The Magical Use of Numbers in the Revised New Art Tarot

The Magical Use of Numbers in the Revised New Art Tarot

SATURDAY • APRIL 29, 2017 • 10AM-1PM



tarot imageThis three-hour workshop will present a panoramic view of the mystical and cabalistic dimensions of the Minor Arcana in the Knapp-Hall Tarot. Working mainly with the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life, we will discuss the mystical and divinatory qualities of this magical deck in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of Manly P. Hall’s approach to Hermetic traditions.

We will be using the Knapp-Hall Revised New Art Tarot. Please bring your deck and help us explore how numbers are used in the Rosicrucian tradition to interpret the esoteric meaning of the cards.

YOLANDA M. ROBINSON, PH.D, Member of Builders of the Adytum (BOTA); M.A. in Transformational Psychology, UPR; Adjunct Professor, UPR. Editor of the 2013 Revised New Art Tarot, author of Mysticism and Qabalah in the Knapp-Hall Tarot, and Studies on Mystical Tarot: The Court Cards.

UPR on Campus: The Meanings of America

Meanings of America

Johns, 1930-, Three Flags, 1958

Greg Salyer, Ph.D.
Dean and Chief Academic Officer
University of Philosophical Research

To continue the discussion online and to view resources on the topics,
write Dr. Greg Salyer at for
access to our UPR on Campus site.

Tuesday Lectures


Thursday Films


The Native Nation

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Before there was “America,” there was a continent of more than 500 nations and cultures varying widely in language, religion, and social structure. They practiced sophisticated land management, created a vast network of roads, and constructed large cities rivaling those of Europe. When the Europeans invaded, these 500 nations became one in the new American imagination, los indios or “the Indians.” The name arose from a mistake in navigation and remained as a mistake of the imagination to this day. Despite a calculated and prolonged genocide by Euro-Americans, Native people remain on the continent and survive through their ceremonies and humor.

Smoke Signals

Thursday, April 27, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Religious Nation

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

America’s creation myth is about religious freedom from a Europe still bleeding from its religious wars that were tied to state-sponsored religion. Members of the Plymouth Colony landed in Massachusetts in 1620 and provided a religious counterpart to the Virginia Company that had settled in Jamestown in 1607. The Plymouth Colony’s “freedom from” religion of the state and “freedom to” practice their own beliefs remains a pivotal tension at the heart of the America as a religious nation. The First Amendment of the Constitution articulates this paradox: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . .”

The Crucible

Thursday, May 4, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Immigrant Nation
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The meaning of America has been articulated since its beginning in the Latin phrase e pluribus unum, out of many, one. The many, of course, are immigrants. The one is harder to imagine and realize. This three-word myth assumes an America that is open and secure, diverse and unified, and constantly changing and fundamentally stable. That is an idealistic and perhaps impossible goal for a community, much less a nation of this size. A symbol that is usually associated with this myth is the melting pot, which appears instructive on the surface until we begin to ask questions of it. Who is doing the melting, and what is the result? What is lost and what is gained in the melting? Is it language, culture, identity? Such questions are more pressing than ever as the myth of the immigrant nation undergoes unique challenges and revisions.

The Immigrant

Thursday, May 11, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Destined Nation
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

It has been argued that the myth of the American West is the longest-lived of the American myths. Expansion to the Pacific Ocean represented a culmination of the colonization of the continent and finalized the nation-building that began with contact. In fact, Frederick Jackson Turner called the settling of the frontier the second founding of the republic, and this consummation of the myth of destiny did not end at the western ocean. Instead, it continued to grow into the nation’s first foreign policy doctrine of Manifest Destiny, a mythologically loaded phrase if there ever was one. Less of a consensus than the melting pot, Manifest Destiny nevertheless provided an ideology of American colonization and war that found
particular expression around the globe.

Dead Man

Thursday, May 18, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm
The Self-Reliant Nation
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Mythologies have heroes, and the American mythology has a hero at its center. That hero is you, the American. This hero myth is not reserved for noble ones or founders of cities, as in ancient mythology. Part of the American mythology is that the hero myth is available to all by their birthright as Americans. The myth connects to the nerve centers of the American mythos: individualism (and new spaces and resources in which to practice it), self-reliance, rags to riches, the American dream, and American exceptionalism. Moreover, the hero myth finds a home in everything from the American farmer to the American philosopher. Even those who had been excluded from the American dream by previous bigotry can (mythologically at least) become an American hero.

American Beauty
Thursday, May 25, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm
The Capitalist Nation
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

There is a good chance that any time a concept is presented as natural, self-evident, or inevitable we are talking about a myth. As Roland Barthes noted, “Myth transforms history into nature.” This observation is uniquely true of capitalism in America. The American Dream is a “self-evident” capitalist dream, thanks especially to popular novels of the nineteenth-century young adult writer Horatio Alger’s and his rags to riches myth. Any myth, however, must interface with other myths in the whole mythology. How does capitalism fare in this scheme? Surprisingly well, actually. In this lecture/discussion we will see just how and why capitalism is woven into the meanings of

There Will be Blood

Thursday, June 1, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Anti-Intellectual Nation
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Like their Hebrew mythological forebears, the founders of America used the concept of the chosen nation to define themselves against the “others.” Among these others are Europeans, and a primary feature of European mythologies is what has been described as a certain intellectual elitism. Never mind that it was such intellectualism that conceived and inaugurated America in the beginning. The emergent and still-present myth of the “plain-spoken” and “simple” American has been plied into political power repeatedly and effectively. Why should a nation value anti-intellectualism and how does it play into the meanings of America? The answers may be surprising and revealing.

