The GCC Monastery Curriculum

Novice Monks

Novice monks are GCC Deacons who have discerned a call to the monastic lifestyle. Upon acceptance into the GCC Monastery, Novice Monks begin a process of familiarization with the contemplative life and what it entails as well as the life changes necessary in order to facilitate immersion into monastic practices. Deacons are encouraged to apply as soon as they have completed their Deacon Reception Ritual.

Requirements to Become a Committed Monk

  • Previous acceptance as a Deacon in the GCC
  • Acceptance as a Novice Monk within the GCCM
  • Not required unless the Novice Monk hopes to one day become a Consecrated Monk: Initiation into the Second Degree of AODA (acceptance as a Bardic, Ovate or Druid Companion).  This involves working with the Abbot to modify the AODA curriculum to fit the monk’s contemplative practice. While not required at this level, if the Monk plans to work toward Consecration they will eventually need to complete this, as Consecration requires being at the Adept level of AODA;
  • Close study and brief contemplative write-up of three books The write-up should include answers to the following questions: What was your favorite part of the book? What did you learn that was new to you? How will what you learned help you in your own spiritual development and discernment? Write-ups can be sent all at once when you complete all reading, or as you finish each book. Required reading generally presents varying viewpoints, providing clergy with a variety of differing perspectives on discernment and the spiritual path. The three books are as follows:
    1. “Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path” by Mariana Caplan, PhD;
    2. “Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way” by Nancy L. Bieber;
    3. “The Perennial Philosophy” by Aldous Huxley
  • Creation of a home altar and daily practice of morning prayer and evening lection.
    • Optional: “When a Pagan Prays: Exploring Prayer in Druidry and Beyond” by Nimue Brown and/or “A Book of Pagan Prayer” by Ceisiwr Serith. (These books are highly recommended if you have never had a prayer practice before or are struggling in your Druid prayer practice.)
  • Concentration on deepening meditation and prayer practices through increasing time in daily meditation, attending GCC Monastery or other group meditation offerings or classes, etc.
  • Willingness to make a temporary commitment to the following:
    1. Commitment to Deepen their Relationship to Spirit and Personal Awen
    2. Commitment to Mother Earth and Eco-Spirituality
    3. Commitment to the philosophy and practices of the GCC; the GCCM and the AODA
  • Becoming familiar with the Gnostic Celtic Church Clergy Guide (currently still in development).
  • Reading and contemplative write-up of the following books which are meant to assist the developing monk to better understand the monastic commitments and discern their individual monastic path:
    • Developing a Monastic Lifestyle (read at least one, preferably two)
      • “The Monk Within: Embracing a Sacred Way of Life,” by Beverly Lanzetta
      • “A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life,” by Wayne Teasdale
      • “The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living,” by Rory McEntee & Adam Bucko
    • Eco-Spirituality (read at least one, preferably two)
      • “Sustainability and Spirituality”, by John Carroll
      • “Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth,” edited by Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee
      • “Spiritual Ecology: 10 Practices to Reawaken the Sacred in Everyday Life,” by Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee and Hilary Hart (this is the companion book to the book above)
      • “Earth Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude through Intimacy with Nature,” by Christine Valters Painter
      • “A Monk in the Beehive: A Short Discourse on Bees, Monks and Sacred Geometry,” by Sky Ann Louise Taylor
  • Continued daily practice of morning prayer and evening lection and the Sphere of Protection
  • Ongoing process of mentoring and discernment, including quarterly updates, to assist the future Monk in developing a personal vocation and practice
  • Performance of a vigil of at least 12 uninterrupted hours of prayer and contemplation, seeking insight and guidance for the path toward commitment to the monastic life and their personal Awen. This vigil does not require fasting.
  • Submitting to the GCCM Abbot a letter of application seeking acceptance as a Committed Monk. This will include a detailed account of the vigil and the monk’s progress with living the three required commitments.

