In Shakespeare’s plays, and particularly his late plays, forgiveness and reconciliation often occur via the transit through particular realms, whether pastoral, ‘green worlds’ which regenerate human communities or sacred spaces such as chapels and temples where the co-mingling of mortals and divinities is dimly felt.
In this seminar, Dr Iain McGilchrist draws on his new work, The Matter with Things, and addresses some of the oldest and hardest questions humanity faces – ones that have a practical urgency for all of us today. Specifically, what has happened to our sense of the sacred and divine? Does it matter any longer?
Is it true that it has been driven out of our world by science and reason? How could an understanding of the structure and function of the human brain even begin to make sense of
what has happened – and is still happening? And should we be concerned?
If we do not individuate our gods, we may become possessed by them. Europeans today have roots in indigenous societies who found their sacred in nature. The Celts lived by embodying myth and ritual in ways hard to imagine for the fragile western consciousness of today. For those of us at least 2000 years removed from indigenous sacred cosmologies, what is at stake when we try to connect with these origins?
The Tree of Life is an ancient image that comes to us from deep in psyche. The Tree image has taken many forms in many cultures down the ages and has aided many individuals to discover the deepest secrets of their true happiness which they realised as inseparable from the well-being and health of nature, of Gaia, of our living earth. The ancient Greek myths tell us that Gaia was the first born of primordial Chaos and that she in turn gave birth to the starry heavens and then to all the beings here on earth. She is the mother of us all, including the Tree of Life. In this talk we’ll explore whether myths and images of Gaia and The Tree of Life can in any way help us to solve our terrible contemporary global crisis.
Following our popular session on Botticelli’s Primavera, we are offering an in-depth contemplation of its sister painting, The Birth of Venus. We will study the mythology and cosmology behind this iconic image, and consider it in the context of the revival of the divine feminine in Renaissance Florence.
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.