Temenos Academy & the University of Wales Trinity St David Harmony Programme

 at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David Campus

in Lampeter, Ceredigion, WALES


Wednesday 11 May 2022

9.30am for 10am – 4.30pm



Chair:  Hilary Davies, Fellow of the Temenos Academy

WELCOME from Dr Nick Campion, Director of the Harmony Institute


The Transmigrations of Taliesin:

the Mystery of the Ancient Child


Taliesin was already celebrated in the ninth century as one of the great poets of the age of Arthur, and was later said to have been ‘chief of the bards’ (pen beirdd) at Arthur’s court. He may originally have been a historical individual, flourishing in the sixth century; but he became a figure of legend, the prototypical poet of the Welsh, famed as a master of magical speech and supernatural knowledge. It was the Taliesin of the imagination who provided some of the primary inspiration for Robert Graves’s The White Goddess, and who was used as a persona by the poets Charles Williams and Vernon Watkins. This talk will consider the lore of Taliesin, and the esoteric poems that came to be attributed to him, in the broader context of Welsh and Irish tradition.

JOHN CAREY is Professor of Early and Medieval Irish at University College Cork, where he teaches medieval Irish and Welsh language and literature; he is also general editor of Temenos Academy Review. His books include Ireland and the Grail (2007), Ten Basic Principles That Inspire the Work of Temenos (2017), The Mythological Cycle of Medieval Irish Literature (2018) and Magic, Metallurgy and Imagination in Medieval Ireland (2019). He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the Temenos Academy.


Journey to the Eastern Paradise:

A Meeting with Dragons, Spirits and other Mystical Creatures of Ancient China


Using the beautiful Mawangdui Funeral Banner as a visual guide, we will follow the soul on its journey to paradise, exploring the ancient Chinese concepts of life and death, heaven and earth, change and transformation. Discovered in 1972, the Mawangdui tombs date from roughly 170-162 BCE; the most well-preserved tomb was that of a noble woman, well versed in Daoist practices. Amongst a treasury of grave goods, draped over the inner coffin, was a funeral banner; now considered to be the earliest surviving painting on silk, the banner presents us with a rich visual expression of the beliefs of the time, and provides an invaluable insight into the myths and legends which stretch back to the beginning of time.

SANDRA HILL studied fine art before living in the Far East for several years. She has studied with the French sinologists Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée, and co-authored a translation and commentary on ‘Jingshen: the vital spirits’, chapter 7 of the Huainanzi. She teaches the module on Daoism for the Temenos Foundation Course in the Perennial Philosophy, and is currently undertaking doctoral study at the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts.




A fresh retelling of this Celtic myth, based on the fragmentary brilliance of the Welsh epic cycle, the Mabinogion.  Katy Cawkwell untangles the 1st and 3rd branches to bring us Rhiannon.

One woman, three birds, six treacherous midwives, nine trusted companions and the hanging of a mouse… Rhiannon goes on a great journey, riding a horse that no-one can catch, crossing thresholds from the other world into our own, from eternal youth to mortal suffering.  She comes for love, but such a love as this is destined for trouble.

Told in two parts with a 30-minute interval

KATY CAWKWELL was commissioned to develop Rhiannon as a storytelling performance in 2003.  She has performed it over 30 times since then, including at the Barbican, the British Museum and four international storytelling festivals.  It is available as a CD and was published in book form by Parthian Books in 2007.  Katy is well-known in the storytelling world for unravelling complex traditional narratives into compelling, glittering stories that linger in the mind long after they are told.  Other work includes Tristan & Iseult, The Falcon Bride (Njal’s Saga), Sigurd & Fafnir, The Kingdom of the Heart (Czech) and Iron Teeth, Eaten Heart (Siberian). She also runs Artemis Storytelling, promoting and teaching storytelling in the Exeter area.



ADVANCE BOOKINGS only by the end of Monday 9th May:    (01233) 813663


Venue:  OLD HALL (Old Building), UWTSD,  LAMPETER CAMPUS, Ceredigion, Wales SA48 7ED



Admission FREE

A light vegetarian lunch, and tea/coffee will be served, free of charge.

Information about accommodation available on request.






Image Credits:

Horse/Tree/Bird courtesy of Katy Cawkwell (Adobe Stock Images)

Taliesin, The Battle of the Trees “I was in a multitude of forms before I was unfettered” trans. MARGED HAYCOCK

Spirit animals Coffin casing from the Mawangdui tombs, 2nd Century BCE