that one instant.

Everything … came from … nothing.

Andy Fletcher’s talks are a fascinating, a gripping explorations into the way we think the universe is – contrasted dramatically with the way it actually is. We persist in our belief that everything is logical and reasonable, that everything makes sense, and that we can pretty much understand everything of importance in science and nature.

Andrew Fletcher, back by popular demand.Join us at St Paul’s Anglican Church

Monday, Tuesday  Feb 12 ,13 ,

for crazy, interesting and mind blowing thoughts 11 AM

If you did not hear him last year, you will not want to miss this year!. All welcome donations accepted at the door.

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The Beginning of Wisdom

How many people strive for Wisdom, that moment of sure, deep knowing when something is undeniably clear, right in front of you. It is exhilarating.

Wisdom is knowing as an un-involved observer, the moment engages your body, and mind, and all your emotions in a single, integral act of perception. Normally it happens in an instant, like seeing the way things are in their total-ness. Wisdom feels like your whole state of being has been lifted into another plane of awareness. Lemons are not just lemons anymore and yet they are just lemons. The other shocking quality is when you tell someone about it, the words get scrambled but you are unshakable sure you know what happened and what you understood.


The delightful truth is, Wisdom is normally unexpected and undeniable, a mystical experience offered to anyone and at any time. It is often an acutely altered mode of our being present in the world, and at the same time out of this world. Ironically it is perceived with an increased capacity to have compassion, humility, and groundedness – qualities described in Christianity as “the fruits of the spirit.” ( I have always liked being a fool for God, now I can add being a fruit as well!)

All Religions

Wisdom underlies all the great religious traditions without being exclusively confined to any of them. It is as common as water being poured into a number of different glasses. It can take on their shape or even coloration, but the water remains water, loved, shared and prized by all. Wisdom is the closest point of contact where all beliefs potentially find a commonality in their spiritual traditions. At their tradition, dogmatic and doctrinal poles, they may be light years away from each other, yet as I said wisdom claims no ownership and a never ending source open to all and often un-requested. Wisdom, in any language, age group, tradition, ceremony, circumstance, etc. comes from a source greater than we can imagine, in a world without beginning or end. It cannot be created or destroyed and has no actual form but is undeniably real.

Sacred traditions distinguish wisdom by signature genres and teaching methods; parables, koans, and story telling. The goal is to overturn the ego and mental brain and break through to that life giving center where there is absolute meaning. Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, the Upanishads, the Dali Lama are clearly recognizable as a Wisdom teachers. We consider them to be wise because they see life from the perspectives of wisdom and love. We seek consciousness as if it were a new age concept, something we can get or achieve or become. I would say this is an upside down perception, the witnessing self who knows there is no self is the beginning of knowing and seeing reality as all love, all wisdom, all truth. The process of learning to loss the self is classically referred to as “putting the mind in the heart.”

The heart is understood as the seat of spiritual perception. Unlike the mind, which perceives through differentiation, the heart perceives inter-dimensionally, by directly grasping a larger pattern. The heart is liberated from its personal emotional drama and its attachment. “be still and know” This purification is brought about through the classic practices of silence, surrender, non-identification, and compassion.

Humanity is finally Changing

William Blake once described it – the higher intensity of the vibrational field is divine presence, it witnesses consciousness after the mind displaces its belief attached to personal identity. Teilhard de Chardin: “To understand the world, knowledge is not enough. You must see it, touch it, live in its presence.” Gospel of Thomas “ Jesus said: I will give you that which eye has not seen, an ear has not heard, and hand has not touched, and that which has not entered into the heart of man”. All of them say the same , there is more than what we think of as enough.

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Egg Tempera Technique

If there is NO GOD then I have had a great time living the illusion that there is one and

If there IS a GOD, it will confirm a life illuminated by something greater than I can imagine.

Mind and spirit exist in God as well as in the ancient medium of egg tempera, (painting with million year old dirt). The practice allows us to slowly witness our selves as we work and simultaneously watch the image as it arises in form and beauty. Our minds and spirits cannot help but give meaning to what we can see around us as the image unfolds. The egg tempera technique reveals a marvelous tiny world were we comprehend the unseen and make it visible. Egg tempera is so intimately yoked to me ( pun intended) I have thought I might one day be transformed into a chicken. I want to breathe in life and know God at every moment while pushing pigments around. The easiest way for me to find beauty, harmony and peace is in this dirt.

I invite you to allow this rich tradition and

experience to take you into the mystical and illogical.

