Online Papers / Events Programme




The Temenos Academy lecture programme has been curtailed due to current circumstances – the details below reflect the latest changes to our Autumn Programme.


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Thank you.






12th September 2020

A Secret Philosophy: W. B. Yeats and the Dublin Hermetic Society 

Professor Grevel Lindop

As our on-line paper for September we are pleased to publish the first chapter of Mysterious Wisdom: the Spiritual Life and Poetry of W. B Yeats by Grevel Lindop, a work in progress to be published in due course by Oxford University Press.

GREVEL LINDOP was formerly a Professor of English at Manchester University. His recent books include a collection of poems, Luna Park, and a biography, Charles Williams: The Third Inkling. He is a member of the Council and a Fellow of the Temenos Academy, and chair of its Academic Board.

      Online lecture paper 7  HERE


The Purpose of Yoga      *  October 2020 Online lecture paper 8 *

Professor Ravi Ravindra  


As You Like It and the Nature of Love    * November 2020 Online lecture paper 9 *

Jill Line

In Philip Sidney’s Arcadia a duke leaves his disordered state seeking to discover the true state of his soul in a pastoral life among the shepherds; he is followed by two young princes attempting the Platonic path of love. Twenty years later Shakespeare used similar themes in As You Like It but from a far higher level of understanding.           This paper considers As You Like It in the light of the Arcadian tradition and the way Shakespeare unfolds the true path of love as his characters discover their own nature in the beauty of Nature herself.

JILL LINE is a Shakespearean scholar with a particular interest in the Classics and Platonic philosophy.  She has taught and lectured for many organisations and is the author of Shakespeare and the Fire of Love (2004).  She is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy.

Note: this paper was given at the Temenos Academy Study Day ‘Shakespeare’s Vision of Nature’ on 30 November 2019.





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Monday 28th September 2020


From “Smart Planet” to Sacred Earth:

Technology and the Resacralization of Nature and the Human Being

Dr Jeremy Naydler

The rollout of 5G and the transformation of the Internet into a so-called “Internet of Things” are the most recent manifestations of an ambitious project to shift the fulcrum of our lives from the real to the electronically mediated, or virtual, world. This project, which has been widely embraced in recent months, stems from a worldview opposed both to the traditional sacred conception of the human being as made “in the image and likeness of God” and to the theophanic conception of nature as manifesting an intelligence, the source of which is divine.

As a consequence, we are increasingly presented with a desacralized image of the Earth as an electronically enhanced “smart planet”, and of human beings as digital citizens living computer-dependent lives. How, then, can we find the spiritual ground on which to stand in this technologized world? And how can we conduct our lives in such a way as to protect, nurture, and with renewed vigour to defend, that which is intrinsically sacred in both nature and the human being?


Jeremy Naydler, PhD, is author of two recent books on technology and the human spirit: The Struggle for a Human Future: 5G, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things (2020) and In the Shadow of the Machine: the Prehistory of the Computer and the Evolution of Consciousness (2018). He is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy.



Wednesday 7th October 2020

Dante’s Journey in Gothic Cathedral Design

Tom Bree

The eastward journey through a cathedral forms a symbolic ascent climbing towards the place of the rising sun. However for the soul to return to its heavenly origin a certain lightness and buoyancy is required as attested to by the image of St Michael in which he weighs human souls on judgement day.

Within Dante’s poem, Commedia, such a preparation for ascent requires him to first descend to the Inferno so as to face the very lowest reaches of the soul’s potential. Only then can he slowly begin his rise back upwards, first to the surface of the earth followed then by an ascent to Eden which lies at the summit of the Mountain of Purgatory. Finally he ascends through the heavens to the Empyrean where he becomes reunited with the soul’s divine origin.

Dante’s journey is made in emulation of Christ because he descends to the inferno from Jerusalem on the afternoon of Good Friday and then re-ascends to the surface of the earth again on the morning of Easter Sunday. In this way he personally re-encounters the Harrowing of Hell which is Christ’s necessary descent into the underworld prior to His Resurrection on Easter Sunday and eventual ascent into heaven 40 days thereafter.

This illustrated talk will demonstrate how the three stages that characterise Dante’s journey are also present in the design of the ground plan of the first English Gothic cathedral. In this sense the beginning of the journey through Wells Cathedral is actually one of descent and only then can there subsequently be an eastward ascent towards the rising of the Bright Morning Star.

Tom Bree is a Geometer-Artist, teacher, and writer. He teaches practical geometry at The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts as well as for many other organisations in the UK and abroad. His book The Cosmos in Stone will be published by Wooden Books.

