Renaissance Art and Culture
Seeing the World Anew: The Emergence of Landscape in Art With Mary Attwood Three week Summer course Mondays 8th, 15th and 22nd August 2022, 10am- 1pm UK time
Gainsborough, Constable, Turner Three week Summer course With Mary Attwood Mondays 8th, 15th & 22nd August 2022 10am – 1pm, via Zoom On looking at them, we find tears in our eyesand know not what brings them.John...
Lives of the Great Artists Six Week Course Mondays Mondays 25th April, 2nd May, 9th May, 16th May, 23rd May, 30th May 2022 10am – 1pm, via Zoom £120 - Book before 1st April 2022 and save 30% Over the course of six weeks we will explore the lives and works of some...
NEW FOR 2022! – Spring Term Season Pass – Save 33% and pay just £77 for all Tuesday Evening Lectures & Sunday Seminars
NEW FOR 2022! - Season Pass - Spring Term - Save 33% and pay just £77 (please be aware this offer is only available until 17th January 2022) Valid on ALL online Tuesday Evening Lectures and Sunday Seminars running from 16th January to 20th March We are...
Exploring ways of seeing Art: Neuroscientific, Psychological, Philosophical and the Mystical
This session will include both theory and participation as we take a journey through the ways in which art can be perceived; from the neuroscientific, the psychological, the philosophical and the mystical, and the implications these approaches may have on us, the viewer, by seeing through these different lenses. For millennia Western art has been a means through which humans sought to understand their place in, and relationship to, the world. But in modern times, many of these approaches have been lost. As we track the points in our history where these changes occurred from the Reformation and subsequent Enlightenment, we will take a journey through the works of art themselves as artists sought to either express a loss of enchantment from the world, or conversely embrace it. Drawing on modern neuroscience, psychology, ancient Greek philosophy and the mystical traditions, each of these modes of knowing and approaches to art will be considered in turn as examples of great architecture, paintings and sculpture are explored. The work of ancient Greek and Renaissance philosophers, psychiatrist and author Dr Iain McGilchrist’s theory on the left and right brain hemispheres, Drs Carl Jung and James Hillman, and the mystical as expressed through ancient wisdom traditions will reveal different ways of seeing and attending to art, which claim to have the potential to be transformative for both image and seer.
Art Through the Ages with Mary Attwood – Saturday 11 December 2021 – 10:30am-2.30pm (UK time) – The National Gallery Sainsbury Wing – £35
During this tour of some of the National Gallery’s most treasured art works, we will take a walk through the ages, beginning in the Sainsbury Wing and ending in the rooms which house early twentieth centuries paintings of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.
Shakespeare’s Sacred Places with Dr Valentin Gerlier – Sunday 19 December 2021 – 3pm-4.30pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £15
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.
The Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred is delighted to announce its first Diploma certificated ONLINE course. This course has been created to fill the space between A Level and a Bachelor’s degree with a richness of learning and research which is transformative. We will explore the power of symbol, metaphor and the mythopoetic imagination within the realm of contemporary ways of knowing, together with their practical application which benefits society and the world. When we engage with these areas of study, they are not just concepts or information, but become wisdom-enriched pathways that reveal our inner worlds.
The Art of Seeing with Mary Attwood – Art as a Living Presence Thursday 19th May 2022 – 7-8pm (UK time) -Via Zoom – £10
These run once a month on a Thursday from 7-8 pm (UK time) by Zoom. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for dates.
We know how to read a book and get lost in the other world of the imagination, and we allow ourselves to be moved emotionally and viscerally by music, but have we lost our visionary capacity when it comes to looking at works of art?
On the Cunning of Metis with Dr Amber Jacobs – Sunday 16 January 2022 – 3.00-5.00pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £15
Mêtis refers to a particular kind of intelligence in ancient Greece: a philosophical system that was marginalized by Platonic distrust with anything elusive, deceptive, or shifting. Mêtis is a radically anti-teleological non linear way of knowing and being in the world. In ancient Greek philosophy metis was attributed to non-humans: the branching fungal colonies of mycelium, the wily cunning of the fox, the undulating movement of the octopus, the snake’s shedding of its skin. It’s about camouflage, trickery, things which turn into other things as soon as you touch them. Because of the Enlightenment, with its insistence on ‘rational’ ways of knowing, it’s really hard for us to even grasp the movement of mêtis as a kind of meaning that is not interested in arriving at a definitive truth, and a form of action that never had a goal in the first place. It’s not about direction, progress, telos, identity, or argument – all the things that structure our routine ways of being today. Metis is the essence of spontaneity and the infinite play between the seen and unseen and is an intelligence that can only exist in the present moment.
Federico García Lorca and the duende with Dr William Rowlandson – Tuesday 18 January 2022 via Zoom – 6.30-8.00pm UK Time – £10
The Spanish word duende may be translated as goblin, imp, or pixie. For poet, dramatist, actor, artist, puppeteer and pianist Federico García Lorca, the duende is ‘a force not a labour, a struggle not a thought.’ In this talk we discuss the duende, following Lorca’s 1933 poetic lecture, ‘Juego y teoría del duende’ (‘Play and Theory of the Duende’), exploring the presence of the duende in music, poetry, painting and other artistic expression, exploring the daemon and the daimonic, exploring the presence of the duende in life and in death.
For my creative project I learned to spin and knit. I expected this to be straightforward. However, just as in fairy tales, these apparently simple tasks took me on an unexpected journey into the mysteries of life, death, and rebirth. All over the world, the act of spinning thread is interwoven with myth, fairy tales, and the sacred; Godwin sees the age-old path of esoteric wisdom in its myriad manifestations as a single ‘golden thread’ (Godwin 2007: xi). However, in contrast to our usual perceptions of Western mysteries, most of whose prophets and proponents are male, textile arts historically have been the domain of the female, and thus may offer insight into the particular nature of women’s wisdom. Just as one thread is formed from many small fibres, my creative project is a synthesis of different aspects. In this review I look at three main strands. First, spinning in history and mythology, particularly as women’s work; second, practical techniques; and third, my experience of spinning as a labyrinthine pathway to self-knowledge, through an encounter with death and a glimpse of the healing potential of spinning.
iRewild in Motion – Reconnect to the Natural World – 6 week course starting 2nd February 2022 – 7pm-8pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £44 full course with certification
An exciting collaboration between the Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred and iRewild. This course aims to support and improve your health and wellbeing in deep connection with nature, while at the same time increasing your love for learning about nature as you freely walk, explore, and reconnect with the natural world.
