Being a Celestial Human: Astrological Practices that link Heaven and Earth

This class will engage astrology as a wisdom tradition that brings you into wholeness by bridging the gap between the celestial and physical realms. Many people think of heaven and earth as divided, with heaven representing the transcendent spiritual realm, and earth the
dense material world. Actually both heaven and earth are sacred, and both heaven and earth can be engaged in a very tangible way. Astrology with its maxim of “As Above, So Below” provides a means to intersect heaven and earth into a unified cosmos, enabling us to live as Celestial Humans, aware of and engaged in the total universe that surrounds us. We will begin by getting to know the celestial residents of our solar system – Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. We will begin to establish a deep and lasting
relationship with these energetic beings so that we may learn from them and ask them for their guidance. No prior knowledge of astrology is needed. The goal of this class is to provide you with the tools needed to be a celestial human, not to read an astrological chart. Those with astrological knowledge will find their understanding deepened.
This is an experiential class using a combination of imagery, working with symbols, SoulCollage,
shamanic journeying, sound, movement, journaling, and ceremony.

Astrology and Christianity (with Lisa Harrison) (this was a 5 week class that could also be condensed into a public talk)

In the Middle Ages, the idea arose that God had written two books, the book of the Bible and the book of Nature.  Both were considered a source of revelation about God and His relationship to humankind.  The idea that the revelation of God could be seen in nature, specifically the cosmos, goes all the way back to Genesis.  Astrology, as an art and a science, is part of the book of Nature and as such, was seen to contain the word of God. Although Astrology indicated the coming of the Messiah with the Star of Bethleham, Astrology has had a complex relationship with Christianity and many have believed it to be conflict with the Bible.   In Etymologies, Bishop Isoidore of Seville, called Astrology an “illicit but fascinating subject.”  Like the Magi following the Star of Bethlehem, we will journey from the book of Genesis to Revelation exploring both the connections and the conflicts between Christianity and Astrology through scripture, commentary, history, and legend.

Celestial Human: Many people think of heaven and earth as divided, with heaven representing the transcendent spiritual realm, and earth the dense material world. Actually both heaven and earth are sacred, and both heaven and earth can be engaged in a very tangible way. Astrology with its maxim of “As Above, So Below” provides a means to intersect heaven and earth into a unified cosmos, enabling us to live as Celestial Humans, aware of and engaged in the total universe that surrounds us.        at Presented 2015 for the American Academy of Religion Eastern Meeting.

Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Astrology Classes

Astrology and Ritual in Everyday Life

Discovery Learning Lab

This is a laboratory where we experiment with ideas that bring new awareness to the inner dimension of self. It is a place to learn techniques and information about the body, mind, spirit, and soul. As in any laboratory, some of the work we do will have major impact, some will lead to new directions in thought and action, some will stimulate other ideas, and some may have no impact at all. It is up to each person to realize that each person’s needs are different and what works for one may be unimportant to another. You can participate only as much or little as you wish. Some guidelines help make this as productive as possible including: Move at your own pace; keep an open mind; allow yourself to change and grow; be patient; stay on your growing edge; keep a journal; use your right and left brain; be open; and enjoy yourself.

Experience of Past Lives

Learn about healing the wounds in the psyche, that deep interior part of the self that often goes unacknowledged, but never unexpressed. Our intellectual awareness of issues in our life are often more advanced than our emotional understating. This leaves our emotional soul out of balance and often our of touch. We work with the unconscious, inner child, family dysfunction, and psychic residue of past lives in a loving and supportive manner.

Since 1982, when Lilan was certified in Past Life Therapy, she has used this innovative approach to help individuals connect with the intuitive unconscious mind In a mild trance state, you can remember and heal incidents from this present life, the birth experience, prenatal, and previous lifetimes. Using story telling, gestalt, focusing, and visualization, breath work, and energy work to identify the wounds of the soul and bring them into health.

This technique is helpful in uncovering repetitive patterns that keep getting in our way. It also is an excellent way to release old karmic complexes and bring forward transformation. At this time when much psychotherapy is rational and intellectually based, Past Life Therapy is a true balm for the soul. You do not have to believe in reincarnation to benefit from this inner exploration.

Marriage of the Sun and Moon

This is an examination of the male/female relationship from an ancient perspective. Many people want a balanced, loving relationship but are confused by changing trends, values, and conflicts within themselves. We will look at the ideas of Carl Jung, Tarot, Astrology, Alchemy, Mythology, and Fairy Tales to discover new ways to think about the masculine/feminine balance.

 

A Series on Women’s Spirituality (can be single public talks)

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Creating Ceremony- Experience women’s heritage as keepers of sacred ceremony. Ceremony is a creation of sacred space combined with the intention of harmonizing, celebrating, and transforming ourselves and our environment. We will create a ceremony together demonstrating the elements involved in creating your won ceremonies that can honor the transitions in your life.

Honoring the Ancestors- Some wisdom traditions describe our ancestors as “the bones paving the path on which we walk.” In this event we will look at the importance of our ancestral connections and how we can integrate the ancestral presence in our lives.

Intuition- Since ancient times when women served as priestesses at Delphi receiving the oracles of guidance, intuition has been attributed as a special gift of the feminine consciousness. Intuition not only broadens our sphere of influence and possibilities but deepens our experience of spiritual connection. In this event we will practice ways of cultivating this important and accessible function by examining synchronicity, signs omens, dreams and inner guidance.

Faces of the Feminine- There are many faces of the feminine, many mirrors that reflect the varying essence of what it means to be female. In this event we will survey images from the 30.000 years of ancient sacred feminine traditions with a special focus on the role of the High Priestess, who is the seer, dreamer, and bearer of sacred knowledge. We will explore the different ways the High Priestess is seen in culture, and with the use of symbols and visualization, get to know the High Priestess within ourselves.

Women as Healers- We will focus on the ability to heal ourselves, our community, and our world. Women have long been the guardians of the circle of life. We will start by looking at the legacy and history of women healers. Then we will explore healing techniques such as energy healing, imagery, inner sensing, prayer, ceremony, and care giving ourselves and others.

Women and Power- For many women the idea of power is a contaminated one, reflecting the notion of power over, domination, and exploitation. Yet there is a power in each of use that carries the purpose of our time on earth. This power needs to be expressed if we are to insure the survival of our planet. In this event we will redefine power and discover our unique feminine voices. We will look at block to being powerful and how to build the confidence and skill to direct our lives with conviction and passion.

Clan Mother Teachings- The Thirteen Original Clan Mothers, according to the Seneca Indian tradition, hold the wisdom and beauty of women’s medicine. They represent the various aspects of the feminine principle and teach us how to travel a sacred path. In this event we will explore the essence of these teachings and look at how we can apply them to our lives.

Sacred Stories- It has been said that we sometimes need stories more than food to stay alive, and indeed, stories are food for the soul. Stories are for remembering who we were, who we are, and who we want to become. Join us for some of the sacred stories that inspire women to be true to themselves, and participate in unearthing stories of your won personal mythology as well as creating the story of your vision for the future. We will also work with journaling the story of everyday. If you wish, bring a journal.

The Emerging Feminine – The emerging of the feminine principle is an unstoppable force. The goddess is unearthing in our psyches and taking root in the lives of both women and men through an increase in receptivity, intuition, creativity, interconnection, and a greater awareness of the need to care for the land, our Earth Mother. In this event we will open to this feminine energy within ourselves and discover how best to embody these principles on our earth walk.

Mother – Within each of us lies a Mother, the nurturing, caring part of ourselves. Is your inner mother alive in your life or are you wanting to wake her up? Do you try to mother your mates or refuse to even nurture yourself? How did your mother influence these things in you and what is the balance you want to reach?

The Fool –The Fool walks in where wise women fear to tread. Light, open, willing to take chances, fun, laughing and free. The Fool ventures into trouble, wandering, watching and praying it will all work out. Dare to know your inner Fool!

Seductress – The animal self, slowly stalking, using all her feminine wiles to capture her prey. The sexual self, open, giving and receptive, passionate and wild. The hidden self, trapped, dying to be free. For each woman, a unique experience.

Judge – There is an inner voice within that passing judgment on all that you do. Is it a fair and caring judge? Or a harsh and punishing judge? How can you connect to this inner voice in order to temper its criticism with wisdom?

