ASTROLOGY

Seeking the Star of Bethlehem A Christmas Story and Labyrinth Walk

The birth of Christ is a beautiful and beloved story. And like all great stories, it not only brings our attention to the challenges, and ultimately, the faith of Mary and Joseph, it also reminds us that these same challenges exist within ourselves. Lilan Laishley will tell the Christmas story from the point of view of the Magi. The Magi were astrologers from Persia who came from the East, following the Star of Bethlehem to find the Christ-child. Using beautiful images from the paintings of the great masters, we will journey along with these Magi to explore why they began their search, the possible dates of Christ’s actual birth, the reality of the Star of Bethlehem, and the importance of their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After our exploration of the Christmas Story we will join together in a labyrinth walk to make our own symbolic journey to follow the Star and to find the light of Christ. The circular labyrinth has a winding path that leads from the outside to the center, much like a walking meditation. Using music, contemplation, and quiet prayer you can take this time to reflection your own challenges and acts of faith as you seek out your connection to the sacred light of Christ.

The Symbols and Astrology of Christmas

The Winter Solstice is just a few days before Christmas. It is no coincidence that both of these holy days (holidays), Winter Solstice and Christmas, celebrate the “birth of the Sun/Son,” symbolically representing the movement from darkness into light. The Winter Solstice is the seasonal cycle of the year signifying the end of the Sun’s decline into darkness and it’s journey back into light. The birth of Christ – the Son of God – brings forth a light that illuminates the world. This talk will look at many such examples of the symbology of Christmas, including: the Magi, the astrological configuration of the Star of Bethlehem, the Age of Pisces, Christianity as a Mystery Religions, and the relationship between Isis and Mary.

South Indian Ritual Magic Clears Negative Karma in the Birthchart

This talk examines the practice of celestial magic in contemporary South India as it relates to the individual birth chart. Specific celestially oriented rituals can minimize the unpleasant effects of the birth chart and positively influence the planetary deities. The rituals incorporate various magical techniques including mantras, acts of worship, prayers, yantras, ceremonial offerings, icons, gemstones, and shrines. This talk is based on participant observation during a research trip to Tamil Nadu, South India. An astrologer suggested a ritual was needed to clear the negative karma he saw in my birth chart. This led to a multifaceted ritual at a 9th century snake temple, which I documented with photos and interviews. This specific site was chosen because the celestial snakes Rahu and Ketu in the Indian astrological system, were the cause of the difficult karma and would need to be approached for help clearing it. I will share the stages of this ritual, including the magical techniques and symbolic meaning of the actions taken. I will conclude with my proposal that ritual is both a container and vehicle for celestial magic.

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.

PSYCHOLOGY/SPIRITUALITY

Jung and the Red Book: Search for Soul

Symbolic Meaning of the Tarot

Tarot and Astrology

Poetry of Rumi and the Search for God

Carl Jung and the Tarot

The Four Directions and Four Elements

Living a Magical Life

Life is magical, mysterious, and wondrous. It’s just that we normally do not take the time or have the knowledge that allows us to access this magical part of our life. Instead we run around stressed, irritable, and overwhelmed with obligations to work and family. But there is another way to be in relationship with yourself, your families, and the world; A way that sees the universe as alive and in dialogue, a way to listen to the universe and to talk back. In this class you will learn the philosophy, awareness, and tools to tune into the world right beyond our awareness so you can slow down, open up, and live magically. You will learn from the wisdom of ancient and modern traditions and develop new skills that when applied can change the way you see yourself and the world.

Tapping into the Power of your Dreams

The unconscious often speaks to us when we sleep through the images and stories of our dreams. Dream communications are often complex and mysterious and need to be understood to make sense of their messages to our daily lives. Dreams also provide awareness into the workings of the psyche, including a better understanding of the multiple parts of ourselves called Archetypes, and the Anima and Animus as described by Carl Jung. Learn how to use dreams to connect your inner and outer life, how to remember and record dreams, and simple technique for listening to their message.

Creating Your Vision

This course is an excellent opportunity to create clear intentions about what you want in your life and to learn the skills to bring these visions into reality. guides you through the process of deciding what you want to do with your life, and then provides the tools to begin to bring your goals into reality. Learning how to make your dreams come true is a skill that you didn’t learn in  school, but one that can be mastered now. Some topics are: focus the mind and stop the internal struggles that sabotage your attempts at change; How the Universe works and how to co-create with the Universe; The way thought and emotions effect your life; The power of choice and the importance of a clear intention; How to work with your current circumstances to get you where you want to be; What drains your energy and how to generate energy; How to slow down the over stimulated mind and tune into your wise self.

Psychology and the Empowerment Model

Learn how to live your life with more optimism and harmony by finding out how people stay psychologically healthy. Learn to create in yourself a solid center that provides balance to your whole self — body, mind, spirit, and emotion. Being empowered can help you believe in yourself, enhance your personal strengths, overcome obstacles, and navigate transition and change.

