An Esoteric Quest in Bulgaria: At the Crossroads of the Mysteries

In Plovdiv, Bulgaria, the Oldest Living City in Europe
August 22-27, 2019

Esoteric Quest Presenters

Tanya Doganova-Hristova is founder and director of the Yoan Kukuzel Chamber Ensemble. They have been the first to perform, both at home and abroad, the old Bulgarian chants so that they might take their well-deserved place in the world treasury of musical culture. Tanya is also musical editor of Radio Sofia and a producer of film documentaries

Leonard George, Ph.D., is a Canadian psychologist, educator, writer and broadcaster, and a lifelong student of Western esotericism. He is the Chair of the School of Social Sciences at Capilano University, British Columbia. The author of two books and dozens of articles, he has been an advisor and presenter for the Esoteric Quest conferences for many years.

Diana Gergova, Ph.D., is one of Bulgaria’s leading archaeologists and was Professor at the National Archaeological Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences until 2016. She is the author of seven books and over 200 articles on Thracian culture, religion and cultural heritage. Her many honors include the 2017 Eagle of the Danube Award for the preservation of cultural heritage.

Joscelyn Godwin, Ph.D., is a leading scholar and writer on the Western Esoteric Tradition, including its musical aspects. He teaches at Colgate University and has written, edited and translated numerous books including Harmonies of Heaven and Earth, The Spiritual Dimension of Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde, and Mystery Religions of the Ancient World.

Ellen Goldberg, M.A., is both a psychotherapist and a mystic who has been teaching Tarot and the Western Hermetic Tradition for forty years. She has taught at six of the previous Esoteric Quests and been an ongoing part of the Open Center faculty since 1986. She is the founder of the School of Oracles in New York City. Her book, The Art and Science of Hand Reading, is number one in its field.

Rossitsa Gradeva, Ph.D, is a professor at the American University in Bulgaria, and the Center for Thracian Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia. She has published widely on Muslim culture, on Ottoman institutions in the Balkans, and on Muslim and non-Muslim communities in the Ottoman Empire. Her books include Rumeli under the Ottomans, 15th-18th Centuries and Frontiers of Ottoman Space, Frontiers in Ottoman Society.

Boriana Hristova, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Sofia University and was formerly the director of the National Library of Bulgaria, the oldest cultural institution in the country. She has been a Fellow at the Warburg Institute in London and is an expert on Bulgarian manuscripts of the 10th to 19th centuries.

Malcolm Kennard, Ph.D., has had a diverse career as a professor, director and consultant in the UK and Canada, with many peer-reviewed publications both in science and the arts. He is currently an adjunct professor affiliated with the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

Dilyana Kurdova studied Bulgarian folklore choreography and is the international coordinator of the Plovdiv Folk Seminar at the city’s Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts. She has taught dance all over Europe and is also an anthroposophist and a trained Waldorf kindergarten teacher. She applies this knowledge in her teaching of traditional dances and rhythms.

Scott Olsen, Ph.D., is a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religion at the College of Central Florida and the author of The Golden Section: Nature’s Greatest Secret, which was awarded first place for design by the Bookbinders’ Guild of New York. Scott lectures widely on the Perennial Philosophy with special emphasis on the Divine Proportion and Transformative States of Consciousness.

Marjorie Roth, Ph.D., D.M.A., is a Full Professor at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, where she teaches music history, music and magic, and music and the liberal arts. Her research interests include Italian Renaissance music, spiritualism and music, and musical alchemy. She has presented papers on musicological and esoteric topics at conferences in the United States, Egypt, Greece, Italy, and Iceland.

Mariyana Shabarkova-Petrova is a publisher and author. Her books include Ethiopia, or Beyond Christianity As We Know It and More Than 100 Remarkable Bulgarian Monasteries. She is also co-author of The Mystery of the Bulgarian Church Paintings in two volumes: Touching God and The Sacred History and History.

Yuri Stoyanov, Ph.D., is based at the Department of the Near and Middle East, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and is currently a Senior Fellow at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem. He has published widely on the interaction between mystical and esoteric currents in Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam and their survival into the modern era. His publications include The Hidden Tradition in Europe and The Other God.

Svetoslava Toncheva, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of anthropology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She is the author of Out of the New Spirituality of the Twentieth Century: The Dawn of Anthroposophy, the White Brotherhood and the Unified Teaching. She has a long-term interest in the field of contemporary spirituality and the teachings of Peter Deunov in particular.   

Galia Valtchinova, D.Sc., is a faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toulouse II in France, where she teaches historical and religious anthropology. She has written on female visionaries and worked extensively on holy places and pilgrimages in the Balkans. She is the author of Balkan Prophetesses in the 20th Century.

Conference Staff:
Director: Ralph White, New York Open Center
Co-Coordinator and Production Manager: Carrie Wykoff, Events That Matter
Co-Coordinator and Registrar: Andrea Lomanto, New York Open Center
Director of Finance: Nancy Rotger, New York Open Center
Bulgarian Coordinator:  Gergana Petkova
Program Advisor: Yuri Stoyanov, Ph.D

Ralph White is co-founder of the New York Open Center, one of America’s leading institutions of holistic learning. He has directed the Esoteric Quest conferences since their beginning in 1995, and is the author of the highly regarded memoir, The Jeweled Highway: On the Quest for a Life of Meaning. Ralph also edited and introduced The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited.

Carrie Wykoff has been the Conference Coordinator for the Esoteric Quest since 1998. She produces all types of events and the Quest is truly one of her favorites. She is also an interfaith minister, a musician, a fitness instructor and is the Director of Operations at High Meadow School.  

Andrea Lomanto has worked with the Esoteric Quest since 2006. She is also a puppetista, educator, and founder of Power Up Youth Project.

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