John Philip Newell's New England School of Celtic Consciousness

Photo by Karin Baard

In 2016, poet, scholar and minister John Philip Newell founded the School of Celtic Consciousness in the United States in the belief that Celtic wisdom is urgently needed at this time.  "Wholeness," wrote Newell, "consists of coming back into relationship with what is deepest in all things; that is, the of-Godness at the heart of the earth and all life forms and all people." 

The School specifically aims to:

  • Expand the consciousness of Celtic wisdom through study and reflection
  • Deepen spiritual practice in the context of Earth's sacredness
  • Nurture community and a commitment to compassionate action

There is a three-year curriculum based on Newell's Listening for the Heartbeat of God. Each year, a three-day retreat, led by Newell, will be held in five locations.  The retreat consists of:

  • Prayer and chants
  • Presentations on teachings from the Celtic tradition
  • Meditative practices
  • Silence
  • Sharing

There is also free time to walk the beach and labyrinth, rest and attend a party and book-signing on the second evening to celebrate our time together.

Currently, there are five schools in the U.S. and Canada:

  • The New England School of Celtic Consciousness at Mercy by the Sea, Madison, Connecticut (every summer in midJuly)
  • The Colorado School of Celtic Consciousness at various locations in Colorado (every spring)
  • The Canada School of Celtic Consciousness at Five Oaks Centre in Paris, Ontario, Canada (every summer in early July)
  • The Virginia School of Celtic Consciousness at Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond, Virginia (every fall)
  • The California School of Celtic Consciousness at Bishop's Ranch, Healdsburg, California (in late January)

It is Newell's hope that the School will be a legacy of Celtic wisdom for today and will further enable the sacred work of healing and transformation in our lives and the world.

The third year of the School will be held from July 16-18, 2019. Registration will begin on January 23.

John Philip Newell, the celebrated author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, is one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world. 

Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he now divides his time between Edinburgh, where he does most of his writing, and teaching on both sides of the Atlantic as well as leading international pilgrimage weeks on Iona. He is the co-founder of Heartbeat: A Sacred Journey Towards Earth’s Wellbeing, established to expand sacred vision, deepen spiritual practice, nurture reflective community and enable action for change.

In 2016 John Philip founded the School of Celtic Consciousness (SCC) in the belief that we need to access our Celtic Christian inheritance for this moment in time, urgently. The threefold vision of the School is to consciously access the wisdom of our Celtic Christian inheritance, to deepen spiritual practice in relationship to this wisdom, and to translate this study and practice into compassionate action.

The Rev. Dr. John Philip Newell is an ordained Church of Scotland minister with a passion for peace among the great wisdom traditions of humanity. In 2011, he received the first-ever Contemplative Voices Award from the Shalem Institute in Washington, DC in recognition of his work in spirituality and peacemaking. His PhD is from the University of Edinburgh and he has authored over 15 books, including Christ of the Celts, Praying with the Earth, A New Harmony, and his most recent visionary title The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings.