COSMOLOGY OF LOVE
Christopher Bamford, editor of SteinerBooks and Lindisfarne Books, is a writer and scholar of Western esotericism, esoteric Christianity and Anthroposophy. He is the author of, most recently, An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pursuit if Wisdom in the West, and is one of the founders of Seven Pillars’ Green Hermeticism track.
Lee Irwin is Director of the Religious Studies department at the College of Charleston specializing in Native American spirituality and Western mystical traditions. He sits on the board of the Association for the Study of Esotericism. Lee is the author of many books including The Dream Seekers: Native American Visionary Traditions of the Great Plains, Visionary Worlds: The Making and Unmaking of Reality, and Awakening the Spirit: On Life, Illumination and Being. He has books forthcoming on spiritual alchemy and Sophianic studies.
Nancy Grace has been learning and teaching about dreams for twenty years, with a focus on dreamwork as spiritual practice, and the benefits of sharing dreams in groups. She has served on the Board of Directors of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and co-founded the Cummington Community Dream Center in western Massachusetts in 2004. Nancy has an M.A. in Transformative Arts, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Mythology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in southern California.
Janet Piedelato is a transpersonal psychologist with an ecclectic background that is grounded with a doctorate in biology, tempered with a doctorate in transpersonal psychology, and empowered by years of study as a student of shamanism, herbal therapy, and ancient dream ritual. Dr. Piedilato literally straddles the fence between the scientific and the intuitive, the waking and the dream realities. Dr. Piedilato maintains a private practice, facilitates workshops and pilgrimages to sacred sites, is the founder and CEO of Immaginal, and founder/director of Temenos, a sacred teaching space. A passionate alchemist and diplome pastry chef, she offers courses at Temenos focusing on the inner path of dream and visionary work as well on the incorporation of spiritual intention in the preparation of alchemical feasts.
David Spangler is an internationally known spiritual teacher and writer, and was instrumental in helping establish the Findhorn Foundation community in northern Scotland in the late 1960’s early 1970’s. Since then David has traveled widely within the United States and Canada giving classes, workshops and lectures. His themes have included the emergence of a holistic culture, the nature of personal sacredness, our participation in a coevolving, co-creative universe, partnering, and working with spiritual realms, our responsibility to the earth and to each other, the spiritual nature and power of our individuality, and our calling to be of service at this crucial time of world history. Many of these themes come together in his primary work, which is the development of a spiritual perspective and practice called Incarnational Spirituality.
AWAKENING TO THE PROPHETIC CALL
Pir Zia Inayat Khan is the spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International, a mystical and ecumenical fellowship rooted in the visionary legacy of his grandfather, Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. Pir Zia is also the President of the Suluk Academy and founder of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom. Pir Zia holds a Doctoral degree in Religion from Duke University and is a recipient of the U Thant Peace Award.
GREEN HERMETICISM & ALCHEMY
Peter Lamborn Wilson is a writer, essayist, translator and poet who formerly taught at Naropa University’s “Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics” and has published numerous books and articles on hermeticism, anarchism, Sufism, pirate utopias, and neopaganism. His books include Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry (with N. Pourjavady) and Green Hermeticism: Alchemy and Ecology.
Kevin Townley is co-founder of the Hermetic school, The Philosophers of Nature, which has a seven-level curriculum in laboratory alchemy and Qabalah. Kevin has worked full-time in an alchemy laboratory and conducts workshops on Qabalah, Spagyrics, Alchemy and Tarot in the US and Europe. He has been a faculty member at institutions such as The Colorado Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Boulder College, and Naropa University.
Christopher Bamford, editor of SteinerBooks and Lindisfarne Books, is a writer and scholar of Western esotericism, esoteric Christianity and Anthroposophy. He is the author of, most recently, An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pursuit if Wisdom in the West.
William Irwin Thompson is a poet and cultural philosopher who has made significant contributions to cultural history, social criticism, the philosophy of science, and the study of myth. Early in his career he left academia to found Lindisfarne, an association of creative individuals in the arts, sciences, and contemplative practices devoted to the study and realization of a new planetary consciousness, or noosphere. Thompson lived in Switzerland for 17 years and describes his most recent work, Canticum Turicum, as “a long poem on Western Civilization, that begins with folktales and traces of Charlemagne in Zurich and ends with the completion of Western Civilization as expressed in Finnegans Wake and the traces of James Joyce in Zurich.” With mathematician Ralph Abraham he has designed a new type of cultural history curriculum based on their theories about the evolution of consciousness. Thompson now lives in Portland, Maine. http://www.williamirwinthompson.org
Michael Banks is a bishop in the Mennonite Church, with responsibility for six churches in the Bronx, New York. He is also a dynamic preacher and inspirational speaker who has appeared to great acclaim at countless religious convocations and conferences. He is much-in-demand as a retreat leader, with special expertise in spiritual transformation and peacemaking; he has done ground-breaking work in urban peacemaking. Reverend Banks has taught throughout the United States, in Canada, Mexico, the Middle East, and Africa. He has presented at seminaries, including the Westminster Methodist Seminary in Philadelphia, and at universities, including Notre Dame University. He is recognized as an extraordinary preacher, and was selected as one of the 10 top preachers in his denomination.
Sister Miriam MacGillis is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, New Jersey. She lives and works at Genesis Farm, which she co-founded in 1980 with the sponsorship of her Dominican congregation. Genesis Farm is a learning center of Earth Studies, practicing biodynamic methods of agriculture, which are in tune with the natural rhythms of the Earth. Miriam invites us to see ourselves as a living part of a living cosmos, and lectures extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. http://www.genesisfarm.org
Omid Safi is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where he specializes on Islamic mysticism (Sufism), contemporary Islamic thought, and medieval Islamic history. He received his PhD from Duke University (2000). Before coming to UNC he was an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. Safi is the Chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. His book The Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, was published in 2006. His translation and analysis of Rumi’s biography is forthcoming from Fons Vitae.
Cosmology is vast, cosmology is intimate. It encompasses relations within the cosmos from the macrocosmic to the microcosmic, and all in between. It helps make sense of our life, our planet, our galaxy and our inner and outer world.
At Seven Pillars, cosmology is viewed as an encompassing perspective for understanding the universe, rather than a body of knowledge to be mastered. This approach requires a mind open to, and open as, all outdoors, able to pore over news of the universe with a willing suspension of belief and of disbelief. So inquisitiveness and discernment are essential tools: the wonder of a child combined with the rigor of a researcher and the rapture of a mystic.
Here cosmology is taken to embrace physical and metaphysical descriptions of the origin of the universe, as well as our evolving grasp of its current state. It includes many ways of modeling, comprehending and explaining the universe, all rooted in human cultures of different times and places: Earth wisdom traditions, ecology, the world soul, and related natural philosophies and sciences.
The Cosmology track of Seven Pillars will investigate the complementary nature of science and spirituality, with an emphasis on re-conceiving and experiencing afresh our place within space, time, and the living field of being. It’s a great big universe—let’s go far out there, and deep inside, and explore it.