Pythagorean Music Theory in PracticeJoscelynGodwin, Ph.D.
From Cave to Cathedral: The Legacy of Greek Oracles in Magna Graecia and BeyondLeonard George, Ph.D. and Marjorie Roth, Ph.D., DMA
Horses of the Heart’s Desire: The Teachings of ParmenidesLeonard George, Ph.D.
Sicily and the Magical Family of Geometric FormsSteve Bass, M.A.
The Tarantella: Music, Magic and Medicine in Magna Graecia (and Today)Marjorie Roth, Ph.D., DMA
Colors and the Kabbalistic WayPaul Fenton, Ph.D.
Gardens as Places of Esoteric Quest: Foretastes of ParadiseChristopher McIntosh, D.Phil.
Sicilitudine: The Uniqueness of SicilyJohn Keahey
Norman Sicily and the Arthurian DreamPaul Bembridge, M.Phil., RSA
The Enigma of Frederick IIMalcolm Kennard, Ph.D.
Tarot and the KabbalahEllen Goldberg, M.A.

Pythagorean Music Theory in Practice
Joscelyn Godwin, Ph.D.

We will work with a monochord to understand the basic insight that Pythagoras brought to the West: that musical harmony is simple numbers made audible. We will learn how Plato applied this doctrine to cosmology, and how it generates the scales and modes of all music. No musical knowledge required, only the ability to count to 10.

From Cave to Cathedral:
The Legacy of Greek Oracles in Magna Graecia and Beyond
Leonard George, Ph.D. and Marjorie Roth, Ph.D., DMA

When the first Greek settlers in Sicily came ashore, they raised an altar to Apollo.  It was his oracle-priestess, the Delphic Sibyl, who guided them there.  Colonists set up their own oracles at sites throughout Magna Graecia, including Siracusa and Akragas. The most famous was a Sibyl’s cave near Cumae.  Her recorded utterances guided Rome throughout its history.  Sibyls entered Christian mythology with fabricated prophecies of Christ’s coming, and lived on in folklore, art and music.

Horses of the Heart’s Desire:
The Teachings of Parmenides

Leonard George, Ph.D.

The Greek colony of Elea on Italy’s Tyrrhenian shore was home to one of history’s most profound sages.  Parmenides shared his teachings in a poem, of which only fragments survive.  In it, he recounts his voyage to the underworld in a horse-drawn chariot.  There he meets a goddess who reveals “the round, calm heart of Truth”, as well as a “god’s-eye view” of human consciousness.  These insights formed the basis of the Western metaphysical tradition.

Sicily and the Magical Family of Geometric Forms
Steve Bass, M.A.

At one time Sicily and southern Italy were the Wild West frontier of the Greek world. The early Pythagoreans made this region their home. Later Italy and Sicily were visited by Plato in the hope of creating a philosopher king. Though Plato’s hopes were not realized, Pythagoreanism stuck, and in a later generation the great mathematician Archimedes of Siracusa built on their work.  While Plato had suggested a cosmology of the five regular solids, Archimedes defined the thirteen Semi-Regular Solids, all born of the original five.  We will review this early history and recall the esoteric background of this magical extended family of primary geometrical forms.

The Tarantella:
Music, Magic and Medicine in Magna Graecia (and Today)
Marjorie Roth, Ph.D., DMA

The Tarantella in modern culture is both ubiquitous and misunderstood. A staple at Italian weddings and an inescapable set piece of Italian tourism, the ‘spider’ dance’ actually has a long and venerable history as medicine of a most powerful and effective kind. The origin, musical features, and practical uses of this dance can tell us much about the power of harmony to balance the human body, mind and soul, in the past and in our own time.

Colors and the Kabbalistic Way
Paul Fenton, Ph.D.

This workshop will examine how two 13th century Eastern mystical schools, one of Jewish Kabbalists and the other of Muslim Sufis, employed colors in their mystical prayers and meditations in order to gauge their spiritual levels. Using a sort of Kabbalistic mandala, they would visualize colored letters to indicate specific sefiroth or states of the soul. So close are these contemplative methods in the mystical traditions of Judaism and Islam that it is tempting to suppose they have a common ancient origin.

Gardens as Places of Esoteric Quest:
Foretastes of Paradise

Christopher McIntosh, D.Phil.

This workshop is a tour of sacred and symbolic gardens, past and present. It includes an exploration of the Islamic notion of the garden as a foretaste of paradise, which was brought to Sicily in the 9th century by the Arabs along with the citrus fruits and many exotic flowers still seen in Sicily today. The Islamic style of the garden was taken over by the Normans, who conquered Sicily in the late 11th century. Today, very few traces of those gardens remain, but we can visit them in our imaginations as one aspect of the rich cultural mixture that characterized Sicily in the Middle Ages. We shall also examine other examples of sacred gardening up to the present day and expand our view of what a garden can be.

Sicilitudine: The Uniqueness of Sicily
John Keahey

This workshop includes a discussion of sicilitudine, or that aspect of Sicilian culture and life that sets Sicilians apart from Italians (most Sicilians say their island is “north of Africa” not south of Italy). We will examine the clues of Sicilian uniqueness found in the writings of Giuseppe Tomasi Lampedussa, who gave us the Sicilian classic The Leopard; Leonardo Sciascia, perhaps Italy’s finest writer of the mid-to-late 20th century; mystery writer Andrea Camilleri, who still is crafting tales set in Sicily and is Italy’s best-selling author; plus earlier writers Giovanni Verga and Giuseppe Pirandello.

Norman Sicily and the Arthurian Dream
Paul Bembridge, M.Phil., RSA

The Norman conquest of southern Italy and Sicily in the late 11th century might be considered to have brought an esoteric mission of the Normans towards a climax of expectation, involving the capture of Jerusalem and the restoration of Paradise. As patrons of Arthurian literature, the Norman aristocracy encouraged the vision of the perfect knight as a means to this restoration, not least through the quest for the Grail. This workshop enables us to enter the visionary world of the 12th century Normans through their art and literature, including the mosaics of Palermo and Otranto.

The Enigma of Frederick II
Malcolm Kennard, Ph.D.

Although a Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II was born into a unique cultural mix provided by his Norman mother, Constance of Sicily, and his German father, Henry VI. Sent to Palermo to be educated in the Sicilian way, he was considered brilliant but unusual.  Strongly influenced by Islamic, Hebrew and Christian scholars, all of whom he cultivated in his court, he was fluent in multiple languages including Arabic, read the Koran, and built 200 castles in southern Italy.  He was also a student of mathematics, philosophy, natural history, medicine and architecture. This session will explore the enigmatic nature of Frederick, the contradictions in his personality, and try to unravel the myth from the man.

Tarot and the Kabbalah
Ellen Goldberg, M.A.

Both Tarot and Kabbalah explain the nature of the Divine and, by reflection, the nature of the human being. The oldest book of the Kabbalah, The Sepher Yetzirah, begins by saying that the Dweller in the Heights, whose habitation is Eternity, created the Universe in thirty-two mysterious paths of wisdom, by means of three Sepharim: namely Numbers, Letters and Sounds. We will consider the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the Ten Sephiroth of the Tree of Life. This presentation will include lecture, inner journey and learning a simple, yet profound, way to use the Tarot for self-reflection.