Being There

Thursday, June 8, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Violent Nation
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Violence is the ritual practice of American myth. Given the belief that America was a “wilderness” that needed to be subdued, especially in regard to its Native people, violence becomes a sacrament of nation building and mythological regeneration. Congruent with the value of violence is the value of its tools, that is, arms. That America is and has been one of the most violent countries in history is directly related to the meaning and use of violence as establishing and renewing the meaning of America.

Birth of a Nation (2016)

Thursday, June 15, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Innocent Nation
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

While all nations avoid admitting complicity in nefarious acts, America has a unique approach to innocence that is drawn directly from the other meanings of America that we have been studying. Innocence is also related to another prominent meaning of America, that is, exceptional. Innocence and exceptionalism make for a powerful mythological identity that allows for Manifest Destiny and other mythologies to proceed without critique, or at least a critique that is recognized and accounted for. As such, it is a self-sustaining myth and also an extremely dangerous one both for citizens and the nation’s others.

Forest Gump

Thursday, June 22, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Future Nation
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Given the meanings of America that we have explored, it is clear that American mythology is uniquely oriented toward the future. Even as the Pilgrims looked back over their shoulders at the religious wars they left behind, they looked forward to establishing themselves in this new “Promised Land.” The open frontier continued to fuel this myth, and when the frontier was “closed,” the future took on the contours of capitalism and eventually space exploration. Add in innocence and exceptionalism and we have a recipe for the future that is uniquely mythological and American. Even the world acknowledges (or used to) that the future is American, for better or for worse.

Blade Runner

 Thursday, June 29, 2017,
7:00-8:30 pm


The Story and Meaning of Easter: A lecture by Dr. Obadiah Harris



A lecture by Dr. Obadiah Harris


Now this is a very auspicious occasion, and one I think is entirely appropriate to talk about the story and the meaning of Easter.  I would like to go back, way back, beyond custom and current practice to its original historic significance.  There is one historical fact that the students of comparative religion, comparative culture and philosophy will find very interesting and it is a whole field of study in itself, and one that I have given my life to, and that is this: whenever a great spiritual teacher emerges, he always presents a spiritual synthesis. And he adds to that something of his own light.

There is a line in the Bhagavad Gita, the Sermon on the Mount of India, which is a classic declaration of this historic fact and how that principle works which says “Whenever there is a crisis in cosmic affairs,  whenever there is an eclipse of the higher values, I Brahman,  am manifested in human form to hold back the forces of ignorance and ensure the progress of the race.”  Jesus was clearly of that caliber.

During his time on earth, there were four major religions or spiritual movements that were most common and most exercised in the evolutionary strivings of the civilized world.  They were paganism,  Judaism,  Egyptian mysticism, and Buddhism. It was the genius of this man to be able to reconcile, harmonize, integrate and synthesize these four great systems and present that to humankind. We will explore that today, so that we can more fully appreciate the significance of this world event;  the vernal equinox, the upsurge of new life that occurs every year at this time.

Now Jesus had this special gift, to be able to reach out and draw from the entire cultural, spiritual heritage of the human race.  Part of it came from study, part of it was research, and part was that a person like this is born into the world remembering.

I remember a line from George Burns when he had his 85th birthday on television and someone telling him how old he was said, “You must really be smart.”  And George said, “Well I know everything. It’s just that I’ve forgotten so much.” Jesus of Nazareth seemed to have an enormous memory. He seemed to be able to extract from paganism and integrate that into his world view. Even today, Christianity is full of pagan symbols.

Actually, pagan symbols are everywhere.  Rabbits and eggs are very popular. The rabbit was sacred to Eostre, the Teutonic goddess of Spring, because it is the symbol of the fertility of Spring.  And eggs were emblems of the universe to the pagans.  This was true not only in Greece, but in Rome and even in China.  In China there is the exchanging of gifts, the giving of dyed eggs on Easter.

It is the egg that symbolizes not only the universe but also the potential of life. The emerging potential.  We get our word ego from egg.  When the egg shell breaks,new life comes forth.  Easter is about breaking your ego shell and letting new life come forth.

At UPR, we co-sponsor a community meditation event. You might say we’re putting people through a practice of how to break the egg.  We cannot do it all at once; we have to really work at it.  Just at the time you think you have it accomplished, something else appears.  For every forward movement, there seems to be a backward drag.  But the eggs were a symbol of the universe. A symbol of the potential of life.

Also, there was the recognition that out of death comes life.  It is through the portals of death that immortality is possible.  In modern philosophy we call it being, non-being, becoming; that is the process. It was the genius of Jesus to recognize that this principle of creativity in the earth was also present in man in the spirit and in humankind. And therefore he took that and included it in his universal spiritual outlook. Recognizing it is through self-giving—through selfless giving for a cause that is greater than your own, greater than your family, greater than your nation but for the total neighborhood, the entire family, for the good of humanity.  Every time you can make a gift like that, make a gesture like that, something of the ego dies and a larger vision is born. It is a process of the unfoldment of consciousness. You can accelerate that by recognizing that this principle of creativity out of death to life manifests in your life all the time.  You can make it a way of life. Every time you get a chance to do something or say something that goes beyond your own self-interest, a spiritual rebirth occurs and a new level of consciousness emerges.  If enough people do that, the psychic temperature of the earth can rise and a new level of consciousness can be born.

