IPSO FACTO's Free In-Store Salon Lecture Series

Fascinating Talks on History, Ancient Religions & Culture, Anthropology & Archaeology by Professor James Rietveld

Since July, 2014 we have hosted many fasinating lectures in our shop featuring Dr. James Rietveld.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"The Hittite Religion & Culture"
Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Join Dr. James Rietveld at Ipso Facto, Fullerton, CA, for an exploration of the religion and culture of the Ancient Hittites of Anatolia who thrived from 1700-1200 BC.
A society of wide ranging ethnicity and linguistics, the Hittites were the first to discover and use the hyphen in their cuneiform inscriptions, clay tablets and hieroglyphic carvings.
They forged a mythological universe replete with colorful dieties including "The God Who Disappeared;" the underworld god, Kumarbi; the cloaked, horned lion, Sandan; and Ubelluris who carried the earth and sky on one shoulder.
Lelwani was the goddess who ruled over the subterranean land of the dead, and goddesses, Istustaya and Papaya, spun the threads of each mortal’s destiny by the shores of the Black Sea.
Join us in unraveling the mythology and culture of the early Hittites with newly translated texts of their fascinating mythology and culture.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Hekate"
Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Join us for this exciting lecture on Tuesday, July 25, 8 p.m. with Dr. James Rietveld.
Hekate is popularly known as the goddess of magic, of the crossroads, of the night, of entranceways, of witchcraft, of ghosts, of necromancy, of poisonous plants, of the light, and,
for those who followed the Chaldaean Oracles, even worshipped as the Cosmic Soul itself. She inhabits the fringes, the liminal places, the realms that defy the conventions. She straddles the world of Olympian and Titan, being both, yet neither.
Divergent stories mask her origins, with Classicist and archaeologist alike trying to discover what resides beneath all the traditions. Where does Hekate come from and why is she the mysterious goddess that still kindles out curiosity today?
On July 25 at 8 p.m. at Ipso Facto, we will following Hekate holding her torches into the underworld of Greek myth and legend and, perhaps, deep into the underworld of humanity’s subconscious as well.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Poseidon"
Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Poseidon, the son of Cronos and Rhea, was the brother of Zeus and Hera and was often known by many names. With the division of the universe between Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, while Zeus gained the sky as his lot, he gained the sea. Hence, it was Poseidon that they seafarers cried out to for a safe passage. Poseidon was also the god of earthquakes, a leftover attribute from when he was actually revered as an underworld deity. The sea god also loved horses and was their special deity, despite the fact that they are creatures that reside upon the land. In fact, horses were often drowned as offerings in his honor. He was often a moody god, calm and serene at one moment, but angry in the next, striking his trident on the ground and so causing tidal waves, sudden destructive springs coming out of the earth, and earthquakes. Poseidon lived under the ocean in a coral and gem palace, traveling about in a chariot pulled by horses. His symbols include the trident, three-pronged fish spears, and the dolphin. But the past of this sea god is riddled in mystery, going back to the era of the Minoans and Mycenaeans. It is just these ancient origins we will unravel when you join us on Tuesday, July 11 at 8 p.m. at Ipso Facto.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Hades and the Unerworld"
Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Considered the oldest son of Cronus and Rhea, Hades was designated ruler of the Underworld, while his brother Zeus received the realm of the sky and his other brother Poseidon was allotted the realm of the sea.
But who was Hades? What were his origins? And how did he rule the realm of the Underworld?
This god, often known as "the Unseen One" has often baffled scholars, with many roads leading into the almost impenetrable past.
Fear of even saying his name even led many to call him the wealthy one, since he oversaw the rich resources of the earth, the word Plouton eventually evolving into the name Pluto.
On Tuesday, June 27 at 8:00 PM, we will together descend into the Underworld of Hades, exploring the realm from whence few return, and attempt to unravel the mystery of this controversial deity.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Sibylline Oracles"
Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
The Sibylline Oracles, were allegedly the utterances of Sibyl, a legendary Greek pagan prophetess of the oracle of Apollo, whose estatic revelations were divined in a frenzied state.
A valuable source for information about classical mythology, they denounced Rome's libertinism and idolatry, predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the eruption of Vesuvius, and incorporated fiery apocalyptic final judgement stories similar to the Book of Revelation.
A mixture of Paganism, Hellenistic Judaism, Gnosticism, and early Christian legends, the Sibylline Oracles greatly impressed early Jewish and Christian clergy alike, as their doctrines were confirmed by external testimony.
The original Sibylline Books, ascribed to the ancient Etruscans, were considered destroyed (burned by Flavius Stilicho) in the fourth century CE.
Surviving passages, however, are preserved in the Sibylline Oracles, from an extensively rewritten and redacted 6th or 7th century edition, arranged in 14 books and chaotic fragments of various authorship, date, and religious conception.
Were the Sibylline Oracles genuine eschatological predictions or were they after-the-fact Jewish and Christian writings from between 150 BC and 180 AD?
Find out by attending this free lecture at Ipso Facto with Dr. James Rietveld on Tuesday, June 13, at 8 p.m. You can read the Oracles yourself here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sib/sib.pdf
Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Marcus Aurelius & Stoicism"
Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 BCE, and was known as one of the "Good Emperors" of the second century (for his son, Commodus, was a disaster according to most sources), and, as most would agree, he ruled during an era of transition, for during his reign Rome faced the threat of a revitalized Parthian Empire attacking from the East and the threat of German Barbarians attacking all along the northern frontier.
Meanwhile, a great plague spread across the empire, killing thousands to the point of depopulating entire cities. Marcus Aurelius faced these threats directly and resolutely, known for his wisdom and great piety, for, after all, he was viewed not only as an Emperor but a Philosopher as well, devoted to the philosophical practice known as Stoicism, which gave him the fortitude to meet these challenges.
He even wrote a work known as the Meditations, considered one of the great works of the Western World.
In this lecture, Dr. James Rietveld intends to paint a portrait of the man and his p hilosophy by using exclusively sources from ancient times, capturing the zeitgeist of this age of turmoil, and the hope is that we can understand how he was able to retain the same composure in the face of a crisis like he did.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"The Chaldean Oracles"
Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Arising in ancient southeastern Mesopotamia, (modern Iraq), the Chaldean Oracles were an attempt to philosophize the wisdom of the Semitic nation of Chaldea, whose mysterious and enthusiastic cults and wisdom-traditions fused Alexandrian Hellenistic religious beliefs and social organization with Persian-Babylonian, Israelite and Egyptian cultures.
Ascribed by the Souda (a Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world) to a father and son, both named Julian, living in the late second century CE, the Chaldean Oracles, were widely acclaimed by Neoplatonist philosophers Porphyry and especially Iamblichus in his formation of the idea of theurgy.
What survived of the mysterious Oracles are fragments dating back to the 2nd century AD consisting of Hellenistic commentary on a single mystery-poem, a syncretic combination of Neoplatonic elements with Persian or Babylonian oracular sources.
What we can glean through these remnants are intended to be revelations from the gods that inform that the world is dualistic, much like Zoroastrianism, with the upper realm of the Intelligibles consisting of spirit and collecting form "the Good," and the lower realm of matter which is the material and evil.
The Chaldean Deity, like the Christian trinity, is understood in three parts, but there the similarities end.
The first component is the eternal and impenetrable Monad, known as the Paternal Intellect or the First Fire.
Emanating from the Paternal Monad arrives the Second Intellect which is dyadic, because it unites the Paternal Monad with the physical world of the Second Intellect’s creation. The Second Intellect thus acts as a bridge between the two worlds, and is often called the Second Fire.
Finally, the third part of the Chaldean deity is the Cosmic Soul. What is very curious is that fact that the Chaldean Oracles identifies the Cosmic Soul as Hekate, making her as the Power that both brings together and keeps apart the First and Second Transcendently Fires.
Sound interesting?
To delve further, join us on Tuesday, May 16 for a baptism in the ways of the productive principle from which intellect proceeds, as transmitted from one of the most ancient wisdom traditions!
Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Neoplatonism"
Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Neoplatonism is the philosophy of Plato (424-347 BCE) as reinterpreted by the philosopher and mystic Plotinus (204- 270 CE), adding to this philosophical system many religious elements that will combine with the Greco-Roman religions of the day, and Christianity soon after.
While all begins with "the One", this Monad emanates the Nous (Thought), which, in turn, produces the World Soul.
Plotinus, believing our souls have fallen into the material world, believes proscribed as form of mysticism that he asserted one could return and merge with the One once again.
Simple, yes?
Well, once his beliefs spread to his followers, everything becomes very complex and magical, with the expanse of the emanations from the One (Monad) filled with various gods and goddesses, as well as demons, both good and evil, fighting one another, with rituals of invoking called theurgy as performed by magician-like followers intended to try to control these various powers, or, at least, persuade them.
At one point, the pagan emperor Julian created a new religion to compete with Christianity based upon Neoplatonic ideas in the fourth century.
Neoplatonism also merged with the theology of the Church, and still today upholds many crucial ideas, especially in Eastern Christianity.
Yet, many scholars had detected at its basis many ideas that appear to have arrived from India as well.
Join us on Tuesday, May 2, 8 p.m. for Dr. Rietveld's fascinating lecture on Neoplatonism.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Ancient Hermeticism"
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Many of the Ancient Egyptian and Greek wisdom traditions were associated with the legendary sage Hermes Trismegistus, evolving into the Hermetic writings by the second and third centuries CE.
Hermes Trismegistus himself combined two deities, the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth, both of them connected to magic and the art of writing.
The earliest Hermetic texts focused upon alchemy, astrology, and invoking spirits, but eventually becoming more philosophical, adopting ideas from Middle Platonism and Neo-Platonism, as well as other philosophies popular during the Greco-Roman era. Theurgy, divine magic based upon agreements with angels, archangels, gods, and spirits also became a central idea said to be inspired by the words of Hermes Trismegistus.
Undergirding Hermeticism was the idea that a primordial True Doctrine resided behind all things, with wisdom leading the way to the discovery of the oneness of all things. Hermeticism revived during the Renaissance, as ascribed by such great thinkers as Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, and Giordano.
Join us for Dr. Rietveld's lecture on Tuesday, May 2, 8 p.m. where we will discover the mysteries and magick of Hermeticism.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Manichaeism"
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Manichaeism was founded by the charismatic, self-proclaimed Apostle of Light, Mani, born in southern Mesopotamia in 216 CE (today’s Iraq) and martyred for his faith sixty-six year later.
His belief may be best described as a dualistic and Gnostic hybrid religion, combining elements from both East and West.
In fact, Mani, who was raised a Jewish-Christian, but suddenly what he described as his twin mystically fell upon him, this epiphany compelling him to create a very ecumenical religion, where deliberately fused Christian, Zoroastrian, and Buddhist elements with his own teaching and having a very central gnostic message.
This dynamic religion became as popular as it was controversial, embraced by such figures as St. Augustine before he converted to Christianity, and soon spread all along the trade routes clear through to China.
In fact, Manichaeism was one of the main religions throughout Central Asia and China for hundreds of years, but now this religion has almost completely disappeared or has it?
On Tuesday April 4 at 8 p.m., James Rietveld will reveal much about this forgotten religion and where some of its remnant may indeed continue to survive!
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"The Cross-Pollination of Ancient India with Greco-Roman Culture"
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
How did the concept of Reincarnation gain popularity in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, and lay the foundation for Western enlightenment?
How was Greek philosophy influential in the development of Buddhism?
Find out when we discuss the "Cross Pollination of Ancient India With Greco-Roman Western Culture" on Tuesday, March 21, 8 p.m. with Dr. James Rietveld.
