Call for Papers  

Speaker Biographies

Name: Laura Andrikopoulos

Dane Rudhyar's conception of the wisdom contained within the stars

Laura Andrikopoulos has a PhD in the History of modern astrology by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She also has degrees in Mathematics and Theology & Religion. Laura taught on the MA at the Sophia Centre between 2013 and 2020, leading the 'Sky and Psyche' module. Her main research interests are the history and practice of modern astrology, in particular the relationship of astrology to psychology, art and literature.

Name: Pamela Armstrong

The Cotswold Severn long barrows and their connection to the sun, moon and stars

Pamela Armstrong studied for her MA in Cultural Astronomy at the University of Wales Trinity St David where she covered subjects ranging from Stellar Religions to Sacred Geography, Cosmology, Magic and Divination. Her dissertation explored the skyscapes of early Neolithic Britain. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bournemouth University and is completing her thesis titled ‘A diachronic study of monumentality and cosmology in mid-Holocene southern England and Wales’. Previous papers have been given at Theoretical Archaeology Group conferences, National Astronomy Meetings, the Sophia Graduate Conferences, Bournemouth University SciTech Festival and SEAC. Pamela has published work in the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, the Journal of Physics: Conference Series and Culture and Cosmos.

Name: Bernadette Brady

The Moon in Ancient Egypt: A journey from a henchman to a king-maker, to finally a god-enabler

Bernadette Brady holds a PhD in Anthropology (2012) an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology (2005) and an MA in Egyptology (2022). Since 2008 she has been a tutor in the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK. Her research interests are in various forms of cultural astronomy, primarily Egyptian religious astronomy, sky mythology and the cultural implications of star phases. Her journal papers include the cultural astronomy contained in examples of Egyptian religious astronomy (Oxbow 2012), the orientation of the Solstical Churches of North Wales (JSA, 2017) and the solar discourse in Cistercian Welsh abbeys (Citeaux, 2016). Apart from journal papers, she has also authored Cosmos, Chaosmos and Astrology (London: Sophia Centre Press, 2014) and co-edited Space, Place and Religious Landscapes, Living Mountains London, NY, Oxford Bloomsbury. She currently lives in Devon UK.

Name: Stephen Vanden Broecke

Historicizing agency and politics in astrology. The case of Conrad Heingarter (before 1440-after 1504 CE)

Steven Vanden Broecke (PhD in History, K.U. Leuven, 2000) teaches early modern intellectual history and history of science at Ghent University (Belgium). His preferred research topics include the history of astrology and astronomy, science and religion, embodiment and the passions, and the history of possession (broadly defined). The monograph on which he is currently working, approaches European astrology between c. 1300 and 1700 CE as a perennially changing practice of self-care and self-transformation. Recent work includes a critical edition of the oldest preserved astrological autobiography (Henry Bate’s Nativitas, 1280-1 CE) and an edited volume on truth-making practices in early modern Catholicism.

Name: Nick Campion

New Light on Space and Time: Celebrating Twenty One Years of the Sophia Centre

Nicholas Campion is Associate Professor in Cosmology and Culture, Principal Lecturer in the Institute of Education and Humanities and Director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the only academic centre in the world to consider humanity’s relationship with the sky. He is Programme Director of the University's MAs in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, and Ecology and Spirituality.

His books include The Great Year: Astrology, Millenarianism and History in the Western Tradition (London: Penguin, 1994), the two-volume History of Western Astrology (London: Bloomsbury 2008/9), Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions (New York: New York University Press, 2012), Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West: Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement (London: Routledge, 2012). The New Age in the Modern West: Counter-Culture, Utopia and Prophecy from the late Eighteenth Century to the Present Day (London: Bloomsbury 2015). He is the editor of Culture and Cosmos, the journal on the history of cultural astronomy and astrology. Current projects include the six volume Cultural History of the Universe (Bloomsbury, forthcoming), for which he is General Editor.

