• Symbol, Psyche, and the Sacred

  • Each workshop in this series consists of a cross-cultural study focusing on an individual  sacred symbol found in world cultures and religions.  We investigate the nature and meaning of the symbol and its representation in sacred visual art through beautiful slides drawn from Victoria's vast archive.

    After the group has reflected on the symbol, there's an opportunity to intuitively engage with it and explore it on your own through a creative experience such as collage, reflective writing, or other guided expressive and meditative activities. Work is done in the context of openess, working in contemplative quiet, and trusting guidance as it appears for you individually.  Visualization and meditation are tools used to maintain focus and move you more deeply into the topic at hand.

  • The Pearl

  • This workshop focuses on the pearl, which is associated with water and the realization of one's deepest desires.  We pay careful attention to its spherical form (suggesting perfection) and the luminous light that it reflects (reminiscent of the moon). Our survey of the symbolism of the pearl includes its meaning in Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist cultures.

  • The Cave

  • This half-day workshop reflects on the cave--place of origin, rebirth, and initiation.  We'll look at caves as spiritual refuge and home to hermits and monastics, saints and divinities.  We'll see amazing sanctuaries built within caves--or in imitation of caves within mountains.  And we'll pay particular attention to the "cavern of the heart" as the dwelling place of the divine.

  • The Veil

  • Exploring sacred art from ancient through contemporary periods, we'll deepen our understanding of the veil that lies between Conventional knowledge & hidden wisdom, the egoic self & the immortal soul, and space/time & the infinite and eternal.  We'll look at:

    • How the veil or curtain is used in ritual settings to screen the sacred from the mundane
    • The concept of the veil of illusion (Maya), our belief in separation from Spirit and Source. 
    • What it means to lift or pierce the veil.
    • How the veil figures in the experience of spiritual sight, initiation, and illumination.

     

  • The Rose

  • In this workshop we'll deepen our understanding of the beautiful and profound symbolism of the rose, one of the world's greatest symbols.  Among the wealth of sacred meanings we'll explore:

    • Divine & earthly love
    • Fertility and virginity
    • Wholeness, perfection & unity
    • Color symbolism
    • Mystical rebirth
    • The unfolding of the self
    • The Chalice of Life
  • The Spiral

  • Among the wealth of sacred meanings and aspects, we explore:

    • The spiral as a symbol for psychological development and the spiritual path
    • The mathematics of the Golden Spiral and its "divine proportion" that our minds equate with beauty, harmony and flow
    • The spiral as a natural expression of energy and its movement (Kundalini)
    • How spirals combine powerful opposites into a single unity (such as growth and decay)
    • Architectural spirals and how they can be understood as a path to the divine

    Our exploration of the symbolism of the spiral takes us from the archaic and tribal worlds to the latest contemporary art.  Wel look at how the spiral appears in a variety of natural forms--from sea shells to whirling galaxies--and we see how the spiral appears in the traditional art of the Celts and the Maori people of the South Pacific.  Ritual objects in Hinduism and Buddhism are also be a part of our explorations.

    In this workshop we spend a significant amount of time exploring the expansion of consciousness in the modern period through spirals found in modern art--from Georgia O'Keefe to contemporary Environmental and Earth Art. The spiral in Neo-pagan Goddess imagery and also Visionary Art provide us with a wealth of creative interpretations of the spiral.

  • Sacred Circles: Images of Wholeness

  • An enriching journey of exploration that meditatively takes you through the beautiful imagery drawn from Christian art and architecture. After reflecting on the nature of circles as symbols of the divine and wholeness, and the use of mandalas in Asian meditative art, we look at a number of specific examples of sacred circles in Christian art.  These range from mandalas in Hildegard of Bingen's visions and illuminations; to circular church design and architecture, dome embellishments, and stained glass rose windows; to circular labyrinths.