This talk will also be a live web-cast. Please use the link as follows:


Monday 19th October 2020

Plotinus and the Planets

Tom Bree

The Greek word Kosmos means ‘order’. But it also means ‘adornment’ in the sense of an externally visible apparel. In a similar way the eternally ordered truths of mathematical theory become visibly apparent through manifesting in geometric form.

It can accordingly be understood that the numerical thoughts, forever contemplated in the Divine Mind, become visible through the ordered numerical movements of the planets and the stars.

The idea that the periodic circular movements of the heavens embody mathematical patterns is not a new one. It pervades the thought of the ancient and medieval worlds. But even in more recent years this idea has been re-emphasised yet again from new angles within the research of people such as John Michell, John Martineau and Hartmut Warm.

This talk will look at the geometric relationships that exist between the Sun and the first three planets – Mercury, Venus and Earth – and how these relationships naturally reflect Plotinus’ description of the three Hypostases plus ensouled nature along with their emanation from the One.

Tom Bree is a Geometer-Artist, teacher, and writer. He teaches practical geometry at The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts as well as for many other organisations in the UK and abroad. His book The Cosmos in Stone will be published by Wooden Books.

This talk will also be a live web-cast. Please use the link as follows:


VENUE:                                                                TIME:      

The Lincoln Centre                                              5 – 6.30pm BST

18 Lincoln’s Inn Fields                                                                         Doors open: 4.40pm

London WC2A 3ED

Nearest Underground Holborn



ADVANCE BOOKINGS ONLY – places are strictly limited. Please note that anyone who has not booked in advance will not be admitted to the venue.


Email:      Telephone:    (01233) 813663

On booking please give us your name, telephone number and email or postal address.


It would be appreciated if you could let us know if you are unable to attend so that we can give your place to someone on the waiting list. Thank you.


The talks on 7 and 19 October will be filmed, and, it is hoped, screened by live webcast.

The web-cast links are displayed beneath the talk descriptions above. No bookings are necessary for the online Zoom sessions and all are welcome.



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

      b) All those attending must bring and wear a face mask (unless exempt from doing so). Temperatures will be                     taken before entry into the building.

      c)  Please use the hand-sanitiser provided at the entrance to the venue before entering and leaving the building.

      d) Two-metre social distancing must be observed at all times.

      e)  All those attending must comply with directions displayed in the venue or with instructions that they receive                   from venue staff.

      f)  Refreshments will not now be provided – we encourage you to bring your own bottles of water please.

      g) In the current circumstances the talks are subject to cancellation at short notice.




See below for the 2020 SUMMER TERM online LECTURE PAPERS


20th May 2020

An Introduction to Blake’s Mythic System  –  Dr Susanne Sklar

William Blake’s mythic system is designed to change the way we think and see. Featuring Zoas, Emanations, and different states of being, it evolved throughout his working life. This talk outlines the basic features in Blake’s system, as well as the sources influencing key concepts in his poetry, his prophetic vision.

    Online lecture paper 1  HERE

    Accompanying Powerpoint HERE


27th May 2020

In Search of Merlin  –  Professor John Carey

Merlin is known to all of us as the great magician of the Arthurian cycle, but he is more than that: on a profound level, he is that cycle’s originating author. It is he who devised the Round Table, he who engineered the conception of Arthur himself, he whose foreknowledge contained the whole glory and downfall of the Arthurian age. But what are the roots of this enigmatic figure? It seems symptomatic that Geoffrey of Monmouth, the first author to use the name ‘Merlin’, gave two accounts of him, so different that it was almost immediately concluded that there had been two Merlins: the clues lead in divergent and increasingly puzzling directions. This talk will examine the earliest evidence, placing it in the broader context of the narrative traditions of the Celtic peoples, and suggesting a possible source for the legends.

      Online lecture paper 2  HERE


10th June 2020

The Gates of Perception: Landscape, Place and Vision in the work of John Clare, Samuel Palmer and Stanley Spencer

Hilary Davies 

This lecture will look at how the landscapes in the work of John Clare, Samuel Palmer and Stanley Spencer bear out Blake’s words, ‘I know that this world is a world of imagination and vision’. The hinge that links these realities is the visionary capacity of the artist/poet to move into a reality, first approached through the world available to our sensory perceptions, but which is then illuminated and transformed by abundant, symbolic and even transcendent meaning.  This ability both to show the physical and the numinous simultaneously has characterised a particular thread in British poetry and art for well over a thousand years. It is also a thread that has, at various times, been overlooked, disdained or dismissed as irrelevant to contemporary concerns.  In this lecture, I shall look at how John Clare, Samuel Palmer and Stanley Spencer contribute to this tradition. 

