Welcome to Compass Rose

May the breath of life
Breathe you into fullness,
Opening your inner self
As gently as the rose
Unfolds to receive the sun.

Welcome to Compass Rose

Rob Downer

"Spiritual Direction" is the practice of engaging and expressing one's own spiritual journey with another person who is present as a holy and experienced witness.

Spiritual direction invites us to live more fully the lives we have been gifted with, and to manifest more clearly our divine purpose, not just for ourselves but also for the whole of creation. We are invited to bring life back into balance, to return to our Source with integrity, and remember that we are made of stars.

Why would I see a spiritual director?

While the individual reasons for seeking direction vary, general themes often include:

  • A desire to explore one's own language for Spirit and spirituality
  • A hunger to deepen one's relationship with the Holy of one's life
  • An interest in establishing or maintaining a spiritual practice or discipline
  • A life transition that invites one to reexamine beliefs and priorities
  • A yearning for spiritual connection and community

What is the intent of spiritual direction?

The goal of spiritual direction is to live a life more fully integrated with the spiritual in and of our lives, and to grow in intimacy with the Beloved, however we understand that presence to be. Previous directees have mentioned that this work creates:

  • A sense of being affirmed, accepted and validated in their spirituality
  • An improved awareness of one's own spiritual life
  • An increased sense of the natural and abiding presence of the Holy
  • Improved skills of discernment in making life decisions

The individual seeker, or directee, shares their journey through verbal narrative, feeling, image and practice in a safe, confidential and sacred environment with a director. The director in turn listens, questions, notices and reflects the ways in which the Beloved divine of one's life might be inviting deeper relationship. The true initiator and guide in spiritual direction is the Beloved.

Stained Glass

Rob Downer

Rob Downer

I believe in professional accountability in my practice of spiritual direction. I am a member of Spiritual Director's International, and abide by their ethical guidelines for conduct. I continue to see my own spiritual director monthly, as well as a supervisor for my direction practice once every six weeks. I also facilitate an emerging group of spiritual directors who meet for peer support.

I believe in the value of creating and maintaining spiritual practices that invite us to come home to ourselves, in body, mind and spirit. I believe participation in spiritual community is an important aspect of being on the spiritual journey. I believe human beings are essentially good, and that our desires, with discernment, are indicators of God's hope in and for us. I do not do this work alone, but wholly reliant on the Beloved who is my source, my light and my life.


In the early spring of 1992, while visiting a Buddhist monastery in Nepal, I had an experience of the Holy that changed the direction of my life. It is the turning point from which I trace my call to ministry, a seedling hunger to convey to others God's unconditional love for them, in all things and at all times. This experience led me to seminary, the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA., a member school of the Graduate Theological Union. While there, I focused much of my studies on pastoral care, including a year internship at the Center for AIDS Services in Oakland, CA. I learned through this experience that listening fully to another empowers a sense of acceptance and invites gentle transformation. It is also during seminary that I encountered spiritual direction for the first time, through the teaching of Fr. George Murphy at the Jesuit School of Theology. It is through Fr. Murphy that I found my first spiritual director, a Holy Cross father, in 1996. Over the course of the next 4 years, as I progressed through seminary, I came to appreciate the sacred space of direction, how it both affirmed and questioned my life experiences, and most importantly, provided a safe place to author meaning from my unfolding life narrative. In addition, through this experience of direction, I came to discern that ordained ministry was not the right fit for me at that time. Since graduating with my M.Div. degree in 2000, I have been discovering where and who God is calling me to be. I believe a ministry of spiritual direction is an emerging part of that picture.


In May 2004, I completed the two-year certificate program in Contemplative Listening at Namasté, led by Sr. Pat McCrann, here in Portland. This program, through a delicate and insightful group process, focused on developing the gifts required for a director and included an 8-month supervised practicum where I worked individually with directees.

In addition, I hold an undergraduate degree in religious studies from Lewis and Clark College here in Portland, OR, where I focused on the religious traditions of South Asia, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. I am a Christian - baptized as an adult -- an active Episcopalian, and serve in my church as a lay worship leader. I am also a practitioner and group facilitator of Centering Prayer, a silent prayer form that invites contemplation, as taught by Fr. Thomas Keating. In the last three years I have begun a practice of Anusara Yoga and have received the attunements as a level II Reiki practitioner. I have been taught by Jeremy Taylor to engage dream work in small groups, and have also received extensive workshop training in the use of journaling and the expressive arts, including dance, as forms of engaging the sacred. I have personally engaged journaling, dream work, bicycling, singing, dance and photography to explore the spiritual nature of my life.

Appointments And Fees

Appointments And Fees

During this time of Covid-19, I am meeting with directees by phone or screen (Zoom, Facetime).

Sessions last approximately one hour and are by appointment only. Sessions are private and confidential.

First Session

There is no charge or commitment made with an initial appointment. The first session is an opportunity to see if the relationship is a match, and to explore one's individual reasons for seeking direction at this time. Either party is free to decide if the relationship is (or is not) a match at the end of this session, or may request some days to reflect on the experience. I am also happy to refer to another director or health care professional. If I sense a match, I will often ask if the individual would like to schedule another appointment. The directee is always at choice to accept or decline this offer.

Regular Sessions & Fees

Generally direction sessions are once a month, though more frequent sessions are possible at the request of the directee.

While the charging of fees varies among spiritual directors, I do ask for some compensation for my time and for building use. All compensation I receive for my practice goes towards sustaining this ministry of spiritual direction. Fees are on a sliding scale basis and are determined individually between the directee and myself.