Open Lectures

Jung’s Red Book

Dr. Chiara Reghellin

Open Lecture given on 31 October 2015

To encounter the daimon is a primordial experience of confrontation with the numinous. Its roots are grounded in the history of the human being and it manifests in the most perceptive minds of  very epoch. C. G. Jung is one of those who have undertaken investigations into this phenomenon, and the Red Book can be read as Jung’s engagement with a spirit which seems to have assailed him and imposed acts of creation from within. In this text, the daimon emerges as a systematising figure which forced Jung to organise his own work into an ordered and structured pattern aimed at the attainment of the Self (wholeness and unity). It is however my contention that the daimon does not only act as a systematiser – it can be systematised too. In this talk I will show how the daimon in the Red Book can be interpreted as a collective articulation of experiences in which we can all share. Through the analysis of meaningful passages and revealing drawings, I will try to demonstrate that Jung is giving us a key to both perceiving our inner daimon and coping with it in an authentic and dynamic way.

Chiara Reghellin works and lives in Southfields, London. In 2013 she achieved a PhD in Literature at the University of Essex under the supervision of Dr. Alan Cardew and Prof. Paul Bishop. The title of her thesis is The Daimonic in C. G. Jung and W. B. Yeats: Systematic Search for Self and Unity of Being. Her recent article ‘The Daimonic in W. B.Yeats’ is published in Daimonic Imagination, Uncanny Intelligence edited by Angela Voss and William Rowlandson.

Enchantment and its Enemies

Dr. Patrick Curry

Open Lecture given on 26 April 2014

Enchantment is a profound and natural human experience. When we encounter wonder, awe or amazement, that is enchantment. Enchantment can reveal profound truths, lead to deep values and become central to a life well-lived. In this lecture Patrick describes enchantment plays out in a wide range of contexts and also describes what enchantment is not and what is hostile to it. He tells three stories about enchantment when it occured as being personally addressed to a recipient, in a similar vein to divination. Finally he talks about his own personal experience of enchantment and divination with the I Ching.

On the Cosmic Humanities

Re-Enchanting the Academy Conference

Dr. Jeffrey Kripal

Open Lecture given on 26 September 2015

This is the keynote address given by Jeffrey Kripal, who is the associate dean of the faculty and graduate programs in the School of the Humanities and the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. He is also the associate director of the Center for Theory and Research at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.

Read the accompanying paper: On the Cosmic Humanities for Canterbury Jeffrey Kripal

Transformation and Pilgrimage

Professor Linden West

Open Lecture given on  18 May 2019

Transforming perspectives in lifelong learning and adult education: a pilgrimage

The metaphor shaping this lecture, and a new book, is one of pilgrimage.  Laura Formenti and Linden West, both academics and psychotherapists from different schools, have dialogued together when walking their way through various theories and perspectives on learning, formation and transformation as well as biographical experiences. They find landmarks on the way, meaningful and challenging, and converse with people like Bauman and Freud, who, in differing ways, question our assumptions about transformation. They struggled with their own differences, and dialogue was threatened. They drew on Bunyan, Dante, Jung and Beckett too to argue that journeys are far deeper, demanding processes than represented in contemporary discussion of lifelong transformative learning. This is often marketed as a means to update our skills in a highly competitive world; or as a passport, perhaps, to relative material abundance, social status and ‘success’. The literature of learning and education also privileges cognition in shifts in self or collective understanding.

Shakespeare and the Law of Nature

Dr. Joseph Milne

Open Lecture given on 8 February 2014

There are several aspects of Shakespeare that have been rather neglected or forgotten in recent times. One such aspect is the subtle biblical symbolism that runs alongside the Platonic symbolism, most especially the love comedies. Our age is no longer in contact with the highly conplex spiritual reading of Scripture that was foundational to theology in the Middle Ages and to the highest learning in both the universities and monasteries.

Owing to the loss of connection with this tradition, save now perhaps only in the Christian monasteries, the ‘cosmos’ in which Shakespeare’s plays unfold, and which is central to their action, has become invisible to the modern audience and actor. It is not simply that the gods or different psychic powers have vanished from the modern world-view, but also that the kind of world in which divinities and demons exist has also vanished. The various planes of reality with which Shakespeare is concerned have become invisible in our age.

Until his retirement in 2013, Dr Joseph Milne was an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Kent where he taught on the MA in Mysticism and Religious Experience. His interests range from Platonism to medieval mysticism and theology, and in particular the transformations of metaphysical thought on the nature of the real that have occurred in different periods of Western civilisation.

Read accompanying paper: Shakespeare-and-the-Law-of-Nature

 

 

Polis and Cosmos

Dr. Joseph Milne

Open Lecture given on 29 November 2018

In the ancient world and throughout the Middle Ages we find there is always a strong relationship between the understanding of the cosmos, the polis, and human nature. The image of the cosmos may change and this will be marked by a shift in the conception of human nature and community. We can trace conceptions from Plato, through the Stoics, and through medieval Christianity, where a harmonious proportion is always maintained between the different orders of existence. This may be observed in the ideas of providence, time and natural law, as well as in the arts. This begins to break down in the 14th century and finally collapses in the 17th century, where neither the city nor the human individual have a relation with a cosmic order any more. The talk will explore some of the main features of the Greek and medieval conceptions of the place of human person in the city and the cosmos.

Until his retirement in 2013, Dr Joseph Milne was an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Kent where he taught on the MA in Mysticism and Religious Experience. His interests range from Platonism to medieval mysticism and theology, and in particular the transformations of metaphysical thought on the nature of the real that have occurred in different periods of Western civilisation.

Read accompanying paper: Polis and Cosmos Lecture 2018

 

 

Feast of the Gods

Belinda Hunt

Open Lecture given on 22 February 2014

Belinda Hunt is an artist who specialises in painting murals that can take years to create. In this lecture she describes how creating her works has become a spiritual practice and how  she feels she is being taught through the work to find her own wisdom.

Belinda completed the MA in Mysticism and Religious Experience at Kent University – the course that was the precursor to the MA in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred. She lives in Winchester and started painting in her 30s after a career in publishing.

 

 Click here for the slides that accompany this lecture.

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