Mystics & Scientists 2021 – Re-enchanting the World: Consciously Connecting with the Deep Wisdom of Nature
A two-day conference on interspecies intuitive communication, plant sentience and the reality of One life
With Dr Rupert Sheldrake, Anna Breytenbach, Pea Horsley, Heidi Hermann, Dr Judith Prager, Fred Hageneder, Shakti Caterina Maggi & Prof Paco Calvo; chaired by David Lorimer, Prof Marilyn Monk & Dr Peter Fenwick
The postponed 2020 Mystics and Scientists conference will now take place online at the end of July, and the irony of ‘reconnecting with nature’ online is not lost on us! For over 40 years these meetings have been dedicated to forging a creative understanding of the complementary roles of scientific and mystical approaches to reality. At a time when ecosystems are under increasing pressure from human numbers and activity, our topical theme this year is our relationship with the natural world, including interspecies communication with mammals, plants and trees.
The emphasis will be on consciously connecting with and learning from the deep wisdom of nature represented by the lives and rhythms of bees, dogs and cats, horses, elephants, dolphins, plants and trees. All our speakers are international experts in their respective fields and have a huge amount to share.
Even though online, the conference will provide you with a highly engaging and creative opportunity to come together with like-minded people in a community spirit of exploration and dialogue in smaller groups and in the process you will gain an enhanced understanding of the theme as it relates to your own sense of wellbeing.
What people say about our events
‘A wonderful, stimulating, thought-provoking and warm-hearted weekend.’
‘Non-stop delightful discovery and endless conversation.‘
‘I value the people and connections as much as the subject and speakers.’
‘My second event. It gets better and better. I feel isolated in London. Here I get a sense of ‘group’. Fabulous talks.’
– Timings are in UK, BST –
SATURDAY 31st JULY
Session 1 – Chair, David Lorimer
9:00 am Introduction by David Lorimer
9:30 am Dr Rupert Sheldrake: Learning from Animals
10:45 am BREAK
11:00 am Pea Horsley: Animal Communication – the Universal Language
12:15 pm Dialogue between speakers
12:45 pm Introduction to the Scientific and Medical Network
1:00 pm LUNCH
Session 2 – Chair, Prof Marilyn Monk
2:00 pm Experiential session guidance with Pea Horsley
3:15 pm Heidi Hermann: The Power of Bee-ness
4:15 pm BREAK
4:45 pm Dr Judith Prager: The Mystical and Eternal Message of the Dolphins
6:00 pm Fred Hageneder: Trees – Their Ancient Wisdom and What They Teach Us Today
SUNDAY 1st AUGUST
Session 3 – Chair, Dr Peter Fenwick
9:15 am Shakti Caterina Maggi: Awakening to the Reality of One Life
10:30 am BREAK
10:45 am Anna Breytenbach: Telepathic Animal Communication
12:00 am Dialogue between speakers
1:00 pm LUNCH
Session 4 – Chair, David Lorimer
2:00 pm Prof Paco Calvo: Plant Sentience – Are They Locked-in Communicators?
3:15 pm BREAK
3:30 pm Fred Hageneder: The Ecological Crisis: the View from Trees and Forests
4:45 pm Plenary discussion
5:15 pm CLOSE
Session details and speakers
SATURDAY 31st JULY
Dr Rupert Sheldrake: Learning from Animals
Non-human animals can help us in many ways, some practical, some emotional, some spiritual. They can teach us humility, since many animals have abilities that far surpass our own. They can help to heal us, they can bring us into the present, they can show us love, and they can reveal the importance of psychic powers, which many humans share, but to a lesser degree. They can help connect us to the more-than-human world.
Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, is a biologist and author of more than 90 scientific papers and nine books including ‘Science and Spiritual Practices’ and ‘Ways To Go Beyond, And Why They Work’.
He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and is currently a Fellow of the institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and of Schumacher College in Devon.
His website is: www.sheldrake.org.
Pea Horsley: Animal Communication – the Universal Language – and experiential workshop (delegates will be given guidance on exercises that they can do outside in their own locality)
We all live on one planet that we share with a myriad of other living beings. Most studies into animals and plant life on earth have only served to create deeper and deeper divisions by creating more and more subgroups highlighting their differences from other species. My work over the last 15 years has been to see the animal world, of which we are part, as one, with a common destiny, a common purpose and a common language.
Pea Horsley is the UK’s most highly regarded animal communicator, TEDx speaker, grounded teacher, empowering mentor and best selling author of three books, ‘Heart to Heart, The Animal Communicator’s Guide Through Life‘, ‘Loss and Love‘ and ‘Animal Communication Made Easy‘. Pea facilitates natural habitat wild animal communication retreats, teaches people from all walks of life and provides an online course for beginners. Learn more at: www.animalthoughts.com.