Shaping our World by embracing Ourselves: how the whole self is involved in shaping our personal landscapes and mythologies, by Laura Hood
The creative project offered me a chance to enter the academic realm with a topic which sparks joy and enthusiasm in my heart (comic books) but also allowed me to explore some themes which interest me on an intellectual level – myths, and how myth is involved in shaping the landscape of belief, on a personal and cultural level. Through my interest in comic books the role of the hero is especially interesting for me, because it is in the struggles, adventures, victories and realisations of the hero that the morals and rules of a society are transmitted. After all, the hero is held up to society as a paragon of virtue and morality, the hero is the standard against which all others are measured. Furthermore, the idea that superheroes and their stories could be interpreted in the secular sense as new mythologies for our modern era was an exciting discovery, as I had never given much thought to the deeper meanings within the comics and heroes I love so much.
I had originally intended to write a series of poems on the larger landscape of Buchan in the North East of Scotland, incorporating an alchemical theme. However, returning to this small spot on the shore of my birthplace seemed like a call, I felt strongly that the house wanted to make itself known to me again, as well as the immediate environment. In this sense, I could see this small ‘spot of time’ of my own as a symbol for potential re/birth or transformation in the poems, via communion with my immediate surroundings, as a microcosm of that larger macrocosm. And the closer I examined my surroundings, the smaller the microcosms became, these were world within worlds. This sense of ‘home,’ notions of Eden, or Paradise, were visceral. Gaston Bachelard has said that the first house we inhabit ‘is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word.’ [Bachelard 1994, p.4] The traces of my ancestors were certainly everywhere, from the enormous blooming fuchsia I believe my grandmother may have planted in its infancy (I knew this was her favourite flower) to the flakes of green paint on an ageing shed door. Moving around the exterior of the house became a kind of circumambulation, a circling of a sacred object. Bachelard states ‘that over and beyond our memories, the house we were born in is physically inscribed in us. It is a group of organic habits. … The feel of the tiniest latch has remained in our hands’. [ibid, pp.14-15] And I did feel that there was something deeply intimate taking place for me here, as if I was being greeted by a very personal, primal force. James Hillman, referring to Plotinus’ statement that we elect the body, parents, place and circumstances that suit our soul, reminds us that Plato said that in preserving this myth ‘we may better preserve ourselves and prosper’, that the myth has a redemptive psychological function which leads to a practical move, ‘then, the myth implies we must attend very carefully to childhood to catch early glimpses of the daimon in action, to grasp its intentions and not block its way.’ [Hillman 1996, p.8] This was, then, for me, my daimon in action. I did not want to block its way. The image of the house and the desk would become a container for creative reverie, the topology of land and the sea the elements to be explored in it. The shore at Phingask would provide the ‘prima materia’ which was to be, symbolically, transformed into the poems.
The Truth is Right Here: the UFO phenomenon with Professor Jeffrey Kripal – Tuesday 8th February 2022 – 7:00-8:30pm UK time – via Zoom – £10
On the surface it might seem as if UFOs are limited to science fiction, but when you really start to unpack these phenomena, it’s easy to see that they play a significant role in the story of humanity. They’re some of the most powerful experiences people ever have in their whole lives. To quote a tagline from “The X-Files” TV series, “The Truth Is Out There” — or, in the Archives of the Impossible, it’s right here. Let’s explore it.
The Ancient Stones are Speaking: An Imaginal Journey to a Sacred Site with Dr Louise Livingstone – Sunday 20th February 2022 – 3:00pm-5:00pm (UK Time) – via Zoom – £15
The world is always in conversation with us; showing itself to us in its fullest living expression in every moment through vibrant images. In these rapidly changing times, how can we better engage with the dynamic, yet subtle, gestures of our planet and the more-than-human world that have so much to teach us? Such approaches towards us from the world are often missed through a purely head/mind-based rational worldview. In this session, we will take an imaginal journey to a sacred site on the Maltese island of Gozo through our organ of imaginal perception – the heart.
The Unsayable in Platonism with Professor Gregory Shaw – Tuesday 22 February 2022 – 8.00-9.30pm UK time – via Zoom – £10
It is widely recognized that the foundations of Western culture lie in Greek philosophy, specifically in the intellectual achievement of Platonism. What is less known, however, is that the leading teachers of the later Platonic schools did not embrace the metaphysics that are now identified with “Platonism.” At the heart of their philosophy was a radical skepticism about what can be known and the recognition that the Platonic tradition is rooted in an awareness that defies rational expression. This non-representable and indescribable awareness was nevertheless believed to be the source of all discourse and available to anyone who learned how to receive it. This reception requires that we come to terms with our inability to grasp the unknowable and recognize that rationality itself is rooted in the unknown.
The Creativity, Life & Works of Leonardo da Vinci with Mary Attwood – 3 week course – Sunday 6, 13 & 20 March 2022 – 3.00pm-5.00pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £45
Leonardo da Vinci barely needs an introduction. His name is associated with genius, a man whose insatiable desire to discover what lay behind the world of natural phenomena led him to become the archetypal renaissance man equally adept at painting as he was with creating ideas for warfare and entertaining the court. Yet Leonardo was also a human being who encountered his own struggles and worked incredibly hard, incorporating a number of different qualities and cognitive faculties which co-existed alongside each other.
Archetypes, Synchronicity and Magic with Dr Becca Tarnas – Tuesday 8th March 2022 – 7.00-8.30pm UK time – via Zoom – £10
In recent years, astrology and magic have caught the collective imagination and are enjoying an unexpected renaissance through new social platforms. Astrology and magic have ancient roots and have persisted across the centuries through multiple evolving world views before being disavowed by the modern, scientific mind. As these disciplines re-emerge, what does it mean to practice astrological magic in the contemporary world?
The Spiralling Heart with Dr Louise Livingstone – Tuesday 22 March 2022 – 6.30pm – 8.00pm UK Time – Via Zoom – £10
This talk is moves deeper into the philosophical implications of one of the hearts that Louise met during her PhD research. In her work, Louise communicated with, and deeply explored, the different hearts that live within her. One of these hearts presented itself as a spiral – becoming known to Louise as her ‘holistic’ or ‘spiralling’ heart.