Guided Imagery and Psychological Health

Talk-based psychotherapy, while useful, often seems to ignore the deeper spiritual significance of life’s challenges. Guided imagery and visualization are wonderful tools thatcan help the whole self- body, mind, spirit, and soul – to heal. Learn the power of guided imagery and the basic techniques to visualize health and well-being in your own life.

 

LABYRINTHS

labyrinth reflection

Walking the Labyrinth as a Sacred Path

During the last 10 years there has been a resurgence in the labyrinth as a form of ritual, prayer, and meditation. Many churches have labyrinths that they offer as a ministry to deepen a parishioner’s personal connection with Christ, and as an outreach to bring seekers into the church who define themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” This experiential seminar will explore the labyrinth as it is used both in and out of the church. During each class we will look at beautiful images of labyrinths and incorporate a labyrinth walk that will bring the ideas of discussion into heartfelt experience.

The Mystical Labyrinths on the American Frontier

Intersection of Alchemy, Christianity, and Labyrinths:  In the American frontier in the early 19th century a mystical Christian community was founded called the Harmony Society (1805-1904). They were one of the longest lasting and wealthiest nineteenth-century American religious communes. The Harmony Society interfaced their German Lutheran foundations and millenarian beliefs with the mystical and alchemical sensibilities of German lay theologian and mystic, Jakob Boehme.

The Harmonists enacted their mystical beliefs through worship of Sophia and the practice of Alchemy. They acted out their faith in the imminent coming of Christ in part by the creation of a garden paradise to receive Christ upon his return. In this garden was an elaborate hedge maze that they referred to as “The Labyrinth.” The Labyrinth was a central symbol for the Harmonist community and they created a Labyrinth at each of their three towns.

Using a multi-disciplinary approach, including photos of the original architectural drawings of the three Labyrinths, this presentation will explore how the Harmonists’ used their Labyrinths as symbolic representations of the intersection of alchemy and Christianity.

Cosmology of the Chartres Labyrinth: A Walk through Hell, Earth, and Heaven

This talk is an examination of how the religious and philosophical belief systems present in Chartres, France in the 1200’s, the time of the creation of the Chartres labyrinth, are modeled within the iconographic structure of the labyrinth itself.

New Rituals on the Labyrinth

Liturgical Rituals in the Church

Labyrinth Walk for Peace

Religious Diversity on the Labyrinth

Gift of the Magi: Labyrinth Walk Seeking the Christ

Intersection of Alchemy, Christianity, and Labyrinths:

In the American frontier in the early 19th century a mystical Christian community was founded called the Harmony Society (1805-1904). They were one of the longest lasting and wealthiest nineteenth-century American religious communes. The Harmony Society interfaced their German Lutheran foundations and millenarian beliefs with the mystical and alchemical sensibilities of German lay theologian and mystic, Jakob Boehme.

The Harmonists enacted their mystical beliefs through worship of Sophia and the practice of Alchemy. They acted out their faith in the imminent coming of Christ in part by the creation of a garden paradise to receive Christ upon his return. In this garden was an elaborate hedge maze that they referred to as “The Labyrinth.” The Labyrinth was a central symbol for the Harmonist community and they created a Labyrinth at each of their three towns.

Using a multi-disciplinary approach, including photos of the original architectural drawings of the three Labyrinths, this presentation will explore how the Harmonists’ used their Labyrinths as symbolic representations of the intersection of alchemy and Christianity.

A Walk into History: The Harmony Society Labyrinths
Explore the mystery of why the Harmony Society, a 19th century utopian community that founded New Harmony, built three labyrinths on the American frontier. Weaving together the Harmonists’ religious beliefs that include God as both male and female and the transformative power of alchemy, we discover that this Gathering occurs in one of the most fascinating places in American history. The 2010 Annual Gathering “New Harmonies in the Labyrinth” will be held in New Harmony, Indiana. Sometimes known as ‘The Thin Place’ between earth and sky, it is an active cultural town with a rich history of Wabash Indian culture and two early utopias. With a Harmonist labyrinth begun in 1820 and a beautifully landscaped Chartres Labyrinth built in 1989, New Harmony is a natural place of labyrinth tradition.

New Harmony understands its national role in labyrinth culture, and its institutions are opening their doors wide to the 2010 Gathering. With beautiful venues to stay, meet, shop, and eat, the conference is in a perfect setting for both thoughtful work and engaging down time. The town welcomes the making of labyrinths on its public lawns, and is considering a town-wide Labyrinth Weekend for area visitors.

Labyrinths as Images of the Cosmos

Walking a Planetary Path: Honoring the Celestial Deities

One God, Many Paths: Religious Diversity on the Labyrinth

Walking the Labyrinth: Reflections on Ritual Action

Walking the Cosmos: Rituals of Participation

Emerging Ritual: The Labyrinth as an Arena for Change and Innovation

Ritual and Biopsychology: The Effect of Walking the Labyrinth on the Brain