So, Jesus was able to take the paganistic view of life emerging from death of this principle of the seasons.  What is it that you see there? I would like to take you with me and see if we can see what Jesus saw.  We might even go through some of the last days of his life on earth as we are told and see what it was he saw.

As you know, fall is followed by winter.  Winter is followed by spring.  In the fall, the leaves fall. Life falls.  In the winter, nature is crucified.  There is bereavement.  There is sorrow.  But at the very depth of this seeming death, this bereavement and sorrow, miraculously, mysteriously, wondrously, life emerges.  There is this upsurge of life out of the coldness of death.  Jesus recognized that cosmic creative principle and integrated that into his weltanschauung, his spiritual world view.

Then there was Judaism, which was a major force. He was, in my view, its finest flower. Judaism had discovered or had contained in its spiritual outlook what is called the transcendental view or transcendental reality.  And their view of the transcendental dimension of reality was manifested to them or seen through them as law, as justice. Jesus accepted that and became familiar with the laws of God as with the laws of nature through paganism, and found and added to that a dimension which we call today the eminence of God.  He called it not only the transcendental dimension, but he found that there was also an eminent dimension. A connection to the transcendental and the eminent was through love, according to him.  And it was this recognition of the eminence of God that got him into such great difficulty with religious and political authorities. Because many biblical scholars will tell you that we get closest to the mind of Jesus and to his lifestyle through the parables.  And it is this spiritual view that is contained in the parables that we will explore today and how he unveiled them in a style that he created for himself. He created the unique use of parables.  In later years, Judaism picked it up.

So what we are saying is that Jesus talked about the kingdom of God as opposed to the kingdom of Rome, which was so dominant in the world. So that when he spoke of the kingdom of God, he was talking about an experience.  He was talking about a different way to look at the world. He was saying to people who lived under the control of Rome, you have an option.  There is an alternative view of reality and you can look at the world through the eyes of the Divine, if you choose. The kingdom of God is within you; if you would just turn around. That’s the meaning of repentance.  He didn’t use the word repent, with its connotation of guilt. This is the meaning of “metanoia,” a Greek word meaning to change one’s mind.

Turn around. What do you mean by turn around? Well, we are so externally oriented.  If you will just turn around and look within, you will have a different perspective on the world.  You can see the world in an entirely different way if you will turn around and look within. Because that is where the kingdom of God resides. Now that is the eminence. That is the eminent dimension—God within. It is on the basis of that, Jesus had his non-dualistic vision of reality and could say out of the crucible of experience, the Father and I are one. When you have seen me, you have seen God. And, he would say that about anyone. And that is what is fundamental about the parables. There are no outsiders in the kingdom of God.  Read them sometime. Every one of them says that. There are no outsiders. Organized religion didn’t like that. They have to have outsiders. You have got to have somebody lost to have somebody found.  Insiders and outsiders. But not according to Jesus. The kingdom of Heaven has no boundaries.

So, all of the parables convey this sense of the divine eminence that we live and move and have our being in.  Jesus added to the idea of transcendence, accepted that, came to terms with that, understood the law of justice, but he also saw the eminence and the connection between the two as cosmic love.

Then there was Egyptian mysticism, very prominent in his day.  Egyptian mysticism contained and practiced many rituals around these principle ideas;  Jesus did something really tremendous with Egyptian mysticism.  In Egyptian mysticism there was the belief and the practice that through the partaking of the flesh and blood of a divine personality, that you can experience immortality.  Now what Jesus did with that concept was to subtilize it and give it a symbolical form.  That was part of his genius.  To take ideas and put them in a symbolic form so that you could experience it.  So he took the crudity out of that concept that it had fallen to, refined it and gave it symbolical form. So that if you will take the light of a great spiritual teacher, and as Manly Hall would say, if you will ensoul it, take these great spiritual truths that these great teachers bring and ensoul them, you too can experience immortality.

So on that Thursday, according to the story of Easter, his last Thursday here, Jesus really  gave the world one of the most graphic demonstrations of the subtlety of that teaching. You know, if you look at the last week of Jesus on earth on last Sunday, he entered into Jerusalem, they call it his triumphal entry, which Bible scholars say now is a rather moot question.  He was riding on the back of a donkey, not just a donkey but the colt of a donkey, which is like a Shetland pony.  Can you imagine a man about my size riding on a Shetland pony in white linen?  Well, that underlies the theme of all of his parables too.  That we experience the divine presence in ways we least expect it, from directions we would never suspect. Think of the parable.  Think of the Good Samaritan. What does it mean?  Well, it means that you experience the divine sometimes through your enemy.  We never like it, but sometimes it is the greatest experience of your life if you just look at it.  The Samaritan was an enemy, archenemy of the Jew.  There was no such thing as a good Samaritan.  And there was no lawyer there that day saying who is my neighbor. It wasn’t about being a neighbor. That is silly. Jesus wasn’t silly. He was profound. Experience the divine through your enemy. Why? Because there are no outsiders in the Kingdom of God.

