Holy Shenanigans

An Icon-ic Lent with Kristen Wheeler

February 20, 2024 Tara Lamont Eastman Season 5 Episode 8
An Icon-ic Lent with Kristen Wheeler
Holy Shenanigans
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Holy Shenanigans
An Icon-ic Lent with Kristen Wheeler
Feb 20, 2024 Season 5 Episode 8
Tara Lamont Eastman

How can this Lent be "Icon-ic"?

Join Rev. Tara Lamont Eastman on a Lenten journey with Kristen Wheeler as they explore iconography as a spiritual practice.

Questions To Ponder:
How could engaging with Icons enrich your Lent? Your spiritual life?
What is your "favorite" saint - and why?
How do you engage in creativity as a spiritual practice?


 Kristen is a modern iconographer, fine art painter, creative photographer, inspired writer, vivid storyteller, and world explorer.  From Kristen:  "My soul is stirred by the colorful and dark creation around and within us and I'm influenced by equal parts pain and joy. Studying theology and the saints are my passion and I love nothing more than sharing that passion with others by teaching, preaching, and leading creative-based workshops and retreats. I'm a deeply spiritual individual with friends and family of every spectrum of belief and non-belief. I believe that if you are a good person to yourself and others, the rest of the details are lagniappe (as we say in Louisiana). I believe my only job as a Christian person is to be the best example of Jesus' love I know how to be. I live and love in Southeast Louisiana with my husband, Basset Hound, overly affectionate kitty, and massive collection of house plants, all of which keep me of sound mind and body."

Kristen's Websites:
moderniconographer.com
kristenannwheeler.com

Send Tara a Text Message

Wild Goose Festival is a transformational community grounded in faith-inspired social justice. Wherever we come together we learn and grow by co-creating art, music, story, theater, and spectacle, engaging in a wide variety of robust, courageous conversations with each other and with thought leaders and artists from other communities. Listeners of Holy Shenanigans Podcast can use the discount code a-tle24 for a $50 discount off the price of an adult weekend ticket!


No Longer Nomads

Dedicated to supporting men navigate life's trickiest relationships while striving...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman is an Ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has pastored ELCA and PCUSA churches throughout New York State. She was a contributing writer to the Collaborate Lutheran Student Bible and the Connect Sunday School curriculum, published by Sparkhouse.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How can this Lent be "Icon-ic"?

Join Rev. Tara Lamont Eastman on a Lenten journey with Kristen Wheeler as they explore iconography as a spiritual practice.

Questions To Ponder:
How could engaging with Icons enrich your Lent? Your spiritual life?
What is your "favorite" saint - and why?
How do you engage in creativity as a spiritual practice?


 Kristen is a modern iconographer, fine art painter, creative photographer, inspired writer, vivid storyteller, and world explorer.  From Kristen:  "My soul is stirred by the colorful and dark creation around and within us and I'm influenced by equal parts pain and joy. Studying theology and the saints are my passion and I love nothing more than sharing that passion with others by teaching, preaching, and leading creative-based workshops and retreats. I'm a deeply spiritual individual with friends and family of every spectrum of belief and non-belief. I believe that if you are a good person to yourself and others, the rest of the details are lagniappe (as we say in Louisiana). I believe my only job as a Christian person is to be the best example of Jesus' love I know how to be. I live and love in Southeast Louisiana with my husband, Basset Hound, overly affectionate kitty, and massive collection of house plants, all of which keep me of sound mind and body."

Kristen's Websites:
moderniconographer.com
kristenannwheeler.com

Send Tara a Text Message

Wild Goose Festival is a transformational community grounded in faith-inspired social justice. Wherever we come together we learn and grow by co-creating art, music, story, theater, and spectacle, engaging in a wide variety of robust, courageous conversations with each other and with thought leaders and artists from other communities. Listeners of Holy Shenanigans Podcast can use the discount code a-tle24 for a $50 discount off the price of an adult weekend ticket!


No Longer Nomads

Dedicated to supporting men navigate life's trickiest relationships while striving...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman is an Ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has pastored ELCA and PCUSA churches throughout New York State. She was a contributing writer to the Collaborate Lutheran Student Bible and the Connect Sunday School curriculum, published by Sparkhouse.