Following his Persian campaign in 326 BCE, Alexander the Great began to conquer India until his troops refused to cross the Beas River.
Having no choice but to stop his quest to possess the entire world, Alexander returned to Babylon to die in 323, leaving behind an empire including everything west of the Indus River that was to be inherited by many Greek rulers after him. Almost immediately, by 322, another great power known as the Mauryan Empire unified much of the northern Indian Subcontinent east of the Indus, eventually stretching from what is now Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh and Assam in the east.
What is often not discussed is how a vibrant Indo-Greek culture soon emerged throughout the Indian Subcontinent as a result, blending everything from art and architecture to philosophy and coinage styles, with many inscriptions even written in Greek.
We also must recognize that this Greek culture also directly influenced Buddhism too. The Greeks were also in Afghanistan (Bactria) for many centuries, blending their culture there as well.
But the influence went the other way as Indian Philosophers and travelers arrived in the West, spreading their ideas about the Mediterranean, mixing their ideas with Greek philosophy and introducing such ideas as reincarnation to both the Greeks and Romans.
In fact, it was through the trade routes that this trade in ideas and beliefs moved easily between India and the West, a fact that is only now being appreciated by scholars.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"The Orphic Mysteries"
Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Who was the legendary ancient Greco-Roman mythological figure who heroically attempted to retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld? Who was this classical mythic hero who, as harpist and companion, aided Jason against the bewitching Sirens in the epic poem Argonautica? Who was this venerable musician, poet and prophet who died, fatally ripped to shreds by Thracian Maenads, while his severed head continued to sing? Orpheus! Amongst the many legends of Orpheus, he is credited as an auger and seer, practitioner of magical arts and founder of medicine. His descent into and return from Hades, the realm of death, gave many initiates hope that if they followed the Orphic Mysteries they could also survive and return, as had their much revered Persephone. Orphics were even entombed with gold-leaf tablets intended as road maps to salvation to ensure a blissful afterlife. Later traditions opined that Orpheus invented the Mysteries of Dionysus, whose Orphic version recounts Dionysus' twice born saga. By order of Zeus' wife Hera, the infant was dismembered and cannibalized at the hands of the Titans, yet father Zeus recreated him. Philosopher Pythagoras, one of the most noted followers of Orphism, infused Orphic elements into the philosophy of Plato, while his followers helped spread worship, shrines and oracles all over the Mediterranean. Join us on Tuesday, March 7, 8 p.m. to hear the many colorful legends of Orpheus.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Ishtar/Inanna"
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Who was the fickle Mesopotamian goddess of love turned fatal, who demanded entry to the Underworld of Kur with furious, naked rage, unintentionally causing celibacy amongst humans? To the Assyrians and Babylonians (c3500 BCE) she was Ishtar, a petulant and ill-tempered goddess featured in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Her symbols were the eight pointed star or rosette, lionesses, and the constellation Virgo, along with attributes of fertility and plenty. The Sumerians worshipped her as Inanna, meaning "Lady of Heaven," a war diety associated with rain, and the planet Venus, whose rituals involved pansexual Gala priests dedicated to her worship. She played a central role in the myth of "Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta," and the epic poem "Inanna and Enki" where she cunningly stole the blueprints of human civilization from the the Sumerian god of culture using clever rhetoric. Join us at Ipso Facto in the next installment on love goddesses for Valentine's month, on February 21, 8 p.m. for a wild journey of love, war, sex, fertility and power with Ishtar/Inanna with our lecturer Dr. James Rietveld of Cal State Fullerton.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m. CANCELED
"Valentines’ Day: The Fascinating History of the Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient who Inform on this Modern Celebration"
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
What were the ancient traditions which inform on our modern celebration of Valentines Day? Are you curious about the fascinating tales of great gods and goddesses who were patrons of love such as Eros, Venus, Cupid, Freya, Bastet, Turan, Inanna, Pothos, Peitho, Kama and others? Join us on February 7, 2017 at 8 p.m. to sate the desires of your curious mind and heart with this free lecture on the ancient view of love as informed by the gods and goddesses who have skewered hearts from century to century, culture to culture, leading up to our modern celebration of Valentine's Day.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Persephone"
Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
How did Persephone, a beautiful Greek goddess of spring, harvest and fertility, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, become Queen of the Underworld and wife to Hades?
How does her myth explain the cycle of the seasons with Nature's death and rebirth in connection to her grieving mother, Demeter, goddess of the bountiful harvest?
Join us on January 17, 2017 at 8 p.m. with speaker Dr. James Rietveld of Cal State Fullerton to learn more about her connection to pomegranates, the Eleusinian Mysteries, and the quest of Hermes to rescue her from the clutches of Hades in the sunless subterranean land of the dead.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
"Athena"
Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Who was the goddess who bested the immodest Medusa, turning her into a snake-haired monster?
Which same diety also transformed the boastful weaver, Aracne, into a spider, damned to spin endlessly and constantly in vain?
Athena!
The Greek virgin goddess of reason, learning, justice, wisdom, arts and literature, mathematics, strategic warfare and daughter of Zeus, having emerged full grown, clad in armour, from his forehead.
Fierce and brave in battle, but also the patron of handcraft and agriculture, she invented the bridle, trumpet, flute, rake, plow, ship and chariot.
As Zeus' favorite child she was allowed to use his weapons, even his famed thunderbolt and aegis.
After besting Poseidon in a contest, she became the patron goddess of Athens, which hosted the annual festival Panathenaea in honor of their protectress, and worshipped her in the Parthenon temple.
Also associated with the olive tree, her gift to Athens, Athena was often depicted as an owl or bird goddess.
Portrayed as tough, clever and independent, her attributes also included humility, enlightenment, eloquence, power, truth, justice and moral values.
In the Illiad, by the poet Homer, Athena's many adventures depict her as an astute companion of heroes and patron goddess of heroic endeavour, inspiring great courage, and giving valuable aid to defeat the much hated Trojans.
In the tale of Odysseus, Athena accompanied him to the dark world of the dead and brought him home to safety despite storms, shipwrecks, monsters, giants and fearsome Poseidon himself.
Athena also helped Hercules drive away the Stymphalian birds, and aided Perseus in his defeat of Medusa.
To hear Dr. James Rietveld speak about these and other fantastical tales, join us at Ipso Facto on Tuesday, January 3, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"The History of Alchemy"
Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Equal parts science, magic, theology and philosophy, early Alchemists attempted to uncover the secrets of nature through laboratory experimentation, which eventually gave rise to the development of modern chemistry. Developed in ancient Rome, Egypt, China (via Taoist Monks), Greece (Hermeticism), India and the Muslim world, Alchemical texts made their first appearance in Western Europe in 1050 C.E., reaching a Golden Age between the 13th and 17th centuries.
Amongst its' foremost practitioners were Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, Roger Bacon, Jabir ibn Haiyan, Wei Po-Yang, Paracelsus, Isaac Newton, Glauber and others.
While the pursuit of artificial life-creation, life-elixers, and the transmutation of lead into gold are associated with the practice, experiments sometimes yielded unexpected results such as the Chinese invention of gunpowder, the discovery of sodium sulfate and laudanum, and the development of pharmacology.
Join us on Tuesday, December 13, 8 p.m. for a riveting exploration of Alchemy's long and storied history by Dr. James Rietveld.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Ba'al & the Religion of the Ancient Canaanites"
Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Ba'al.
Who was this ancient horned, bearded fertilty god described in the Old Testament's Song of Solomon, demanding child sacrifices in lofty places in times of crisis?
In the pantheon of Canaan (now modern Israel) their creator god was El, with his consort, mother goddess, Athirat, walker of the sea.
El's mistress Asherah, whose followers practiced sympathetic magic via ritualized sex and eventually religious prostitution, gave birth to the fearsome ram-horned god Ba'al.
Ba'al evolved into the dominant Canaanite diety and interestingly, Asherah, became his mistress.
A storm and fertily god, Ba'al came to dominate other gods such as his major adversary Yamm, the primordial chaotic sea god, who became synonymous with Old Testament sea monster, Leviathan.
Associated with Yamm, was Lotan, the seven headed dragon/serpent who was slain by the fearsome Anat, sister (and wife) of Ba'al. A goddess of war with her necklace of human heads and belt of human hands, Anat not only dispensed with gods Mot and Lotan, but in a victory celebration, laid waste to an entire town of warriors and later copulated with her brother Ba'al disguised as a cow.
We mustn't forget Mot, the deathly prince, the god of sterility and the underworld with his cosmically large jaws and throat, a euphemism for death itself, who fiercely battled Ba'al in many legends, taking him to the underworld for a time.
Moloch, described in the Hebrew Bible, was the king god to whom child sacrifices were made.
These bloodthirsty Canaanite legends and beliefs of the early Iron and Bronze ages cross pollinated with Mesopotamian and Egyptian religions, as evidenced by their Cult of the Dead, with their customary grave offerings, and also the Greeks and Romans, with whom they traded their prized purple wool dyed from molluscs exclusive to the Canaanite coast.
Also, there is a clear connection between Vedic/Hindu gods and imagery and Baalism.
One can certainly see the origins of Christianity's Satan in the fierce and sexually potent Ba'al, hearkening back to the Old Testament which demonized the Israelites for giving equal tribute to both Yahweh and Ba'al.
Now with the discovery of the Ras Shamra cuneiform texts we can discern from a firsthand source the meaning behind the death and rebirth cycle of Ba'al and his battles for supremacy against Yamm, as a representation of "the mythological prototype of the short Syrian winter with its gales, rain, hail and tides."
Join us on Tuesday, November 29 at 8 p.m. to hear these and other gloriously bloodthirsty myths and legends of Canaan which cross pollinated with ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian culture, and influenced the religions of the Lavant .
Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society"
Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Without question, the history and beliefs surrounding Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is steeped in mystery and controversy, which is perhaps oddly expected in someone widely regarded as one of the most important figures in reviving Western esotericism of the nineteenth century, combining the Greco-Roman philosophies of Hermiticism and Neoplatonism with that of Eastern philosophies, most notably Hinduism and Buddhism. Coming from a wealthy Russian-German family in Ukraine, the largely self-educated Blavatsky claimed to have traveled much of the world in search of wisdom before ending up in the United States, where she founded the Theosophical Society in 1875, and publishing the famous work Isis Unveiled in 1877, which she viewed as "the synthesis of science, religion and philosophy." Viewed as everything from a guru and spiritual master to a charlatan and dishonest spiritualist, Blavatsky was both beloved and hated by many and, even today, her views are often misunderstood on a number of topics. Those who admired Blavatsky included Lewis Carroll, Robert Duncan, Thomas Edison, T.S. Eliot, E.M Forster, Carl Jung, D.H. Lawrence, Jack London, Henry Miller, Jean Sibelius, and Thornton Wilder. Here at Ipso Facto in Fullerton, we will delve into the history behind this key figure and see if the veil lifts a bit to reveal some insights into her mysterious beliefs.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Hatshepsut & The Other Female Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt Lecture"
Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
"Hatshepsut & The Other Female Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt: An Investigation of Gender Relations in the Land of the Nile," A Salon Lecture with Dr.James Rietveld.
The life and accomplishments of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE) were impressive indeed, one of the greatest builders of Ancient Egypt, who also strengthened the internal infrastructure of the Land of the Nile; encouraged the worship of the goddess Pakhet (a combination of Bast and Sekhmet); and led Egyptian forces as far south as Punt (Somalia). Yet, Hatshepsut was only one of many female Pharaohs, which also included Nitocris, Tausret, Merneith, Ahhotep, Neferneferuaten, Khentkawes, Sobekneferu, Cleopatra I, and, of course, the famous Cleopatra VII. Yet, we must remember, these powerful women were a product of a civilization that recognized women as having almost equal right to that of men, with women able to own their own businesses, transact their own affairs, and, in some cases, hold some of the highest administration position in the land.