So, on Monday he taught his parables. According to the great scholars, he spent most of the day sharing his parables with that throng who were tearing down palm branches and saying “Glad Hosanna to the Son of David,” giving him a welcome into the city.  They saw Jesus as a King. So he had to be a Son of David. That’s how they welcomed him. That night, Monday night, he went to Bethany and spent the night with Mary and Martha and Lazarus.      Tuesday is called the day of temptations.  And that is when Pharisees, Sadducees and others tried to embroil him with questions that would hopefully get him into difficulty with the authorities. The first question comes to him from a Pharisee asking, “Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar? After all you are talking about another kingdom. You seem to be living in that kingdom. We do not know where it is.” So, Jesus reaches into his pocket and pulls out a coin. He asks whose image is superinscribed there. They said “Caesar’s.” He said, “Well, render therefore things unto Caesar that are Caesar’s and to God, things that are God’s.” And then a Sadusee spoke up, concerning the Seven Time Widow.  She had married seven brothers in a row. They’d all died. I’d look into that. Seven in a row.  “We want to know at the resurrection, whose wife will she be?“ And he silenced that question by saying, “In the resurrection there is no marriage.” In other words, the resurrection is spiritual. Then a lawyer spoke up and said, “What is the greatest commandment?”  And Jesus said, “The greatest commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul.” And the second is like unto it.  Love your neighbor as yourself. Then, Tuesday night he went up on the Mount of Olives. Wednesday morning and all day Wednesday, not a word, not an event. There is not a record of anything on Wednesday.  He entered into silence. That is ultimate reality; the supreme silence.

There was a Hindu one time who asked of his spiritual teacher to teach him of the nature of Brahman. And the teacher said nothing, just stayed quiet. So, he asked the teacher again and the teacher remained quiet, said nothing.  And so, he asked the teacher a third time and the teacher said, “I have already answered you, but you don’t understand.” Which is to say, you cannot comment on that of which you know nothing about.  Supreme silence.

Wednesday night was the last time he slept.  Thursday, he sent the disciples back into the city and two of them were sent ahead to prepare the way for the celebration of the Passover, which, you know, is about deliverance out of Egypt into the promised land. Well, so the disciples went into this upper room, this upper chamber, and the Bible says that there was dissension among the disciples. The disciples were sitting around arguing about whom was going to be the greatest among the Kingdom of God. They still didn’t get it. And so Jesus heard the dissension and talking about which one will be the greatest in the Kingdom of God.  And so, he took out a basin of water and taught them a lesson in humility.  He washed their feet and dried them with a towel with which he was girded.  And he said to them, “I’m going to give you now a new commandment; that you love one another.“ Now that wasn’t new, that’s old, but then he added, “as I have loved you.” That is what made it new.

And then to utilize Egyptian mysticism and to protest the whole idea of the sacrifice of innocent blood; the idea of eating flesh and drinking blood would have appalled any good Jewish person, metaphorically speaking it would have been appalling. He picked up a glass of wine and said this is my blood. He picked up a loaf of bread and said this is my body.  And it so corresponded to the time when he went into the temple and turned over the money changers and released the animals.  He wanted to save their lives. And he said you can’t put your sins on the heads of these innocent animals. God is not interested in blood sacrifice.

You know the first temple, to give you an idea of where he was doing this, the first temple was built by Solomon in about one thousand B.C. and that lasted for about four hundred years. The children of Israel saw the temple in ruins when they were imprisoned in Babylon. And then Zarubable came along and he built a new temple on that same site and that lasted for about five hundred years. And then Herod came along and restored that temple and expanded it and that is the temple Jesus taught in, the third temple.

You see, those people today who think that salvation or that Jesus was a sacrifice for others, for their sins, for salvation; they just missed the whole point. Jesus would have been appalled at that notion to think of himself as a sacrifice for your sins. Incredible.  Appalling. There is no such God, not this loving God that he knew. Not this non-dualistic vision that he had of reality.

Then there was Buddhism.  Now Buddhism was a major force in the world.  Since Jesus is sometimes seen as a member of the Essene community, we know that Pythagoras had a big impact on the Essene community.  Pythagoreans adopted many of the views of Buddhism. And thus, Jesus partook of that knowledge. And he really saw something there and totally accepted it. And the central message of Buddhism, as all of you know, is universal compassion; Mahayana.

Jesus saw something in this message, this concept of universal compassion, as more powerful than any physical weapon. He believed if you would take this universal compassion and integrate it into social welfare, that is, social evolution, that it could change the world. Ahimsa, you see,  trying to get that to work as a modern day spiritual teacher, Mahatma Ghandi.

He tried to use the concept of Ahimsa with four hundred million people on the sub-continent of India and freed India, as you know, in your own lifetime, without resorting to violence. Ghandi used the term non-violence.  People wondered why he used a term like non-violence.  He used the term non-violence in order to make an emphasis of the ambilivance of human nature.  We have this strange and uncanny ability to talk about love and at the same time hate someone.  To talk about world peace while we are sharpening our knives. This is a strange capacity. So Ghandi wanted to use the term non- violence to say no way can you partake of universal compassion and talk or think about violence.  No way.

So Jesus saw in the concept of universal compassion of Buddhism as a great truth. This is what I want you to get. What he saw was not only a great truth but a concept that was fraught with great power; enormous potential for human transformation.  So he took the idea and integrated it into social evolution.

You students of history know very well that Rome didn’t have a chance once this concept became integrated into early Christianity. They didn’t have a chance.  It became unhinged with this concept in social evolution.  That’s what happened. In government, in positions of authority, all over there were people adopting universal compassion and giving to the poor and providing for the needy, and when Rome tried to clamp down it was too late.  People had tasted of universal compassion and nothing could be the same again.

