Plenary

Three Iroquois Lessons Offered Toward Peace - Freida Jacques

Colonial America: Seeds of American Spirituality and Esotericism - Christopher Bamford

Upstate Cauldron - Joscelyn Godwin, Ph.D.

The All-Seeing Eye in America: Freemasonry's Role in American History - Jay Kinney

The Esoteric American Renaissance - Arthur Versluis, Ph.D

Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Seer of Concord and Father of Transcendentalism - Richard Geldard, Ph.D.

Dead Women Do Tell Tales - Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D.

The Spiritual Mission of America - Nancy Jewel Poer

Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly P. Hall - Louis Sahagun

The Legacy of the Black Church and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Struggle for the Soul of America - Larry Mamiya, Ph.D.

The Pursuit of Real Happiness: The Soul of America and the Buddha Dharma - Robert Thurman, Ph.D.

Iroquois in Buffalo, New York, 1914Three Iroquois Lessons Offered Toward Peace
  - Freida Jacques

The Ononadaga are one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois People whose land covers large areas of Upstate New York. In this talk, a former Turtle clan mother of the Onondaga Nation conveys important values from her culture that could benefit America at this point in time. Thanksgiving, respect for life, and carefully considering the lives of future generations on earth are among them.

 

Colonial American LifeColonial America:
Seeds of American Spirituality and Esotericism
-
Christopher Bamford

As the seed is, so is the tree. This talk will focus on the varied impulses, traditions, and currents at play in the Colonies. It will tell of a rich field formed by heterodox European religious traditions (Puritans, Anabaptists, Moravians, Huguenots, Quakers, and others), as well as esoteric groups and practitioners (alchemists, Hermeticists, Behmenists, Rosicrucians, and Freemasons). By focusing on certain key figures such as Roger Williams, John Woolman, and Johannes Kelpius, we will see how the seeds of a new esotericism and spirituality were planted.

 

The Fox SistersUpstate Cauldron
  - Joscelyn Godwin, Ph.D.

During the first century of American independence, Upstate New York was a hotbed of spiritual and utopian movements. Freed from European tradition and New England rigidity, cult leaders and illuminates found fertile ground as the frontier moved westward. Out of this "Burned-Over District" came Mormonism, Spiritualism, and a host of ephemeral groups with odd beliefs and bizarre practices.

 

George Washington Brick Laying CeremonyThe All-Seeing Eye in America:
Freemasonry's Role in American History
-
Jay Kinney

Several prominent Founding Fathers were Freemasons and the legend of a Masonic influence in America's origins is a popular belief. But how true is the legend? What role did Masonry really play in the American Revolution and how did Masonry impact the new republic as the 19th century progressed? Is there an esoteric core to "the Craft," as some allege? This talk will pay particular attention to the Freemasonic experience in America, where a unique set of circumstances have produced a most paradoxical result: a secret society for the common man.

 

Henry David Thoreau in June 1856The Esoteric American Renaissance
  - Arthur Versluis, Ph.D.

Most people are familiar with the well-known names of the American Renaissance: Dickinson, Emerson, Hawthorne, Poe, and Thoreau, for instance. But few are aware of just how much these authors' works were infused by esoteric currents and practices. Alchemy, folklore, and Platonism all intermingled to create what we now know as the American Renaissance, but which really represents the first literary, philosophical, and religious flowering of the United States. Could such a time come again?

 

Ralph Waldo EmersonRalph Waldo Emerson:
The Seer of Concord and Father of Transcendentalism

  - Richard Geldard, Ph.D.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of America's founding thinkers. At a crucial time in our history, when the Puritan past lay in ruins and new religious movements were springing up like weeds in the wilderness, he taught us how to be strong spiritual individuals in this new America. His vision of personal self-recovery and self-reliance has helped to define the unique character of this country. He freed us from dying doctrines as well as from spiritual tyrannies of all kinds.

 

Matilda Joslyn GageDead Women Do Tell Tales
  - Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D.

What was in the water that made Upstate New York the hotbed of social justice and religious ferment in the country during the first half of the 19th century? A look at the childhood, religious background, and lifework of the triumvirate that led the radical wing of the woman’s movement may provide some insights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and the most visionary of all, the forgotten feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage who was deeply influenced by the Iroquois peoples, speak to us from the past.

 

The Statue of LibertyThe Spiritual Mission of America
  - Nancy Jewel Poer

It is not hard to see America's will to empire and materialism. But her spiritual mission lies in the ideals of true freedom in her founding documents and those who have understood what it means to live them. The gathering of people in America is representative of the entire world in the centuries of scientific and social awakening and has high purposes. These are ultimately the recognition that, beyond narrow nationalism and the bondage of common blood, we are universal citizens, brothers and sisters in the spirit.

 

Manley P. HallMaster of the Mysteries:
The Life of Manly P. Hall

  - Louis Sahagun

In 1919, a Canadian teenager with a sixth grade education arrived by train in the sleepy pueblo of Los Angeles. Manly Palmer Hall went on to become one of the 20th century's most prolific authors and speakers on ancient philosophies, mysticism, and magic - and a confidant of entertainment and industry leaders. In this talk, we will explore the life and times of this esoteric figurehead, providing an inside view of the birth of a vibrant American subculture.

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at Freedom RallyThe Legacy of the Black Church and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Struggle for the Soul of America
  - Larry Mamiya, Ph.D.

The election of President Barack Obama presents an opportunity to examine the two major spiritual influences on him – the values of the Black Church and the social justice legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. This talk considers why African Americans have higher levels of religiosity and commitment. It also explores the spiritual foundations of Dr. King's life: his relationship to Gandhi's nonviolence and his Christian realism. Implications will be drawn for the continuing struggle for America's soul.

 

The Teaching Buddha ShakyamuniThe Pursuit of Real Happiness:
The Soul of America and the Buddha Dharma

  - Robert Thurman, Ph.D.

In Inner Revolution, Robert Thurman argues that America, in its soul, ideals, and dreams (now being resuscitated by President Obama), beautifully interfuses with the socially revolutionary movement that arose in Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment and came down to us through history in the enlightenments of millions of Buddhists. In this talk, he expands on how the pursuit of real happiness could manifest in America in this century.

 
Bookmark and Share
 
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