Kristen Wheeler: [00:00:00] Hi there friends of Holy Shenanigans 

Tara Lamont Eastman: podcast. We are so glad that you are in this sacred and non stuffy neighborhood with us as we prepare for the season of Lent. I think it's really important for us to use this season as a time for spiritual filling and encouragement in ways that are not heavy and burdensome.

Tara Lamont Eastman: And before we get too far into the season of Lent, I wanted to have the conversation with my new friend, Kristen Wheeler. I met Kristen through her beautiful artwork that I saw online and her focus on the saints. So hi, Kristen. Thank you so much for

Tara Lamont Eastman: being with us. 

Kristen Wheeler: thanks for inviting me.

Tara Lamont Eastman: And so along with us, with Kristen [00:01:00] and I, we have her, lovely dog, Angela Bassett.

Tara Lamont Eastman: So Angela made. It's here and there in our conversation, but we're glad to have you all, here with us.

Kristen Wheeler: Glad to be here.

Tara Lamont Eastman: So 

Kristen Wheeler: Kristen, could you say a little bit about your 

Tara Lamont Eastman: work especially in the area of, of art and the saints? That's

Kristen Wheeler: to keep it short because these saints conversations tend to go on. So basically I'm an artist and a writer. And I do iconography work and People always ask me like how that started and if I've been an artist my whole life. I have been an artist my whole life. I ran a photography business for 17 years.

Kristen Wheeler: I did portraits and weddings and things like that. And did theater and dance and all kinds of things. And that was a lifetime ago or what seems like a lifetime ago. I lived in Florida when I did that and I [00:02:00] moved to Louisiana in 2015. And I found the Episcopal Church in 2016 and became a member for. I would say a brief time, but we all know it's not brief. I was in the discernment process to be a deacon. I got halfway through seminary and made the decision to remove myself from that. So that's where a lot of, my knowledge of , prayer and everything, how that kind of came into being.

Kristen Wheeler: because I was away from organized religion for the better part of 20 years. I grew up Catholic nothing against Catholics, but there was just a lot that didn't agree with me. so discovering the Episcopal Church, I realized that it could be more motivated by justice and , those types of things that the Episcopal Church is known for.

Kristen Wheeler: And so that's what kind of drew me in. And as far as icons go, that came about at the very beginning of [00:03:00] the pandemic and like March 15th, 2020. Yeah, I had had a vision of I have an altar that I have at home and I have a kind of very Anglo Saxon white Jesus that's above it that someone gave me.

Kristen Wheeler: And that's why I feel connected to it. It's not how I see Jesus, but I was there one day and I thought. If I had enough to eat and I had enough to drink and I had enough sleep because I kept like flipping the light switch on and off because I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. It played like a flip book.

Kristen Wheeler: Like Jesus kept changing clothes and hair and , textiles and things. He was holding and, and I realized now that that was a foretelling of the work that I would be doing. The bold colors and all the things that I include in iconography really came from that vision. And so the first icon I did was [00:04:00] Jesus of the sacred heart, and I painted it live on Facebook.

Kristen Wheeler: Right when lockdown happened, because I thought people needed a distraction. And from that moment forward I've had commissions nonstop since then. I just finished my 64th icon. , so next month, it'll be four years already that I've been doing this. And because I study them so extensively before I do the act of writing their icon, that.

Kristen Wheeler: I also teach classes about them and share all that information and, and do, it's just totally, completely changed the course of my life forever. So,

Kristen Wheeler: Wow.

Kristen Wheeler: that's kind of how it all started.

Kristen Wheeler: So for folks who 

Tara Lamont Eastman: aren't familiar with icons, 

Kristen Wheeler: What would be the definition 

Tara Lamont Eastman: of an icon.

Kristen Wheeler: Well, a lot of people would say it's surrounded by rules and I'm, One for breaking rules. Like you got to know the rules [00:05:00] before you break them. I don't think you would invite me on holy shenanigans if that wasn't something of the case.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yes. 

 

Tara Lamont Eastman: You're as a fellow holy shenanigator. Yes.

Kristen Wheeler: yeah, but I'm also as an artist and, , a generally, , kind of streetwise person you have to know the rules before you break them um, because otherwise you're kind of flippantly doing things and you can't do that either.

Kristen Wheeler: So I actually studied when I was first in art school, I had kind of gotten attachment to it and I was studying art history. I'm actually a semester short of an art history degree, fun fact. And I got first interested about it then and then the February right before lockdown, I happened to be in St.