On Tuesday November 1st, at 8 p.m. we will investigate the role of women in Ancient Egypt as especially represented by these female pharaohs.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"The Vampire: Myth, Legend, and Lore Throughout History and Across Cultures"
Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
The vampire as a classic and iconic legend has found favor with audiences in every generation. Building on John Polidori's 1819 publication of "The Vampyre," Bram Stoker's 1897 gothic horror novel, "Dracula," treated Victorians to "the most blood-curdling novel of the paralysed century."
From the release of the silent classic Murnau film, Nosferatu (1922) and 1931's Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, Hollywood has continually reinterpreted the vampire in literature and film for new generations, as in Anne Rice's "The Vampire Chronicals," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Blade," "Twilight" and many more.
But what are the sources for the vampire myths and legends expressed in books, movies, and our nightmares?
How did the various aspects of vampiric lore such as garlic, rice counting, crosses, sunlight, and wooden stakes come about?
What are the links between vampires and real life contagions and diseases such as rabies, and the mysterious wasting disease, Porphyria?
Why does the vampire appeal to so many cultures from the modern Latin American Chupacabra to Slavic/Eastern Europe and Chinese Traditions, and reaching back as far as the ancient Mesopotamians, Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews?
How does one identify and protect oneself from a vampire?
Delve into the lore and legend of the Vampire with us as we traverse the murky world of coffin dust and lusty neck bites when you join us at Ipso Facto on October 18, at 8 p.m.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Ancient Christian Magick: The Integration of Belief and Ritual Practice during the Roman Empire"
Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Often when we think about magic or any activities applying ritual practice, utterances, or material objects to effect nature in some way we do not think about such a system as within Christianity. Yet, ancient Christian magical papyri have been discovered throughout the Mediterranean, especially in Egypt, revealing that many Christians did indeed combine their beliefs with a magical understanding of the world. The New Testament, including the episode related to Simon Magus, as well as early Christian writings during the first centuries reveal that many Christians integrated their religious faith with magical practices, not perceiving any contradictions. In fact, many Christians and even Jews and Pagans believed Jesus was a magician himself according to primary sources from the time. To be sure, many early Christians were not able to discern the fundamental difference between what constitutes as "magic" and a "miracle" or a prayer versus an invocation. As with many other beliefs at the time of the Roman Empire, Christianity amalgamated with other ancient systems of belief and practice. At Ipso Facto in Fullerton, we will investigate this controversial topic, not through a theologian's lense, emphasizing what is true or not true in a doctrinal sense, but rather to discover what people actually believed as revealed through the textual and archaeological evidence, via a historical and scholarly examination of religion and archaeology.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"The Mystery of Seafaring Pirates, The Sea Peoples, Who Felled Three Bronze Age Civilzations: The Egyptian New Kingdom, The Hittites and the Mycenaeans"
Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
THE MYSTERY OF SEAFARING PIRATES, THE SEA PEOPLES, WHO FELLED THREE BRONZE AGE CIVILIZATIONS: The EGYPTIAN New Kingdom, The HITTITE Kingdom, and the MYCENAEANS. Around 1200 BCE, three MAJOR CIVILIZATIONS COLLAPSED all at the same time:the New Kingdom of ancient EGYPT, the kingdom of the HITTITES of central Anatolia, and the MYCENAEANS of mainland Greece. When they fell, the entire Eastern Mediterranean succumbed to a dark age, where once vast cities became tiny villages or wiped out altogether. In some regions, all knowledge of writing was forgotten. Constant war and violence became a way of life again, with the fall of the Bronze Age cultures. In some cases, this Dark Age lasted three centuries. So what happened? What could possibly cause three of the most powerful civilization of ancient times to fall at once? The answer: They all fell to those called in ancient documents the SEA PEOPLE, a mysterious and forgotten group of people. Known as great warriors, they managed to singlehandedly change the entire known world. Join us at Ipso Facto where we will investigate the exact identity of the Sea People, how they were able to achieve what appeared to be impossible, and finally look into their legacy, which, believe it or not, we still, live with to this day! This lecture will examine the most recent archaeological evidence concerning the Sea People, much of which is not yet common knowledge!
Tuesday, September 6, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"RUMI: 13th Century Persian Sufi Mystic, Poet & Truth Seeker"
Tuesday, September 6, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Our fascinating talk on MUSLIM MYSTIC RUMI, will provide a historical perspective on the famed mystic and poet of the 13th century, who is globally recognized as the pinnacle of the Persian classical poetry movement, alongside Hafez and Omar Khayyam. Who was Rumi and what forces shaped the man who continues to influence us today? How did he become America's most read poet, while also the national poet of Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan? Rumi's life story is full of intrigue and high drama mixed with intense creativity. A charming, wealthy nobleman, a genius theologian and brilliant, sober scholar, Rumi (1207- 1273) was in his late thirties when he had a chance meeting with wandering, wild Sufi holy man, Shams, who became his spiritual mentor. Rumi was thenceforth transformed from a bookish, disciplined, orthodox religious scholar to an impassioned seeker of truth and love filled with yearning and desire. Through his inspirational words, Rumi believed that music, poetry, dance, (such as the famous Whirling Dervishes) and other forms of mystical expression were actually doorways ready to be opened to reveal the threshold of God. The key ingredient for this opening was Love. For Rumi, "The lover’s cause is separate from all other causes. Love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries." Through these loving expressions, bringing in harmony the movements of the mind and body in focus of God, one could journey to the Perfect One, the Creator of the Cosmos. For Rumi the life of mystics is a "gathering of lovers, where there is no high or low, smart or ignorant, no proper schooling required." Join us on this soulful journey with a writer who is not bound by cultural limitations; touching each of us with his independent soul yearning to be truly free.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"SOPHIA: The Religious and Philosophical History of Divine Wisdom in Ancient Greece, Judaism, Early Christianity, Gnosticism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Paganism"
Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
SOPHIA: THE RELIGIOUS & PHILOSOPHICAL HISTORY OF DIVINE WISDOM IN ANCIENT GREECE, JUDAISM, EARLY CHRISTIANITY, GNOSTICISM, EASTERN ORTHODOXY, AND PAGANISM Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, but it is more than a word, it is both a religious and a philosophical idea that spans the centuries, often personalized as a goddess, angel, or a spirit. Sophia is always a she, and so understood as feminine both in language and concept, as early descriptions and much ancient artwork make all too clear. Philosophically, the Ancient Greeks revered her attributes, especially Socrates and Plato, and she was central to Hellenistic Philosophy. From here, she emerged as the equivalent of the Jewish idea and spirit Chokmah during the Hellenistic Age, becoming central to much of mystical Ancient Judaism, where she then entered into Early Christianity, viewed as the Holy Spirit according to the Early Church Fathers as derived from the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Luke along with other places trough the Old and New Testaments (Proverbs 9:1). Sophia was also pivotal in both Jewish and Christian Gnosticism. Sophia continued to be central to Pagan thought and philosophy, especially Platonism throughout the era of the Roman Empire. Of course, Eastern Orthodoxy, even today, views Sophia as central to their theology. Sophia also continues to thrive as the basis of much Neopagan, New Age, and Goddess spirituality, especially as a result of introductions by Rudolf Steiner and Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy. Next Thursday, at Common Ground (7:30) I will discuss the history of Sophia over the centuries, seeing how she evolves and appearing to have a life all her own.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"MEDIEVAL FEMALE MYSTICS: Experiences of Ecstatic Union with God, Validation of Women’s Authority & The Mystical Theology of Love"
Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
MEDIEVAL FEMALE MYSTICS: EXPERIENCES OF ECSTATIC UNION WITH GOD, VALIDATION OF WOMEN’S AUTHORITY, & THE MYSTICAL THEOLOGY OF LOVE
We often hear about prominent male mystics in the Medieval Church, such as St. Francis of Assisi and Bernard of Clairvaux, but the HIGH MIDDLE AGES was the era of so many FEMALE MYSTICS who either sought a deeper role within the Church or to reaffirm their own unique relationship with God that transcended Patriarchal culture. While not permitted to teach because of the traditional ecclesiastical hierarchy, through their mystical relationship with God, women discovered new avenues of AUTHORITY TO INSTRUCT AND INSPIRE OTHERS that they believed did not need the sanction of the Church, for, after all, their experiences were arriving directly from God. And so for a period of time, the Medieval Church took note and validated this mode of expression as authoritative, at least for a little while. Mystics like Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) and Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-138)advised Popes who seriously considered their words with as much gravitas as any man. Many female mystics viewed themselves as mystically married to God, using imagery as beautiful as it is passionate, and even erotic at times, Gertrude of Helfta (1256-1302) and Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) good examples of the latter. A few of female mystics were associated with all female communities known as BEGUINES, who were under their own Rule as governed by a Grand Mistress, such as Beatrice of Nazareth (c. 1200-1268) and Hadewijch of Antwerp (c. 1200’s). Unfortunately, male authority was eventually reasserted and, as a result, many of female mystics found themselves persecuted by the INQUISITION, often accused of witchcraft. Marguerite Porete (1248/1250-1310), for example, was burned at the stake.Join us in this exciting examination of these female mystics in their own words!
Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"The Myriad Faces of Lilith: Goddess, Elemental Spirit, Angel, Demon, Serpent, Monster, Succubus, & First Wife of Adam"
Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
View a Youtube video of this talk here.
Synopsis:
The Myriad Faces of Lilith: Goddess, Elemental Spirit, Angel, Demon, Serpent, Monster, Succubus, & First Wife of Adam One of the most controversial religious figures of both Antiquity and today is that of Lilith, understood as so many different identities dependent upon the culture and era, as she frequently evolves from one kind of being to another. For the Sumerians and Babylonians, Lilith was the "Daughter of Heaven" closely associated with the Goddess Inanna, while for the Assyrians and early Israelites, she was primarily a water elemental spirit. By the eighth to tenth centuries CE, Lilith evolved into Adam’s first wife, arising from the very same dust as Adam when she was created in contrast to being fashioned from Adam’s rib as was the case of Eve. Yet, Lilith will abandon Adam for the Archangel Samael. Lilith will also be depicted in Ancient and Medieval Jewish literature as everything from a monster and serpent to a succubus, draining away the life-force of unsuspected men as they sleep. Together we will explore the complexity of Lilith, unraveling some of her mysteries, which often open up new questions that often defy explanation.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"AKHENATEN, NEFERTITI, & TUTANKHAMEN: THE CONFLICT OF MONOTHEISM & POLYTHEISM IN ANCIENT EGYPT "
Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Youtube Video of this lecture courtesy of Pamela Linares.
Synopsis:
AKHENATEN, NEFERTITI, & TUTANKHAMEN: THE CONFLICT OF MONOTHEISM & POLYTHEISM IN ANCIENT EGYPT
Ancient Egypt was known for its plurality of gods, from Ra and Horus to Isis and Osiris. But then the Pharaoh Akhenaten (1367-1350 BCE) changed something that would seem unthinkable to a society as monolithically entrenched in tradition as Ancient Egypt was, he forced his people to move from a polytheistic to a monotheistic system of belief, saying there was only one true universal God and that was Aton, represented by the disc of the sun. Akhenaten did not start out as Pharaoh denying the Egyptians gods, but ascended to the throne like most of the other rulers of Egypt, giving the deities of the land of the Nile their proper due. Eventually, however, he and his wife Nefertiti completely changed Egyptian religion, right down to the details of worship itself. But what were some of the causes for this change? Why did Akhenaten decide that monotheism was best for Egypt? Then, after his and Nefertiti’s death, his son, Tutankhamen restored the traditional polytheistic system. Why did he reverse his father’s policy? On Tuesday, July 12 at Ipso Facto (8:00 p.m.) in Fullerton, CA I will explore just this question, entering into the conflict between polytheism and monotheism in Ancient Egypt!
Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"THE ETRUSCANS: An Investigation of their Mysterious Origins, Religion and Culture"
Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Video of this Lecture on You Tubecourtesy of Pamela Linares.
Synopsis:
The Etruscans dominated the Italian Peninsula from 900 to 300 BCE, when they were effectively conquered by the Romans, but, in so doing, the Romans, being the consistent utilitarian society that they were, absorbed much of their religion, culture, and technology on the latter, for example, the use of the arch, quick-drying cement, and raised aqueducts. But, much of the identity of who the Etruscans were continues to be shrouded in mystery, with their culture and religion a strange mixture of elements arising from Crete, Asia Minor, Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Greece. Most of their language is still not deciphered, but, while written in Greek script, we do know it is not Indo-European, and so arising from people before the patristic Indo-Europeans migrated into Europe and West Asia. The Etruscan religion was highly animistic, with their rituals of reading signs in the sky and through the entrails of animals preserved by the Romans. Unlike the Romans, women appeared to share in the very same power positions as men, participating in a culture that by all intents and purposes was egalitarian. Greeks and Romans claimed Etruscan society was devoted to luxury, debauchery, and sexual orgies. On Tuesday, June 28 at Ipso Facto in Fullerton I will fully explore this ancient culture, explaining their origins, detail out their specific religious beliefs (right down to specific rituals and their gods and goddesses), and even discuss evidence we have concerning the role of Etruscan women. As always, I will refer to primary source information and the very latest archaeological evidence.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"THE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT: An Archaelogical Investigation of Historical Development and Religious Significance"
Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis: THE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF THEIR HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT & RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE
Much mystery and sensationalism surrounds the PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT:about how old they are, who built them, and their purpose. For instance, the Pyramids of Giza were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, with the Great Pyramid the tallest structure in the world until the Lincoln Cathedral was completed in 1311 CE, rising 481 feet into the sky. Of course, with any mystery, many are anxious to fill in that void, with various people advocating everything from these structures being built by Ancient Aliens (or with their advise) to being used for storing grain. On Tuesday, June 14th at Ipso Facto, Fullerton, I will explain the exact history concerning the development of these magnificent structures, their ages, their builders, and their meaning. As a trained historian, archaeologists, and scholar of religion, I will make sure you will leave this talk with enough information to satisfy your inquiries, and, hopefully, help create new questions to take their place!!!
Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"RELIGION &CONFLICT IN EARLY MODERN ENGLAND:REFORMATION, PURITANS, WITCHES, TUDORS STUARTS"
Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Watch Youtube video of this lecturecourtesy of Pamela Linares.
Synopsis: RELIGION & CONFLICT IN EARLY MODERN ENGLAND: REFORMATION, PURITANS, WITCHES, AND THE TUDOR & STUART MONARCHS
England during this pivotal era from 1485-1707 through the Tudor and Stewart monarchies saw conflict between medieval superstitions and scientific empiricism, where the Enlightenment often fought against Christianity. It was an age of Henry VIII establishing the Church of England and Elizabeth I beginning a global British empire; of a Reformation revolution spread by the printing press; of John Dee and others creating magical systems based upon ancient Neoplatonism and Hermiticism; and for those presumed to be witches to be hunted down. As the old world passed away, thinkers such as Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), and John Locke (1632-1704) sought to progress the world further. Join us for this lecture where we will enter into this turbulent age, discovering together the very roots of the modern world!
Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Playing with Plato: Philosophy, Epistemology, Psychology, Mysticism, Ethics & Atlantis"
Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Click to watch the Youtube video of this lecture.courtesy of Pamela Linares.

Synopsis:
We've all likely studied the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of Western philosophy, the most reliable ancient source on Socrates, and author of one of the most controversial, tantalizing stories ever written about Atlantis. For this lecture we journey into Plato's world of metaphysical, otherworldly matters of myth, mysticism, esotericism with a look into his personal life with his own stories. Plato and his school of thought, known as "Platonism," helped create some of the most basic foundational ideas pre-eminent within many philosophies and religions, both ancient and modern. Plato's famous work, the Republic, blends ethics, political philosophy, moral psychology, and epistemology and his Theory of Forms espouses that the world known through our senses is only an imitation of the pure, eternal, and unchanging world of the Forms. His understanding of how the universe operates still influences many modern thinkers, educated Christians, progressive Muslims, Jewish Cabbalists, philosophical neo-pagans, and Gnostics today. Plato also developed very complex ideas concerning the afterlife, reincarnation, and free will. Most philosophy students have heard about his Allegory of the Cave, but Plato also examined science and religion through a philosophical perspective, often seeing them as two sides of the same coin, and so creating the background influencing many mystical movements throughout the Western World. There is no reading of parts of the New Testament, the Early Church Fathers, Augustine, Nicholas Copernicus, or even Rumi, the famous Muslim Sufi mystic without seeing the hand of Plato’s great influence somewhere in the mix. Plato was also notably the founder of the first institution of higher learning in the Western world known as Academy in Athens. Yet there are still more, bits and pieces most do not know about this prolific ancient philosopher. Join us for an investigation of Plato and his legacy: an illumination of some often-neglected corners and curious threads, exploring Atlantis and the most arcane of hidden mysteries on Tuesday May 10 at 8 p.m. at Ipso Facto in Fullerton, CA!
Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"APHRODITE: GODDESS OF LOVE:AN ACADEMIC INVESTIGATION OF HER ORIGINS, WORSHIP, AND MYTHOLOGY"
Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
FB event Flyer
Watch video footage of this lecture on Youtube courtesy of Pamela Linares.
Synopsis:
APHRODITE: GODDESS OF LOVE: AN ACADEMIC INVESTIGATION OF HER ORIGINS, WORSHIP, AND MYTHOLOGY. This femme fatale, known as VENUS to the Romans, from Greece's Mount Olympus was considered irresistible in her beauty and ability to make all those she deemed fall utterly and completely in love. But who was this goddess from a strictly academic and historical point of view? What were her origins? How was she worshipped? How did she change in the perception of those of knew her over a period of time? We will not only discuss Aphrodite in myth and literature, but also from an archaeological standpoint investigating her presence and influence throughout the ancient Mediterranean, including her son Eros, also known as Cupid. Beginning on the island of Cyprus, we will explore her association as fertility goddess of the Ancient Near East, and move on from there. This will be both a fun and informative talk that will also open up discussions of how those in the ancient world viewed love in general!
Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"The Goddess Cybele"
Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Watch video footage of this lecture on Youtube courtesy of Pamela Linares.
Synopsis:
THE CULT OF CYBELE, THE GREAT MOTHER GODDESS OF ANATOLIA: ORIGINS, MYTHOLOGY, PRACTICES, CONTROVERSY, & LEGACY The Cult of Cybele was dedicated to the worship of the Great Mother (Magna Mater) of Anatolia (current day Turkey), with origins going back to Catalhoyuk in the sixth millennium BCE. The Cult of Cybele came from Pessinus in Phrygia, the heartland of ecstatic religions of all kinds (later inclusive of the Christian ‘heresy’ known as Montanism and the Whirling Dervishes of Rumi). By the Greek and Roman era, the Cult of Cybele was still very hierarchical, exclusive, and exotic, and included a mythology that often shocked classical sensibilities and very strange rituals to accompany them. For example, males who wished to become part of her priesthood castrated themselves, then lived as females, and often performed violent acts of self-flagellation during the major holidays. While the Cult of Cybele arrived in Rome as early as 204 BCE, mass appeal for this belief system was slow and only expanded significantly in the first century CE. Eventually, however, the Cult of Cybele as the Magna Meter accommodated to synch ronistic and universalistic pressures, as well as to create an ingenious rite of individual initiation called the taurobolium, which was the baptism by the blood of a bull. OnTuesday, April 12 at Ipso Facto at 8:00 p.m. in Fullerton we will investigate one of the most controversial belief systems of antiquity and peak behind the veil into practices going back to the Neolithic Age.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Divine Feminine Concepts in Judaism & Early Christianity"
Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Watch video footage of this lecture on Youtube courtesy of Pamela Linares.
Synopsis:
Chokmah (Sophia), Ruach, Shekinah, the Holy Spirit, Mother Mary, Lilith. What do these have in common? These female dieties of early Christianity and Judaism are not the goddesses of Classical, Celtic or Hindu mythology that our Western conditioning brings to mind in relation to feminine concepts of God. Such associations with paganism and Eastern religions create a curious duality between masculine and feminine forms translating to concepts of Patriarchy and Matriarchy, Linear and Circular, Judeo-Christianity and Islam versus other beliefs, often falling under the label of the "Old Religion" or paganism. Today, hotly debated ideas and beliefs concerning feminine aspects within the Divine in Ancient Judaism and Christianity, would have barely raised an eyebrow amongst ancient Jews & Christians, even though they were living in an even more Patriarchal world than this one. Modern Judeo-Christian ideals, firmly wedged in popular culture, are still holistically Patriarchical with their explicitly big male deity whose big male name evokes, by inference, oversized male attributes to match! This type of imagery, as an iconic anchor, has a way of cementing ideals of male gender superiority upon popular consciousness and Western conventions, effecting us ethically and socially since the Ultimate often becomes the paradigm for what is mimicked in the world below, "so in Heaven so on Earth" "As above so below." But this is NOT true of early Christianity and from the perspective of a historian you will hear exactly why from evidence this was not the case in Antiquity. In fact the vocabulary of ancient Judaism and Christianity does indeed carry with it perspectives pregnant with the Feminine Divine, a narrative which presents both male and female. The irony is chilling and worthy of investigation! Be there on Tuesday, March 29 at 8 p.m. to find answers--what really happened may shock you!
Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Reincarnation: Greco-Roman, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian Perspectives"
Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Thanks to Pamela Linares we have a video series of this entire lecture on YouTube. So enjoy, learn and join us next time!
Reincarnation lecture Part 1 on YouTube:
Reincarnation lecture Part 2 on YouTube
Reincarnation lecture Part 3 on YouTube
Reincarnation lecture Part 4 on YouTube
Reincarnation lecture Part 5 on YouTube
Reincarnation lecture Part 6 on YouTube
Synopsis:
Reincarnation When we hear the word reincarnation, we often think about Eastern Religions, in particular Hinduism and Buddhism among others, but rarely do we think about the Greeks and Romans or some Jews and early Christians believing this particular mortal life is not all that there is, but that the soul continues and enters into further lifetimes within a literal physical body. Tuesday, March 15 at 8:00 p.m. at Ipso Facto in Fullerton, we will investigate beliefs in reincarnation within the contexts of both the East and the West. We will decipher the very first evidence for such beliefs, and offer explanations for why they developed (or were realized depending on your perspective). You will journey all over the world, including the Americas, comparing different perspectives on reincarnation. You will realize there’s more diversity to beliefs regarding living multiple lifetimes then is commonly taught! Remember, this lecture will be from an academic historical point-of-view and not a faith-based perspective, so whatever your beliefs on this topic, you are most certainly welcome. I promise you that this talk will be both informative and entertaining!:
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Archaeology: Ancient Sites, Excavation, Examination, Dating Systems, Humanity's Past, Present & Future"
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Intro to Archaeology:
For this lecture at Ipso Facto, we plan to chip away at the amazing science known as Archaeology, which uncovers the mysteries of the past in the present so we may have a better grasp of the story of humanity in the future. When one hears the word archaeologist, two possible mental images come to view: the one is heroic, like Indiana Jones, and the other is the sun-baked aged professor toiling over a piece of dirt with bits of pottery all over the place. Real archaeologists fall somewhere in the middle, although one encounters the latter nerdy stereotype from time to time. For those who really want to know what archaeology is all about and find this occupation interesting, this lecture is for you. We will discuss all about exactly how archaeologists find an ancient site, excavate a dig, examine artifacts and date them. This presentation is for the general public and will be fun, humorous, and interesting. We look forward to you joining us!
Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Mary Magdelene: Her History, Mythology, Legacy and Leadership in the Early Church"
Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
MARY MAGDALENE: HER HISTORY, MYTHOLOGY, LEGACY, AND LEADERSHIP IN THE EARLY CHURCH
For this lecture we will be exploring the enigmatic figure of Mary Magdalene, and her importance amidst the hierarchical politics of early Christianity. How did the power struggle in the early Church between egalitarian female/ male leadership and the Roman male dominated model inform on the view of Mary Magdalene and women's leadership roles in religion that we have inherited today? Was Mary Magdalene merely one of the many followers of Jesus or was she indeed different from the rest? Was she the Apostle of the Apostles, the repentant prostitute, the closest companion of Jesus, or even his wife? What did the early Christians believe? How did the discovery of the gnostic Gospel of Mary redefine Mary Magdelene as a mystic and role model and present a radical interpretation of Jesus' teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge? Have the other gospels purposely diminished her role (and the legitimacy of female leadership) in order to elevate Simon Peter's apostolic authority? Come to Ipso Facto, Tuesday February 16th at 8:00 to find out!
Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY: GNOSTIC SECRETS REVEALED"
Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY: GNOSTIC SECRETS REVEALED
Thanks to the Da Vinci Code films you may have heard of Gnosticism and one of the greatest discoveries of ancient documents in recent history, the long hidden, non-canonical codices known as the Nag Hammadi library. The study of Gnosticism is important for its' influence on the general philosophy of the era of the second century CE and early Christianity. Gnostics believed that they had secret knowledge of God and humanity, of which the rest of the general population was unaware. They practiced tolerance of other faiths, and were non discriminatory against women, unlike the early Christian Church. While the movement and its literature were almost wiped out before the end of the 5th century CE by heresy hunters and the Roman Army, its' beliefs are currently experiencing a rebirth throughout the world. In 1945, when an Egyptian camel driver unearthed a clay jar containing Gnostic material, no one could have imagined the knowledge that would emerge, along with intense controversy that would rock Christianity to its' core. Amongst the controversial books discovered in the collection were the Gospels of Thomas and Mary Magdelene, along with the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of Philip, the Sophia of Jesus Christ and the Secret Book of John. During my years in the PHD program at Claremont Graduate University, I became well acquainted with this very important collection of ancient texts and the scholars who translated them. For here at last is another history, an intentionally suppressed history, come to light. On Monday, February 1, 8 p.m. at Ipso Facto I will reveal the inside story of how these texts were discovered, preserved, and what they really mean for the history of ancient religions. At Ipso Facto on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, I will reveal the inside story of how these texts were discovered, preserved, and what they really mean for the history of ancient religions.
Monday, January 18, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"The Controversy of Constantine the Great and Council of Nicaea"
Monday, January 18, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Constantine the Great: There’s hardly a historical figure that brings about both so much controversy and so much confusion. An emperor with an impressive military and political career, Constantine strengthened, expanded and unified Rome, while making administrative, financial, social, and military reforms. Emperors were viewed as head of the pagan priesthood, yet Constantine expressed a tolerance for Christianity that would prove unpopular. Constantine's summoning of the famed Council of Nicaea resulted in the making of the Julian Calendar and the Bible, and new pronouncements regarding persecution, Arianism, etc Still, whenever a controversy erupts regarding the Roman Empire in relation to the Christian Church, you will find the name of this emperor filling the gap. Is this a fair assessment? What did Constantine actually do historically. What did he accomplish? Further still, was Constantine "pagan" or "Christian" during most of his rule? If not, what did he believe and how did he make political use of these associations? On Monday, January 18th, at 8 p.m at Ipso Facto we will provide exact answers to these questions and perhaps uncover many more questions!!!
Monday, January 4, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
"Medieval Spain: Muslims, Christians and Jews"
Monday, January 4, 2016, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
When we set out on our quest to discover the history of Medieval Spain, we find ourselves encountering many conflicting geographical, religious, political, and ideological forces: North versus South; Europe versus North Africa; Catholic Christianity versus Arian Christianity and then, in turn, Catholic Christianity versus Judaism and then Islam; a mentality of accommodation and compromise versus a mentality of rejection and intolerance; polices of acceptance versus polices expulsion; religious rhetoric versus pragmatic plain-speech; and, of course, cultural identity versus cultural ambivalence. Yet one single thread moves through them all despite the contradictions, the Spaniards ultimately sought to unite the Iberian Peninsula as one! This unity was sometimes pursued through attempting to assert the domination of one ideology over the other. Other times, this unity was sought through consensus, with those advocating this view believing there could be unity in diversity. What makes the history of Medieval Spain so interesting is that just when it appears one force will be triumphant over all others, suddenly, out of nowhere, another force or event occurs (usually violent) completely reversing the situation. Unlike the ebb and flow types of transformations characteristic of many lands at some point, it is the marked style of Spain to be drastic, severe, moody and brash. Historically and religiously speaking, Spain had much at stake globally, for the mentality created in this very atmosphere during the Medieval period would eventually influence first the violent epic of the Crusades, and then the rest of the world as a result of Spanish and Portuguese colonization in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Even before this period, because Spain was a bridge between Christian and Islamic domains, whatever occurred here in the way of ideology and scholarship, vastly impacted both the history of Europe and the history of the Islamic world. Join us for a fascinating journey into a formative cultural and religious period in Medieval Spain's history.
Monday, December 21, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Krampus: A Story Of Christian-Pagan Amalgamation & Popular Mythology"
FB event Flyer
Synopsis:
ST. NICHOLAS-SANTA CLAUS-KRAMPUS: A STORY OF CHRISTIAN-PAGAN AMALGAMATION & POPULAR MYTHOLOGY On Monday, December 21 at Ipso Facto in Fullerton we will discuss the origins of the popular Christmas icon known by so many names. For some he is Santa Claus, for others he is Father Christmas or Sinterklaas, but whatever the name, his origins go back to a certain ancient Greek Saint called Saint Nicholas, who lived in what is now Turkey in the fourth century CE. Yet, the story of Saint Nicholas began to spreads across Europe and as it did so, his story would change, taking on the various characteristics of other revered or even feared figures along with the traditions accompanying them these included the Wild Man and the god Wodin/Odin! Together we will parse out this elaborate amalgamation of stories accumulating around this man, seeing what came from where, whether Christian or pagan, along with investigating his various companions, whether it be elves, reindeer, Krampus, or Zwarte Piet!!! This talk will be very scary at times, but also very merry!!!
Monday, December 7, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"RELIGION & THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION: CONFLICT IN WORLDVIEWS, THE MANDATE OF EMPIRICISM, AND THE RATIONAL UNIVERSE OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT"
Monday, December 7, 2015, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
The Renaissance, with its emphasis on the freedom of inquiry influenced not just the arts but the sciences as well. If I were to tell you that the Earth was the center of the universe and that all the planets and even the Sun orbited it you’d think I’m crazy, yet if I proclaimed the very same view five hundred years earlier, I would be considered quite rational indeed, at least in Western Europe. Science and Religion do not often go together they should really, for both seek answers to questions regarding the Nature of Reality; one through belief (and sometimes a validated by mystical experience) and the other through the empirical method through observation. Yet, these two worlds began to collide in a very dramatic way between the sixteenth and eighteenth century when a series of scientists began to challenge the status quo religious and cultural beliefs. This era if often called the “Scientific Revolution which eventually evolves into the Enlightenment. The titans of this age include Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Rene Descartes (1596-1650), Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), and John Locke (1632-1704). Soon the scientific world became dominated by Newtonian metaphysics and Lockean epistemology as the essential foundation to understand the universe around them. And what of religion how did Catholics and Protestants react to these new scientific advances in Western Europe? The picture is a combination of rejection, acceptance, and compromise. Also a new belief system arose at this time known as Deism, asserting that since Nature was rational, God who created Nature must also be rational. Hence, the Deity could only be reached through reason as opposed to what was considered superstition. Deism influenced many of the Founding Fathers of the United States including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe, John Adams, and George Washington. On Monday, December 7 at 8 p.m. at Ipso Facto we will investigate this highly charged era when Religion and Science came into conflict the clash of ideals resulting in the Modern World as we known it today, where, it must be said, the clash continues.
Monday, November 23, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Ancient Oracles: Sites of Prophecy, Divination & Portals of the Underworld: Greece, Rome, Asia Minor, Eurasia, Norse, Celtic"
Monday, November 23, 2015, 8 p.m. Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
ANCIENT ORACLES: SITES OF PROPHECY, DIVINATION, & PORTALS OF THE UNDERWORLD Ever since ancient times, humanity has sought to know the future, to decipher the events to come, in order to somehow make life more manageable, more secure, or to perchance control others with the threat of what was to come. Many believed it was possible to decipher knowledge of the future from signs arriving from the natural world around them, believed as infused with supernatural energies, for example from reading the patterns of the stars above, in astrology; discerning the condition of the entrails of animals; observing the flight of birds; and, especially, the perceived direct human contact in a mystical way with the spirits and gods of the heavens and underworld, whether it be the biblical prophets or the Greek and Roman Pythia and Sibyl. In connection to these prophecies, places of divination were designated as especially associated with these events, oracle sites that were often quite extensive in layout and elaborate in ritual, from the Oracle of Delphi in Greece and the Oracle of Dodona in Epirus to the oracles of Didyma and Claros in Asia Minor. In many cases, the participant wishing to learn the future was led down deep tunnels into what they were told was the underworld to hear from the dead themselves about their fate or the fate of others, as in the case of the Oracle of the Dead at Baia in Italy and in the recently excavated Oracle of Hierapolis in Asia Minor. Beyond the Greek and Roman world, oracles were important to everyone from the ancient Celts and Norse, to cultures throughout Eurasia and into the Americas, inclusive of India, Tibet, and China. Next Monday, November 23rd at Ipso Facto, let me lead you down deep mysterious tunnels and before the Phythian prophets, as we explore these ancient oracle sites along with ancient understandings of their significance. Because I have visited many of these sites myself, I will bring my own observations to this lecture, especially through the investigation of the archaeological discoveries made at these mystical convergence points.
Monday, November 9, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Ancestor Veneration: Beliefs & Ritual Observances: From Offerings to Hungry Ghosts & Dia de los Muertos to the Practices of Rome, The Natufians, China, Japan, Thailand, Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, The Americas"
Monday, November 9, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
ANCESTOR VENERATION: BELIEFS & RITUAL OBSERVANCES REGARDING FAMILIAL SPIRITS ACROSS THE GLOBE FROM ANCIENT TIMES TO TODAY
Ever since the dawn of history, humanity has wondered where we go after death, but, for many the belief was those who died were obviously the first to know, and that those of the dead who happened to be one’s own family members would in some way retain aspects of the same relationships, the same kinship values, and the same loyalties, with those of the same blood as they did in life. Because of this conviction, these ancestors were believed to stand in positions to act as intercessors between the world of the living and the world of the dead, able to hear special requests and possible even answer them from their now heightened position on the other side. But they also had to be honored for who they were, and, in some cases, kept alive and strong in this realm of the dead with all kinds of offerings. The concern was also that forgotten ancestors who received no offerings may became angry and wrack havoc in one’s life and the life of the community that they may become Hungry Ghosts!!! The veneration of one’ s ancestors then is one of the most ancient forms of religious belief and is still alive and well today. Join us Monday, November 9 (8:00) at Ipso Facto as we explore ANCESTOR VENERATION in all its myriad of forms, from the skull cult of the Natufians, the Roman Cult of the Paterfamilias, and the family possession cult of the ancient Chinese, to the reburial cult of Madagascar, the ecstatic ancestor dance-cult of Northern Thailand, and the Day of the Dead celebrations of Mexico and the Philippines. For this talk, we will journey across Eurasia, into Africa, and across to the Americas as we discover that ancient and even current ancestor veneration is more similar around the globe in many ways than different!