Exploring the Mystery of Death Through Sacred Plant Medicines with Baiba Baika – Sunday 3 April 2022 via Zoom – 3.00-5.00pm UK Time – £15
In this seminar, Baiba Baika draws on her Masters dissertation and her on-going research – Journeying Beyond the Fear of Dying: Psychedelic-Assisted Guiding of the Dying Through the Transition and Beyond. Baiba addresses the oldest and biggest fear of humanity – the fear of facing one’s own mortality.
Newton as Scientist, Mystic and Alchemist with Dr Edi Bilimoria – Tuesday 5 April 2022 via Zoom – 6.30-8.00pm UK Time – £10
Few scientists seem willing to acknowledge that Newton was not only one of England’s greatest men of science but also one of her most ardent students of mysticism. All that despite the outright assertions of people such as Sir Robert Robinson, past President of the Royal Society, who, asking how Newton could be both a mathematician and a mystic, himself answered that it was because he ‘perceived a mystery beyond and did his best to penetrate it.’
A sense of the Sacred with Dr Iain McGilchrist – Sunday 24th April 2022 – 3:00pm-4:30pm UK Time – via Zoom – £15
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?
Lives of the Great Artists – six week course with Mary Attwood, Mondays 25th April, 2nd May, 9th May, 16th May, 23rd May, 30th May 2022 10am – 1pm (UK time), via Zoom
Lives of the Great Artists - six week course With Mary Attwood Mondays 25th April, 2nd May, 9th May, 16th May, 23rd May, 30th May 2022 10am – 1pm (UK time), via Zoom ‘Extraordinary people excite; they guide; they warn; standing as they do, in the corridors of...
iRewild Ecological Consciousness – Soul Connection – 15 week course starting 4th May 2022 – online course with materials and teaching – via Zoom – £444 full course with certification
The ecological consciousness curriculum consists of 15 weeks during which participants meet and explore the central themes and ideas for tending the soul of the world and cultivating reverence for nature’s intelligence and interconnectedness. We journey through the human inner landscape to understand our own lenses that structure our experiences of the world, and, in the process, we become eco-citizens. This course is designed to be transformative, as it enables us to live in an authentic, creative, meaningful way in a world where we all belong. Participants work together, with space for participatory exercises, experiential practices, and creative expression, to develop break-through ideas for a final project that participants will take into the community.
Symmetry and the Sacred with Benedict Rattigan – Tuesday 10th May 2022 – 6.30pm-8.00pm UK Time – via Zoom – £10
At the heart of many of the worlds’s most ancient philosophies and spiritual traditions lies the idea of symmetry, and this same principle is emerging in fields as diverse and mathematics, neuroscience and particle physics. In ‘Symmetry and the Sacred’, writer and philosopher Benedict Rattigan draws upon myth, psychology and philosophy to explore this most misunderstood of concepts, and considers what it can teach us about the age in which we live.
Away with the Fairies with Dr William Rowlandson – Tuesday 26 April 2022 via Zoom – 6.30-8.00pm UK Time – £10
‘The Irish word for fairy,’ writes William Butler Yeats, is sheehogue [sidheóg], a diminutive of “shee” in banshee. Fairies are deenee shee [daoine sidhe] – fairy people. Who are they?’
Who indeed! Who are the Shee?
The search for the answer reveals many constantly shifting answers. Fallen angels, ancient gods, nature spirit, hallucination, unreal, verifiably material and very real, cheeky wee fellas in breeches, aliens, terrifying monsters. Conscious beings all around us, separated by the merest veil of consciousness, visible to mystics, dreamers and lucky children. One might as well ask: Where are the Sidhe? There is no final answer. The search is the answer; an enchanting, bewildering, endless journey of discovery.
Interspecies Communication and Community with Anna Breytenbach – Tuesday 24 May 2022 – 6:30pm-8.00pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £10
A natural birthright of all beings is the ability to communicate across apparent species boundaries. This creative and constructive imperative is at the heart of coexistence. We modern humans have fallen into a fog of forgetfulness – yet our true nature is that of connection and kinship. Beyond words and behaviour, we are in a dynamic quantum dance with the more-than-human world. Bringing our conscious awareness to these unspoken conversations is a great remembering. Through Anna’s stories and gentle guidance, we come to appreciate how accessible and intimate our intuition is. Interspecies communication is a beautiful way to restore our reverence for all life.
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 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”. 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, 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.
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.
The phenomena of spirit possession can be viewed and reviewed through the lens of differing fields of study including and most notably religious studies, psychology and anthropology. When reading in this area of research one would expect to encounter discourse giving examples from within the realms of the main world religions such as exorcism, or the more recent practices of the séance within the spiritualist churches. Here we will engage mainly with this phenomenon as presented through shamanic practices and within this conduct a study of the related context including physical space and ritual. Although there will not be a discussion around the use of the term shamanism, engaging in this particular account of spirit possession will undoubtedly highlight some of its core traits.
This discussion develops anthropological theory with respect to divination, clarifying the concepts of divinatory address and the unique case of interpretation. Lucien Lévy-Bruhl’s pioneering formulations are considered in the light of the well-known studies on Azande divination by E. E. Evans-Pritchard, and in the relatively recent description by Barbara Tedlock of the ‘cognitive continuum’ at work in divinatory interpretations. It is suggested that Tedlock’s description augments Lévy-Bruhl’s analysis and resolves apparent contradictions and inadequacies, rendering it appropriate to the cross-cultural study of divination.
The Mystery of William Blake – An Introduction with Joe Safdie – Tuesday 7 June 2022 – 6.30pm – 8.00pm UK Time – Via Zoom – £10
“Those who have been told,” William Blake pled in his “Descriptive Catalog” of works for sale, “that my Works are but an unscientific and irregular Eccentricity, a Madman’s Scrawls, I demand of them to do me the justice to examine before they decide.” Unfortunately, relatively few people have taken him up on that invitation, which is a shame, because once one starts looking into what he produced, he comes to seem very sane indeed – too sane, perhaps, for his contemporaries, and maybe even for us.
“A Solstice Mystery for the Solstice”: Celtic Myth, Sacrifice and Archetype with The Sacred Well Murders – Susan Rowland, PhD – Tuesday 21 June 2022 – 6.30pm – 8.00pm UK Time – Via Zoom – £10
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?