Kristen Wheeler: Augustine, Florida, and there is a Greek Orthodox church there that's really well known and they have a little icon shop. And I told my husband, I'm like, you can go walk down there, I'm gonna be here for a little while. For a while, and I spent probably three or four hours there, [00:06:00] and the reason I bring that up is because most people have this idea in their head that iconography is only an icon when it's done traditionally, whether that's, , Greek or Orthodox style or traditional Christian style, it That's what people know, and there's definitely people who will argue with me that that is the only icons is done traditionally.

Kristen Wheeler: I would argue that iconography is about intention, just like prayer is about intention. And the whole thing of icons is that they are a visual prayer. Originally Icons and stained glass windows were there because most people that came to the church were illiterate.

Kristen Wheeler: So they had to use visuals to tell the stories. So, that's why I study them so extensively because how can I know what to put in their icon unless I know. Their story. And you'll find a lot of like [00:07:00] traditional symbolism in my modern interpretations, because I like to keep some things, , intact as far as that goes.

Kristen Wheeler: But most people would consider traditional iconography to be just what you've seen before. And there's just this whole like modern movement. You have people like Kelly Lattimore. In and lots of others that are really well known for doing modern interpretations of icons, and I have had, I would say, holy arguments with people , about iconography.

Kristen Wheeler: I even did when I was in school, one of our teachers taught a weekend class about traditional iconography, and I invited her to change her wording instead of saying, like, this is, The only way to do icons to say traditional iconography instead. So that it wasn't, so insulting. But I've also met [00:08:00] original, like traditional iconographers.

Kristen Wheeler: Who are not open to the modern interpretations and say that there's a very specific rule based way that we do this and it's only an icon if it's done this way and I say to them the church, the big C is pretty known for doing things the same way over and over and over again.

Kristen Wheeler: There's a theology to that, for sure, but where has that gotten us? By doing the same thing over and over and over and over again. So, if we don't Use our gifts and use our prayers and our intentions with God. And if you have a gift of, , visual representation, whether that being an artist or writing or whatever are we not to use that?

Tara Lamont Eastman: Transfiguration Sunday. changing, of doing something perhaps in a new way.

Kristen Wheeler: exactly. Exactly.

Tara Lamont Eastman: So perhaps this [00:09:00] work of iconography can also be a part of that transfiguration.

Kristen Wheeler: For sure. And it's, funny you bring up the transfiguration. I told you that this time in February between Bridget and, Gobnett's feast days, which I'll talk about in a little bit is a time of transformation for me. And the very first time I preached was for Transfiguration Sunday

Kristen Wheeler: In that sermon I talked about the vision I had at my altar with the changing, like a foot book, do you have 

Tara Lamont Eastman: a favorite Saint

Kristen Wheeler: I get this one a lot and it's usually whoever I'm working on at that time, when I'm learning them and it's funny how I'm so much more open to talk about this now. People are always afraid to talk about visions and, , feelings and things like that because , were led to believe.

Kristen Wheeler: Well, that's. or that's, , just not something you talk about or, or whatever it is. And I like to change that perspective and open those conversations, like when I'm doing classes and things, [00:10:00] and I'm way more open to talking about that. And we have to talk about visions, so the latest saint that I've worked on is Padre Pio, and I really didn't know anything about him. He is a very, very Catholic saint, which is Also, another thing people bring up a lot is they assume that all the saints are Catholic and I'm like, well, a lot of them, it was before the Reformation, so they didn't have a choice, so it's fine, but we don't blame them, for that.

Kristen Wheeler: I've gotten to know them so well and their stories and I call them my friends. So it also depends on what's going on in my life. Like who shows up whenever I'm doing iconography they come to me through other people. They're commissioned by other people. So I don't have like a list and then people choose from that list.

Kristen Wheeler: They come to me and those saints happen to come to me at a time when I need them too. So it's whoever I'm working on at the time and whoever [00:11:00] I need. , at the time for instance, like the other day I did a, a meditation where it talks about connecting with the Holy Spirit and, , witnessing fire and walking into fire and kind of coming out of it, like burning away what you don't need, especially this time of year, it's like you're, burning, that away so that you can be ready for something new, like spring, right?