Monday, October 26, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"The Origins of Halloween"
Monday, October 26, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN: A CELTIC, ROMAN, & CHRISTIAN CELEBRATION
With Halloween well on its way here, I thought it appropriate to discuss some of the controversial origins for this holiday. Any cursory surf on the internet or even in depth research in some dusty archive (like the one in my own home!) will reveal that hardly any one source agrees completely about anything beyond the basics, even the origins of Trick or Treat and carved pumpkins is a source of fierce debate. On Monday, October 26 (8:00) at Ipso Facto I will discuss the multiple legends and stories related to Halloween and tell you what history has to say about this holiday, everything from the Celtic celebration of Samhain to aspects of various Greek and Roman holidays dedicated to Pomona and the Roman dead (Feralia) from other times of year, and, of course, All Saint’s Day. We will talk about where "Trick or Treat" came from, bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, the belief of spirits haunting about, and other traditions. But, like always, the approach will be historical, offering a deeper factual understanding to a very unusual day of celebrations.
Monday, October 12, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Hildegard Von Bingen"
Monday, October 12, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Hildegard of Bingen, (1098 to 1179) was a celebrated Benedictine abbess, writer, mystic, philosopher, musical composer, and visionary. As a writer, Hildegard wrote about everything from theology and poetry, to works on medicine and botany. She also helped produce elaborate illustrations depicting her mystical beliefs that still stir us today. Beginning at the age of three, Hildegard had these visions that dominated all her senses, whether sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch. She felt God in nature and revered it. Eventually, through the power of her gifts, Hildegard became one of the most influential of individuals in twelfth century Western Europe, corresponding with abbots and abbesses, emperors and popes. In theology, Hildegard brought the sacred feminine aspect back into discussions of the nature of God. On Monday, October 12, at 8:00 p.m. at Ipso Facto, we will explore the life of this powerful medieval woman canonized in 2012, a woman, while revered by so many in the twelfth century would have been burned as a witch in the fourteenth century!
Monday, September 28, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"THE RENAISSANCE: ANCIENT REVIVALS, HUMANISM, RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS & RISE OF CEREMONIAL MAGICAL TRADITION"
Monday, September 28, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
The word Renaissance, from rinascere, translates as to be reborn, but as to what exactly is being reborn, the designation embraces all of what the Italians (and later others) believed was the finest accomplishments of Classical Antiquity, from art and architecture to poetry and philosophy and all along reviving Classical Latin and Greek, yet also elevating the use of vernacular languages. This cultural phenomenon began in Italy in the 14th century, during the period often called the Late Middle Ages, and eventually spread to Northern Europe, lasting until the 17th century. In a sense, the Renaissance forms the intellectual bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era, awakening the inquisitive spirit of humanity concerning the natural realm around them, but rather than simply applying traditional, often Church-proscribed definitions for everything they observed, the centuries of ecclesiastically-enforced stagnation were reversed, permitting fresh perspectives based upon empirical evidence, giving rise to the Scientific Revolution in the 17th century. But this was not all that was becoming popular during the Renaissance, for interest in magic and ancient mysteries were also on the rise, with the bourgeoisie and nobility exploring Hermetic and Neoplatonic ceremonial magic, the Jewish Kabbalah, and other forms of supernatural phenomenology. On Monday, September 28 at 8:00 p.m.in Fullerton we will dive into this pivotal era in the story of humanity, where the two worlds collide, giving birth to the modern world!!!
Monday, September 14, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"THE ROMAN EMPEROR & THE IMPERIAL CULT: INTERACTIONS WITH GRECO-ROMAN RELIGIONS & CHRISTIANITY"
Monday, September 14, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
The identity of the Roman Emperor as forged by Caesar Augustus combined the authority as representative of the people (Princeps) with the power of the military as commander-in-chief (Imperator). Yet, a third power, that of head of the Roman Public Religion called Pontifex Maximus, gave the person of the Roman Emperor religious authority as sanctioned by the gods of Rome. Upon this lofty edifice, the Imperial Cult was born, where each Roman Emperor was viewed as the representative of the gods to the people of the empire. Because Julius Caesar was declared a god by the Roman Senate (believed by many to actually undergo a literal apotheosis), Augustus Caesar, his adopted son, was declared Son of God and, for his so-called restoration of the Republic, also called Savior. Lo and behold, it was during the reign of Augustus that Jesus was born who would later be declared as both Son of God and Savior, who, in addition, declared the Kingdom of God was coming, sewing the seeds for future misunderstandings and conflict to come! Meanwhile, the Imperial Cult became entrenched in everyday life, with emperors worshipped at every public festival and game. They were even expected to be worshiped privately at various altars set about the Roman Empire. All the most popular emperors were declared god after their deaths, adding to the imperial pantheon including Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, Vespasian, Titus, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius! Eventually, almost every major Greco-Roman religion and cult accommodated the worship of the emperors, whether it was the cult of Isis or Artemis Ephesia. But there were two notable exceptions, Judaism and Christianityand here conflicts would arise and persecution that would eventually change the world! On Monday, September 14 at Ipso Facto (8:00) we will investigate the grandeur that was Rome and the power of the Roman Emperor, learning how their influence greatly increased through one of the most organized public religious systems ever created.
Monday, August 31, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"PALMYRA & PETRA: THE PRE-ISLAMIC ARAB CIVILIZATION & THEIR BELIEFS"
Monday, August 31, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
So often when we in the West hear about the Arabs, especially in relation to their beliefs, we automatically think of Islam and the great Arabic Civilizations established following their seventh century CE expansion over much of the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa into Spain. But before the advent of Islam, the Arabs were polytheistic and often created very sophisticated civilizations that thrived beyond Arabia and into what are now Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. The Roman archaeologist Warwick Ball declared: When viewing the spectacular ruins of Petra or Palmyra it is not often appreciated that one is examining Arab civilisation as much as if one were examining Islamic Damascus or Baghdad. The Arab Nabataean Kingdom did indeed create the sculpted wonders of Petra, while the Arab Palmyrene Kingdom, centred upon the major trading metropolis of Palmyra, even challenged the power of the Roman Empire itself. As far as their beliefs, the Jinn, who were later incorporated into Islam were often appeased or feared by these ancient Arabs, while they worshipped such gods as Dushara, Manat, and al-‘Uzza, the latter described as the mighty goddess. The Islamic State (ISIL), especially Palmyra, today is threatening much of these regions. We will learn why this Palmyra is so important even from a modern standpoint. In fact, we will learn how much of this Arab legacy continued into the Islamic era. On Monday, August 31 at 8 p.m. at Ipso Facto in Fullerton, be there as we explore the rich Arab heritage that was already thriving long before Muhammad in the seventh century CE.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"THE FIRST CIVILIZATIONS FROM THE PALEOLITHIC INTO THE NEOLITHIC ERA: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE WORLD’S EARLIEST SOCIETIES INCLUSIVE OF CULTURAL & RELIGIOUS BELIEFS"
August 18, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
By definition, a complex society is considered to be a civilization, often, but not always, involve populated settlements that are stratified into hierarchical social classes and overseen usually by a ruling elite; have some form of territories that include rural areas; connected to pursuits in agriculture, manufacturing, and trade; defined by religious beliefs and cultural value; and weld an organizing power over humans as well as dominating the natural environment around them for their own needs. So what were the earliest civilizations? We will often say Mesopotamia or Egypt around 3000 BCE. But archaeology has revealed far earlier civilizations, going back at least 7000 years earlier if not more. So many of the components of the Neolithic Revolution around 10,000 BCE already reveal civilizing forces at work. By definition, the Natufians of the Levant from 13,000 to 11,000 BCE, those that built Gobekli Tepe in Turkey around 9,130 BCE, the Pengtoushan culture of China from 7,500 BCE, and those of Çatalhöyü k around 6500 BCE are all understood as civilizations. And, the question must be asked, were there still older civilizations? What can archaeology do to illuminate this most ancient past and how does it change our entire understanding of the human race in general, of who we understand ourselves to be. On Tuesday August 18, 8 p.m., at Ipso Facto, we will both dig deep into the soil as well as deep into the nature of who we are!!! You will not wish to miss this talk!!!
August 4, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"MAGIC & THE EARLY TO MEDIEVAL CHURCH: COMPETITION, SYNTHESIS, & PERSECUTION"
August 4, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
From the dawn of the human need to cope with the Natural World the unpredictability of her forces nurturing life or ushering in death religious actions were performed in hopes of mitigating, even appeasing, the elements, thereby gaining via ritual contract just enough of this supernatural power to protect the hearth and home, to keep the game plentiful and the harvests rich, to achieve the boon of fertility even within the womb, to keep back foes whether natural or human and, yes, to even acquire positions of power for those aspiring to lead their respective communities. With magic so deeply entrenched in the human psyche of every day life, the arriving Church certainly faced a daunting challenge, for the Christian clergy taught that the Age of Magic was over, that Christ had ushered in a new age, one where prayers and petitions replaced invocations and spells, where miracles replaced magic. But the majority of commoners lacked a coherent knowledge of advance theology and, it must be said, so did the majority of the priests, with the result that from the Early through Medieval Church and even into the Reformation, Christianity itself, as it competed with the local paganism, often adopted the very same practices, becoming a hybrid between both perspectives. This Tuesday at Ipso Facto in Fullerton at 8 p.m. we will investigate this curious blend of Christianity and Paganism, and then we will go on to discuss exactly what eventually led to the drastic changes enforced by the Church, culminating in edicts against magic and the witch trials! Be prepared to be shocked!
July 21, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"GODDESSES OF INDIA: AN EXAMINATION OF FEMALE DEITIES FROM THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION TO TODAY, FROM THE YAKSHIS, DURGA, & KALI TO SARASVATI, LAKSHMI, & PARVATI "
July 21, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
On Tuesday, July 21 at Ipso Facto (8:00) in Fullerton, we will journey to the Indian subcontinent to investigate the ancient goddesses worshipped here from the earliest known eras, for example during the Indus Valley Civilization and when they were often in the form of either mother goddesses or animistic spirits called Yahshis, to their subsequent repression under the Indo-Europeans arriving around 1500 BCE, under the cultural-religious system called Brahmanism, and then on to the liberation of goddess worship with the advent of the popular religious movement known today as Hinduism (which scholars believe begins with the Upanishads composed between 700 to 500 BCE). Because in Hinduism the Supreme Reality known as Brahman manifests itself in both male and female form, each major god will eventually receive a goddess counterpart or consort, for example Brahma with Sarasvati, Vishnu with Lakshmi, and Shiva with Parvati and also with Kali and with that Shakti power of his with quite a few others as well (hehehe). With Vishnu, when he manifests as Krishna in his avatar form, his consort will be Lakshmi in the form of Radha and when he manifests as Rama his consort will be Lakshmi in the form of Sita. Also many Hindus worship the Great Goddess exclusively. As you can imagine, this lecture will be filled with the usual stories and tidbits that will shed light on this very intriguing topic.
