I have been involved in devising and teaching Masters programmes in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred in Canterbury UK for the last fifteen years, along with some wonderful colleagues. My passion for Renaissance music and culture led me to delve into the magical world of the fifteenth century magus Marsilio Ficino, and from there to the Western esoteric traditions and the power of the symbolic to awaken the human soul. I have written extensively on Ficino’s astrological music, on astrology and divination, Neoplatonism and magic, and more recently, on transformative learning. I have always felt a need to be a bridge builder, bringing imagination, creativity and reflexive writing into academic research, treading the narrow path between outsider and insider. I suppose I would call myself a ‘gnostic researcher’ in Jeff Kripal’s terms, in that I see no contradiction between spiritual insight and scholarly rigour, for both inform each other. Our programmes have inspired over 100 students, allowing them to bring inner experience and practices of imaginal, spiritual and sacred work into an academic context. I also practice as an astrologer and tarot reader.
“The determination and untiring vision of Angela Voss have been essential in blazing a trail of imagination through all our work at Kent” (Geoffrey Cornelius)
I taught on the MA Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred at Canterbury Christ Church University and recently completed my PhD at there. The title of my thesis is: How can the thought of the heart offer effective ways of engaging with conflict? An imaginal and reflexive study. The project draws on the discourses of transformational learning, depth psychology, holistic science, cultural history, esoteric wisdom and religious philosophy. I am the founder of the Heart Sense Research Institute – www.heartsenseresearch.co.uk. My work aims to re-imagine the long-forgotten wise and intelligent heart for contemporary times; illuminating through research, contemplative action and nourishing dialogue how the heart as a focal point of compassion, love and kindness, and as an organ of perception and wisdom, is a valuable and vital ally in our world of increasing global challenges, injustice and inequality.
“Louise’s teaching sessions on Goethean inquiry were an important part of our learning and her researches into the thought of the heart go to the very core of spiritual scholarship and practice. I was able to use her “transference dialogues” as a form of imaginal enquiry to communicate with a formerly inaccessible part of myself – truly transformative learning.” (Janice Emmott)
I am an art historian, writer, teacher and lecturer and a business creator. I have helped establish successful organisations for individuals and companies alike and was the founding Chairman of the Victoria branch of The Arts Society, London (a 90,000 strong membership charity dedicated to enriching lives through the arts).
My work and research seeks to offer a broader understanding of Western classical, late medieval and Renaissance art, and why these works of art may matter to us even more so today. As post- modernist art becomes more conceptual and parodied, the works of art from our past which were intended to awaken epistemologies are in danger of being forgotten altogether. In our bid to forge newness in life, removing our ancient roots has far reaching and damaging implications which are already being played out in the world. Yet these wonder and wisdom- filled images offer ways of knowing and changes in consciousness that might otherwise equip us to deal with the complexities of modern living and offer a renaissance of humane values.
I hold an MA with distinction in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred, and my thesis, ‘Rebirthing a Lost Vision of Renaissance Art’, researched quattrocento Florentine Renaissance art from a broad context of ancient Greek philosophy, the neuroscientific approach of Dr Iain McGilchrist’s groundbreaking discoveries around the different modes of attention of left and right hemispheres of the brain, archetypal psychology and Renaissance artistic approaches. I hold a BA hons degree in The History of Art from London University where my studies focused on Italian late medieval and Renaissance art and architecture.
“Mary does not ‘teach’ as such; she introduces a painting (or an artist, or an idea) and then enters a process of mutual discovery as a co-explorer…” (Veronica Bennetts)
DR WILLIAM ROWLANDSON is an entity currently operating as Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury. He is the author of Sartre in Cuba—Cuba in Sartre (Palgrave, 2017), Imaginal Landscapes (Swedenborg Society, 2015), Borges, Swedenborg and Mysticism (Peter Lang, 2013), co-author with Angela Voss of Daimonic Imagination: Uncanny Intelligence (Cambridge Scholars, 2013) and contributor to DMT Dialogues: Encounters with the Spirit Molecule (Park Street Press, 2018, ed. David Luke & Rory Spowers). Author of books and articles on Latin American cultural and political history, Cuban literature, Borges, Swedenborg, mysticism, psychedelics, the Imaginal, Faery, and the Daimonic. University Sustainability Champion, co-founder of Canterbury Climate Action Partnership (CCAP), gardener, composter, vermiphile, mycophile, drummer, proud tree-hugger, megalithomaniac and weirdonaut. Father of two girl entities.