“I am” is an ancient concept of the divine, it states a moment of individual existence. So with an icon,(means image). Painting images in egg tempera is limitless meditation; the process has seduced generations of icon painters into looking at what is obvious, “I am”… matter and mind simultaneously. The potential for spiritual awareness is trapped in million year old dirt waiting to be seen. There the grains of sand individually placed are beauty and stillness changing our world, one inch at a time. The delicate membrane around the yolk holds the essence of life within itself, liken to humans whose flesh holds the consciousness of God.

We are grains of sand screaming at the ocean of God.

Expect to get astonished by the divine link, as you witness Gods action in you merging matter and spirit through painting icons. We witness our efforts to create as the color deepens and changes, is transformed and highlighted all in some magnificent symphony played out in simple dirt.

My new body of work is challenging to the status quo of the icon community. This is fine, there have always been heretics and rebels in every aspect of life around the globe. The tradition can withstand lots of change for its beauty is held in its limitless range of image and message. God is a verb, changing and revealing him/her self to us, just as if every instant is God’s fist thought of creation. The foundation for every great icon is first in the spirit, and not necessarily in the tradition. The first icons expressed a universal idea which dates back more than a millennium and speaks of holiness, the fantastic blending of flesh and spirit in Christ. That mystic concept is creation being felt and experienced by everyone, even today.


All communication will lead us to realize;

We are not alone,
We are all connected,
We live outside of time and space
We are loved because we are sustained
We will begin to perceive this through our
thought, love, vibration, breath, and energy.

It is not loneliness I carve, it is ONE liness.

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What is going on?

(1) We are in the end times.

(2) Humanity has never seen such greed and selfishness before.

(3) We are experiencing life as chaos.

As people experience their world spinning out of control and sense their own powerlessness with daily craziness, acts of violence, and unimaginable suffering, nothing seems stable.

Destruction and ruin lurk everywhere, taking many forms. It feels uncertain, too many anxious individuals living in a worn out system. Our vulnerability is increasing as cyber technology exposes us and hacking holds us hostage.


It is scary stuff filled with fear and anxiety.

We are not able to function well – our thoughtfulness, creativity, and ability to respond with kindness is being compromised.  The surge of unbridled greed and selfishness is effecting everything; our families, schools, governments, the eco system, religion, commerce, science, etc. Greed and selfishness bread evil, destructive, supremacy, and lives with no reverence. We are living in a time of social regression, “charity no longer begins at home” . Our hearts are tight, our souls are afraid, and our minds have ceased to think well. We are living separate and isolated lives, tainted by the “loveless” behavior of others.

Co-operation among people, states, cities, counties, and nations have all been thwarted by chaos. We live in a world of lies, forgetting that one part of the system does indeed affect all parts of the system. We live an illusion outside the natural order where all things are connected. We believe the sun, the rain, the earth, the stars and ocean all work in cosmic harmony, without us. We live privileged lives thinking we are not part of a larger, complex world system at virtually every level.


Fractals are a hopeful metaphor for what is happening.

Out of chaos emerges the new order. Chaos is a natural part of the universal cycle of life. Chaos is not a total absence of order. It appears we are living with a profound lack of organization or order, yet with time what eventually arise is a pattern for the future. Within the “chaos” is everything needed to create the future. A fractal is a thing of beauty and wonder that when seen in small scale may seem disconnected. Yet as you back up and away of the one part, all the parts become organized beauty and pattern. The metaphor is a good one for today, each of us is being called to get out of the one moment or one problem or one person and see a larger landscape. The new bigger picture is filled with pattern repetition and grace. We have a grand opportunity to interpret and connect the dots in new and different ways.

I paint with millions of grains of colored sand mixed with egg yolk, who could possibly believe what the whole image looks like if you only saw a fragment. Again the metaphor, we cannot see the whole if we look only at the moment. We cannot see the ocean if we keep looking at the beach.


In the midst of all this chaos of greed and selfishness

something wonderful is happening.

By God’s grace we are living in a fractal moment. God’s gift to us, is precisely the possibility of this moment, even if it appears like horror show. I would ask, “What do we see, think and understand and what are we to do?” First, make the commitment to live in the midst of this moment through acceptance, none of us own it, sustain it or maintain it. Step up to the creative process of living, experimenting, focusing, examining, seeing all the potential that has been given. As a believer I ask myself, “How can I best serve God? Creation? Others? How do I connect the ocean and the sand in my mind and make peace with things which are so much greater than I? How do I learn from the wonder and beauty of great situations and accept them as simply patterns repeating in millions of ways.

The Spirit will lead us to create the new things,

in a new order that will support, sustain, and enliven our future.

It will be good, a complete and bodacious surprise.


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