Kristen Wheeler: And I kept thinking fire and I, was visualizing, I had Bridget, Joan of Arc and Margaret of Antioch, all three of them are associated with fire. , things like that will happen. So it'll just be, , , whoever comes up, whoever I need at the time, Bridget is a favorite today because she brought us together.

Kristen Wheeler: So,

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yes, she is a favorite. And I've been learning about her for, . Several years now. I have a pendant I wear for I got it during the pandemic, and it was a lot around [00:12:00] writing and poetry.

Tara Lamont Eastman: And really, holy shenanigans, one of the first manifestations of this was always having an element of poetry. And today we do have a poem that I'll share with you in just a little bit, but. That was that initial connection to Bridget , being that patroness saint of writers and poets and many other things. 

Tara Lamont Eastman: And I really felt a call back to that, work of poetry as a spiritual practice. And so I had a wonderful connection with Bridget on St. Bridget's Day. I was doing a visit at a, hospital and I got done with my visit and I was. Looking up on my phone, I'm like, Oh, is there a, 

Kristen Wheeler: Bridget's church anywhere?

Tara Lamont Eastman: And 30 minutes away was a Bridget's church. And so I hopped in my car and just in time was able to, to make it in before , the Sexton left the church for the day. And was able to see this beautiful fresco on the wall of Bridget. And [00:13:00] I was like, what are the chances? And then , we connected.

Tara Lamont Eastman: That same day, pretty much. 

Kristen Wheeler: I

Kristen Wheeler: what got me to is when I brought up good trouble and then you put the the wow emoji and then you were like, that's part of. what you write in your emails and I was like, Oh, well, , that's just another, , you call it holy shenanigans. do. I do. I do. So, when you want 

Tara Lamont Eastman: to share about Bridget, because I always want to learn more about her, what might you like to share with audience today?

Kristen Wheeler: well, I think my favorite story about her and, I bring this up too, not just cause it's, fun and it's interesting and it's, , Celtic lore. Cause we don't know if it really happened or not because it was so long ago. My husband loves this story because he's really into comic books. And he sees her as a superhero, not in a bad way, but just this particular [00:14:00] instance, he visualizes it as a comic book.

Kristen Wheeler: Like he could draw it for you. He loves the story so much. When she went to build her monastery, she had to ask for the land to build it. And the person that she was requesting it from , was basically like laughing at her because, , she's a woman and, , asking for this land and has a lot of cojones to do something like that.

Kristen Wheeler: And he said, kind of laughably yeah, you can have whatever land your cloak covers, thinking that she would just drop her cloak and then she could have this little. Square of land, but her she took her cloak off and her cloak started to grow

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yes. And

Kristen Wheeler: And it covered acres and acres and acres and I kind of picture him going.

Kristen Wheeler: Whoa, wait a minute That's enough. And she's kind of standing there like, well, you said, and and then she was given the land and she built her [00:15:00] monastery. So my husband just loves to see that as like a, a series of comic book panels that her, , cloak is just growing and growing. So when I tell of her, I like to tell that story because it's very visual.

Kristen Wheeler: So yeah,

Tara Lamont Eastman: now there's a tradition on the eve of St. Bridget's Day 

Kristen Wheeler: where people will put cloth Outside 

Tara Lamont Eastman: be blessed, and I mean, this might be a new idea to engage with in their spiritual life. I think it's important to say that, , all of these saints are pointing us to the way which is the way of, hope and peace and joy and love in God's.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Kindom and I think that it's really important to say that because I know in some cases people can say, oh, well, , you shouldn't pray to a saint or all of those shouldn'ts. But again, I think that points back to a very stringent legalistic perspective when it comes to spirituality.

Tara Lamont Eastman: But I think the Saints are part of the tradition to encourage, to, to [00:16:00] give examples to be that cloud of witnesses that encourage us in our journey. Would you agree?

Kristen Wheeler: It's funny you bring that up. I say funny. It's at this point, it's just all irony. I get that a lot, especially in person when people ask me questions about the saints and they assume that they're all Catholic. And they say, isn't that, idolatry or, what's your view on praying and the saints.

Kristen Wheeler: And what I always tell people is that because I see the saints as my friends, I would invite you to think about saints in that way and think about prayer. So when you pray by yourself, which you can do anytime, anywhere for any reason. Right. But what happens when you have a prayer partner? Or you have a friend, you know, when two or more come together, right?