Heal the Pineal with Distant Sound Healing with Githa Ben-David – Tuesday 5th July 2022 – 6:30-8:00pm UK time – via Zoom – £10
During the Corona time, Githa Ben-David started to work online and found that her vocal sound scanning method, based on work with “The Note from Heaven”, had even stronger impact when distant.
Some of the essential points of, for example, dissolving a tumour with distant sound scanning is “knowing” that you can. Another point is that the receiver must be ready to open their awareness because a physical healing always requires an expansion of consciousness, This is the challenge of any illness. A faithful surrendering will lead to a belief which gradually turns into “knowing”. Githa Ben-David will demonstrate a distant sound scanning.
The Jupiter project was set up to experientially investigate the symbolism of the astrological Jupiter by connecting myself in different ways to this planet. To this end a range of creative, imaginal, symbolical and cognitive activities was carried out. In my essay the background, set up and main results of the project are described. The results are theoretically reviewed, and the dynamic between Jupiter and Saturn is discussed in the light of Jung’s concept of enantiodromia. The nature of the connection to Jupiter is discussed, particularly the role of transpersonal consciousness in experiencing the symbolism coming to life. Spangler’s ideas on personal and pure (soul) will are used to explain the different ways in which the connection is established. It is concluded that pure will opens up the possibility of a vivid connection to the symbolism. Personal will seems to work in the opposite direction: it closes the gateway to this experience.
Gaia Alchemy with Dr Stephan Harding – Tuesday 25th January 2022 via Zoom – 6.30-8.00pm UK Time – £10
About 400 years ago during the scientific revolution science and soul were drastically separated, propelling humanity into centuries of a valuable yet one-sided style of empiricism and rationality which has fundamentally disconnected us from each other and from nature. In this perspective, there is no room for the soul (anima or psyche), or for the development of empathy, intuition and feeling in relation to nature. This tragic separation is at the root of the serious ecological, climatic and psychological crisis which we currently experience all over the planet.
Now, for the first time, we have access to detailed scientific knowledge of the dynamics of the Earth, while depth psychology has shed light on the functioning of the human psyche. In this talk we will explore how combining these apparent opposites – science and psyche – can help us recover our intrinsic wholeness to heal ourselves and the earth. We’ll do this by integrating the science of Gaia (Earth System Science) with alchemical ideas and images from our pre-scientific past in relation to the evolution of our planet throughout geological time
This presentation, called Messages in Bottles – Drifting Treasure, was made to an open group of Cosmology M.A. students and tutors during a research day, 13 December 2015, in Canterbury Priory. Lasting half an hour, it took the form of a spoken and illustrated personal narrative. It re-created aspects of a meditative walk taken along the Thames foreshore – a literal path, looking out for messages in bottles, but also a metaphorical and mythopoetic path, asking the self and the cosmos questions along the way, and acting upon the answers received.
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.
Introduction to Heart Sense with Dr Louise Livingstone – Via Zoom – Fortnightly Over Six Sessions – £95 – with free mentoring session – starting Feb 2023
INTRODUCTION TO HEART SENSE WITH DR LOUISE LIVINGSTONE Six week personal development course via Zoom: Mondays 7:30pm - 9pm (UK Time) 6 & 20 Feb, 6 & 20 March, 3 & 17 April 2023 £95 - with FREE one-to-one mentoring session "I’m so grateful to Louise for...
Reclaiming Guinevere, Arthur, the Fae & the Round Table with Marguerite Rigoglioso – Tuesday 20th September 2022 – 6.30-8.00pm UK time – via Zoom – £10
Join Marguerite Rigoglioso, PhD, as she shares in-depth research regarding the hidden histories of the Court of Avalon: King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Merlin, and more. These historical figures were real people who merged with the lineages of the Essenes and the Sidhe/Fae in service to humanity. These souls are fully accessible to us now, as spiritual role models, in this time of great tribulation, for our own spiritual awakening.
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.
Ours is a culture which has no vision. It is at present imprisoned in a dying or outworn image of God and in a secular view of reality which has cut us off from the Earth and the Cosmos and from our own soul. Despite all the talk of freedom and human rights, countless millions live their lives in bondage to patriarchal images of God which are limited in concept and rigid in their authoritarian control over the human spirit.
The Art of Seeing – Plotinus and the Soul with Mary Attwood – Thursday 27th October 2022 – via Zoom – 7pm-8pm UK time – £ 10
The Art of Seeing Plotinus and the Soul with Mary Attwood Thursday 27th October 2022 - 7:00pm-8:00pm (UK time) via Zoom £10 "We must close our eyes and invoke a new manner of seeing, a wakefulness that is the birthright of us all, though few put it to use....
Transformation Through Turmoil with Steve Taylor, PhD – Tuesday 18th October 2022 – via Zoom – 6.30pm-8pm UK Time – £10
For 15 years, transpersonal psychologist Steve Taylor has been researching cases of spontaneous spiritual awakening that occur in the midst of intense psychological turmoil. In times of bereavement, serious illness, addiction, deep depression and intense stress a miraculous transformation sometimes occurs: the death of an old identity and the birth of a new, spiritually awakened self. In this presentation – based on his new book Extraordinary Awakenings – Steve provides some examples of these transformations from his research, and explains the reasons why they occur, including factors such as the dissolution of psychological attachments, acknowledgement and acceptance.
Opening the Archives of the Impossible: Some Personal Reflections with Professor Jeffrey Kripal – Sunday 30th October 2022 – 3:00pm-5:00pm UK Time – Via Zoom – £15
Jeff will reflect on the opening of Rice University’s Archives of the Impossible (named after his intellectual history of the paranormal, Authors of the Impossible) and why the response to this event was so overwhelming.
The Art of Seeing – Heraclitus and the Harmony of Tensions – With Mary Attwood – 7-8pm UK time- Thursday 24th Nov 2022 – £10 via Zoom
The Art of Seeing Heraclitus and the Harmony of Tensions Thursday 24th November 2022 7-8pm UK time via Zoom with Mary Attwood £10 "The cosmos works by harmony of tensions, like the lyre and bow” Heraclitus As a pre-Socratic philosopher, Heraclitus is often...
