Cosmology of Love
A weekend with David Spangler, Christopher Bamford, Janet Piedilato, Nancy Grace and Lee Irwin
Friday, November 14 through Sunday, November 16, Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, New York
Please join us for a weekend of exploring love as a force and presence in the universe. We will explore the boundary between self and other, enter the flow of divine compassion, and reveal the sacred presence within our loving relationships, all as we seek to deepen our understanding of the ultimate goal: A Cosmology of Love.
The weekend will be a combination of interactive presentation and small group work led by the program’s presenters. There will be morning dreamsharing, music, and heartful dialogue throughout the weekend, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday and ends at noon on Sunday, at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York.
LOVE AS A BOUNDARY: Engaging Self and Other with David Spangler
The challenge of the human being is to unite the finite and the infinite, the bounded and the boundless, self and other, in a partnering and co-creative wholeness that does not privilege one side or the other. It is all too common for us to choose one or the other, to focus on ourselves and our needs and wants or to lose ourselves in transcendence and self-negation. In either case, it’s like trying to play a Mozart piano concerto with one hand: much is lost.
This challenge is most felt at the boundary between self and other. A boundary does three things: it creates a specific space, it differentiates, and it provides a place of engagement and potential co-creativity. What kind of boundary fulfills these functions and also permits self and other to partner in a larger wholeness? What kind of boundary allows the bounded and the boundless, the finite and the infinite, to come together without canceling each other out?
Love is that boundary. Directed simultaneously inward to self and outward to others, love can provide a structure that holds the particular and the differentiated even as it opens in spaciousness to hold all that is larger than self. In this talk, we will explore this power of love not simply as an emotion or even as a spiritual force but as a container, an action, in which Self and Sacred are held together in mutually fostering ways.
SACRED HOSPITALITY: Entering the Flow of Divine Mercy and Compassion with Christopher Bamford
At the heart of the very idea of revelation, especially in the Abrahamic traditions, is the unconditional gift of an unknown, groundless, giving ground of all: an absolute sourceless spring of infinite generosity and love. Abraham himself first and paradigmatically announced this radical reality, calling upon human beings to turn themselves around and become divine vessels, dialogical, polyphonic heart-centered universal beings: givers not takers, assenters not negators, able to transform power into love and force into mercy and compassion. Drawing on the living stream of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic wisdom, this talk will explore the many voices that teach such a cosmology of love and seek simple ways in which human beings today can begin to realize this reality in their lives.
THE ULTIMATE MATRIX: Understanding Love as the Fabric of Life with Janet Piedilato
The biologist looks for the ultimate unit of life and rests with the structure called the cell. The physicist looks deeper and going beyond the focus on what is life and what is inanimate, delves into the sub atomic territory of all manifest. Yet the physicist sees the ultimate sub atomic unit, not directly but indirectly in a territory where presence is determined by inference, by energetic presences made known by patterns, waves, symbols that merely point to that which the eye cannot see.
These sub atomic units appear to be at the very basis of all manifest. Mysterious and perplexing, “spooky” as Albert Einstein once complained, because they act in contradictory ways that appear not in line with what is demonstrated in our reality experiences. Yet perhaps these contradictions point us to truth, to understanding something of the fabric of our being: not something that can be measured and named definitively. Not something that can be placed in a neat category completely understood….No. These tiny sub atomic units, the basis of all manifest behave in a manner that points us towards something magical and elusive, an enigma, a paradox, a mystery.
What are these sub atomic particles/waves really, or rather what do the inferred signs point to? What actually lies at the Ultimate Matrix? How can a very physical universe have at its root something not so physical? Does science now join with the more ancient spiritual beliefs to point toward the truth? Could the energy that lies at the core be none other than love, of Beloved? Could love be the coin of many sides upon which all opposites sit? Can love solve the mystery that unites all being? Together we shall explore how such complexity can be united by the simplicity of love.
THE CIRCLE OF LOVE: Transformation through Relations with Lee Irwin
The Hermetic maximum of “as above, so below” can be reinterpreted to also mean “as below, so also above”. Human love not only reflects divine love, but also provides a medium through which love can actualize and change the world. Our loving relationships are like templates, they provide patterns of love that can energize a creative process of development which is the very heart of divine manifestation. In a co-creative sense, the above-below paradigm reflects processes of relatedness - each of us is an agent of divine possibility and our love relation with others creates a “third field” in which the self-other relation are infused with a distinct sacred presence. This sacred presence is held and energized by the authenticity of the love shared and simultaneously that same presence energizes creative possibility in a loving context. The deep mystery of love is to honor and revere that sacred presence as a guide to inspired relatedness through co-creative interaction. How can we deepen the “metaphysica” of love? How can we access the greater sentience of the third field? How does that greater sentience open us, though love, to deeper insight that reflects the creative ground of Being? Let’s explore the interfaces between the cosmic and personal aspects of love in a universe of mystery and transformation.
MORNING DREAMSHARING with Nancy Grace
Each morning during the weekend, anyone interested is invited to join us to share dreams from the previous night. We will explore how our dreams may be reflecting the themes of the weekend, offering us guidance and creative inspiration as we explore our Cosmology of Love.
GUIDING VOICES BIOS
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.
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.
Janet Piedilato 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.
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Alia Wittman is Director of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom, and spent much of her formative professional life exploring the intersection of love and social change. Alia will serve as host and moderator for the weekend.