This paper discusses the relevance of the ‘four levels of interpretation’ of medieval theology – literal, allegorical, moral, anagogical – to the teaching of astrology at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In an educational system increasingly bound to positivist assumptions a way is required to lead students to a deeper perception, and experience, of the symbolic.
Rice University religious studies professor Jeffrey Kripal has defined the humanities as ‘consciousness studying consciousness in the reflecting mirror of culture’ (2014: 368), and indeed he sees the role of intellectuals as a ‘collective prophet’ (2017: 302) who can potentially see behind the veil of our separatist, egoistic illusions and wake up an awareness of our common humanity. This paper focusses on how Kripal’s vision informs the Masters programme in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred at Canterbury Christ Church University, for in our view, values of sustainability are intrinsically connected to understanding what it means to be a human being making meaning in the world. The MA subscribes to Kripal’s call for a broader perspective which goes beyond the ‘exterior’ world of empirical and historical information to reflect on the question of human cognition and experience—that is, on our own nature as interpreters of culture and creators of myth. The MA programme is situated within a transformative learning context, and here the programme director explains its rationale and ethos. Examples of pedagogical methods are described and student feedback included. With reference to key authors, the foundations of the programme in holistic and integrative models of knowing are discussed, together with the importance of calling on esoteric and wisdom traditions for hermeneutic frameworks. Such frameworks combine mythopoetic and spiritual insight with critical and reflexive understanding, and thus bridge the subject-object split of the Western Enlightenment which still dominates our intellectual discourse. Finally the programme is linked to sustainability values, and positioned in the context of a new vision of integrative learning for our times which fosters connections between humans, earth and cosmos.
Introduction to Goethean Enquiry – DOWNLOAD with Louise Livingstone – £15 for full recording and handouts
In this seminar we will learn more about Goethe and his imaginal method of enquiry, exploring why his method is so important for the world we are living in today.
Today I’d like to talk about studying and what studying may bring about. To be more specific, I’d like to talk about a crucial meaning of the word study, a meaning which most of us are probably unfamiliar with and which indeed the whole Western world is unfamiliar with and has been for the past 300 years or so. It designates a whole understanding of what study involves and what study can bring about in students and it has fallen by the wayside, where it still lies forgotten, neglected and concealed under the detritus of 3 centuries. But if we clear away the undergrowth and remove the rubbish, we may find that it still shines as if new with a light that may illuminate the world and ourselves. It may even bring about a transformation in our knowledge, both of the world and of ourselves.
Meeting the World Through the Heart with Louise Livingstone – 25 July 2021 – 3pm-5pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £15
As Iain McGilchrist states in his book The Master and His Emissary, “The model we choose to understand something determines what we find….Our first leap determines where we land” (2012, p.97). Expanding our enquiry deeper into the imaginal realms, in this session we continue to take the imagination seriously and move into our heart space; known through various discourses as an organ of imaginal perception.
We are excited to announce that the Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred is celebrating its first birthday! Over the past twelve months, via our online lectures, seminars and talks, we have had the pleasure of connecting with large numbers of you over Zoom; meeting old friends and making new ones. Each day (from Monday to Thursday), we will be releasing an online lecture for you to watch/listen to. On Friday 30th, we will be hosting an on-line, celebratory coffee morning via Zoom at 11am (BST), where Angela, Mary and Louise will be available for informal chat.