Gaia and the Tree of Life with Dr Stephan Harding – Tuesday 15th November 2022 via Zoom – 6.30-8.00pm UK Time – £10
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.
Returning to Harmony with Steve Taylor, PhD – Sunday 27th November 2022 – via Zoom – 3pm-5pm UK Time – £15
For 15 years transpersonal psychologist Steve Taylor has been researching the phenomenon spiritual awakening. In his books The Leap and Extraordinary Awakenings, he has identified a number of essential qualities of the awakened state, as well as the different ways in which awakening can occur.
In this workshop we will explore and cultivate these qualities through meditations, exercises and discussions, gaining contact with the spiritual essence of our beings, and so experiencing peace and harmony. Steve will read some of his poetic meditations to illustrate these qualities.
Gallery visit – Seeing the World Anew: the emergence of landscape in Art – with Mary Attwood – Saturday 3rd December 2022
Seeing the World Anew: the emergence of landscape in Art at the National Gallery, London With Mary Attwood Saturday 3rd December 2022, 10:00am - 2:00pm “The eye must not rest on the appearances of nature itself, or on the surface qualities of the work of art, but see...
Why Your Life Really Matters with Tim Freke – Tuesday 6th December 2022 via Zoom – 6:30-8:00pm UK time – £10
Why Your Life Really Matters with Tim Freke Tuesday 6th December 2022 - 6:30pm-8:00pm (UK time) via Zoom £10 Tim Freke will give a preview of his latest philosophical work on the big questions of existence. What is life? Do our lives really matter? Is...
The Art of Seeing – the sacredness of the Christian Mythos- with Mary Attwood – Thursday 15th December 2022 – 7-8 pm UK time via Zoom
The Art of Seeing The Sacredness of the Christian Mythos through the four senses hermeneutic/ of interpretation Thursday 15th December 2022 7-8pm UK time via Zoom with Mary Attwood £10"The theophanic view sees the cosmos as 'disclosure' of the divine, as...
Reflections On The Speaking World with Dr Louise Livingstone & Mary Attwood – via Zoom – Tuesday 20 December 2022 – 6:30-8:00pm UK Time– FREE
Reflections On The Speaking World with Dr Louise Livingstone & Mary Attwood Tuesday 20th December 2022 6.30pm - 8pm (UK time) via Zoom FREE REGISTER HERE As a thank you to all of our supporters over the past year, we would love you to join us as we share excerpts...
The Interior Shores of Norse Mythology with Andreas Kornevall – Tuesday 17th January 2023 – via Zoom – 6.30pm-8pm UK Time – £10
Join Andreas Kornevall for an evening presentation of Northern Myth, Seidr, Ritual and Runes. Andreas will introduce us to the enchantments, practices, wonder tales and myths that form the mythical dreaming of Northern Europe – myths and fairytales that have shaped much of Great Britain and Northern Europe for centuries. Through these stories and myths, we will explore essential questions about wisdom, where can it be found today? Also what rituals and practices can we start to develop that bring us closer to reconciliation with each other and the landscape we live in, whether it is rural or urban? There will also be a presentation and discussion of the multi-soul idea in Northern folklore and how it relates to folk-magic.
The Art of Seeing – the Journey to the Epiphany with Mary Attwood – Thursday 19th Jan 2023 via Zoom 7-8pm UK time £10
The Art of Seeing The Journey to the Epiphany through the four senses hermeneutic/ of interpretation Thursday 19th January 2023 7-8pm UK time via Zoom with Mary Attwood £10 "The star which they saw in the east, went before them“ Matthew 2:9 The Christian mythos...
‘I am not here to show you a dance, I am here to be danced and I invite you to witness’ – Victoria Brant
My creative project title arose from an exploration of two approaches to dance movement. Approach one explores dance movement in a meditative state of presence, which I called Being. Approach two explores the intention ‘pretending to Be’ through dance movement. The terms ‘Be’, ‘Being’ and ‘pretending to Be’ in relation to approaches one and two I will using throughout this essay. The primary intention for my project is approach one, to explore dance movement that arises from a state of presence and meditation, Being. I created approach two, so I had a counter opposing reference to approach one for greater clarity, for instance, one cannot comprehend black if they do not know white. I am using the terms ‘Being’ and ‘pretending to be’ instead of authentic and inauthentic, as authentic would suggest I am trying to be authentic, when I am only trying to Be.
Gaia Alchemy with Dr Stephan Harding – Sunday 29th January 2023 via Zoom – 3.00-5.00pm UK Time – £15
About 400 years ago during the scientific revolution science and soul were drastically separated, propelling humanity into centuries of a valuable yet one-sided style of empiricism and rationality which has fundamentally disconnected us from each other and from nature. In this perspective, there is no room for the soul (anima or psyche), or for the development of empathy, intuition and feeling in relation to nature. This tragic separation is at the root of the serious ecological, climatic and psychological crisis which we currently experience all over the planet.
Now, for the first time, we have access to detailed scientific knowledge of the dynamics of the Earth, while depth psychology has shed light on the functioning of the human psyche. In this seminar we will explore how combining these apparent opposites – science and psyche – can help us recover our intrinsic wholeness to heal ourselves and the earth.
The Cosmos in Stone – Sacred Geometry of a Master Mason with Tom Bree – Saturday 18th February 2023, 4.00 -6.00pm UK time via Zoom
The Cosmos in Stone Sacred Geometry of a Master Mason with Tom Bree Saturday 18th February 2023 - 4:00pm-6:00pm (UK time) via Zoom £15 Cosmological mythos is not something that is talked about very much in modern day Christianity. This is despite the fact...
The Call of Sophia with Dr Simon Wilson Tuesday 21st February 2023 6.30-8.00pm (UK time) via Zoom £10 This presentation will look at Sophia, or Woman Wisdom, who calls to each of us personally, to desire her and devote ourselves to her. She was present in...
The Art of Seeing – Unfolding Ways of Wisdom with Mary Attwood – Thursday 23rd February 2023, 7.00 – 8.00 pm UK time via Zoom
The Art of Seeing unfolding ways of wisdom with Mary Attwood Thursday 23rd February 2023 7:00pm-8:00pm (UK time) via Zoom £10 “The philosopher, even in his passions, acts only after reflection; he walks in the night but he is preceded by a torch.” Philosopher,...
