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Spirituality in the Face of Collaps

16-18 February 2024

Many people find that the real and serious threat of ecological and social collapse prompts a reflective turn of mind. This retreat offers a few days to pursue that reflectiveness in the company of others, to write and to read drawing on a library of diverse philosophical and religious sources. 

The plan is simple. The time is for retreatants to read and to write as they wish, interspersed with breaks for refreshments and meals. There is a meditation room in the house which will be available to retreatants, who will also be welcome to join the regular daily worship of the resident community. The beautiful gardens are designed for reflective walking, and there are plenty of wilder footpaths just beyond the boundaries. In the afternoons we will offer the option of joining a workshop or structured discussion for those who wish. The Hosts will be available for one-to-one or small group consultations (between times when they too will be reading and writing). Retreatants will be invited to send an outline and perhaps a sample of their writing plans in advance.

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The Fintry retreat house is home to a unique library of books relating to the world’s great traditions of religion and philosophical enquiry. These include works in English and original languages on Daoism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Egyptian and other pre-Socratics, Plato and Neo-Platonism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Paganisms and so forth. We expect these will be a fascinating resource for retreatants, along with whatever other sources you are exploring.

Joining Jonathan on this retreat will be Eleanor Parker and Peter Case. 

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Sample Schedule

FRIDAY 16th  

Writers' Meet & Greet

Time to settle in, tea/cake/fruit

Writing Session 1

Workshop A

Drinks and dinner



Writing Session 2

Light luncheon

Writing Session 3

Afternoon Tea

Optional Workshop B

Drinks & Dinner

SUNDAY 18th  


Writing Session 4


Writing Session 5 / Nature Walk

Optional Workshop C

Drinks & Dinner

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Some thoughts on facing collapse


Contemplating the pace of climate change and the escalation of its effects, it is not surprising that there is a wide range of conscious and unconscious responses. Protest, rebellion, activism, renunciation, xenophobia, selfishness and self-sacrifice; calls for strong leaders or for cooperative communitarianism; new laws against ecocide and old lawlessness of privileged elites. Meteorological and other sciences, so long a restrained expression of reason, have become harbingers of floods, fires and famines.

We are not the first culture to face its own near-term end: many others have been overwhelmed by colonisation, wiped out by disease, or starved by ecological collapse. The scale of the current crisis may

trump all previous ones, but the catastrophic disruption of all social and economic norms is something that has been faced many times before. As in our own time, responses have varied, including apocalyptic prophecies, millenarianism, ecstatic sects, avoidance and denial. But there have also been beautiful and profound insights into what it is to be human, to be part of nature, and to be spiritual; and practices that connect with transcendent Life, Light and Love – prompted perhaps by the prospect of a cultural ending that is so much more unsettling even than that of personal death.


So on this writing and reading retreat we are concerned with the spiritual resources that may be helpful in facing collapse. To be clear, we are not opposing activism, renunciation or any of the steps one may take oneself or urge upon the wider political system.  It’s just an opportunity to develop the inner aspects.

The House

Fintry is the HQ of The Fintry Trust (an educational charity) and The Universal Order, which offers courses in religious philosophy. This retreat is organised by Pelumbra Ltd, as part of its series of writing retreats.

Registration and Cost

To register and for another questions about the Retreat, write to

The fees include:

·    Writing workshops and advice sessions

·    Accommodation for 3 nights/4 days

·    All your meals: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners  

·    Morning and afternoon refreshments

·    Use of wi-fi, sitting rooms, library, gardens, and local know-how


Single Occupancy £x

Double Occupancy (Two single beds in one room) £x

Non-Residential £350

Fees do not include airfare, travel insurance, additional accommodations or personal expenses.

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