CONFERENCES & PROGRAMS
Here are some of the ongoing conferences series and programs with which I am currently engaged.
1.The Western Esoteric Tradition in the 21st Century
I will be co-presenting at a symposium on this theme at the Sivananda Retreat on Paradise Island in the Bahamas from April 25th to 28th.
I’m fortunate to be joined by some of my favorite speakers on this theme – Joscelyn Godwin, Marjorie Roth and Leonard George.
Here’s what the website says about it:
A golden thread of spiritual wisdom can be traced through much of the Western world. Follow the courses of multiple Western esoteric streams to explore their spiritual influence on the present age.
Learn about ancient Alexandria, the Sufis of Islamic Andalusia, the hermetic and neoplatonic resurgence of 15th Century Florence, the alchemical world of Renaissance Bohemia, and more.
The teachings of this symposium draw from the 22-year history of Esoteric Quests created by New York City’s celebrated Open Center. Join this gathering of eminent scholars, historians, and musicians who will bring these oracles, myths, art, and songs to life.
This retreat and yoga center is a jewel on turquoise seas with the steady, soothing rhythm of the waves calming those jangled city nerves. I have deeply enjoyed my prior visits there including the most recent one in which I spoke on my memoir, The Jeweled Highway, at a symposium on spiritual narrative- My Story, Their Story, Your Story organized by the redoubtable scholar of Indian and Jewish spirituality, Nathan Katz. We were joined by Jan Willis, gutsy, eloquent and engaging facer down of the KKK in the JIm Crow South, and Roger Kamenetz, poet, dream journeyer, and author from New Orleans. It was a truly lovely experience.
Perhaps you’ll join me in April for the symposium on the Western Tradition.
Here is the link: https://www.sivanandabahamas.org/course/western-esoteric-tradition-21st-century-april-2018/
2. An Esoteric Quest for Ancient Alexandria:
Greco-Egyptian Birthplace of the Western Mind
June 12th to 17th, Alexandria, Egypt
Alexandria was for seven hundred years the greatest center of learning and culture in the ancient world, a brilliant crucible in which the civilizations of ancient Greece and Egypt intermingled and absorbed streams of wisdom from throughout the known world. Its legendary Library and Museum made it possible for many of history’s greatest philosophers, scholars, and scientists to flourish, and for the city to become the cradle of Hermeticism, Gnosticism and Neoplatonism. Alexandria was a city filled with compelling personalities, from its founder Alexander the Great, to Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemaic Pharaohs. Its long list of influential thinkers includes the great Jewish philosopher Philo, the Gnostic Christian Clement, the Neoplatonists Ammonius Saccas and Plotinus, and finally the noble and tragic Hypatia, last of the pagan lovers of wisdom. Please join us for the first international conference held in Alexandria to bring vividly to life the most influential center of culture and esoteric wisdom in antiquity, the authentic birthplace of the Western mind.
The conference also includes expeditions to sacred sites in and around Alexandria, and evenings featuring cultural presentations of music and poetry.
To read more go to: www.esotericquest.org
3. This is the latest in a series of conferences on the ‘lost spiritual history of the west’ that I have organized over the last fifteen years. You can find brochures for each of these on the Esoteric Quest website.
Themes have included
Greco-Egyptian Birthplace of the Western Mind – June 9th to 14th, 2012 – Alexandria, Egypt
Click HERE to see website
The Open Center’s eighth Esoteric Quest addressed the life-enhancing spiritual impulses that emerged powerfully in America. We brought alive the worldviews of Native Americans, seventeenth century Alchemists, Freemasons and Founding Fathers, Transcendentalists, early Feminists, and Spiritualists. We also honored numerous twentieth century American writers and artists influenced by esotericism, and celebrated the contemporary, multicultural, spiritual explosion. Writers, scholars and performers joined in the beautiful Catskill Mountains at a special moment of rebirth of the American spirit.