Honouring Earth’s Cyclic Dance – Connecting Through Heart to the Flowing Energies of the Earth for Personal and Universal Transformation with Dr Louise Livingstone – via Zoom – Thursdays closest to the eight Celtic festivals – 7pm-8pm UK Time – £10
Honouring Earth's Cyclic Dance Connecting Through Heart to the Flowing Energies of the Earth with Dr Louise Livingstone Thursdays - closest to the eight Celtic festivals7pm - 8pm UK time via Zoom Next session - Imbolc: 2nd February 2023 £10By becoming familiar...
Ravens Speech with Andreas Kornevall – Sunday 26th February 2023 – 3:00pm-5:00pm UK Time – Via Zoom – £15
This workshop is for those with an interest in witchcraft, runes, alchemy, symbolism, Norse culture and Paganism. Andreas will guide us through the magical talismans of the ancient world – what can we learn from them, how can we read them? Also an introduction to the thousand-year history of the runes will be presented. Storytelling and myth will be essential components in our explorations; we will learn basic storytelling techniques and discover the initiatory patterns that exist in fairy tales.
Wonder in Art, Wonder as Art with Dr Patrick Curry – Tuesday 4th April 2023 via Zoom – 6.30-8.00pm UK Time – £10
Wonder in Art, Wonder as Art with Dr Patrick Curry Tuesday April 4th 2023 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm: £10 (UK time) via Zoom This talk concerns the experience of wonder in and as art. Such moments are precious, usually rare, and notoriously difficult to analyse or discuss....
Ecofluency talk: Fundamentals of Nature Communication with Saskia von Diest, PhD – Tuesday 18th April 2023 via Zoom – 6.30-8.00pm UK Time – £10
Fundamentals of Nature Communication with Saskia von Diest, PhD Tuesday 18th April 2023 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm (UK Time) via Zoom - £10Join Saskia in learning about the fundamentals of Ecofluency, as the science, art, and magic of two-way communication with the rest of...
Self Healing With Vocal Sound Therapy: Awareness of the Veil Between Oneness and Duality with with Githa Ben-David – Sunday 30th April 2023 – 3pm-5pm UK time – via Zoom – £15
In this workshop we will sing The Note from Heaven, sing Hung Song (inner undertones) and do self healing by sound. Grounding/position.
Purification of the liver, Solar plexus & the Pineal gland with Hung Song (to support the body for an eventual detox).
Expression of the Note from Heaven – leading to an experience of Oneness/optimises the immune system/ activates the parasympathetic nervous sytem.
Meditation for sending the Energy to the place you need it the most.
Rediscover your ability to communicate with Nature with Saskia von Diest, PhD – Sunday 21 May 2023 via Zoom – 3pm -5pm UK Time – £15
Rediscover Your Ability to Communicate with Nature with Saskia von Diest, PhD Sunday 21st May 2023 - 3:00pm-5:00pm (UK Time) via Zoom £15 In this workshop, Saskia will present some basics of how to practice ecofluency, which is the science, art, and magic of two-way...
Deep Time – A Contemplative Journey with Dr Louise Livingstone – via Zoom – 4 week course – Wednesdays 7th, 14th, 21st, 28 June 2023 – 7pm-9pm UK time – £55
Dr Louise Livingstone is co-founder of the Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred, and Director of the Heart Sense Research Institute. You can view her bio here For more information and to book, visit:...
Conversations with Gaia with Dr Louise Livingstone & Jay Livingstone via Zoom – 6 week course – Wednesdays – Starting October 2023 – 6.30pm-9pm UK Time– £85
This course is inspired by the theme of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s wonderful book Braiding Sweetgrass (2013) that encourages us, through indigenous teachings, to see the world as a gift. Innate within the energy of gift lies relationships, and the notion of reciprocity. In turn, at the heart of relationship and reciprocity lies openness, love, understanding, give and take, and, conversation.
Heart Sense Private Mentoring Sessions via Zoom – Dr Louise Livingstone – Running Throughout The Year
One-to-One Support/Mentoring/Readings. Private sessions with Louise Livingstone, PhD (MSc, BA, PGDipCEIG, VTCT, AAMET EFT, INLPTA). Reconnect with your heart and align to the inherent wisdom that lies within, learn to understand how your heart speaks to you and guides you through life, and gain confidence and trust in your heart for personal transformation; particularly important in these rapidly changing and challenging times. “Committing to journey back to our own heart is one of the most courageous and important steps that any of us can take in our world today” – Louise Livingstone.
Each session is one hour online via Zoom. All sessions are recorded. You will receive the audio recording via WeTransfer after the session has taken place.
Botticelli Birth of Venus – DOWNLOAD with Angela Voss and Mary Attwood – £15 for full recording and handouts
Following our popular session on Botticelli’s Primavera, here we offer an in-depth contemplation of its sister painting, The Birth of Venus. We 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.
Resolution of inner conflict was at the heart of my decision to create a virtual place as the creative output of the Creative Project . This project would, I hoped, reconcile seemingly divergent ontological aspects of myself and in doing so potentially create something of interest to others. After months of consideration, I settled that creating a digital application (‘app’) might be both a cathartic and symbolic merging respectively of my professional experience and my personal passion. In seeking this reconciliation, I was unexpectedly accompanied by my daemon. The product of this companionship was to be ‘The Book of Daemon’, a digitised book whose primary aim was to inspire potential readers to possibly establish, renew or develop a conscious engagement with their personal daemon. In undertaking this initiatory endeavour, which is in process still, I had hoped the exercise would engender a deeper knowing of myself by learning new skills and subjects. What I would not anticipate was the extent to which undertaking praxis ‘and entering into unknowing’, would bring me to the edge of sense and in doing so instigate a complete re-visioning and shift of my very being.
This creative project was inspired by a trip to Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island in Northumberland . It was here that Eadfrith created the Lindisfarne Gospels, ‘one of the world’s greatest masterpieces of manuscript painting’, around 698 CE (Backhouse, 2014 p.7). The Gospels were created in honour of St. Columba who having died in 687 CE, was formally declared a Saint when it was found his body had not decayed on its exhumation in 698 CE. After a walk around the Lindisfarne Priory ruins (which date from 1093 on the site of the earlier monastery), the project to ‘do some Celtic artwork’ was hatched in a café on the island and I went home clutching a copy of ‘The Celtic Design Book’ (Meehan 2007).