Heidi Herrmann: The Power of Bee-ness
We are all aware that the honeybee has fallen from grace. More than a century of an ever-deepening alienation from the spiritual wellsprings of life appear to have led us to view the honeybee as an agricultural animal existing to serve our needs. I hope to inspire you to expand your views of the sublime creature that was revered by our ancestors and is now at risk of falling victim to our ignorance. I believe that we are called upon to review the conceptual framework of natural science to better understand how the survival of the Bee is connected with our future.
Heidi Herrmann has been a beekeeper for twenty years. Born in Bavaria, she graduated in modern languages, worked as a Conference Interpreter for the EU, UN, British and German governments, and raised a family in the UK. Heidi is a founder member of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, served for many years on the Council of the Biodynamic Agriculture Association and is Advisory Editor of Natural Bee Husbandry Magazine. She currently lives in Sussex, keeping horses, sheep and bees, managing apiaries, studying anthroposophy. The NBKT is a key contributor to new directions in apiculture, currently engaged in various honey bee rewilding projects at home and abroad. The Trust initiated the “Learning from the Bees” impulse, an annual international gathering of bee scientists, artists and ecologists.
Dr Judith Prager: The Mystical and Eternal Message of the Dolphins
Dolphins have been celebrated in legends and mythology throughout history. They have been beloved and honoured over the centuries for their benevolence in rescuing humans (and other beings) from drowning and shark attacks. Today, marine biologists say that this dolphin behaviour is “altruistic,” since the dolphins expect nothing in return, but the scientists can’t explain the dolphins’ behaviour. There are indications that dolphins’ altruism might be, in part, to communicate with humans telepathically the message that we meet in consciousness. That we are all in this together. That what happens to one, happens to all. Their amazing brains, their echolocation, their ability to hear over ranges more than seven times greater than we can, and the hypothesized cross-wiring of their senses, lift their perception to new levels. Judith Simon Prager will share the history, the science, and her personal experience consulting with dolphin experts and working with one dolphin in particular in connection with her work with children with disabilities, to inspire us about what Larry Dossey calls Oneness, at a time when the world most needs it.
Judith Simon Prager, PhD, is a lecturer, a teacher, a writer, and a therapist with a practice in Southern California. She is an award-winning instructor in the UCLA Ext. Writers’ Program (with her husband, the poet Harry Youtt). Together with another therapist she co-authored ‘The Worst Is Over: What To Say When Every Moment Counts’, which has been deemed “the ‘bible’ for crisis communication” by The International Journal of Emergency Mental Health. She has trained medical professionals and first responders across the United States and around the world in the book’s protocol, Verbal First Aid™. Wondering how NON-verbal first aid might appear on this planet, she befriended dolphins. She received her answer and shares it in her book, ‘What the Dolphin Said’.
Fred Hageneder: Trees – Their Ancient Wisdom and What They Teach Us Today
Trees and humankind have always had a symbiotic relationship. Since time immemorial, trees have provided us with a multitude of nutritious fruits, leaves, flowers and roots for food and medicine, wood with which to make our tools, weapons and toys, timber for houses, fences, boats and bridges, and fuel for fire which drives the engines of civilisation. And last but not least, the majority of spiritual paths have begun beneath old, venerable trees and in sacred groves. In almost all cultures trees have been acknowledged as potential guardians of the gates to the spirit world. Our ancestors recognized that there is a vital balance in life: to receive and to give. The history of trees in culture and consciousness finds its deepest expression in the universal mythology of the World Tree or Tree of Life. And the various aspects of this metaphysical, eternal Tree manifest in the abundance of different tree species around the world.
Fred Hageneder has been writing about the ethnobotany of trees, i.e. their role in the history of culture and religion, since the 1980s. So far, his books have been published in ten languages. In particular, his two monographs on the European yew (Taxus baccata L.) have met with broad academic approval and have led him as a speaker to international congresses in Spain, Wales and Turkey. He is a founding member of the Ancient Yew Group (AYG), an independent research group working to protect ancient yews in the UK, and a member of the Ecocentric Alliance, a network of university professors, ecologists, conservationists and activists advocating ecocentrism and the development and application of sustainable environmental ethics worldwide.