Now, I shouldn’t leave this situation without also pointing out that the earliest account we have of Easter, and this I want to leave with you because time is running out. The earliest account we have of Easter in the scriptures, I mean, as we practice it, is not about Jesus’s resurrection but about ours.  And one can indeed surmise that this was the apostle Paul’s view of the matter.  But within the narrative of the letter around 50 AD, his focus is on our resurrection.  On Jesus being the first fruits of those who have died upon whose hope that death, the last enemy, has been destroyed. Now for Paul that is  the heart of the good news.

Now some maintain he wrote this passage to lend credence to his own credentials, to defend his apostulate.  Perhaps.  After all, like Peter and the twelve disciples and some five hundred, more than five hundred, and even Jesus’s brother James, Paul insisted he too had experienced the risen Christ.  Doubtless, this notion had merited in an emerging movement while the guidelines of authority were still malleable.  Whatever Paul’s precise intent, let’s be clear on this matter, in this initial version of what we’ve come to call Easter, Paul does not endorse the notion of a resurrected  corpse.  He does not argue in a way for the notion of a physical body  that has been raised.  He argues instead for an altogether new and different body.

In this early period, twenty years after the event, Paul evidently has no knowledge of an empty tomb.  He seems to not even be satisfied or even concerned to the notion of a missing body as even a unique or special event.  Thereby, Paul’s being is only the first of many who will experience resurrection.

Now, consider with me right now the lineage of the Biblical writings on this matter,  just for one moment.  I’m going to hold you on it. Whatever controversy still hovers over the question of the Sayings gospel, you know the Q gospel, the hypothetical document that was a source of both Luke and Matthew, you’re familiar with that, well, the evidence is plain to me that an early community formed around Jesus’s teachings that the Que community evidently imaged themselves as followers of the way that Jesus had taught.  They seemed to have had no passion story and it is difficult to know whether this early group had any formal notion of resurrection. But I would argue that they had experienced resurrection in new lives.  They were living now in that alternative vision of reality Jesus had illumined for them as the Kingdom of God.  It is one way ,perhaps, the very earliest Christians had understood Easter.

Now at about the same time Q people, the German word Quelle, we have the document now, we have it in the original form now, found the Nag Hammadi scrolls, found by the young man named Mohamed Ali, not the boxer. At about the time the Que people gave emphasis to Jesus’s teaching, Paul was shaping the communities he served around Jesus’s passion and resurrection with little regard for his teachings.  Had Paul known anything about an empty tomb tradition,  much less that of a missing body, it seems unlikely he would have written as he did.  After all, when he wrote about Jesus’s physical body he insisted what is sown is perishable.  He asserts without ambiguity that resurrection is not resuscitation. And I rather imagine he pictured Jesus’s body as deteriorating as that of any other fellow human. This view of Paul’s suggests, applies not just to Jesus but to all that are his followers.  He writes…so it is with the resurrection of the dead.  What is sown is perishable. What is raised is imperishable.

It is sown in dishonor.  It is raised in power. It is sown as a physical body.  It is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. And, as if this were not enough, he goes on to say…”Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Now finally, within twenty years of Paul’s description of the Easter experience, the author of Mark had discovered an empty tomb and a missing body.  The shape of Easter would now be sharply altered.  Matthew and Luke followed along with this wonder story, and John added his own peculiar twist.  The fact that these accounts seemed to be drawn from a similar source cannot change the fact that they are impossible to fully harmonize. While they share the notion those women were the first on the scene, only Mary Magdalene remains constant even in this.

In Mark’s gospel, the women flee and tell no one. In the other gospels they tell the disciples. In one account there is a young man present. In another an angel appears, and still in another two men in dazzling array are present.  All this is a late addendum to the earlier notions of the meaning of Easter, either in Paul or the Q materials.

I do not share the view that the Christian movement could not have come to full blossom apart from an empty tomb.  On the other hand, I believe it did come to full flower with the notion that human life here and now can be transformed.  It is clear to me that Jesus’s earliest followers believed his life and his vision of an alternative reality called God’s Kingdom had been vindicated by God.  Now they shared in Jesus’s own death defying faith and it had been a transforming experience.  They found as well something of his presence that was simply inescapable.  The spirit of this man met them on the other side of death.

I propose this is what Easter is all about.  And I contend the biblical literature itself leads to this conclusion. Moreover, I insist a literal reading of the event is demeaning, seriously demeaning.  In a curious way, Paul was right.  Easter is not so much about Jesus’s resurrection as it is ours.

Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education.

UPR on Campus—Gods and Monsters: Understanding our Hopes and Fears

UPR On Campus
Spring Quarter Free Course


Leviathan, Behemoth and Ziz. Ambrosiana Bible

Winter Quarter Lecture Series

Gods and Monsters:
Understanding our Hopes and Fears

Greg Salyer, Ph.D.

When we think about the most powerful beings in our symbolic worlds, we come immediately to gods and monsters. While each is charged differently (positively and negatively), a closer look reveals that they actually exist on the same continuum. Gods represent our best hopes, while monsters symbolize our greatest fears. In this ten-week study, we examine the psychological and cultural meanings of this symbolizing process. We will draw from the academic disciplines of anthropology, literature, mythology, philosophy, politics, psychology, and sociology as we examine gods and monsters in literature, film, and television.

To continue the discussion online, write Dr. Greg Salyer at for access to our UPR on Campus site.

Gods and Monsters




Greg Salyer is the Dean and Chief Academic Officer at the University of Philosophical Research and has been a teacher and administrator in higher education for almost twenty-five years. He has a Ph.D. in Literary Theory, Contemporary Literature, and Religious Studies from Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts and has taught in many venues, from small liberal arts colleges to a major research university, and also online since 2000. He has taught Gods and Monsters at several of these schools.