During the first term of this MA during a seminar discussion, we explored the allegory of Plato’s cave (Platos Republic VII, 514a to 517), and I felt myself being drawn to the idea of the cave being a womb like place in which gestation can occur; a place of darkness where, having lost a sense of self or meaning of life, we can either relinquish our journey or discover within us, a spark of awakening that can initiate a return or a rebirth. It reminded me of the myth of the descent of the Sumerian goddess Inanna to the underworld and that night, I dreamed of being in a cave deeply asleep as if in hibernation. I heard something calling me, yet could not identify the sound; it felt more like an intuitive ‘hearing’ and yet seemed to come from within me. It was urging me to rouse myself. On awakening I amusingly thought I had dreamed of the opposite of the opening lines to Inanna’s myth; “From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below” (Wolkstein, Kramer and Williams-Forte, 2004, p.52).
I had, in my dream, opened my ear from the ‘Great Below’ to the ‘Great Above’ and the idea to explore her myth as a creative performance began.
Can we access the archetypal ideas via the practice of painting. Does “being in the world” have an effect on the soul of the artist, by retreating into a world of interiority but remaining wholly present can we access the soul?Can we create a dialogue with the imagination which is reflected in the strokes the artist puts upon the page? How does active imagination equate to this. Can we see through our projections? Can we see the “gods” in the landscape and if so, how does the painter interpret this? Is this Alchemy?
I already possessed some artwork, a painting which I produced several years ago on a short course in Visionary Art. I was interested in exploring the metaphorical significance of the images which had emerged. The painting was full of meaningful symbols in terms of my personal life at that time, and had been a helpful companion since then. Now I was in a position to revisit the picture with fresh eyes, and found that this was giving rise to even more possibilities and questions. I realised that, as well as looking at how an image emerges, I also needed to consider how the onlooker “reads” an image as symbol, and how meaning may arise from a completed piece of work when it is “out there” in the world.
The creative project has been an extremely valuable part of the MA course for me. Within the confines of academic demands it is often difficult to move out of the head, indeed this has been one of the very unique challenges of the programme. The degree has offered a number of wonderful opportunities to tackle this issue by actively encouraging a more heart centred and intuitive approach to the content that we are facing here as students. To become more “…consciously aware of our intuitive process…” (Anderson, 2004, p.70) is a refreshing challenge to the more traditional approaches of academic research and engagement. But to be able to open the heart and engage our intuition in a manner that retains a level of conscious awareness and an ability to ‘see’ this process critically, is the real nature of the challenge we face as students. This represents new ground.
The idea for this project was rooted in Marie Angelo’s imaginal inquiry. According to Angelo, imaginal inquiry means trying to look at “the image as a living presence, entering its mythos and cosmos (narrative time and ordered space) and learning of it through participating in it” (2005, p.13). She argues that “if we allow the image to teach, to educate the eye, then we are gradually led to its heart, from the general to the particular, rom the outside inwards” One of the main objectives of my creative project was to create a piece of visual art that could have the transformative function that Angelo talks about. For me this meant conjuring a project that in some way codified a symbolic message that I wanted to convey to the world. In other words, an image with which one can engage and create a living bond, and not only look at.
One particular atrophied ‘not I’ that was calling for my attention was related to making art which I denied myself very early, as it was owned by my mother. She was the artist and she tried to ‘teach’ me to make art. I rejected her tutoring and instead learnt that what I already produced was not good enough, nor was it art, and that she held primacy over what art truly was. This assumption encouraged me to reject this aspect of myself and relegate it to ‘not I’, and so I have always blamed my mother for my fear of this particular type of creativity and the shame that goes with it.
After reading about the Flower of Life for several months from a wide range of authors from the ancient Greeks to the modern new age, I felt ready to draw my own Flower of Life symbol. I wanted to try and put myself in touch with Jung’s collective unconscious through the practice of scared geometry, using it as a metaphor for universal order, where in his book Sacred Geometry Lawlor advises us that “it is the approach to the starting point of the geometric activity which radically separates what we may call the sacred from the mundane or secular geometries” (Lawlor, 1987, p16). In his dialogue ‘The Republic’, Plato said that “God is always doing geometry”, and it is said that above the door to the Academy in Athens which he founded as the first institution of higher education in the Western world, the words were inscribed “let no one ignorant of geometry enter”. It was with some trepidation, and a feeling of pressure to do justice to my attempt, that I sat and started my first Flower of Life symbol.
Learning is my life passion, much of my recreational learning arising from a desire to maintain a creative balance with a career that has been in information technology and latterly lecturing in business management. In 2015 I attended a one-day woodcarving course learning the basics of the craft. Having a lifelong love of trees and wood, the smell of sawdust is evocative of my childhood as the daughter of a carpenter. The idea of carving a finger-labyrinth in the classical 7-circuit style kept re-surfacing in my consciousness. But would this provide sufficient scope for a creative project? Although simple in style, this carving was to present unforeseen challenges.
In astrological parlance I suffer from the affliction of a Saturn/Mercury conjunction. In layman’s terms, joining together Saturn (contraction) and Mercury (communication) may make oneself very uncomfortable in one’s expression. Indeed, I have always been bad at telling stories – be they jokes or life stories – always feeling that I was losing people’s attention half way through, always having difficulties to really embody the story and own it. A cruel lack of confidence in the delivery, especially when the audience exceeds four people. The Creative Project was therefore a perfect opportunity to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. Tell a story and learn a little bit about yourself, I thought.
In deciding what to do for my creative project I was torn between doing something purely ‘personal’ and perhaps trying to express myself through a new medium and doing something connected to my professional life as an RE teacher. I chose the latter because I wanted my creative project to have implications wider than just the personal, and I wanted to explore ways in which my work on the MA could influence and transform my life and teaching. One of the areas of RE that I had been feeling increasingly passionate about since starting the MA was the issue of female spirituality and the divine feminine. I increasingly noticed a disconnect between my own understanding of spirituality and the experiences of the women around me, and the ‘religion’ I was teaching in the classroom. I was also inspired by the work of Kripal and McGilchrist in particular in their understanding of education and the learning process, and how in our institutions it has been increasingly dominated by empirical enquiry to the exclusion of the archetypically feminine qualities and processes like intuition, embodiment and creativity. I wanted my project to develop my understanding of female spirituality, as well as integrating it with my professional life. I also felt strongly about the representation of women in the RE classroom and wanted to address this as well.
