Eric Erickson


"And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love."

This quotation from William Blake's poem, "The Little Black Boy" in his Songs of Innocence, was a favorite of Thomas Merton and of my teacher, Gerald May. Since an initiation in Holy Love upon entering seminary in 1980, my journey has been a series of attempts, often clumsy and sometimes faltering, to bear the beams of love in the threefold sense of carrying them, of suffering or enduring them, and of giving birth to or incarnating them. Throughout, I've been borne along by the blessed company of many guides in learning Love's way: my friends and family, my teachers and students, my spiritual directors and directees, Nature, my spiritual community of the Guild, and my loves, compulsions and fears.

This 30-odd year apprenticeship in learning to bear Love's beams might be drawn roughly into halves. The first fifteen years were devoted largely to my desire to know this Love, or at least, my idea of it. A graduate of Andover Newton Theological School and Yale Divinity School, I explored particular interests in languages, Scripture and theology, Analytical Psychology, early Christian history and spirituality, and Gnosticism. Living in Connecticut for twelve years, I served as Chaplain and Chair of the Religion Department at Suffield Academy as well as Director of Christian Education at Trinity Episcopal Church, Hartford.

Since moving in the mid-nineties to Mount Desert Island, Maine, the latter half of my journey has been a gradual surrendering to unknowing and beginning to "learn to bear the beams of love" nearer by. Opening to the healing and re-creation of Nature within and without; serving as Senior Warden of my parish, St. Andrew & St. John Episcopal Church of Seal Cove and Southwest Harbor; responding to a call to the ministry of spiritual direction (I completed the Spiritual Guidance Program at the Shalem Institute in 2001); and seeking with my friends to gently nurture into being a community devoted solely to one another's mutual spiritual support and discernment that we call "Guild:" these have been my intimate lessons in bearing Love's beams.

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Northeast Guild for Spiritual Formation
PO Box 335
Bass Harbor, Maine 04653