The Imaginal, Daimonic and Psychedelic
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.
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.
In this course, Simão explores some of the core issues around dreaming and the relationship between the dreamer and her dreams. Each session focuses on a specific set of approaches to dreams, both religious and psychoanalytic, private and communal, creative and playful.
The Book of the Sun represents the culmination of Ficino’s life and work. Published in 1494, five years before his death, it is a supreme example of the very synthesis of astrology, religion and philosophy for which Ficino strived all his life and illustrates his ability to convey the deepest mystical experience within a lucid, authoritative prose.
Exploring the Weird is Weird. Investigating wormholes in the fabric of the space-time continuum opens wormholes in the fabric of the space-time continuum. That is my summary of Ness HighWeird.
Review by William Rowlandson – Damned facts: Fortean essays on religion, folklore and the paranormal ed. Jack Hunter
Some writers are influential enough to have their own adjective – Shakespearean, cervantino, Dickensian, Kafkaesque, Orwellian. (Douglas Adams should have one, but Adamsian sounds odd). Charles Fort is honoured not only with the adjective Fortean but also with the noun Forteana. What is, what are, Forteana?
It is an imaginal adventure to explore the imaginal. It is a little-known word that dances between discourses, and as such carries different baggage than some of its associated meanings, such as spiritual, mystical, oneiric, anomalous, paraphenomenal, psychedelic, weird…
I’ve been interested in the relationship between these two concepts for some time – chakra therapy as a form of bio-energetic healing and the imaginal as a realm in which we can locate symbolic images that also have the potential to transform and heal us.
The importance of the work of Marsilio Ficino of Florence (1433-1499) in the awakening, transmission and dissemination of esoteric knowledge in the West cannot be overestimated. By ‘esoteric’, we mean a tradition of religious philosophy which embodies an initiatic mode of teaching – a promise of access to hidden meanings deep within the fabric of the world which will eventually lead the searcher to a condition of gnosis or unity with the source of all being.
The theme of this chapter arose through a strange coincidence and a dream, which I shall briefly relate. Some time ago a friend introduced me to the work of Michael Newton, and I spent a session with my MA students discussing the question of regression therapy and spiritual encounter in relation to Hermetic texts and the mundus imaginalis of Henry Corbin. Shortly after this, I received an email, quite out of the blue, from Michael Newton himself. He was looking for a university department where he could develop his client work into a doctoral thesis, and this initiated a flow of personal communication on the subject of life between lives (LBL) therapy.
It is encouraging to see the current academic interest in therapeutic properties and usages of psychedelics and psycho-active plants. Sociological methods of quantitative data analysis and scientific investigation into the physiology of altered states of consciousness (ASC) are challenging negative and prohibitive attitudes and contributing to a general re-evaluation of legal constraints regarding their use.
How do we interpret the word ‘erotic’ in our contemporary society? It usually conveys a sexual allure, a physical attraction, a suggestion of passion and exoticisim. But do we connect it with spirituality, or a sense of divinity? Not usually. In our secular world the sacred is not accessible through sex. We have separated human sexuality from religious experience, yet surely everyone can testify to the tremendous emotional power of the “longing for the beloved” and probably most have sensed what feels like an
immeasurable distance between the ideal of love, the perfect beauty, and the person sitting next to them at breakfast.
The theme of love was central to the Renaissance revival of Platonism led by Marsilio Ficino of Florence (1433–99).
Petite Pandora - An Archetypal AdventureI wrote and illustrated a children’s story based on the ‘Fool’s Journey’ of the tarot cards, which sees the main character Pandora embark on a quest for self-realisation by facing the archetypal forces of the psyche and...
Platonic Myths: Likely Stories with Dr Angela Voss – 4 week course starting 31st October – 11am-12.30pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £60 full course/£15 per session
We will think about why and how Plato uses myths in his Dialogues, and what kind of ‘truth’ he is wanting to tell us using the language of the ‘likely story’. We will follow the themes of the creation, the nature of knowledge, erotic love as a spiritual path, and finally the experience of the afterlife, and consider the importance of these stories for us now.
In this chapter, I explore the phenomena of visual apparitions of daimons and spirits, and how in the neoplatonic traditions they have always been seen as lights.
Becoming an Angel: the mundis imaginalis of Henry Corbin and the Platonic path of self-knowledge – Angela Voss
The profoundly alchemical implications of Corbin’s imaginal hermeneutics, in a spiritual sense, are illustrated by his interest in the hieratic art of statue animation, which he describes as:
neither a simple dramaturgy of the unconscious or psychological allegory, nor a simple manipulation of materials practiced in the manner of a mere chemist or pharmacist (droguiste). It is an operation at once material and spiritual, the juncture between the two aspects remaining the hidden secret underneath the symbols of the “Philosophers” (as the alchemists designate themselves).
Alchemy for Corbin is essentially the inner, spiritual work of attaining union between the human soul and its heavenly counterpart