Name: Ilaria Cristofaro

Sirens and Stars: The Wisdom of the Pleaides in Ancient Campania Centre

Ilaria Cristofaro is a PhD candidate at the Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli (Santa Maria Capua Vetere, CE, Italy), with a thesis on archeoastronomy of cities and temples in ancient Campania from the Orientalising to Hellenistic period. There she works at Capys Laboratory for Classical Archaeology with its annual archaeological excavation campaigns at Kyme Acropolis Higher Temple. She holds an MA in Cultural Astronomy & Astrology from the UWTSD (2018) and a BSc in Astronomy from the Alma Mater Università di Bologna (2013). In 2022, being a visiting scholar at INCIPIT, Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio of the Spanish CSIC, she granted the post-graduate course "Tecnologías Digitales de Documentación Geométrica del Patrimonio"(TDDG) on virtual archaeology. Her membership includes SEAC-European Society for Astronomy in Culture and SIA-Società Italiana di Archeoastronomia.

Name: Giuseppe Cuscito

Former IT worker and web designer, Giuseppe M. Cùscito holds a B.A. in Eurasian and Mediterranean Languages and Cultures (specifically Hebrew and Aramaic) at “Ca’ Foscari” University in Venice, a M.A. in Religious Studies in a joint programme between “Ca’ Foscari” and the University of Padua, and a Ph.D. in History of Religions at “Sapienza” University in Rome.

He has translated Hebrew texts on pharmacology and astronomy/astrology and has written articles and book chapters both on premodern Jewish science and contemporary ancient aliens theory. In both cases, the aim is to explore the boundaries between the rational and the irrational.

Name: Karine Dilanian

Victory over the Sun – a Russian avant-garde’s vision of the wisdom of the skies

Karine Dilanian holds an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK. She is a co-founder of the Institute for the Study of Cosmology and Astronomy in History, Philosophy and Culture in Moscow, Russia. Karine is the originator and a publisher of ‘The Kepler Project’, a publication of the astrological handwritten manuscripts of Johannes Kepler. She was a speaker at the Sophia Centre key-concept lecture on Kepler and presented her research at the SEAC 2016 and 2018 conferences. Karine organized academic conferences in cooperation with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Saint Petersburg (400 Anniversary of Kepler's 'The Harmony of the World', 2019) and in Samarkand ('On the Historical Skies: Harmonies between Heaven and Earth', 2022).

Name: Darrelyn Gunzburg

Richard Fitzjames and the Stained Glass window horoscope of Merton College, Oxford: charlatanism or an expression of the wisdom of astrology?

Darrelyn Gunzburg studied History of Art at the Open University (BA Hons) 2005-2007 and completed her PhD on 'Giotto’s Salone: An Astrological Investigation into the Fresco Paintings of the First Floor Salone of the Palazzo Della Ragione, Padua, Italy' in 2014 (University of Bristol). She taught at the University of Bristol 2010-2014 and has taught for the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David since 2009 where she contributes the visual art historical expression of the sky in culture. She is the editor of The Imagined Sky: Cultural Perspectives (Equinox Publishing Ltd, 2016), has twice been Guest Editor for the Journal of Religion Nature and Culture: issue 7.4 (2013) The Imagined Sky: Five Cultural Perspectives and most recently issue 13.1 (2019) Inside the World of Contemporary Astrology. Together with Bernadette Brady, she co-edited Space, Place, and Religious Landscapes: Living Mountains (Bloomsbury Academic, 2021). Her work as part of the team (with Bernadette Brady and Fabio Silva) investigating the orientation of Cistercian abbey churches in the landscape has twice been published by Cîteaux – Commentarii cistercienses in 2016 and 2021. Darrelyn has also published on the reception of sunlight on the Madonna dei Tramonti in Assisi ('Reflecting on Mary: the Splendor of the Madonna in the Lower Church of Assisi.' In Medieval Franciscan Approaches to the Virgin Mary, edited by Steven J. McMichael and Katherine Wrisley Shelby. The Medieval Franciscans, 302-334. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2019). She has written extensively for The Art Book (Wiley-Blackwell) and Cassone: The International Online Magazine of Art and Art Books and contributed sections on ‘Art’, ‘al-Qabisii’ and ‘Medieval European Astrology’ to Astrology through History: Interpreting the Stars from Ancient Mesopotamia to the Present, edited by William E. Burns (ABC-CLIO, 2018). Her research interests lie in the art historical and visual astronomical exploration of frescos in medieval Italy and Europe.