Past Lectures available on YouTube: Gods and Monsters Playlist

Lecture 1: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

How to Make a God: Religion and Anthropomorphism

Notice that we’ve already taken an important first step by assuming from the outset that we are able to make a god. In a religious education class, we wouldn’t make that assumption. We would assume, in fact, that gods exist apart from human creation and that our task is to understand them. To do that, however, we would have to deal with texts—sacred texts—from the Vedas to the Qur’an. Very soon we would find ourselves asking about the nature of those texts, how they were produced, and interpretive strategies we would use to understand them. We would then be in the realm of human imagination and culture, which is also where this study occurs. Put a different way, should these gods exist, it would be in our collective imagination and culture, so we should look there to understand the god within even if he exists without. In this lecture we take a step back from theology and engage in anthropology, sociology, and psychology. That means we are focusing upon individuals, culture, and the meaning-making process that produces gods and monsters. What is that process? That’s the first lecture: How to Make a God.


Lecture 2: Tuesday, January 31 (7:00-8:30 pm)

How to Make a Monster: The Id and Seven Principles of Monster Culture

This week we see the other end of the gods-monsters continuum and once again analyze the processes and projections involved. Our focus now will be on how we represent our greatest fears. If we make gods in one way or another, why would we think of making monsters? But we do make them, and they keep coming back. In fact there may never have been a time when we have been more interested in monsters. What functions do these creatures serve? To conjure up horror for ourselves, there must be something dark and dangerous going on in our psyches, our cultures, and our fertile imaginations. Freud has provided the most comprehensive theory of that psychological process. He calls it the Id, and it’s a part of all of us. There is also a cultural dimension to monsters, one that may be even more interesting than the psychological one, that is appropriately termed “monster culture.” As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: ““Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” This week, we look into the abyss to see what is looking back at us.


Lecture 3: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Giving Birth to Gods and Monsters: Greece and Babylon

The oldest stories we have are those of gods and monsters, though it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart. That’s because in these ancient stories from Greece and Mesopotamia, we have gods who act monstrous and monsters who act god-like. It’s not as confusing as it sounds at first. Hesiod’s Theogony is unique in the world of mythology. While we have many wonderful and fascinating creation myths throughout the world, this story is a creation myth of the gods themselves. The text also introduces some major themes of gods and monsters, such as order and chaos. From Greece we move to Babylon and a story behind the story of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. Enuma Elish is, like Theogony, a creation story of the gods and of the world, but it has unique and monstrous features that engage both our greatest hopes and deepest fears.


Lecture 4: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

The Divine and Monstrous Feminine: Sophia, Medusa, and their Sisters

In the story of gods and monsters, it appears that women who are seen as the former are eventually turned into the latter. There have been many theories set out to explain this strange phenomenon. Most of them have to do with the inherent power of the woman to create life and the resulting response from masculinity to attenuate or obliterate that power. Whether we call it “womb envy” or patriarchy, the placement of women on the god-monster continuum speaks volumes about a culture’s values. Sophia is the goddess of wisdom and appears in the Hebrew Bible and Gnostic texts from the Christian era. She is said to be with God at creation. With a gaze that turns men to stone and hair writhing with snakes, Medusa has invoked fear for millennia. In fact, it is said that Medusa was made out of terror, not terror out of Medusa. Hélène Cixous put it better: “You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she’s not deadly. She’s beautiful and she’s laughing.” Beautiful monsters and wise goddesses—it’s going to be an interesting discussion.



Lecture 5: Tuesday, February 21, 2016 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Christian Gods and Monsters: Jesus, the Devil, and the Book of Revelation

What may be familiar this week will become strange as we look at one of the most famous (and infamous) god-monster dualities. While we could spend all ten lectures just here, we will focus on the apocalyptic drama of Jesus and the Devil as it plays out in that most-monstrous of biblical texts—Revelation. Much has already been said about this devilishly difficult book, but we will take an approach here that is sure to be new to you. It is also one that will reveal the text to be more than just an hallucinatory trip through ancient symbolism that produced the most controversial book in the Bible. On the contrary, Revelation contains a well of interpretation that has yet to be fully drawn. Plus, there’s a dragon.


Lecture 6: Tuesday, February 28, 2016 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Leviathans: Gods and Monsters in the Sea and the State

Leviathan is an ancient biblical monster who appears in the Psalms and Job. He is also the title creature of Thomas Hobbes’ work seventeenth-century work on government. What do these two god-monsters have in common? More than you think. You may have heard of Hobbes’ description of life as ““solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” The only way to address this situation, according to Hobbes, is to create a body politic with a monster for a head. The features of that monster are drawn directly from the biblical leviathan. It’s time to talk politics, gods, and monsters.


Lecture 7: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Modern Gods and Monsters: The Death of God and the Rise of the Superman

Let’s allow Friedrich Nietzsche himself introduce this lecture/discussion: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” (The Gay Science). Nietzsche and his protagonist in Thus Spoke Zarathustra live on the razor’s edge of the god-monster paradox and are not fearful of being wounded by it. In that way and others, Zarathustra is a modern god and monster in one who calls us individually to become the same.