July 7, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"CLEOPATRA & GRECO-ROMAN EGYPT: EXAMINING THE HISTORICAL, CULTURAL, AND?RELIGIOUS LEGACY OF THE PTOLEMIES"
July 7, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, was the very last of a long line of Hellenistic rulers known as the Ptolemies that redefined Egyptian religion and culture and blended it with that of the Greeks. Traditional gods like Isis and Osiris underwent a transformation, with the first becoming a goddess in connection with a Greek Mystery Cult and the second mixed with other gods, including the Greek Hades, to become the great hybrid god Serapis. Egyptian and Greek wisdom traditions also became associated with the legendary sage Hermes Trismegistus, evolving into the Hermetic writings by the second and third centuries CE. Here philosophy, alchemy, and astrology were understood as one. The Ptolemies made Alexandria their quintessential capital, establishing the famous Library of Alexandria, making the city an intellectual center, where some of the greatest ideas and inventions of Antiquity took place, such as the practice of autopsies, the idea of a dictionary, punctuation marks (.,;), and realizing the circumference of the earth. The Ptolemies were at first effective kings, adopting Egyptian practices and deeming themselves as Pharaohs, but later ones were less effective and often corrupt. And then there was the final one of their line, Cleopatra, brilliant, a shrewd negotiator, and a Queen who was able to capture the hearts of the two of the most powerful men of Ancient Rome, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and ignite the entire Roman realm in civil war. On Tuesday, July 7 at Ipso Facto (8:00) in Fullerton we will investigate this powerful female leader of Egypt and those who came before her, entering an age that still deeply impacts us today in almost every facet of life!!!
June 23, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"THE HISTORY OF GYPSIES: THEIR ORIGIN, MIGRATIONS, CULTURE, SYNCRETIC BELIEFS, FOLKLORE, MAGIC, & RECEPTION BY OTHERS OVER THE CENTURIES"
June 23, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
On June 23rd at Ipso Facto in Fullerton we will journey deep into the provocative history of the Romani, yes, the Gypsies!!!—a story so often misunderstood, and also so often covered in intentionally misleading lore and contradiction. We will discuss exactly how we know the Romani originated from India, discussing the historical, linguistic, and genetic evidence for this absolute FACT which was once argued as otherwise before recent advances within the last two decades. Next, we fill trace the migrations of the gypsies from India, across the Middle East, and into Europe, talking about exactly when they arrived in each place and their reception by the people living there. From here, we will describe in detail the customs and the beliefs of the Romani, from the veneration of Saint Sarah, often called “Kali Sara” and Shakti worship to the concept of Kuntari, universal balance, and purity laws mirroring Hindu ones. Beyond that we will delve into the controversies, the magical beliefs (including the supposed gypsy curse), the rich folklore, and the resulting persecutions of one of the most misunderstood peoples on the planet.
June 9, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Zoroastrianism: The Light Versus the Dark"
June 9, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
One of the world's oldest monotheistic religions, Zoroastrianism arose out of Ancient Persia 3500 years ago (500 years before Christianity), and continues to thrive today, particularly here in Southern California and India. Interestingly Queen's Freddie Mercury was a practictioner, and adherents number anywhere from 145,000 to 2.6 million; their exact numbers obscured due to persecution. Their fascinating rituals include daily ritual magic at a personal altar, Exposure of the Dead, and purification rites where man must enlist in a cosmic struggle because of his capacity of free choice. End time battles, final judgement, a born-of-a-virgin miracle worker are aspects that certainly remind one of religions that came later. Founded by the prophet Zoroaster, who at thirty years old had a divine vision of God during a ritual purification rite, radically transforming his view of the world. Rejecting the religion of the Bronze Age Persians, Zoroaster believed in one creator God, the only one worthy of worship. He believed that the deities of the old religion, the Daevas, who appeared to delight in war and strife, served Angra Mainyu, the force of darkness and God's adversary, and it was the forces of light, represented by Ahura Mazda, who fiercely fought against them. Facing opposition in his homeland, Zoraster sought a place more open to new ideas, which led him to Bactria (present day Western Pakistan/Eastern Afghanistan) whose King and Queen eventually made Zorastrianism the official religion of their kingdom. With the founding of the Persian empire by Cyrus the Great, the Archaemenian kings, themselves pious Zorastrians, ruled in accordance with the law of asha (truth and righteousness), without imposing Zorastrianism on their territories, and famously allowing the Jews to return from exile in Babylon. Today one can still see the legacy of Zoroastrianism, which directly influenced the development of both Judaism and early Christianity. On Tuesday, June 9 at Ipso Facto at 8 p.m., we will explore the beliefs, the stories, the sacred texts, the rituals, the magic, and even the holidays of this often forgotten major world religion!
May 19, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Ancient Egyptian Mummification"
May 19, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Tuesday, May 19 at 8 pm at Ipso Facto we will investigate ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MUMMIFICATION, explaining the reasons why they pursued this form of bodily preservation and exactly how they did it. We will also discuss why they often mummified animals as well as humans. Throughout history, humans have strived to live forever, to be immortal, and often saw this present life continuing on into some form of afterlife. Just how this happened, of course, varied dependent on the society. In some cases ancient people believed spirit would go on, others thought that both body and spirit would continue on together, with the body fully reconstituted from its decayed state and so become vibrant flesh once again. For the Ancient Egyptians, this present body continued to be the chosen vessel that carried the spirit over to the other side following death. Because this physical body was special, the Egyptians believed it was important to preserve some semblance of it, either symbolically by preserving its outer form even if the flesh fell away, or even in actuality, applying embalming techniques to actually preserve it as much as possible. Of course, this process of preservation as applied by the Ancient Egyptians is known as mummification, a technique which evolved over a long period of time.
May 5, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"The Inquisition: The Power of Unrestricted Religious Indoctrination Mixed with Politics Creating a Policy of Intolerance and Terror"
May 5, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
The INQUISITION:it’s very name immediately brings to mind one of the darkest eras of the Catholic Church in Western Europe, where those perceived as heretics were hunted out, placed on trial, tortured, imprisoned, and often put to death, typically by being burnt at the stake but through other cruel means as well. Beginning in 1184 and continuing with fury into the 1400 and 1500’s in Spain and Portugal, the Inquisition attempted to end theological innovation, stop “believed" attacks by the devil, and especially silence what was often called "free thinking" via their well-organized methodology of intimidation and terror. But the modern world was rising, and as much as this institution attempted to end divisions in the Church and end open expression, with every one group suppressed, another arose, until the number of those who joined the Protestant Reformation overwhelmed its ability to keep up and eventually diminished its power. In this lecture we will not only hear stories from the perspective of the Inquisitors, but also the beliefs of those they tried to silence; and, in some cases, successfully. We will learn about the beliefs of the mysterious dualistic Cathars; the Waldensians; the Spiritual Franciscans; the Knights Templar; and the Beguines (part of an all female mystical movement). We will learn about those deemed as witches and the persecution of the Jews in Spain. On Tuesday night, May 5, at 8:00 p.m., at Ipso Facto, be prepared to encounter one of the darkest chapters in human history, and to realize that even during these times, there was still hope that the world could change, and it did.
April 21, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"THE KABBALAH: Historical Prespectives of a Jewish Mystical Tradition"
April 21, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
When we hear the word Kabbalah many thoughts come to mind, inclusive of the famous Kabbalistic Tree of Life with the Ten Names of God, the mystical esoteric traditions that are often sources of controversy, and, of course, movie and music stars who often make this tradition more high profile than many more conservative elements within Judaism would like. We are told that the Kabbalah starts with a special revelation of God to Moses upon Mount Sinai that is encoded within the very text of the Torah, at a level that only a few can decipher and only if properly initiated. But what of the ACTUAL HISTORY of the Kabbalah? What do academics say about the origins of this mystical tradition of Judaism? Many start around the twelfth century in Medieval Spain, but is this really an accurate observation? Next Thursday (8:00 p.m.), at Ipso Facto in Fullerton, CA we will reveal the often overlooked and sometimes intentionally neglected story the path where the historical evidence illuminates this often misunderstood Jewish mystical tradition!
April 7, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Hypatia of Alexandria, Female Intellectual, Philosopher, Pagan"
April 7, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
HYPATIA OF ALEXANDRIA: Female Intellectual, Christian-Pagan-Jewish Conflicts & the Twilight of Antiquity.
By all accounts, Hypatia, the famous female intellectual and philosopher from the city of Alexandria in Roman Egypt was an anomaly of her age, thriving during a time when so much of what she represented was systematically being rejected by the changing world around her. A Pagan woman in a Christian age dominated by religiously-charged power politics rather than ethical concerns, Hypatia was accepted by the enlightened of all faiths, whether Pagan, Christian, or Jew, viewed by them as a wise and seasoned adviser, while others, those steeped in the growing superstition and bigotry of the age, cried out that she must be a vile occultist practicing magic to deceive minds. Michael Deakin declares: Almost alone, virtually the last academic, she stood for intellectual values, for rigorous mathematics, ascetic Neoplatonism, the crucial role of the mind, and the voice of temperance and moderation in civic life. The violent public murder of Hypatia by those who failed to understand what she represented truly demonstrated that an Age of Ignorance had arrived, the Classical world of Greece and Rome was no more, and the medieval world had begun! On Tues, April 7, at 8 p.m. at Ipso Facto, we will introduce you to this deep and insightful woman who fought so hard to maintain a world of toleration against all odds, never losing sight of her sense of purpose. Hypatia was a true hero, one that needs to be recognized, but, also, the age she lived in serves as a warning to how far a society can fall when knowledge and education are abandoned for power politics and superstition.
March 24, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR: FEARLESS WARRIORS, GUARDIANS OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT, & KEEPERS OF MYSTERIES"
March 24, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR: FEARLESS WARRIORS, GUARDIANS OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT, & KEEPERS OF MYSTERIES with Dr. James Rietveld: Wearing their hallmark red crosses over their white mantles, the Knights Templar went from a humble order of knights protecting Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem to one of the most powerful religious, political, and economic powers in Western Europe, founding, in many ways, our modern banking system. Originally based on the site of the Temple Mount of Jerusalem, the full story of what occupied them while there is considered a mystery. The Knights Templar came to be known as one of bravest of all Crusader warriors. A Templar Knight is truly a fearless knight, and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armor of faith, just as his body is protected by the armor of steel. He is thus doubly armed, and need fear neither demons nor men. But suddenly, on Friday, October 13, 1307, this proud order of knights was deemed heretical, proclaimed to adhere to odd, even pagan rites. As a result, the fires of the Inquisition burned many, while still others were forced into silence, and went underground, creating a tangle of legacies both mysterious and profound. On Tuesday, March 24 at 8 p.m. at Ipso Facto, we will together unravel the mysteries of the Knights Templar, from the Temple Mount to the reasons for their fall from grace and how their story, unexpectedly, continued on.
March 10, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
Mystery Cults of Ancient Greece and Rome
March 10, 2015 Facebook event listing
Flyer
Synopsis:
Join us on Tuesday, March 10 at 8:00 p.m. at Ipso Facto in Fullerton, when we will present a lecture on the Mystery Cults of Eleusis, Dionysus, the Phrygian Magna Meter, Mithras, and Serapis with Isis, which greatly influenced modern magickal traditions and personal power systems. Mystery Religions or Cults always raise an eyebrow or two when brought up within public and academic contexts inclusive of the Mysteries of Ancient Greece and Rome, where, traced back to the seventh century BCE, they increased in popularity following the conquests of Alexander the Great. Mystery Cults in Antiquity had initiations, vows, secret rites, esoteric knowledge, magic words, votive offerings, and emphasized the importance of personal choice in one's beliefs rather than what was expected by society. But the mysteries were only powerful as one's belief in them, so faith became a key component for effectiveness, enabling a person able to successfully meet the challenges of everyday life, and ultimately offering salvation for the soul. Journey with us to discover the roots of today's occult philosophy, ceremonial magick, and modern personal empowerment systems, in the ancient practices and traditions which influenced Aleister Crowley, Ordo Templi Orientis, and Freemasonry. This talk is definitely not a one to be missed!