For the creative project I chose to compose a collection of poems to present to the class and wider program community as a recital and a printed booklet. During the course of the year I have written about two dozen pieces, more or less related to materials ad ideas explored through the MA. I selected eight that were the most direct responses and memorised them for the presentation. In terms of creative praxis, the process can be expressed as comprising two parts: the act of composition and the reflective tropos, bringing the poems from the realm of the subjective to the ‘universal’ audience.
This project was a creative process that crystallized in my endeavour to attempt to momentarily create a soul connection with my fellow students through the theatrical production of a sketch titled “Speaking from the Heart”. I wanted to corroborate the idea of the value of self judgement through the act of heart-felt confession. In order to combine these two practices in an artistic fashion I had to connect the concept of the soul to an instantly recognizable cultural image that served both as a visual and empathic bridge between myself and the group; while at the same time connecting the soul to the cosmos. It was for this reason that I chose the symbol of the heart. For is it not the heart and the expression of its intentions that influence our behaviour towards others? The ‘Upanishads’ write of the supreme Cosmic Spirit, Brahman, “He is the bridge of immortality. Where all the subtle channels of the body meet, like spokes in the centre of a wheel, there he moves in the heart and transforms his one form unto many.”
Following the aims of transformational learning theory and using art as a means of expression I have attempted to do an exercise that showed how I have engaged with the materials presented in the MA course. At the beginning of my studies I was not familiar with most of the themes that are at the core of the MA programme, such as symbolism or divination. During these years of learning I have discovered and rediscovered different areas of knowledge that have impacted me in many ways and that have contributed, and will still be adding, to my growth as a person. Therefore I wanted to create something that reflected what the MA has meant for me. In my essay I will present a review of the process that lead me to create the collage I entitled “Looking out of my window”, attempting to explain its symbolism and the challenges I have faced while doing it.
The poem ‘Shards of Glass’ expresses the fragmented post-modern experience of both the sacred and the mundane, seeing if it is possible to go beyond the mere expression of this experience and find some kind of unity, at least on a personal level. It explores how our personal myths and stories may interact with ‘established’ myth, and how objective reality may function as a gateway to the sacred.
The inspiration for my creative project arose out of an essay on the role of symbolism in the Dionysian rites. I developed a very personal connection to the material, trying to imagine what the rites may have felt like for those who participated – the essay was formal, but as I wrote my head was filled with spontaneous images and lines of poetry. I wrote the poem in four sections to reflect the Four Levels hermeneutic (also the idea of cycles of life and death, and of seasonal flow) but allowed the work to grow organically. With Dionysus as the narrator, I hoped to capture some idea of this deity’s compulsive attraction and beyond that to contemplate what ‘deity’ might signify in the first place. My professional work involves teaching and practising astrology, at the centre of which are the gods of classical antiquity – for some astrologers these represent psychological drives or Jungian archetypes; for others there is a more overtly spiritual or religious connotation. Although Dionysus is not included in the astrological pantheon, the creative project was a way for me to question myself on my own understanding of deity.
This projects weaves together a family tradition of crafting with various elements of the MA that were meaningful to me, to create a tapestry of ’emblems’.
‘LONGING is. . . the defenseless interior secret core of a person receiving its overdue invitation from the moon, the stars, the night horizon and the great tidal flows of life and love. Longing is divine discontent, the unendurable present finding a physical doorway to awe and discovery . . . . Longing has its own secret, future destination, and its own seasonal emergence from within, a ripening from the core, a seed growing in our own bodies. . . leading back to some unknown origin with its own secret timing indifferent to our wills. . . to a. . . future, to a transformation, to a life we want for ourselves and to the beauty of the sky and the ground that surrounds us’. (Whyte, 2015:135,136-7)
“At the age of 45 my heart literally broke. A boyfriend finished a relationship unexpectedly and a few days later I suffered a heart attack. My understanding as an Arts Psychotherapist is that there is no delineation between mind and body, so it did not surprise me that my heart physically mirrored my actual emotions of grief and abandonment.”
An exploration and development of some of the images and dialogues that have emerged from practicing Active Imagination
Miriel’s Threads: Recovering Portals to the Perilous Realms in Pendle’s Temple of the Stars – Julie Ross
This project charts the creation of an embroidered veil. A veil is a liminal item, well placed to convey the ‘in-between places’ that can be discovered but are more difficult to describe. The design was inspired by encounters with Tolkien’s Elves in the enchanted realms that can be perceived in the sacred Pendle landscape. Does the sacred art of sewing help us to bring these realms and the material world closer together? This is a mythopoeic journey where Elves and the Silmarils are interwoven with the Pendle Zodiac.
Louise's Test Event with Angela Voss & Mary Attwood Sunday June 27th 2021 - 10:00am - 12:00 noon (BST) via Zoom Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, with Mary Attwood & Angela Voss Sunday 27th June 2021 from 10am - 12noon (BST) via Zoom. £15 Following our popular...
Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ with Mary Attwood and Angela Voss – 27 June 2021 – 10am-12 noon (UK time) – via Zoom – £15
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.
Introduction to Goethean Enquiry with Louise Livingstone – 4 July 2021 – 3pm-5pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £15
In this seminar, we explore the 18th century German poet and scientist, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s (1749-1832) relational approach to learning about the world; particularly engaging with the imagination.
Levels of meaning in Shakespeare with Philip Marvin – 6 July 2021 – 6:30pm – 8:00pm (UK Time) – via Zoom – £10
Shakespeare’s ‘mirror up to nature’ encompasses every aspect of human being. It is common to explore his texts in terms of plot development, themes, imagery, historical background, sources/influences, rhetorical devices, linguistic analysis etc. This all has its place. But Shakespeare’s mirror up to nature goes deep. Deeper than perhaps any other writer has ever achieved. In this session, we will explore the different levels of meaning contained in these works and their power to transform our own understanding of ourselves and the world.
Symbol & Sacred: Signs of the Daimon with Geoffrey Cornelius – 10 July 2021 – 11am-12:30pm (UK Time) – via Zoom – £10
In this session, we explore how the daimon shows itself and guides us through signs, dreams and divinations. We will draw on Platonic themes, from Socrates and his daimonion to Plutarch and the vision of Timarchus.