SUNDAY 1st AUGUST
Shakti Caterina Maggi: Awakening to the Reality of One Life
The global crisis is forcing us to review the basis of our society and way of living. The reality of being One Consciousness behind all the differences of our forms can lead us to approach our current issues on a social, ecological and spiritual level as one topic. This interconnected unbroken field of Consciousness called Life is awakening through all forms and this crisis is a wake-up call. In transforming our connection to the field of Life, Life is instantaneously impacted. Whatever happens in the apparent periphery of our personal living is actually part of one movement. In this sense, nature and humanity are not disconnected, but one living Being that is learning about itself and evolving.
Shakti Caterina Maggi, contemporary mystic and spiritual leader, shares a message of non-separation (non-duality) between all beings in conferences, seminars and retreats around the world. Her interests focus on global awakening, the sacred feminine and the concrete possibility of embodying spirituality in our everyday life, though compassion and deep understanding. She has collaborated with Science and Non duality (SAND) Conference and other spiritual non-profit organisations around the world. She is one of the contributors of the first anthology about spirituality and science, ‘On the Mystery of Being’, published in 2019 by New Harbinger. She is currently working on publications about compassion as a way of transforming our world.
Anna Breytenbach: Interspecies Intuitive Communication
Anna shares stories from her interspecies consultations and adventures, showing how natural it is for all of us to engage telepathically with the more than human world. Touching on topics like compassion, sentience, soul purpose, rewilding, ‘mewilding’ and sacred activism, the invitation is to integrate these ways of seeing and being into our daily lives.
Anna Breytenbach is a South African-based professional animal communicator who has received advanced training through the Assisi International Animal Institute in California, USA. She’s been practising for 18 years in South Africa, Europe and the USA with both domestic and wild animals. Amongst other things she has been a cheetah handler, served on committees for wolf, snow leopard, cheetah and mountain lion conservation, volunteered at wildlife and horse sanctuaries and participated in wild wolf tracking expeditions in the Rocky Mountains. Trained in tracking and mentoring at the Wilderness Awareness School (USA), she also mentors children and adults in nature awareness based on the ways of the Native American and San Bushmen peoples. Anna’s goal is to raise awareness and advance the relationships among human and non-human animals, on both the personal and spiritual levels. In her communication and conservation work, she guides people to deepen their connection with all species in an honouring manner, and is inspired by being a voice for the animals and natural environments.
Prof Paco Calvo: Plant Sentience – Are They Locked-in Communicators?
The evolution of sentience has become a hot topic of research in recent years, and yet the vast majority of people reject any association whatsoever between sentience and plant life. But science cannot rule out non-animal forms of life having structures that promote awareness. This is an open empirical question, not unlike the question of animal sentience. In fact, it is possible that the origins of subjectivity date back to the origins of life itself. In this talk, I explore, against zoocentric biases, the possibility and consequences of plant subjective awareness and sentience.
Once the default ‘couch potato’ understanding of plant life is surmounted, we are in a better position to appraise their doings. A vivid metaphor will serve to pave the way here. We may think of plants in the same way that we perceive locked-in syndrome human patients (mentally alive in a paralyzed body). I shall ask the audience to think of a locked-in syndrome patient whose blinks are translated with software, allowing them to communicate. If it wasn’t for the software, we might not be aware of the mind alive inside the body. I shall argue that we might be making the same mistake in regard to plants.
Prof Paco Calvo is Full Professor of Philosophy of Science, and Principal Investigator of MINTLab (Minimal Intelligence Lab) at the University of Murcia (Spain). His current research interests range broadly within the cognitive sciences, with special emphasis on plant intelligence, ecological psychology and embodied cognitive science. He has co-edited a number of volumes for academic audiences: ‘The Handbook of Cognitive Science: An Embodied Approach’, 2008; ‘The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology’, 2009; and ‘The Architecture of Cognition’, 2014.
He studies the ecological basis of plant intelligence by conducting experimental studies at the intersection of the areas of plant neurobiology and ecological psychology. His lab uses time-lapse photography to observe plant roots and shoots navigational capacities. To do so, they use behavioural methods in order to explore perception-action, and learning in plants, at the level of both roots and shoots. He is currently being supported by the US Office of Naval Research to investigate vegetable sources of bioinspiration for Robotics and AI (Project title: “Plant Intelligence for Robotics and AI”).
Fred Hageneder: The Ecological Crisis: the View from Trees and Forests
Together with the oceans, forests are the main players in maintaining the planet’s climate as well as the other regulatory systems that make this planet a living one. The forces they wield are gigantic, yet their balance is fragile. And contrary to prevailing opinion, these ecosystems function much less through competition than through cooperation. This presentation is an introduction to Gaia Theory, followed by a diagnosis of the global ecological crisis, the human predicament, and how we can build and maintain hope and courage in the face of very dark predictions. Humankind has reached the crossroads to a new, truly ethical society which will honour the Earth and the unity of all life.