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Spirituality of the Land: A Symposium

This event was held on Saturday, 13 May 2017, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Six Presentations and Conversations on Spirituality of the Land Featuring well-known authors John and Caitlín Matthews, James Cowan, John Carey, Arthur Versluis, and Kresimir Vukovic.

Featured tea and coffee breaks and catered lunch

Harris Lecture Theatre, Oriel College, Oxford, UK

Across Western Europe, the Anglo-Celtic Isles, North America, and Australia are countless ancient sacred sites. Megaliths, cairns, and other stones or rock formations often mark the sacred places whose mysteries are conveyed in myths. In this rare one-day symposium, we will explore new ways of understanding our relationship with the landscape as marked by sacred places interwoven with myths and ancient mysteries. What are the mysteries and hidden aspects of the ancient landscapes right around us? Join us to come to understand more deeply the land, hills, mountains, rivers, and seas that surround us. Speakers will include well-known authors John and Caitlín Matthews, James Cowan, John Carey, Arthur Versluis, and Kresimir Vukovic.

Our Speakers

The Place of Our True Abiding: Healing the Ancestral Communion with the Land

Caitlín Matthews

Caitlín Matthews, a writer and teacher for the Foundation for Inspirational and Oracular Studies, is the author of Celtic Visions, The Lost Book of the Grail, and Singing the Soul Back Home, among many other books. She has been at the forefront of the practice of the indigenous spirituality of Britain and Ireland for over 30 years. She teaches internationally.

Deep Memory and the Power of Place in Early Ireland

 John Carey

John Carey is Professor of Early and Medieval Irish at University College Cork. He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Fellow of the Temenos Academy; he serves on the Temenos Academy’s Council and Academic Board, and is general editor of Temenos Academy Review. His publications include King of Mysteries: Early Irish Religious Writings (1998, 2000), A Single Ray of the Sun: Religious Speculation in Early Ireland (1999, 2011), Ireland and the Grail (2007), In Tenga Bithnua: The Ever-new Tongue (2009) and Ten Basic Principles that Inspire the Work of Temenos (2015).

Guardian of the Sacred Earth: The Green Man in Myth and Religion

John Matthews

John Matthews has been a full time writer since 1980 and has produced over 100 books on myth, folklore, the Arthurian Legends and Grail Studies, as well as short stories, a volume of poetry and several successful children’s books. He has devoted much of the past forty years to the study of Arthurian Traditions and myth in general. John has been involved in a number of media projects, as an advisor and contributor, including the Jerry Bruckheimer movie ‘King Arthur’, and has made appearances on both History Channel and Discovery Channel specials on Arthur and the Holy Grail. He shared a BAFTA award for his work on the Educational DVD made to accompany the King Arthur movie. He recently sold his first movie script and is currently developing several others under the banner of his own company, Mythwood Films, formed in 2009.

The Sacred Landscape Mysteries of Aboriginal Australia—From the World’s Oldest Known Culture

James Cowan

James Cowan, a novelist and poet with a doctorate from the University of Queensland, is author of many books on Australian Aboriginal spirituality, including Myths of the Dreaming and Mysteries of the Dreamtime. His ancestors emigrated to Australia from Ireland in 1852, and he and his wife lived for years in the remote Aboriginal community at Balgo Hills, Central Australia. He has spent his life investigating the significance of myth-lines in Australia, as well as in other places such as Borneo and the Torres Strait. He has also explored how myth-lines transformed Early Christianity in his journey up the Nile in the footsteps of the Holy Family for his book, Fleeing Herod.

Entering the Mysteries—Living Sacred Sites in Western Europe and North America

Arthur Versluis

Arthur Versluis, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Michigan State University, is author of numerous books, including Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esotericism Restoring Paradise: Esoteric Transmission through Literature and Art, and most recently, Entering the Mysteries: The Secret Traditions of Indigenous Europe.

Roman Sacred Landscapes: Myths of the Tiber

Kresimir Vukovic

Kresimir Vukovic teaches in Classics at Oriel College, Oxford. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford with a thesis on Roman religion and its Indo-European background. He is currently working on a new project on the role of space in shaping Roman mythology. He has published a range of articles on various aspect of Roman religion and mythology in scholarly journals from the United States to Italy.