The Declaration of Commitment is done in a solo ritual.

The process of discernment and practice resulting in advancement to Committed Monk will likely take at least 1 year, probably more.

For Monks who aspire to Consecration: Coordination with AODA Curriculum: Druid Exploration: In order to be initiated into the Second Degree of AODA, the Companion degree, all AODA members need to complete at least one “exploration” as discussed in the AODA Apprentice Guide. As a member of the GCC clergy, Deacons who complete the requirements to become a Committed Monk will have completed the Second Degree requirements for a Druid Exploration. It is also an option that clergy use their GCC readings as part of their Second Degree reading choices. In these ways clergy members are able to focus on their GCC training even within the AODA general curriculum without adding excessive work. GCC leadership will work with clergy members to curate a curriculum that meets the AODA curriculum as well as the GCC curriculum requirements.


Requirements to Become a Consecrated Monk

  • Previous reception as a Committed Monk in the GCCM.
  • Initiation into the Third Degree of AODA (acceptance as a Bardic, Ovate or Druid Adept). With guidance from the Abbot, this will be achieved through the completion of the following requirement.
  • Design and completion of an extensive course of personal study, building on the foundations of the study program assigned to aspiring monks in the GCCM, which must be approved by the Abbot of the GCCM in advance. This course of study will be your Adept, or Third Degree, project. It is vitally important to work with the Abbot to insure that this project meets the AODA curriculum requirements.
  • The Committed Monk will begin to incorporate longer periods of meditation. They will begin to discern a personal set of vows that they will practice and determine, with ongoing guidance from the Abbot, which will become permanent when they are consecrated.
  • Development of a continuing and intensive personal spiritual practice as an expression of contemplative monastic vocation, and the composition of a detailed written account of this practice, which will focus largely on the individual monk’s personal vows and lifestyle changes they are committing to.
  • A further process of mentoring and discernment to help the future monk enrich their personal vocation and contemplative practice. This will culminate in a 24 hour contemplative vigil, a write-up of which will be submitted to the Abbess/Abbott along with a request for consideration for consecration.
  • Final approval of the GCCM Abbot and the GCCM community.

The Profession of Vows ritual is done in the presence of not only the Abbot, but the entire GCCM community. Before this ritual the monk will acquire a forest green hooded cowl which will be put on at the appropriate time in the ritual and which will be worn from then on to symbolize the monk’s commitment to their vows. If desired, the new monk may choose to wear a green robe also.

If the Profession of Vows in not done in person, a formal Consecration, performed by the Abbot or another Consecrated Monk, will be arranged. During the Consecration ritual the AODA and GCC Lines of Succession will be passed on to the Consecrated monk. This must be done in person. Once consecrated the monk is qualified to consecrate future monks.

Recommended Reading

Monastic Spirituality:

    • The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions,” by Wayne Teasdale
    • Path of the Heart: A Spiritual Guide to Divine Union,” by Beverly Lanzetta

Monastic Practices and Development of Personal Vows:

    • “A New Silence: Spiritual Practices and Formation for the Monk Within,” by Beverly Lanzetta
    • Monastic Practices,” by Charles Cummings
    • The Rule of Saint Benedict,” the edition edited by Timothy Fry is recommended
    • Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living,” by John McQuiston II
    • The Monk Within: Embracing a Sacred Way of Life,” by Beverly Lanzetta
    • A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life,” by Wayne Teasdale;
    • The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living,” by Rory McEntee & Adam Bucko

Contemplative Reading, Meditations, Prayers (these are only a few of many out there):

    • “A Feast of Prayers: Liturgy to Holy Mystery,” by Beverly Lanzetta
    • Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light,” by Joan Chittister
    • Lectio Divina – The Sacred Art: Transforming Words & Images into Heart-Centered Prayer,” by Christine Valters Paintner, PhD

Please feel free to add to this list and include your readings in your final paper. This will help us expand this list for future prospective Monks.