The Mythic Imagination - talks, trails and mysteries
  Weekend 2-4 October 2015 -  [ Sorry, this weekend is now full up! ]
  The Poetry of Earth
Interchangeable with the physical landscape is the imaginative one - and both can be held in tension by means of what William Blake termed 'double vision'. This Mythic Imagination weekend aims to explore both.
Underlying these explorations is the tradition which asserts that reality is grasped not so much through the abstractions of mainstream philosophy and religion, as through the concrete imagery of myth and folklore, depth psychology and - as is particularly emphasised this weekend - poetic vision.
  Friday, 2 October              
  6.00pm Welcome. Registration and drinks.
Patrick Harpur. An introduction to the weekend: Imagination and the Golden Chain. The tradition of imagination as opposed to reason, from the Neoplatonists via the Romantics to modern psychology.
  6.30 – 8.00pm Supper            
8.00 – 9.00pm  Merrily Harpur. The haunting of hunting. The occluded survival of the Romano-Celtic cult of Cernunnos, 'the horned god', in modern Britain, and the strange light it casts on our relationship with the landscape and nature.
  Saturday, 3 October            
Refreshments at half time.
James Harpur.
Workshop: Eight Mythic Poems You Should Read Before You Can’t.
James Harpur will lead a discussion on eight mythic poems drawn from the works of W.B. Yeats, Rilke, and Ted Hughes. Texts will be provided and no prior knowledge of the poems is necessary. The workshop will give participants the chance to reflect on and discuss some well-known poetic diamonds along with lesser-known pearls – in an informal, friendly but focused atmosphere. Along the way we will look at poetic techniques – imagery, rhythm, meter, rhyme – as well as how different poets treat eternal mythic themes. The session is suitable both for experienced writers and newcomers who would like an introduction to mythic poetry.
  12.30 – 2.00pm Lunch            
  2.00pm    Trail: The sacred landscape. Guided by Patrick and Merrily Harpur.  
  4.00pm Tea and discussion  
  5.00pm  Patrick Harpur and Lindsay Clarke.
The Volatile and the Fixed.
Lindsay and Patrick are this generation's two most insightful writers on the mysterious subject of alchemy. They will spend this hour in discussion with each other and the group - including questions on things imaginative and possibly alchemical.
  6.00pm Drinks  
  6.30 – 8.00pm Supper  
8.00 – 9.00pm   Lindsay Clarke
will lead a session called The Genius of the Place, making use of visualisation to illuminate our understanding of the importance of landscape and place to the mythic imagination.
  Sunday, 4 October  
  10.00 – 11.00am Lindsay Clarke
The Genius of the Place, part two. Discussions and writings which have emerged from the previous evening's exercise.
  11.00 - 11.30am Refreshments  
  11.00 – 12.00pm James Harpur.

At the Still Point of the Turning World

A Seminar on T.S. Eliot’s Burnt Norton

In last year’s Mythic Imagination weekend James led a workshop on Eliot’s poem, ‘East Coker’, one of his Four Quartets. This year he will focus on the first of the Quartets, ‘Burnt Norton’, arguably one of his most mysterious and mystical poems. Powerfully influenced by the spirit of place, Eliot wrote it after a visit to an abandoned demesne in Gloucestershire. In this poem he established the pattern for the other three poems in the Quartets as well as their themes: time, consciousness, memory, history and love.

Participants need no prior knowledge of the poem or of Eliot, and texts will be provided.

  12.00 – 1.30pm Lunch   
1.30 – 4.00pm Trail: Portals to the otherworld. Guided by Patrick and Merrily Harpur.
  4.00 – 5.00pm Tea, discussion with the speakers and facilitators, and farewell.  
  Talks are illustrated with Power Point projections as appropriate.
Patrick, James and Merrily will be present most of the time (except for lunch) for informal questions and discussion. Lindsay Clarke will be present some of the time.
N. B. The programme is flexible - timings and individual talks within it may change from time to time.
  How to book              
  Courses overview            
  The Golden Chain            
  '...Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making". Then you will find out the use of the world (I am speaking now in the highest terms for human nature admitting it to be immortal which I will here take for granted for the purpose of showing a thought which has struck me concerning it). I say 'Soul making', Soul as distinguished from an Intelligence. There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions - but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perception - they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God. How then are Souls to be made? How then are these sparks which are God to have identity given them - so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each one's individual existence? How, but by the medium of a world like this?' ~ John Keats, letter 14th February 1819