Kristen Wheeler: It's not praying to the saints, it's praying with them. Just like you're praying with a [00:17:00] friend. So if you think about these saints and what they went through, because they aren't saints because they were perfect and invaluable people, they were saints because.

Kristen Wheeler: They went through some stress and that's how we identify with them. Just like how we identify with our own friends and people that we surround ourselves with. So I see it as praying with a friend rather than praying to them. We're not putting them on a pedestal, we're not idolizing them. Or even in the story like you shared a 

Tara Lamont Eastman: virgin, , like her cloak was this, , some depictions I've seen is it's like this patchwork 

Kristen Wheeler: of, cloth all 

Tara Lamont Eastman: together, , and that is the way that I like to visualize that community or that cloud of witnesses. I know I'm mixing metaphors, but, But it's this woven cloak that holds us all together

Kristen Wheeler: I love that. Visual.

Kristen Wheeler: So, Kristen, do you have a 

Tara Lamont Eastman: holy shenanigan story that you would like to share with our audience?

Kristen Wheeler: Well, , this [00:18:00] happens all the time. So having to pick one

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yeah. Yeah.

Kristen Wheeler: our little holy shenanigans with Bridget because I think I'm not surprised at this point In my life as an iconographer anymore because the Saints just do this But it's always a surprise to the other person so , the fact that we were brought together on Bridget's Feast Day and, , you could call that holy shenanigans.

Kristen Wheeler: I call that, my everyday life at this point. But I would say most recent would be Padre Pio. I only have him sketched right now because I had major hand and arm surgery in December. And I haven't been able to paint. But I finished that sketch the night before my surgery. And. He was known to have sat with the sick and the dying, and there's photographs of him doing that. And so him coming to me [00:19:00] in a time I was preparing for this major surgery, and also that I've been so sick.

Kristen Wheeler: And while all the saints can be healing and represent healing in some kind of way, Padre Pio is pretty specific. And he was also known to have. Stigmata that was apparently verified, , however, the church verifies that or whatever, that's, , neither here nor there, but

Tara Lamont Eastman: And that's when people have the embodiment of the wounds of Christ, correct?

Kristen Wheeler: correct, and he had it specifically in his hands, so he was known people have seen Padre Pio pictures of him and not realized it, he has fingerless gloves that he wears, you he's kind of an older Italian man, so most people would recognize him and he was just known to sit with the, the sick and the dying.

Kristen Wheeler: And I was so sick and preparing for. The surgery and he was just with me. [00:20:00] It was like, I was having all these MRIs and CTs. Yes. Multiple and biopsies and blood work and pulmonologist appointments and specialist appointments. And, , all of this stuff that I'm still going through and. When I was so nervous and so scared and in so much pain, or I'd be sitting in the MRI machine and with my eyes closed, just waiting for it to get over, , I felt him sitting at my feet.

Kristen Wheeler: It wasn't that he was right next to me. He was always sitting at my feet and I couldn't figure out why. And. I went back to look at photographs of him and all the photographs of him with the sick and dying, I found he was sitting at their feet. My husband and I like to call them bookmarks.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yeah. 

Kristen Wheeler: Some people would just call it serendipity or they'd call it coincidence or, something like that. We call [00:21:00] them bookmarks. So it, might be something that's little or big that happens, but you remember it for a specific reason , or you visualize it for a specific reason. And you find out what that reason is maybe later, hence the bookmark and that was bookmark moments for me.

Kristen Wheeler: Cemeteries are really big here in Louisiana. Most people know and a friend of mine is a tour guide of a cemetery that I had actually never been in and I really wanted to visit and it's St. Louis number three cemetery for anyone who wants to go Google that and look it up and I got there a little early because I like to wander around and take pictures and things.

Kristen Wheeler: And I literally ran into a statue of Padre Pio.

Kristen Wheeler: Wow.

Kristen Wheeler: And I had no idea he was there. And I look up and I was like, Oh, Oh, Oh, hello. So I would call that holy shenanigans too. , it, all [00:22:00] happens at one time. that thing will literally smack me in the face sometimes.