February 24, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Artemis of Ephesia" Lecture & signing for Dr. Rietveld’s book "Artemis of the Ephesians: Mystery, Magic & Her Sacred Landscape"
February 24, 2015 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
In this definitive work on Artemis of the Ephesians, Dr. Rietveld examines the cult status and representations of Artemis Ephesia in the ancient world. Delving into personal religious perspectives and relationship to the city’s sacred geography, the book reveals how her belief system permeated the daily lives of the Ephesians via material culture they left behind. Although understandings of Artemis Ephesia changed as Christianity spread, her legacy survived as goddess of protection, material prosperity, and guardian of virginal chastity. Via the Via Sacra, Artemis’ role as protective mother extended beyond the Temple of Artemis to the city itself, and throughout the Greco-Roman world via the Via Sacra and Ephesian Letters. Beautiful original color photographs accompany the groundbreaking text.
February 10, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Ancient Troy and the Iliad"
February 10, 2015 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
Ancient Troy is positioned in the realm between myth and history, between story of the Iliad and the unraveling story constantly being uncovered by historians and archaeologists today. For so long all we knew about Troy was from the perspective of the Iliad and other Greek myths, but that is now changing. The writings of the Mycenaeans who were the Achaean Greeks referred to in the Iliad is deciphered, providing much pertinent information concerning the legendary story of the sack of Troy. What many people do not know is that ancient Hittite is also now deciphered, revealing a very different story about Troy. On Tuesday, February 10 at Ipso facto in Fullerton, CA, I will tell a story of Troy you may never have heard before that will fundamentally change your understanding of not only the Iliad but the ancient Greeks in general. This is one lecture you do not want to miss!!!
January 20, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia, the Supernatural Quest for Survival in a Hostile Land"
January 20, 2015 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
Join us for the next installment of the Salon Lecture Series with Dr. James Rietveld on the topic of "Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia: The Supernatural Quest for Survival in a Hostile Land" Situated around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Ancient Mesopotamia refers to many great civilizations located here, whether Sumerian and Babylonian, or Assyrian and Chaldean. This turbulent land gave rise to one of the most inventive society in human history, forged by a determined people who did whatever they possible could to harness the necessary forces to survive floods, draughts, famines, and wars, whether natural or supernatural. Their religion was a dynamic one—of passionate gods and goddesses, great myths like the Epic of Gilgamesh, magical rites, astrology, and divination. According to Jewish belief, Mesopotamia was also the cultural context from which Abraham arose! At Ipso Facto on Tuesday, Jan 20th at 8 p.m., we will travel to this ancient land, now politically the nation of Iraq, and uncover through narrative and archaeology some of the deepest and most profound mysteries concerning their religious beliefs and its origins.
January 6, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
"The Mysteries of Dionysus: God of Ecstacy"
January 6, 2015 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
On Tues, Jan 6, 8 p.m. we will explore the MYSTERIES OF DIONYSUS: GOD OF ECSTASY at Ipso Facto. Constantly accompanied by his troops of maenads and satyrs, Dionysus was a god reveling in ecstatic celebration, dancing with his devotees within dark forests and upon open glades. Dionysus became intimately associated with the seasons, the natural processes of life, death, and renewal of life once more, as he lived in the spring and summer, died by winter, and rose again with the following spring, becoming understood as a god of resurrection. Many believed if Dionysus could rise again, so could they, holding fast that participating in his sacred energies held the key. But what exactly were these mysteries and how do they influence the history of western religious thought? And how does Christianity fit into the picture? Join me for this public lecture and I promise to tell exactly how with enough details to stimulate many conversations to come!
December 16, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
"The Library of Alexandria"
December 16, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
The Library of Alexandria: Even its very name conveys an aura of myth and legend, of lost books filled with the secrets of the ancient world and hidden knowledge. Many continually mourn the loss of this great depository of ancient literature, philosophy, history, science, and medicine. For this lecture I will investigate the shapers and makers of this library, the great discoveries achieved here, the heart wrenching dramas, what kinds of books were actually on its shelves, and when the library was actually destroyed. Best of all, I will demonstrate that the Library of Alexandria continues to influences us today in many ways that may be quite unexpected. And are all the mysteries of the library lost to us? No, and I will reveal some of these secrets. You will not be disappointed! "
December 2, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
"The Goddess Isis: Universal Mother & Mistress of Magic, The Transformative Goddesss"
December 2, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
Isis proclaimed: I am nature, the Universal Mother, Mistress of all the Elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, Queen of the Dead, Queen of the Ocean, Queen also of the Immortals, the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are, my nod governs the shining heights of Heavens, the wholesome sea breezes. Though I am worshipped in many aspects, known by countless names ... the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning and worship call me by my true name...Queen Isis”—so spoke the goddess according to Apuleius, in his novel The Golden Ass written in the second century CE. As all encompassing as this proclamation may sound, the goddess Isis was perceived by the Egyptians, then Greeks, and finally the Romans in different ways over the march of centuries, as she constantly evolved to suit new religious and cultural movements. On Tuesday, November 18 at Ipso Facto at 7:30, we will investigate this magical goddess, who went from the wife to the deceased pharaoh in the Egyptian Old Kingdom to Universal Goddess during the Roman Empire! And still her legacy goes on"
October 28, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Angels and Demons: A Historical Perspective of the Ages and Within Different Religious Traditions"
October 28, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
Angels and Demons are often depicted as believed or perceived spiritual entities all around us, fighting on opposite teams as agents of Light and agents Darkness. So often ethical choices between good or evil are shown as an angel on one shoulder and a demon or devil on the other. Yet, they are always subordinates to their masters…well, almost always…And we so often hear their names, whether it be the angelic Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, or the demonic Beelzebub, Krampus, and Lilith. Opinions vary concerning whom and what they are dependent on the individual’s personal beliefs, but amongst this sea of opinion, there are scholars investigating some of the most inspiring as well as the most frightening academic landscapes concerning these mystical beings. What does history tell us concerning angels and demons, believed supernatural beings that appear in stories, legends, and myths from all around the world and within many religious systems? Be there on October 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Ipso Facto to find out!
October 14, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
The Aztecs and the Spanish Conquest
October 14, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
The story of the Aztecs and the Spanish Conquest is more a product of rhetoric and revisionism today than an accurate account of what really happened, to the point where current school textbooks up through the university level are incorrect in both Mexico and the United States. People today want simple answers, cut and dry good guys and bad guys, but the authentic story is as far more nuanced, muddled and disturbing. If you wish to learn what really happened as we know from the primary sources at the time AND archaeological evidence from the time (so all sides are represented), you know where you want to be Tuesday night, October 14 at 7:30—Yes, at Ipso Facto in Fullerton hearing the story so many consider too political incorrect to tell because current agendas are considered more valuable than historical facts! (And you KNOW you’re really curious anyway!)
September 30, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
The History of Astrology: Origins, Ancient Significance, & Regional Contexts
September 30, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
I’m sure from time to time most of us have heard the question, "What’s your sign?" with a range of meanings streaming from inquiries by mystical types wishing to forecast your future to cheap pick-up lines in dingy bars, and, of course, everything in between. Whether you believe in its intrinsic spiritual value, see it as a science on a cosmic order, feel it’s a load of rubbish, or view it as a doctrine of demons, like it or not, astrology is part of our collective past and still a feature of contemporary life within many contexts. Every ancient culture at some point or another created a complex astrological system, whether it was in Ancient China, India or Egypt. For the ancients, astrology and what we consider today as the science of astronomy were viewed as one and the same, so to separate the two from one another would be out of context to understanding how the ancients viewed the phenomenological universe. Tuesday, September 30, (7:30 PM) at Ipso Facto in Fullerton, I will delve into the HISTO RY OF ASTROLOGY, revealing the development of this system of belief over time. You will just love this fascinating topic!!!
September 16, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Of Minoans, Mycenaeans, and Trojans: The Forgotten Age of the Ancient Greeks.
September 16, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
The splendor of the Minoan civilization is almost proverbial. They were sophisticated in their organization, brilliant in their trade, egalitarian in their gender roles, playful in their games, passionate in their spirituality, and believed in the ideal of art for art’s sake. For them, making something beautiful could be an end in itself and Nature was to be venerated! Then one day, with a mighty volcanic explosion, it was all over. No wonder legends concerning Atlantis find their origins with the Minoans! The Mycenaeans who replaced them were patriarchal warriors, as brutal as the Minoans were peaceful. Yet then another disaster occurred, an apocalypse so devastating that entire civilizations were wiped off the map about the Mediterranean and Near East. Soon the Mycenaeans too became the stuff of legends, spun into the stories by traveling bards. The Iliad and the Odyssey became their legacy!
On Tuesday, September 16 at Ipso Facto in Fullerton we will together unravel the often-untold story of the early age of the Ancient Greeks and offer up some staggering conclusions based upon the most recent discoveries.
September 2, 2014, 8 p.m.
The Archeology of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
September 2, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are almost proverbial, a list often memorized by schoolchildren to represent the very best sites about the ancient Mediterranean, a list that should not be missed according to ancient perspectives. Five ancient writers mention this list—Antipater of Sidon and Philo of Byzantium among them. For the most part they agree that the Seven Ancient Wonders were the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. For this lecture we will not only discuss who chose these Seven Wonders and why, but we will investigate their overall importance, especially focusing upon the archeological evidence that remains of these sites today. How can archaeology unlock the secrets of these lost treasures?
August 19, 2014, 8 p.m.
Mayans and the Sacrificial Cosmos.
August 19, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
The Mayans were obsessed with the heavens above, the movement of the stars and planets, believing they were representations of their gods—gods they so hoped to please or appease in any way possible. For them, this meant sacrifice, often on a brutal level. While the Mayans created great stepped pyramids, observatories, and incredibly accurate calendars, certainly a tribute to their genius, all of these achievements were intimately connected to their religious beliefs. But just what were these beliefs that so compelled them to act upon them the way they did? The answer may both frighten and fascinate us! At Ipso Facto on August 19 (8:00 PM), we will investigate these beliefs and arrive at possible answers often not discussed in a public forum!
August 5, 2014, 8 p.m.
Death, Burial and the Afterlife in Ancient Rome.
August 5, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
The Ancient Romans were not only monumental in life, but also monumental in death, with the wealthy buried in elaborate tombs prominently along the roads of the empire and those less wealthy having their ashes in urns interred on a niche in a vast underground columbaria complex or their bodies placed along a long catacomb tunnel. Roman views of death and the afterlife were a complicated affair, with elaborate funeral rituals, feeding the dead ceremonies, and magic. At Ipso Facto in Fullerton on August 5th at 8:00 we will descend into the Roman underworld, exposing its ghosts, and uncovering some of the secrets long buried!
July 22, 2014, 8 p.m.
The Magic, Mystery and Mythology of Ancient Egypt.
July 22, 2014 lecture event listing on Facebook
Flyer
Synopsis:
The allure of Ancient Egypt has long captured the imagination of visitors from the Greeks and Romans on, with its monolithic temples and pyramids, its exotic gods, its magical rituals, its mummies, and its mythology of the afterlife. Come Tuesday, July 22 to Ipso Facto at 8:00 PM, where Dr. James Rietveld will take you to this enchanted land and unravel some of its most profound mysteries!