      Online lecture paper 3  HERE     


14th July 2020

St Bonaventure & the Divine Order of Creation

Dr Joseph Milne

In the thirteenth century scholarship was torn by disputes over Aristotelianism. The two greatest contemporary scholastics, Bonaventure (1221-1274) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), were both swept up in these disputes. When seeking to reconcile Aristotle with Scripture a central problem was Aristotle’s conception of the eternity of the world. For Aristotle time was merely series of isolated moments having no causal order in their sequence. The hierarchy of causes simply cut across time. This left no scope for the Christian conception of the unfoldment of a sacred cosmic history stretching from the beginning to the end of the world.

Aquinas resolved this problem by placing eschatology outside Aristotelian time. Bonaventure resolved it by rejecting Aristotelian time altogether on the basis that God had created nothing without a definite form or structure. For him a sacred history informed chronological time and gave it a shape ultimately culminating in God. In adopting this view Bonaventure takes Scripture as revealing the order of the manifest world, not in a naïve literal sense but as presenting an archetypal order that permeated all created orders.

This archetypal order not only informed sacred history. It also informed the ascent of the mind in mystical contemplation through the different modes of knowledge. For Bonaventure there is nothing in existence that is not directly informed by the presence of God and which therefore shows some footprint or trace of God. Drawing upon Patristic, Victorine and Cistercian biblical exegesis and refining it, Bonaventure articulated a complex mystical vision of the Creation.

Since the Reformation this Christian vision of the sacred cosmic drama has been largely forgotten along with the allegorical and mystical study of the Scriptures, and so the West has been bereft of a specifically Christian cosmology. In this lecture we will seek to recover something of this lost tradition through an exploration of Bonaventure’s Collations on the Six Days and his Journey of the Mind into God.

     Online lecture paper 4  HERE


3rd August 2020

A Taste of Paradise – Designing the new Cambridge Mosque Garden

Emma Clark

This article will look at how the principal elements of Islamic garden design, along with their profound spiritual symbolism, are integrated into this very English of urban settings. One of the key ingredients of an Islamic Paradise garden is the idea of the sanctuary, reminding all visitors of the importance of nurturing the inner ‘garden of the heart’ as well as the outer garden of trees, flowers and water.

From the beginning of the design process, the principal intention for this garden was to offer the visitor a calm green space to walk through, or sit in for a moment, on the way to prayer. It serves, not only as a quiet transition area between clamorous, traffic-ridden Mill Road outside and the peace of the Mosque within, but also aims to give a little taste of Jannat al-firdaws, the Gardens of Paradise described in the Qur’an.

This new Cambridge Central Mosque is Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque and was completed in 2019. Readers will be interested to know that all the geometric patterns used in the Mosque (the atrium floor, wooden doors, mashrabiyya – wood and metal screens – and stained-glass windows) were designed by the late Professor Keith Critchlow, co-founder of the Temenos Academy.

The Islamic-inspired garden within the Mosque boundary is open to all, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Since the virus restrictions have been relaxed this is now open from 11am – 5pm. (

There is also a narrow Community garden lying between the pavement of Mill Road and the Mosque railings. This consists of four planting beds with birch trees and is open to the public all the time. Indeed, a bus stop is located here with a particularly good view through the Mosque railings into the Islamic Garden!

     Online lecture paper 5  HERE

     Cambridge Mosque Photos HERE  (Part 1)

     Cambridge Mosque Photos HERE  (Part 2)


15th August 2020

A Beginner’s Guide to Symbolic Geometry: An Interview with Professor Michael Schneider

Christine Rhone

Among the many honours given to the late Professor Keith Critchlow, co-founder of The Temenos Academy, was one from his close contemporary and respected colleague John Michell, who dedicated his final work to Keith as ‘our modern Pythagoras’. This book, How the World is Made: The Story of Creation According to Sacred Geometry, was the summation of John’s life work as a geometer and an artist. A generation younger, Professor Michael Schneider was encouraged in his research and teaching of symbolic number by John, who brought him several times to see Keith lecture or to visit him. All three ascribe to the ideal of geometry as the art of the ever-true, with acknowledgement of divinity and dedication to spiritual vision, each bringing that ideal forward and shaping it in his own way.

This paper is published in the new Temenos Academy Review 23 which is now available for sale in our publications catalogue.

   Online lecture paper 6  HERE