Lecture 8: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Frankenstein: The Hopes and Fears of Technology

The product of both a dream and a contest to write the best ghost story, Mary Shelley’s novel has become a touchstone for Western culture’s monstrous imagination. If you know Frankenstein’s monster only through film and popular culture, you do not know him at all. He is, perhaps, more human than his creator and quotes Milton and Goethe as he seeks to know his place in the world. Moreover, the monster is a modern incarnation of older gods and monsters, some of whom we have already met. No wonder, then, that the creature has become our most well-known and well-worn monster. He touches several psychological and cultural nerves in his search for his creator and meaning, and he notes at one point in the story: ““I ought to be . . . Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel.” We could say the same about ourselves as we contemplate our most famous monster.


Lecture 9: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Dracula: The Hopes and Fears of Eternal Life

His name means devil or dragon in Romanian, and after Frankenstein’s, Dracula is one of our most familiar monsters. We have seen that gods and monsters exist on a continuum, and Dracula falls here as well. He is cloaked in divine presence but is also clearly monstrous as he overturns sacred expectations in terrifying fashion. That terror operates on a cultural level as well, as the Count symbolizes the otherness of different cultures. In fact, we shall see that he represents specific cultural and religious traditions, some that we know from our studies to this point. As we saw in our exploration of monster culture, the monster always returns, and that’s because the monster never actually dies. The symbol of life, eternal and mortal, is blood, and that symbolism connects to some of our oldest hopes and fears. “The blood is the life,” says one of the characters. Blood, sex, death, and eternal life—it’s all in Dracula and in religion.


Lecture 10: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

The Walking Dead: The Hopes and Fears of Being Human

It seems appropriate somehow that we end our series with zombies, our most recent and uniquely “American” monster, if only because zombies are about the end of life and civilization as we know it. It is also appropriate because zombies seem to be a super-symbol for what it means to be human. How so? Zombies capture our concerns with the body, viruses, contagion, and cannibalism, along with larger concerns such as the soul, chaos, the uncanny, ethics, and the apocalypse. Perhaps more than anything else, zombies are monsters that cause us to ask what it is to be human. Are we gods or monsters, angel or animal, both or neither? Those will be the questions for our last lecture/discussion. We may even find some answers.


Second Saturday Speaker’s Platform

UPR is pleased to announce its 2017 Second Saturday Speaker’s Platform! With one faculty member each month sharing a lecture and discussion with our community, we will be offering three talks per quarter in this series.

We will have extended bookstore and library hours (10am-4pm) every 2nd Saturday of the month in conjunction with the series. A selection of our faculty will be presenting online, indicated below, available to all international and traveling students.

$12/lecture, $30/Quarter

2017 Speaker’s Platform
Lecture Date (Single Lecture):

Winter Quarter:

Saturday, January 14th, 2017:

“Mentoring the Inner Journey”

With Jonathan Young, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium


Sometimes, seekers get help with the quest. Teachers and guides appear at key moments with bits of insight or practical suggestions. Mentor images in stories and dreams can assist us as we move toward enlightenment. Wisdom figures in mythology, literature, and film include Merlin, Glinda, Gandalf, Mary Poppins, Dumbledore, The Fairy Godmother, Baba Yaga, and Charlotte (with her web). Carl Jung was assisted by Philemon. We will discuss the role played by inner and outer advisors who show us the way.

Jonathan Young is a psychologist and storyteller who assisted mythologist Joseph Campbell at seminars and was the Founding Curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library. He is also contributing producer and featured commentator on the Ancient Aliens televisions series. His books and articles focus on personal mythology. Dr. Young is on the faculty of the University of Philosophical Research

Saturday, February 11th, 2017:

“The New Philosophical Paradigm for the Spiritual Unfoldment of the Self”

With Pierre Grimes, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium


This lecture will discuss the following:

  • The dangerous inherent power of the exercise of the dialectic.
  • The folly and origin of false beliefs about the Self.

Pierre Grimes Ph.D. Philosophy, University of Pacific; MA Comparative Philosophy, University of Pacific; BA Philosophy, San Francisco State College

He is the founder of the philosophical midwifery movement, which is an adaption of Socratic midwifey, and is a mode of philosophical counseling. The name Philosophical Midwifery comes from Plato’s dialogue, The Theaetetus.

  • Professor of Philosophy, Golden West College
  • President of the Noetic Society, Inc.
  • Director of the Open Mind Academy
  • Author of “Is It All Relative?” and “Philosophical Midwifery”

10:30 am, Saturday, March 11th, 2017:

“The Soul’s Journey”

With Richard Geldard, Ph.D.

Online Lecture Video


The idea of a soul as a symbol of the eternal, a remnant of divinity, an expression of the afterlife, has always been part of the human journey. From India, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and beyond, mystics philosophers, artists, farmers and laborers alike hold to the idea of a small piece of divinity within. The soul was born, been dormant, neglected, and revived and then lost, but always reborn. It has been in the world’s wisdom traditions that the soul has been the most consistent presence in human nature  Each of these traditions has its own knowledge and experience for us to measure against our own sense of this part of our being.

Professor Richard Geldard, PhD is a member of the UPR and Holmes Institute faculties. He teaches courses in Ancient Greek Thought, New England Transcendentalism, Hermeticism, and The Examined Life. He is the author of a dozen books, the latest being “The Soul’s Journey,” His web site is


Spring Quarter:

Saturday, April 8th, 2017:

“The Peculiar Spirituality of T.S. Eliot”

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

With Tim Shaughnessy, Ph.D.