Name: R. Hakan Kırkoğlu

R. Hakan Kırkoğlu

R. Hakan Kırkoğlu holds two MA degrees in History (2016) and Economics (1991) from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. His recent MA thesis titled Ilm-i Nücum and Its Role in the Ottoman Court during the Eighteenth Century at the Boğaziçi University has also been published as a book. (2017) He graduated from Management Engineering Department in Istanbul Technical University (1988) As an astrologer and researcher, he has been interested in the history of astrology and science. His article Ilm-i Nudjum and Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Court Politics has been published in the the Journal of Culture and Cosmos, Vol.18, No:2 by Sophia Center Press.

Name: Ulla Koch

Divine stars - an aspect of Mesopotamian celestial divination

Ulla Koch, Ph.D., is an Assyriologist from the University of Copenhagen. Her research interests are Mesopotamian divination, religion, and literature. She has published extensively on celestial divination and extispicy, inspection of the entrails of a sacrificial animal.

Name: Jeffrey Kotyk

Understanding Sexuality in East Asian Astrology: The Lot of Eros

Jeffrey Kotyk (PhD, Leiden University, 2017) is presently an Associate Researcher at the University of Bologna, Ravenna Campus, where he is researching Sino-Iranian relations in antiquity. He has extensively published on the history of astrology in China and Japan, with a particular focus on the religious engagement, modification, and incorporation of foreign astrology.

Name: Tore Lomsdalen

How Temple Location and Orientation Reflected the Worldview and Belief of Maltese Settlers

Tore Lomsdalen is a Doctor of Philosophy in Archaeology from the University of Malta and obtained his Ph.D. degree in 2022 researching Viewscape and Cosmology in Prehistoric Maltese Temple Period. Prior to that, he obtained a Master Degree from the University of Lampeter Trinity Saint David, UK, in 2013 on Cultural Astronomy and Astrology researching sky involvement of the prehistoric Maltese temple site Mnajdra. His dissertation, Sky and Purpose in the Prehistoric Malta, was published by the Sophia Centre Press. The MA was the incitement to further explore Maltese Temple Period. His professional carrier prior to the academia including executive positions within international hotel business, both financial and operational.

Name: Chris Mitchell

The Beginning of Wisdom: how medieval astrology opened the door to modern science

Chris Mitchell has a PhD from the University of Leicester in medieval astrology, and an MA from Bath Spa University College in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. Chris is now on the faculty at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, where he teaches topics relating to the history of astrology, and does occasional teaching at the University of Leicester introducing undergraduate students to medieval astrology. Chris has given talks at a number of astrological schools and organisations worldwide, and has also given talks to the general public on astrology locally in Leicester, where he lives. His PhD thesis was on a twelfth-century astrology textbook written (in Latin) by a scholar in Hereford on the Welsh border, and after graduating developed his thesis into a book, England’s First Astrology Book (Leicester: Almuten Figuris Publications, 2021), which is the first translation and commentary into English of this seminal work.

Name: Fabio Silva

The Forgotten Stars: a critical look at the (lack of) stars in archaeoastronomy

Fabio Silva is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeological Modelling at Bournemouth University and co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology. His primary research interest is how societies have perceived and conceived their environment and used that to time and adjust social, productive and magico-religious behaviours. This steered him to focus research along two distinct yet complementary strands: archaeological modelling and skyscape archaeology. With respect to the latter, he is not so interested in identifying and collecting celestial alignments but in understanding how they can help us peek into the ontologies of past societies, i.e. into how they conceived the world and their place in it. This takes careful, robust and reflexive approaches to the archaeological record – both qualitative and quantitative – which he is keen to not only explore but also develop. This has taken him to study primarily prehistoric structures in Iberia and the United Kingdom.

Name: Wendy Stacey

Matariki; United Under the Stars of Aotearoa

Wendy Stacey-Alidina holds an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology from Bath Spa University (2003) and a BA in Social Sciences from Massey University, NZ (1995). Wendy has previously taught sociology and research methodology and part of her research on changing patterns in childbirth has been published in the Astrological Journal (2010) and MIDIRS Midwifery Digest (29.3: 2019). She is a tutor for the MA programme at the University of Wales, Trinity St David and her current research project explores Hans Eysenck’s examination of astrology.

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