Events Programme






The venue for all events – unless otherwise specified – is:

The Royal Asiatic Society
14 Stephenson Way
London NW1 2HD
Nearest Underground  Euston Square

Doors open 6.10pm for a prompt start at 6.30pm

Concludes 8.30pm


£8 (£5 Members of the Temenos Academy/Concessions)  CASH ONLY PLEASE
Full-time students with student ID card FREE

ADVANCE BOOKING for ALL events please  to

An email confirmation will be sent to you upon receipt of your booking. We would be grateful if you could please let us know if you are unable to attend as places are limited.  Thank you!

TELEPHONE:   07513 883 335


Wednesday 17th May 2023

Kathleen Raine, Architect of Paradise


In the Chair  Professor Grevel Lindop

Venue  The Royal Asiatic Society @ 6.30pm

‘What is all the art and poetry of the world but the record of remembered Paradise and the lament of our exile? We tell one another, we remind one another, we seek ever to re-create, here on earth, what we saw and knew once, elsewhere and for ever.’ This reflection by Kathleen Raine in the opening pages of her autobiography could just as well introduce her poetic work. This lecture will focus on her Collected Poems and show how, from the lived experience of paradise and exile, she succeeds in recreating an Edenic world that is neither the heavenly Jerusalem of her mentor William Blake nor the original garden, but a ‘monument of its own magnificence’. Yet the materials used by the poet are not the ethereal golds of Yeats’s Byzantium. Her poetic paradise is both a sensual and spiritual construction, rooted in the humblest natural materials – flower, tree, bird, rock, and stone, and her craft is not so much that of a goldsmith as that of an alchemist of the four elements – earth, water, fire, and air. Through the symbolic framework of Gaston Bachelard, allied to that of the Neoplatonists and authors who nourished Kathleen Raine’s writing, this lecture will show how the poet’s creative imagination allows us, as readers, to access another plane of reality, that singular and universal paradise which, for the poet-architect, is the true essence of life.

PROFESSOR CLAIRE TARDIEU is Professor of English at the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. She is the author of a Doctoral thesis entitled: La tradition de l’Éden dans l’autobiographie et l’oeuvre poétique de Kathleen Raine, some translations of Kathleen Raine’s works, and most recently of a biographical essay: Le voyage poétique de Kathleen Raine (L’Harmattan, 2014). She is currently co-editing Kathleen Raine, A Voice for the Twenty-First Century to be published by Peter Lang. She is also a poet and has won many poetry awards.


Thursday 25th May


The Transforming Power of Love in Islamic Mystical Thought


In the Chair  Dr Toby Mayer

Venue The Royal Asiatic Society @ 6.30pm

The importance of love within the Islamic mystical tradition cannot be over-emphasised. From the very beginning, starting with the great female mystic Rābi‘a al-‘Adawiyya, the relationship between the spiritual seeker and the divine has been conceived of in terms of a love affair. From the divine side, the emphasis is upon the love of God for His creation and His desire for closeness. From the side of the aspirant, love is seen as a motivating force which has the power to propel the mystic beyond the limits of their self and their cultural identity in a way that other modes of practice – such as piety, asceticism or philosophy/intellect – cannot. This talk will look at three famous examples in literature which illustrate this point, taken from the works of three important Sufi writers – Farīd al-dīn ‘Attār (Conference of the Birds); Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi (The Interpreter of Desires) and Jalāl al-dīn Rūmī (The Dīwān Shamsi Tabriz).

JANE CLARK is a teacher and independent researcher who lives in Oxford. She has been studying the Islamic mystical tradition for more than forty years and has given many lectures and courses both in the UK and internationally for organisations such as The Beshara Trust, Oxford University Department for Continuous Education and Temenos Academy. She is a Senior Research Fellow of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, and also the editor of Beshara Magazine, in which capacity she is able to pursue her particular interest in the relevance of the spiritual traditions to contemporary life.


Saturday 3rd June

Attention and Ritual

Please see the Young Scholars Page for further details


Tuesday 6th June


A Surprised Whole, Loving the Dust of the Universe


In the Chair  Valentin Gerlier

Venue  Royal Asiatic Society @ 6.30pm

Tom Cheetham writes
We will begin by outlining Henry Corbin’s ecumenical theology with particular emphasis on the implications of what he called psycho-cosmology. This vision of reality, and the experiences which it enables, is not merely a historical curiosity but is accessible to us today. We will sketch some other recent attempts to outline similar cosmologies based on fundamentals more inclusive than those that ground materialist science. Among these I am perhaps most moved by the work of Kaja Silverman which draws in part on the life and work of Lou Andreas-Salomé, and I hope to convince you to be as excited by her vision as I am.

TOM CHEETHAM is the author of five books on the imagination in psychology, religion and the arts, and one book of poems. He taught natural science and the humanities at the college level for 20 years. He is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy and teaches and lectures frequently in Europe and the US.