Kristen Wheeler: And Padre did that for sure. And he has been with me through all of this illness and everything when I really needed a friend, at the MRI machine or the CT scans or the blood work, , all of that, he was just sitting right there.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yeah, the company of saints or another term in Celtic tradition is a soul friend or an Anamkara, , I think that, 

Tara Lamont Eastman: , in our lives, couldn't we all just use a few more friends,

Kristen Wheeler: I mean, you can never have too many.

Tara Lamont Eastman: The perspective I keep thinking about is that co creation. That image of that woven cloak, that we are called into this space of being together.

Kristen Wheeler: Yes. You bring that up too. And I just love this tradition of putting out the clocks on the eve of Bridget's feast, because it ties back to that cloak story. But it's also just something like every time I share it, , on social media or whatever in [00:23:00] preparation for her feast day.

Kristen Wheeler: So I can kind of send out this little reminder and it's like, if we can celebrate St. Nicholas, why can't we celebrate St. Bridget, you know, everything. And, , does she really come through the night and bless the cloth? I mean, people could argue, well, no, of course that doesn't happen. What if,

Kristen Wheeler: Yeah, 

Tara Lamont Eastman: but what if.

Kristen Wheeler: but what if, And I just think it's such a beautiful Celtic tradition.

Kristen Wheeler: I've been more and more drawn to the Celtic, , side of things, Celtic prayer and, Celtic thought. And like you said about circles and rounds and all of that ties back to Brigid.

Tara Lamont Eastman: It does. And a poem that I came across. I'm gonna read it to you because it is about the widening circles of community. And it's Rilke and it's called, I live my life in widening circles. It reads, I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.

Tara Lamont Eastman: I [00:24:00] may not complete this last one, but I will give myself to it. I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I've been circling for thousands 

Kristen Wheeler: of years and I still don't know, am I a falcon, a storm 

Tara Lamont Eastman: or a great song?

Kristen Wheeler: That's beautiful.

Tara Lamont Eastman: As you hear that poem, how does this connect to your work in iconography or just as a human being in the world,

Kristen Wheeler: When I first read this poem this morning, when you sent it to me, it was something I needed to hear right now that that end line. Could you read that again? That?

Tara Lamont Eastman: where it says, 

Kristen Wheeler: I still don't know, am I a 

Tara Lamont Eastman: falcon, a storm or a great song?

Kristen Wheeler: Yes, that is what really stuck [00:25:00] with me because there's this song that I love. I'm trying to remember the name of it. It's called Never One Thing. And I think it's, her name is May Earl. I'll, I'll send you a link so you can listen to it. And it reminds me of that song, which is so dear to me because it's important to remember that more than one thing can be true at the same time, not just in life, but in ourselves.

Kristen Wheeler: And you can be all of those things. Kind of reminds me of Polly Murray too. Polly Murray is an Episcopal saint, but a lot of people know of her. She was you know, huge civil rights activist and, , you can look up about her, but she wrote a poem called a song in a weary throat.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Hmm.

Kristen Wheeler: That line reminds me of her and that phrase too, is that, you can be both weak and strong at the same time. You can be both prayerful and scared at the same time, , all [00:26:00] of those things. So that's what sticks out to me is that it's a reminder that more than one thing is true at the same time.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Thank you for that. Is there any invocation or blessing or perhaps an example of a saint that you would like to leave with our listeners for them to contemplate as they prepare for the Lenten season ahead, 

Kristen Wheeler: I do. I have a, a Bridget prayer that I love. I don't know who it is credited to. So I apologize. For that, but I want to read that and then I'm going to talk about the rounds, what I told you about earlier. And this is a, Bridget prayer, bright and fiery arrow blaze kindly into my life. Sainted bringer of spring grow ever more verdant and lush mistress of poetry and craft [00:27:00] dance on my tongue and in my hands.

Kristen Wheeler: Guardian of the wells and waters and herbs. Warm my hearth and open the doors to compassion. Thank you, exalted one, for the nourishment of milk and words, for the protection of your threadbare cloak, for the peace that abides in your care. Bless you for the four fires. And the thawing earth, rigid, I promise my best effort and lightest laugh in your name. And I just love that prayer.

Tara Lamont Eastman: It is just beautiful.

Kristen Wheeler: It's so lush. And what we were talking about earlier, , circles and rounds reminded me of Gobnet, whose feast day is February 11th. She is the patron saint of beekeepers. Here's a little fun fact about her. And she is known [00:28:00] for. A term in Celtic prayer called the rounds and it's a traditional series of prayers and rituals called the rounds and it's dedicated to Gobnet and to Bridget and basically all the, especially women, Celtic saints.

