Programme of Events


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It is with regret that we have to inform you that all meetings at the Temenos Academy have been postponed for the forseeable future due to the current Covid-19 situation.


Please view the online papers scheduled below and/or go to the New on the Website page and/or sign up for our email newsletter here (or contact the Administrators) if you would like to be kept informed of our activities at this time.

Thank you.





Wednesday 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 HERE

    Accompanying Powerpoint HERE


Wednesday 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 HERE


Wednesday 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 HERE     


Tuesday 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 HERE


Monday 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 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  (Online lecture paper)

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.




Further online lecture papers and other dates to be announced from mid-August 2020 onwards.


Sarvodaya: Our Life as a Journey of Love  (postponed)

Satish Kumar


The Purpose of Yoga      *  Online lecture paper  *

Professor Ravi Ravindra  


Mysterious Wisdom: The Spiritual Life and Poetry of WB Yeats  * Online lecture paper*

Professor Grevel Lindop


Wednesday 7th October 2020

Dante’s Journey in Gothic Cathedral Design

Tom Bree


Monday 19th October 2020

Plotinus and the Planets

Tom Bree





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