The Learning Journal consists of ongoing personal reflections on the course material by each student. Throughout the duration of the taught modules students recorded their responses to issues raised in the lectures, seminars and group discussions. The aim of the Learning Journal was to provide a space for creative and reflective expressions relating to the student’s current writing and research, and may take the form of dream diaries, poems, synchronicities, or other imaginative and symbolic formats.
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Learning Journal write up by C.A.
Of all the tasks for the MA in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred, the learning journal has been for me, the most rewarding in process and as a sustained practice. However, I have struggled the most with writing this review. Whilst the course has a chronology of delivery, I wanted a frame for the review that replicated the spiralling and circling dynamics, as well as the reversals and inversions I experienced that destabilised my preconceptions and opened me to new learning. I looked first at emulating the notion of circumambulation – the act of moving around a sacred object, yet it didn’t echo the twists and turns. Walking around the labyrinth at St. Martin’s Priory I wondered if I could somehow use this form? Again, it did not replicate my experience of feeling written forwards and backwards by the course. So it is, that I find the topography of my journey most effectively mapped by Alice’s own adventures through her looking-glass (Carroll, 1927). I thank Carroll for his vision and will be using his chapter headings to structure this review. I have included longer quotes from my Learning Journey in coloured text boxes – these include dreams I have had. I have also embedded some questions that I’ve been pondering upon in my journal into the body of this review in thought bubbles.
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Alchemy of Psychological and Spiritual Awakening by Tanya Adolpho
This essay will provide a summary of how this master’s activated a deep desire to heal ancestral and individual trauma within me, subsequently awakening a call to change. I will begin by looking at the power of creating a learning journal and its importance in helping individuals connect with the course material. Robert Johnson observes an old Christian saying in Inner Work that ‘one had not prayed unless one’s lips had moved’, meaning that something physical had to happen to create a psychological shift in awareness (1986, p. 66). My personal learning journal has been the pivotal platform to experience this shift in awareness. I firmly believe that we all possess an innate
ability to heal and that we all have a spiritual responsibility to access this space for the greater good of both our higher selves and humanity. I believe that the power of writing can act as the tool to open this healing space.
Click here to access: Alchemy of Psychological and Spiritual Awakening
Soul and Initiation - Learning Journal write up by Christina Archbold
Doing justice to this review of my Learning Journal requires a level of self-disclosure not usual in an academic essay, but transformative learning theory and practice provides support for this type of enquiry. As John Dirkx says: “In exploring the nature of deep learning…my interests revolve around a kind of learning that integrates our experiences of the outer world, including the experience of texts and subject matter, with the experience of our inner worlds. Although my focus is unabashedly on the subjective, the goal is to develop understanding of this subjective world that is fundamentally human and archetypal.” (Dirkx, 2006 p.3). He asserts the need to move beyond the thoughts, beliefs and values that we are fully conscious of into “that shadowy inner world, that part of our being that shows up in seemingly disjointed, fragmentary, and difficult to understand dreams, of spontaneous fantasies that often break through to consciousness in the middle of carefully orchestrated conversion, deep feelings and emotions that erupt into our waking lives with a force that surprises us, let alone those who know us.” In reviewing the content of my journal, I have attempted to pull together disjointed and fragmentary snippets into a coherent narrative that integrates my inner and outer worlds. Finding a way to frame this has not been easy. I considered using the metaphor of the ‘Hero’s Journey’, a pattern of mythic story telling devised from the work of Joseph Campbell and C. G. Jung (Vogler, 2007), but this is predicated on a linear pattern, one which I have come to understand as inimical to the expression of Soul. The metaphor that does spring to mind is that of the labyrinth, which is probably a well-worn cliché for essays such as this, but nonetheless appropriate.
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Hestia's Throne by Simão Cortês
I am standing in the dim lighted temple waiting for my turn to go and speak to the channeling medium. This is a Gira de Exú a ritual to the chthonic gods and daimones of the African derived Brazilian traditions. Exús are well known to be particularly honest and ruthless entities and I am nervous because I feel my life is about to change although no one knows about it yet except my closest family.
As I get close to the channeling medium the entire room vibrates to the sound of the drums and his guttural laugh. Exús are well known for their powerful laughter. He is dressed in black, white and red with a top hat and a long black cloak. No one knows the name of this medium’s Exú, but we call him Exú Capa-Preta, Exú Black-Cloak. “You have no idea what is about to hit you.” he said to me “In a few months, you will not recognize yourself when you look at a mirror. It will hurt, but you will never be the same.” All the other things he told me, discretion forbids me to say here, but a few days after this
encounter I was officially accepted in the Master’s in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred.
Click here to access: Hestia’s Throne by Simão Cortês
Learning Journal write up by Hannah Jayne
Throughout this documentation of my learning journal process I will be referring to the poem ‘Creed’ by Padraig O Tuama (2013, p. 42). I feel it serves as a biography, both for my broader spiritual progress, and more specifically my personal journey on the MA. I have included the full text of the poem, plus a link to a recording, in the appendix.
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Learning Journal write up by Katherine Pierpoint
This document was typed up while reviewing many handwritten, sometimes contradictory, personal Learning Journals kept for the first M.A. year. There is one aim – to allow reflective learning, in at least three areas – the course material, the learning process, and the inner process. Different voices therefore speak; a selective editor now, plus the sometimes febrile, hasty or conflicted voice ‘then’, saying what I thought at the time of journal entry. Both have their wisdoms. Yet there is also no Leavisite ‘final word’, more a sympathetic, conscious engagement, learning how to work with a
scholarly view of the topics instead of my more customary reactive, emotional and imaginative way as a working poet . I particularly love language, and look for ways ‘to enter into the word that is at the same time a gateway into an imagination of the soul of the world…’ (Sardello, 1994, p.xi) and ‘the word as angel of the soul’ (ibid., p.xiii).
Click here to access: Katherine’s Learning Journal Review
Learning Journal write up by Carole Taylor
I can begin to see how deeply Western society has been shaped by the dialogue between mythos and logos, with logos emerging as the dominant force, particularly after the Enlightenment – the rise to prominence of the Apollonian gifts of language, power and rational objectivity which allow us ‘moderns’ to feel in control of our environment, a prosaic human parallel to the mystical Logos of God’s plan for creation. On the first day, Wilma made the point that the ancient Greeks saw reason and faith as inseparable elements, but that in Western development Christianity soon came to suppress other modes of knowing – I appreciate this idea, although surely Christianity incorporates its share of mystery too, for instance in the incarnation of the Logos in Christ, at once fully human and fully divine, in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine, and in the long tradition of Christian anchorites and mystics such as Hildegaard or Julian of Norwich …
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Learning Journal write up by Alice Winborn
This essay is my attempt to piece together a coherent narrative from my entries in my Learning Journal. For me the Learning Journal has been at the heart of the MA, holding together all the disparate reflections and questions relating to the programme material, a blank page onto which I could write down my thoughts and untangle my ideas. I have always kept a journal so the act of writing each day was not a difficult one for me, rather I found it more challenging to stay afloat in the ocean of images, poems and reflections that came to me during this time.
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