SATURDAY 10th June

The Fifth John Michell Symposium at the ART-WORKERS GUILD


In the Chair  Christine Rhone

John Michell and the Archaeologists: Professional and Alternative Prehistory in the Mid-Twentieth Century

Pilgrim tracks in Cornwall and the Tinners’ Way

Pilgrimage Today: A ‘Bring Your Own Beliefs’ Practice

The Cosmos in Stone and John Michell’s Earth-Moon or Heavenly City diagram

Artist Highlight: portraits by Seaver Leslie (1946-), paintings by John Michell (1933-2009), and Cornish antiquarian wood engravings by John Thomas Blight (1864-1911)

£55  (£50 members/concessions)
£25 Full-time students with ID

The Art Workers’ Guild
6 Queen Square
London WC1N 3AT
Nearest Underground  Russell Square

Time   10am – 5pm


Wednesday 21st June

Shakespeare and Astrology: How Spiritual Philosophy and Esoteric Thought Illuminate Shakespeare’s Plays


In the Chair  Julia Cleave

Venue  The Royal Asiatic Society @ 6.30pm

Shakespeare inherited a cosmological model of an interconnected meaningful universe with synchronicities between humanity, nature, and the cosmos. This model was synthesized from multiple streams of Western thought—Pythagorean, Platonic, Neo-Platonic, Kabbalistic, Hermetic, and Christian—with the stars and planets as carriers of psychological, philosophical, and spiritual meaning. Using the psychological model extracted from this worldview, he created memorable characters according to a theory of temperaments that was based on four major planets. Remarkably, astrological symbols (all seven classical planets and the signs they ‘rule’) also directly inspired specific plays. Recovering and exploring this perspective enables us to experience the plays as Shakespeare’s audience did and enriches our understanding of these timeless works.

PRISCILLA COSTELLO, M.A., Dipl. CAAE, is an educator, counselling astrologer, author, and speaker with a professional history and practice of over forty years. She has a lifetime interest in literature, psychology, and esoteric and spiritual thought and has written for many publications including Gnosis magazine, which reprinted her article on astrology in The Inner West: An Introduction to the Hidden Wisdom of the West. Founder and Director of The New Alexandria, a centre for religious, spiritual, and esoteric studies, she is the author of The Weiser Concise Guide to Practical Astrology and Shakespeare and the Stars: the Hidden Astrological Keys to Understanding the World’s Greatest Playwright.


Wednesday 5th July


The Lion and the Nightingale: A Defence of Romantic Love

DR MARTIN SHAW @ the Marylebone Theatre

From Inanna to Dermot & Grainne to Tristan & Isolde, romantic love has brought its voltage to the mythic traditions of antiquity, the middle ages and beyond. Combustible, mysterious and often unforgettable, we just can’t keep away from it. In this lecture Dr Shaw draws upon themes, motifs, and lessons from our greatest mythologies of love. Rather than suggesting we veer into more sober territory, Shaw claims knowledge of the full range of such encounters is what helps us deepen into the experience of being human. And through such deepening he asks quite what a ‘Romanticism Come of Age’ might look like?

MARTIN SHAW is an award-winning writer who lives on Dartmoor in the far west of Britain. His books include the Mythteller trilogy, The Night Wages, Courting the Wild Twin, and Smoke Hole. His most recent book Bardskull was selected as a book of the day by The Guardian. A deeply respected oral storyteller, Martin Shaw created the Oral Tradition and Mythic Life courses at Stanford University. He is director at the Westcountry School of Myth and a long-time wilderness rites of passage guide. He has been published in Orion, Emergence, Poetry International, the Mississippi Review and many others. The Irish Times described him as ‘a Seanchai … an interloper from the medieval.’ Reader in Poetics at Dartington Arts School, he contributes regular essays and audio at his Substack subscription The House of Beasts & Vines.
For more on Martin Shaw’s work:;;




Rudolf Steiner House
35 Park Road
London NW1 6XT
Nearest Underground Baker Street

Time  7.30 pm


Thursday 6th July

A Quest for Wisdom – how do we craft a philosophy for life?


In the Chair  Ian Skelly

Venue  The Royal Asiatic Society @ 6.30pm

At the age of 24, David Lorimer pressed the ‘Eject’ button from a conventional career path in merchant banking and set off on his quest for wisdom and deeper understanding of life. He arrived at Champagne Moet & Chandon in Epernay in the autumn of 1976 with four boxes of books. There, he combined reading with guiding visitors around the 18th century cellars. Since that time, he has devoted his life to education in the broadest sense. In this talk David will discuss the evolution of his philosophy for life, his quest for wisdom and the main influences on his thinking, such as Albert Schweitzer, Emanuel Swedenborg and Beinsa Douno. He will give an overview of the themes of his latest book, A Quest for Wisdom: Inspiring Purpose in the Path of Life (Aeon Academic, 2021); philosophy, meaning and spirituality; consciousness, death and transformation; and responsibility, ethics and society. David hopes that people will be inspired, as Albert Schweitzer put it, in our task ‘to become more finely and deeply human’ for the common good. Nothing less is required of us at this time.

DAVID LORIMER is a writer, poet, lecturer, and editor. He is a Founder of Character Education Scotland, Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network and former President of Wrekin Trust and the Swedenborg Society. His books include The Protein Crunch (with Jason Drew) and A New Renaissance (edited with Oliver Robinson). He has edited three books about Beinsa Douno: Prophet for our Times, The Circle of Sacred Dance, and Gems of Love. His book on the ideas and work of the former Prince of Wales – Radical Prince – has been translated into Dutch, Spanish, and French.


Please do not attend if you or a member of your household has tested positive for Covid-19/has symptoms associated with the virus/are feeling unwell.




Monday 27 March 2023   

The Cosmos in Stone: ‘on Earth as it is in Heaven’



Wednesday 22 March


Time & Tide: Voyaging in Enchanted Landscapes



Monday 13 March 2023

Craft Practice as an Expression of the Perennial Philosophy  



Wednesday 22 February 2023

Reynolds Stone: Engraver, Letterer, and Painter



British Visionary Artists

Monday 6 February

Christopher Wood: Talent and Conflict  (This lecture was re-arranged from last term)



Thursday 26 January

Fishermen and Crofters: A Pattern and a Harmony







[Image: Part of a larger Batik painting, The Holy City, by Thetis Blacker]






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