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Below are excerpts from two of the plenary sessions from the 2008 Esoteric Quest: An Esoteric Quest for The Mysteries and Philosophy of Antiquity: Spiritual Experience, Wisdom and Art in Ancient Greece

The Samothracian Mysteries with Christopher Bamford

The Samothracian Mysteries of the Kabiri are among the most ancient whose traces are still available to us. Predating the Greek mysteries, reaching back into pre-history, with echoes in Hermetic Egypt and the revelation of ancient Zoroaster, they provide a meditative bridge between the primordial cosmological wisdom of humankind and its transmission into modern Western esotericism. They allow us to begin to understand and interpret the deeper meaning of the Western path. We shall contemplate the Samothracian mysteries, meditating on the archeological, mythological and historical evidence, as well as on the interpretations placed upon it by such figures as the philosopher Schelling, the spiritual scientist Rudolf Steiner and the alchemist René Alleau.




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File size: 10 mgs/ Running time: approx. 20 mins

The Philosophy of Logos
Stanley Sfekas, Ph.D.

Among Greeks, Logos became the common philosophical term for that all-pervading order that underlies the universe (called variously nature, providence, destiny or God). This workshop deals with the genesis, the development and the nature of Logos, from Pre-Socratic philosophy to the present. We will examine the concept of Logos in Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Philo, Plotinus, the Church Fathers and Byzantine philosophers. We will also consider the meaning of Logos in contemporary culture.




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File size: 10 mgs / Running time: approx. 15 mins

Below are excerpts from three of the plenary sessions from the 2007 Esoteric Quest: An Esoteric Quest for, The Golden Age of Andalusia; Sufis, Kabbalists and Christian Philosophers in Medieval Spain

Fruits of Al-Andalus: Troubadours, Kabbalists and Cathars
Christopher Bamford

Influences and esoteric streams of all kinds flowed from Mozarabic Spain through the South of France during the centuries leading up to what has been called "the 12th-century Renaissance." We shall focus on the initiatory Sophianic path of love practiced by the Troubadours who arose in the context of a vibrant, evolutionarily significant spiritual vortex that also produced the Zohar and the little-known, maligned, misunderstood, and much persecuted Cathar religion. Doing so, we shall discover a profound cross-pollination between Sufism, mystical Judaism and esoteric Christianity, in which we can find the growing tip of a truly future-oriented ecumenical spirituality.

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Beacon of Light:
Ibn 'Arabi and the Sufi Tradition of Al-Andalus
Stephen Hirtenstein, M.A.

In 1190, at the age of 25, Ibn 'Arabi had his sublime vision in the Great Mosque in Cordoba, in which he met all the prophets and saints, from Adam to Muhammad. This event not only presaged his own crucial role within the Islamic spiritual tradition, but also integrated the esoteric teachings that had preceded him. One of the most remarkable figures of world spirituality, Ibn 'Arabi penned writings which left an indelible mark on following centuries, becoming a beacon of light, tolerance and compassion. This talk will focus on his life and writings, including his famous meeting with Averroes, and explore the milieu of remarkable men and women he described.

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Sufis and Kabbalists in Andalusia
Paul Fenton, Ph.D.

Medieval Spain has been a rich terrain for mystics of the three monotheistic faiths. For over a century, historians of religion have speculated on the possible connections between the spiritual masters of different traditions.  Paul Fenton proposes to demonstrate in the light of literary works, such as the Jewish Sufi Bahya Ibn Paquda's Duties of the Hearts, but also in light  of personal testimonies, like that of the great Muslim mystic Ibn Arabi's Meccan Revelations, that inter-confessional contacts did indeed take place. He traces some of these works through Muslim and Christian Spain and even North Africa, bringing out some of the mystical themes they hold in common.

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Below are excerpts from three of the plenary sessions from The 2006 Esoteric Quest: An Esoteric Quest in Central Europe, From Renaissance Bohemia to Goethe's Weimar

Jacob Boehme and His Theosophical Vision
Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, D.Phil.

Jacob Boehme (1575 - 1624), a simple shoemaker of Görlitz, is regarded as the pioneer of theosophy, the wisdom of the divine, in the modern era. One day, when gazing on a dazzling light produced by the sun's rays breaking on a pewter vessel, Boehme felt himself surrounded with celestial light and filled with ecstatic joy. He walked into the fields with a newly opened vision that penetrated to the inmost essence of all things. His works elaborated a rich tableau of Hermetic cosmology and alchemical ideas. This talk surveys Boehme's life and esoteric cosmology together with visual images of the "three worlds" and the choices facing all human beings.

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From Star Palace to White Mountain: the English in Bohemia (1570 - 1620)
Paul Bembridge

Elizabeth's ambassador to Prague in 1577, Sir Philip Sidney visited a small palace, in the shape of a star, combining elements of astrology, alchemy and the pagan mysteries of classical learning. Here was a symbol of that Bohemia which the Sidney circle hoped might serve as a cultural model for Britain. But some 40 years later, a few hundred yards away, these hopes were dashed at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, a decisive Habsburg victory. This presentation looks at the lost dreams of travelers from London to Prague during this period.

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The Eternal Feminine: Goethe in Marienbad
Christopher Bamford

In the summer of 1823, when Goethe was seventy-four, he came to Marienbad, overflowing with passion, to propose marriage to Ulrike van Levetzov, who was then nineteen. Rejected, he wrote his last great love poem, "The Trilogy of Passion." For Goethe, this act of folly and wisdom was the culmination of a lifetime's devotion to the eternal feminine and life lived as an alchemical adventure. What is the "eternal feminine that draws us on"? What is the role of eros in the realization of the Philosopher's Stone? Goethe's life was dedicated to such questions. Thus, he becomes exemplary of a certain aspect of the "Hermetic" life.

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Esoteric Upstate New York:
Iroquois Nations, Feminists, Utopians and 21st Century Esotericists
 
 
 
Greece 2008
Spain 2007
Czech Republic/Germany 2006
Italy 2000
Wales 1998
Prague 1997
Bohemia1995