Grandmother Spider – So often our visions of ourselves as mature women are wrought with fears of aging. Open up to the beauty and wisdom that grows deeper with age.

The Child – The inner child is the place of your innocent and vulnerability. Is your inner child a mirror or parental conditioning, or is it free to be itself? Where is your vulnerability and hurt? Get in touch with your joyful nature and create a new playfulness within yourself.

The Warrior – The Warrior is that part that goes out into the world with confidence and strength. She wants to accomplish something of value, is brave, and can take on any challenge. Discover the warrior, a necessary part of making any dream come true.

High Priestess- In our intellectual, competitive world, we tend to forget the feminine tradition of creativity and intuition. The High Priestess is the doorway to the inner self. Open it to see what is hidden and the mysteries she holds for you.

 

UNIVERSITY COURSES ON RELIGION (can be separated into individual public talks)

 

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Introduction to Religion

This course introduces students to the variety of intellectual disciplines by which the religions of humankind can be studied and some of the typical foci of such study. Topics to be covered in the course include: What is religion? Religious studies vis-à-vis theology; literary, historical, anthropological, sociological, psychological, economic, and feminist approaches to religion; the sacred and the profane; science and religion; mysticism, myth, symbol, and ritual.

Varieties of Religious Tradition

This course will consider the religious traditions of Europe that have shaped the past and influenced the present. Though the major cultural tradition of Europe is Christian, both Judaism and Islam have an important role in the religious tenor of Europe today. Poland was home to Europe’s largest Jewish community until that community was decimated in death camps, like Auschwitz, during the Holocaust. Jews also lived in southern Spain, where for centuries Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived in relative peace, and the arts and sciences flourished. This golden age was an exception to the continual warfare that threatened Europe as countries defended themselves against invading Muslims. We will begin the class with an overview of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as three monotheistic religions joined together as the “Children of Abraham.” Themes ranging from ideas of divinity, essential texts, and sacred time and space will be considered. We will then explore Eastern Orthodoxy, especially as practiced in Russia with a focus on icons and architecture in St. Petersburg. We will address the differences between Russian Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic Church as we journey to Poland, the birthplace of Pope John Paul II. One of the most tumultuous religious events of any century occurred with the 16th century Reformation which pitted communities and countries in Europe against each others.  This fracture in the Catholic Church led to creation of Protestant denominations, including Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Anglican, but not before destruction and murder overtook the continent. We end our examination with the Catholic theological defense and revival which included, among other things, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of Muslims and Jews from Spain, and the expansion of the Christian faith to the New World.

Myth, Symbol, and Ritual: In Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions

This course will examine the pre-Christian religions in Europe of the Vikings and the Celts. These two cultures were found in Iceland, Norway, Russia, Poland, Belgium, England, Ireland, and Spain. Though spread across a wide span of time and found from one end of Europe to the other, the Celts and Vikings had much in common when it came to their way of viewing their religious worlds. We will explore the myths, symbols, and rituals of the Vikings and Celts and attempt to re-construct their cosmology, seeking similarities between them. We will begin with a brief overview of the Viking and Celtic history. We will then address topics including the World Tree, sacred places, gods and goddess, rituals of feasting and sacrifice, ideas of the afterlife, burial practices, divination, and land-spirits.  The decline of pagan practices and the spread of Christianity will be considered. Attention will be given to how aspects of these beliefs are expressed today through folk traditions and popular culture including a Neo-Nordic pagan revival. Field explorations, which will be focused on Iceland, Norway, England, and Ireland, can include visits to sacred landmarks, burial sites, mounds, standing stones, museums, and art galleries. Students may suggest field visits that are not listed.

Religion and Star Trek

This course will illustrates the various theories of religion by using Star Trek episodes.

Western Humanities

A historical approach to the pivotal ideas, systems of thought, and creations of the Western World. We begin with ancient Greece in 9th century BCE, and explore the development of the Roman Empire, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Renaissance, Reformation, and end our inquiry with the Scientific Revolution in 16th century CE. The emphasis will be on philosophical, scientific, and religious themes including ideas of the divine, creation of the world, the tension between faith and reason. We will read original texts (in translation) placing them in their historical and cultural contexts.