Kristen Wheeler: And her feast day is also on the World Day of the Sick, February 11th, which is pretty specific, and it's intended for prayer and action for people facing illness, past, present, and future, and all of that is just so, encircling, and it's such an appropriate time of year, they call it the, rumbling of the earth, and actually, In Celtic tradition, spring begins February 1st

Kristen Wheeler: because it's the initial rumblings of the seeds and growth and it's when the, the snowdrop flowers come out.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yes.

Kristen Wheeler: So I think that's [00:29:00] just so beautiful, , and it makes so much sense that that's the time of rumbling and that is when spring is. So basically it's like a month before we celebrate spring traditionally in America. So I just love that Celtic tradition, bringing that back. So it's perfect time of year to talk about all of it.

Tara Lamont Eastman: It is. I mean, I'm up in the Northeast and it definitely is still winter here. 

Kristen Wheeler: Hard to think about spring.

Tara Lamont Eastman: but I think that it is great to have that, break in winter. It's that pause. I mean, folks in this area, , celebrate Groundhogs Day and, Punxsutawney Phil,

Tara Lamont Eastman: um, did, did not see their shadow.

Tara Lamont Eastman: And so they are saying it is going to be an early spring and I'm, here for that. But whether or not in our environmental life that happens, I think spiritually having this place of pause. To let that rumbling of the earth resonate with us, I think, is, [00:30:00] really a needed thing.

Kristen Wheeler: Oh, I do too. And the thing is that it's all unseen, , people think of spring, you have to see it to experience it, but those rumblings are happening right now beneath us, without us seeing and what does that remind you of? , the rumblings of the spirit, , the rumblings of our prayers and , this kind of open endedness into spring, what we see as, , a time of Easter and, celebration and, all of these things and that rumbling is just always there, whether we see it or not.

Tara Lamont Eastman: In scripture it talks about the spirit being that, silent or stillness in the voice of God, right? It's not the wind or the rushing, but it's, in, to connect with this whole rigid thing , supposedly she was born on the threshold, right? So the season of spring is kind of like that, quiet rumbling, that knocking on the threshold [00:31:00] that new life is coming, 

Tara Lamont Eastman: that that is still with us.

Kristen Wheeler: I love that. And , all the tradition surrounding the threshold with Bridget. She is the patron saint of midwives because of that standing over the threshold.

Kristen Wheeler: There's a, a story that she might have helped someone who was giving birth over a threshold.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yes.

Kristen Wheeler: Yeah. And the symbolism, , of that. 

Tara Lamont Eastman: Yes. And so for all of the rumblings of spring ahead for the holy shenanigans of frigid bringing you and I together, Kristen, I am very, very thankful. And, I hope that. As people learn about the work that you do in the world, this is a way for folks to connect with you. Where can they find you on the internet?

Kristen Wheeler: so I have a online icon shop and that is modern iconographer. com. I'm also on Instagram and Facebook as Kristen Wheeler Artist, and [00:32:00] you can also find Ministry of Saints on Facebook as well. A lot of people ask questions, if they need help. Finding a saint for someone or for themselves.

Kristen Wheeler: These are my friends. I know their stories really well, so I always invite people if they have questions, don't hesitate to contact me directly. So you can do that through my website is the easiest way for sure.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Could you recite that one more time?

Kristen Wheeler: Sure. It's modern. M-O-D-E-R-N-I-I-C-O-N-O-G-A-P-H-E-R com.

Tara Lamont Eastman: Terrific. Thank you so much for that. As always may you be well, may you be at peace and know that you are loved, Kristin. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to get to know you and I don't think this is our last conversation.

Kristen Wheeler: No, I don't.

Tara Lamont Eastman: And to those listening, thank you so much for being a part of our holy shenanigans community that is always [00:33:00] sacred and never stuffy. And may these words from 

Kristen Wheeler: Rilke 

Tara Lamont Eastman: be an encouragement for you that even though you don't know if you are a falcon, a storm, or a great song, or all of them, that you are always beloved.

Tara Lamont Eastman: We'll see you next time 

(Cont.) An Icon-ic Lent with Kristen Wheeler