Sophia Project  
University of Wales Trinity Saint David


Nick Campion

The Self in Medieval and Modern Astrology

Nick, MA Cultural Astronomy and Astrology programme director, will deliver the conference keynote lecture on The Self in Medieval and Modern Astrology as part of the Sophia Centre's series of 'Key Concept' lectures. Read more here.

This lecture will be live-streamed and recorded as part of the Sophia Centre's outreach programme

Ralfee Finn

Sun Sign Columns: Do They Have Relevance, Meaning and Value?

How are we to understand the ubiquitous presence and popularity of sun sign columns? Popular since their inception and growing increasingly popular in the digital world, these daily, weekly and monthly missives are distained, dismissed and denigrated by critics of astrology as well as a majority of professional astrologers. And still they persist. What makes them valuable and why do they endure?

Akindynos Kaniamos

Human and Divine Interaction in Iamblichus' De Mysteriis: Astrology as a Paradigm of the Interaction with the Divine

The mode of interaction between human and divine planes of existence constitutes a major background in the metaphysical landscape of De Mysteriis. Incited by Porphyry's queries on polytheistic religious practices, such as divination, sacrifice and theurgy, Iamblichus suggests that humans, through the appropriate ritual, ethical and intellectual preparation, may see and listen to the gods. In that theoretical framework, astrology is examined as a representative example of interaction with the divine.

Dragana Van de moortel-Ilić

An examination of the images of the Sun and the Moon in the Visoki Dečani monastery in Kosovo

This lecture investigates the celestial-religious images in the Visoki Dečani monastery in Kosovo, particularly the tear-shaped paintings with human figures inside located on the left and right side of The Crucifixion of Christ fresco. Those have been the subject of controversy in the second part of the last century. A highly speculative popular view was put forward, that the images portrayed extra-terrestrials in UFOs. Yet these images have been mostly ignored in academic circles. In this research the images were compared with similar frescoes from other Serbian medieval churches and with the philosophical thought of the time.

Reinhard Mussik

Celebrating the Solstice in the 21st Century: Sacred Place and Cyberspace

In 2014, a group of hobby-archaeoastronomers from different European countries established an Internet interconnection between rock formations oriented or aligned to the setting sun at summer solstices. This presentation shows the results of a dissertation exploring the motivation of the organisers and participants of this event. The study shows that they were mainly interested in archaeoastronomy and local history, and not in spiritual, religious or ideological ideas. Furthermore, they felt connected to an assumed Pan-European culture which could have been ubiquitous at a time when borders between the European countries did not exist.

M.A. Rashed

Cosmic Chaos in Islamic Apocalyptic Eschatology

The redemptive eschatology of Islam did not merely serve as a moral deterrent, but also had a considerable impact on the sociopolitical history of Islam. Islamic apocalyptic eschatology in particular describes a sequence of terrifying celestial phenomena, or cosmic portents, that ultimately lead to a turbulent cataclysmic universal apocalypse that terminates mundane history, or profane time. Assessing Islamic eschatology from a cosmological perspective, this research engages in a critical historical exploration of how the Last Day cosmic portents mentioned the Qur'ān, Prophetic sayings, and genre of Islamic apocalyptica, were understood and conceptualised in the period extending from the eighth to the seventeenth centuries CE, and the extent to which this reflects Islamic cosmological beliefs. The central assumption of this research is that a better understanding of Islamic apocalyptic eschatology, as an alternative yet significant cosmology, can lead to a more thorough understanding of Islam as a religion, and subsequently, to the reason behind the prevasiveness of apocalypticism in areas of conflict in the Middle East.

Gaia Somasca

Sky and Earth: Rekindling the Relationship with Nature in New York

In this presentation I will share my personal journey as I sought to experience Nature in a more meaningful way in the urban environment of New York. I took a self-reflexive, ethnographic approach and confronted the notion that city dwellers are largely oblivious to Nature.

Mara Steenhuisen

Orbs and spiritual experiences in digital culture

A phenomenon commonly dismissed and neglected by academia on the one hand, well-known and explored in popular media by ghost-hunters, angel whisperers and paranormal researchers on the other. The usage of digital imaging has confronted photographers with the phenomenon of orbs since the mid 90s together with its broad spectrum of interpretations. One emerging group consists of accounts of deeply perceived spiritual experiences with orbs which prompted this forthcoming study on the research of particular anomalous light experiences known as orbs in digital culture.

Enrique Zagari

The assimilation of the planet Uranus into the practice of astrology in England in the period 1781-1890

This talk will briefly examine the process of assimilation of the planet Uranus into the practice of astrology in England from 1781, the year of its discovery, until 1890. Critical consideration will be given to the attitudes exhibited by contemporary astrologers in the face of the changing astronomical landscape, their approaches to the characterisation of the new celestial object and the impact that their methods and rationales had on the general process and, ultimately, on the identity of astrology.