Descent to the Underworld

Explores the modern implications of the myth of Persephone, the most revered spiritual power in Greece for thousands of years. More than a mere “seasonal story,” Persephone’s journey is rich with psychological and spiritual depth.  In our world today, when we, like Persephone, can feel overtaken by changes so devastating that they require a radical transformation of consciousness, this course allows us to reflect on ways that we too can deal with loss and sorrow as well as renewal and rebirth.

Seven videos averaging about ten minutes each, along with varied supplemental materials including commentary by ancient and modern interpreters of archetypal motifs, ventures into history and psychology, and hundreds of images created by the finest artists of all times.

Confucius Lao-tzu and Buddhist Arhat (三教) Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper. Size 115.7 x 55.8 cm (height x width). Painting is located in the Palace Museum, Beijing. Public Domain
Taoism

Taoism is a way of life practiced since the very earliest times in China. Its roots appear long before 500 BC.  So it’s a very old wisdom indeed—a wisdom deep and profound, practical but also fanciful, earthy but also mystical, playful but also instructive, and yes, often romantic. Traces of Taoism and its philosophy can be seen throughout Chinese literature and history.

Eight lessons, with information, quotes from various authorities ancient and modern, along with suggestions for contemplation and meditation, and activities that will deepen the material presented as you make it personal in your own experience.  You may contact and interact with the course director while you are taking any of the course lessons.

The Combat of Ares and Athena, Jacque Louis David, Louvre, Paris
In Defense of Civilization

Two powerful conflicting tendencies within the human psyche–the impulse toward maintaining peaceful, civilized relationships and the impulse that tends toward controversy and aggression—are explored through discovery of the attributes of the ancient Greek mythological god of war, Ares, and the goddess of civilization, Athena. These archetypal themes are lived out daily all around us and within us, often with disastrous results. This course promises to give you new insight and new tools for dealing with conflict of any kind–within yourself, within the culture, in relationships, or anywhere else that conflict occurs. And it promises to entertain and educate you in the process!

Eight videos lessons venture into archetypal motifs, history and psychology, with hundreds of images created by the finest artists of all times. Videos of about ten minutes in length are followed by supplementary material, including commentary by James Hillman, Plato, Hesiod, Joseph Campbell, and others.  There is also a timeline of ancient Greek history, a look at these issues through the lenses of other cultures’ myths, questions and suggestions for reflection or discussion, and an opportunity to interact with the course instructor.