Click HERE to see website
2008: An Esoteric Quest for the Mysteries and Philosophy of Antiquity: Spiritual Experience, Wisdom and Art in Ancient Greece
This Quest took place on the magical island of Samothrace, Greece, far off the beaten track in the northern Aegean Sea. For a thousand years, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace was one of the most famous mystery centers of the ancient world, rivaling Delphi in stature and fame. International scholars, writers and artists gathered for the seventh in the Open Center’s series of conferences on the Western Esoteric Tradition. The conference was followed by three optional journeys. One explored the Sufi world of Istanbul, the other journey traveled to Delphi, Eleusis, and other evocative mystery centers of mainland Greece. Lastly we traveled to Ephesus, Didyma, and Miletus, exploring oracles and sacred sites from early Christianity.
Click HERE to see website
2007: An Esoteric Quest for the Golden Age of Andalusia: Sufis, Kabbalists and Christian Philosophers in Medieval Spain
This conference took place in Granada, the evocative and beautiful city lying below the snowy Sierra Nevada that, alone on the Iberian Peninsula, remained under Muslim control until the fateful year of 1492. Outstanding faculty from Spain, France, Britain and the United States addressed such topics as: the Zohar, the Sufis of Andalusia, Arabic alchemy, Ibn ‘Arabi and Rumi, the knowledge system of Ramon Lull, the troubadours, and the place of Spain and Islam in the Grail stories. Evenings were filled with poetry, flamenco, and music that emerged from the blending of ‘Las Tres Culturas‘.
Click HERE to see website
This eight-day itinerant conference began in the Czech Republic in Kutna Hora and then proceeded to Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) in western Bohemia. It concluded in Weimar, Germany, and followed the Western Esoteric Tradition from fifteenth century Bohemia to its reemergence in Goethe’s artistic and scientific work.
2000: The Italian Renaissance and the Esoteric Traditions: Hermetic, Cabalistic and Neo-Platonic Philosophers & Their Influence Today
This five-day conference took place in Florence, Italy, and looked at the world of Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and the many other remarkable figures and esoteric impulses that characterized fifteenth century Florence.
This conference brought alive the Celtic background of the Grail stories and explored the roots and meaning of the Arthurian legends. It was held in Lampeter, Wales.
Held at the Zofin Palace on an island in the center of Prague, this conference coincided with the Festival of Rudolf II, King of Bohemia and Hungary, and Holy Roman Emperor in 1600, and investigated many aspects of the alchemical world of renaissance Bohemia.
1995: The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited: The Western Mystery Tradition in Bohemia. A Conference in Honor of Frances Yates
The first of the Open Center’s conferences on the Western Esoteric Tradition, this event brought together scholars, researchers and writers in the Southern Bohemian mecca of alchemists, Cesky Krumlov. It was named after Frances Yates’ pioneering work, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment.
4. Another major interest of mine is developing a more holistic approach to death and dying in our culture.
The NY Open Center, in partnership with Tibet House NY, has co-produced four conferences on the Art of Dying. These have been some of the most meaningful and soulful events with which I have had the privilege of being associated.
You can find further information at www.artofdying.org.
Art of Dying V is tentatively scheduled for Spring 2012
5. The International Holistic Centers’ Gathering
The Gathering in 2012 will return to Europe and be held as part of the Findhorn Foundation’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.
There are few better ways to keep your finger on the pulse of the holistic ‘movement’ than by attending this unique Gathering. I have developed a worldwide network of friends and colleagues from my participation in these warm, open and informative events on both US Coasts and in both Eastern and Western Europe.
There’s not much doubt that holistic ideas and practices are emerging all over the planet, and these centers are some of the focal points of this impulse.
Here is an article that covers my role in the Gathering over the last 25 years.
6. May 2012 Holistic Centers’ Gathering to be held at Findhorn, Scotland.
In this video clip, Ralph, Christine Lines from Findhorn, and Kutira Decosterd from Maui Eco Retreat speak at Harbin Hot Springs about the May 2102 Holistic Centers’ Gathering to be held at Findhorn, Scotland.