This lecture concentrates on a small selection of T.S. Eliot’s major poems.  Emphasis focuses on words, images, symbols, and a creative style that when blended together creates verse of profound metaphysical significance.  We will review and discuss quotes from Eliot’s early works, The Waste Land, Hollow Men, and move forward to his later work, The Four Quartets.  Along the way, we hopefully gain insight into Eliot’s peculiar spirituality.The critic Scott James, notes:  There is no portrayal of common emotions.  All the things which common people think of as practical and desirable vanish into insignificance under Eliot’s vision.In his own words, “ Poetry is of course not to be defined by its uses.  It may effect revolutions in sensibility, such as are periodically needed; may help to  brake  up the conventional modes of perception and valuation which are perpetually forming; and make people see the world afresh, or some new part of it.  It may make us from time to time a  little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are usually a constant evasion of our selves, and an evasion of the visible and sensible  world.  But to say all this is only to say what you know already, if you have felt poetry and thought about your feelings.”Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 4.07.02 PMTimothy Shaughnessy, Ph.D.  B.A. degree In English Literature from Arizona StateUniversity; Masters in English Literature from Northern Arizona State University; Ph.D in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University, emphasis in Research and Community Education. Teaching experience at University of the Pacific, CA, in English Composition, Arizona State University in Public Administration and grant administration. Served in four U.S. federal agencies; Department of Health and Human Services as a program specialist,: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a compliance analysis; Department of State, Voice of American as Director of Management Analysis, and the Internal Revenue Service as Chief of Financial Revenue and Chief of Educational Services Program. Consultant to the U.S. Department of Education and Veterans’ Administration. Consultant to the University of Philosophical Research.


Saturday, May 13th, 2017:

“Rebirth, Reincarnation & Transmigration: An Overview”

With James Santucci, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium


An examination of the process of reincarnation.  Is reincarnation the same as transmigration, metepsychosis, and rebirth?  What is  reincarnating?  What is the difference between resurrection and reincarnation?

Dr. James A. Santucci is a retired Professor of Comparative Religion at California State University, Fullerton.   He received his Ph.D. degree from the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia) in Asian Civilization with an emphasis on the Veda. He is the editor of Theosophical History and Theosophical History Occasional Papers and the author of La società teosofica and An Outline of Vedic Literature, articles and book chapters appearing, among others, in the Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, Nova Religio, Alternative Christs, and The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements.  He is also a contributor (the Sanskrit language) to the Intercontinental Dictionary Series (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig).

Saturday, June 10th, 2017:

“In Excess of Being: A Phenomenological Practice of Nature”


With Sabrina Dalla Valle M.F.A.

Online Lecture Video
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Is nature understood today as more a symptom of something else we haven’t yet discovered?  Out of physical necessity, I attempt to follow this inquiry in a Goethean sense, looking at nature as “the pregnant point from which a series of phenomena governs itself from within outward.” For anything that is alive retains a certain potential…and it is here that we understand the primary order of things. Being recently affected by lung toxicity I am acutely aware of the coherency between inner and outer atmospheric conditions. In such a disabled state, dualism is implicitly dissolved. There is only one ‘nature’ flowing between human and environment. To understand what this means on a more concrete level, l am observing the external atmosphere in which I live by way of light quality, climate and sound- and my own inner breath in terms of lung capacity for air and congestion. In this description, I am also attempting to look beyond the tensions of the inner imagination and the outer world so as to experience time forms not bound to the psyche or measured cycles active in current scientific observation of atmosphere.

Sabrina Dalla Valle, MFA, is a writer of experimental and philosophical texts. She is author of Bee as Timbral Space :  a post-geometric eclogue (2016, Logosophia Books), 7 Days and Night in the Desert (Tracing the Origin) selected by Mei Mei Berssenbrugge for Best First Book Award (2013, Kelsey Street Press). Her writing has been anthologized and archived in  Mindmade Books 2012 chapbook series; Alchemical Traditions (2013, Numen Books); University of Pennsylvania’s The Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (PennSound), 2014; San Francisco State University’s The Poetry Center Archives, 2014; UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2016.  She is co-founding editor of Diaphany, a peer-reviewed journal and nocturne for the publication of written and visual work that explores phenomenological perception and integral expression.


Summer Quarter:

Saturday, July 8th, 2017:

“Making Meaning in 2017

With Greg Salyer, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

It is an unprecedented time in American and world history. Democratic institutions are threatened and appear to be waning while the problems they were created to address are worse than ever. Ennui and angst are prominent if not dominant, and it seems that our social interactions are increasingly poisonous. The public sphere has become a mutual shouting match, and our politics are locked into the same intransigent and vituperative rhetoric. As W.B. Yeats put it, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” He would go on to say that some revelation must be at hand. Is it? Do we need a revelation, a new vision? If so, what might it look like? What do the ancient wisdom teachers have to say about all of this? How do we make meaning in 2017 and beyond?

Front Camera

Professor Salyer is the author of Leslie Marmon Silko, a study of the prominent Laguna Pueblo writer’s work, and the co-editor of Literature and Theology at Century’s End. He has published many essays and given numerous presentations on Native American literature, contemporary fiction, and literature and religion. He received his Ph.D. from Emory University in literary theory, contemporary fiction, and religious studies. Greg has chaired numerous departments and directed several programs, including English, liberal studies, and writing programs. He has been teaching online since 2000 and is the Dean and Chief Academic Officer at the University of Philosophical Research.

Saturday, August 12th, 2017:

“The Deadlock of Modern Theoretical Physics as a Fallout of the Crisis of Materialism and Education: A Critical View From the Perspective of a Scientist, Teacher and Spiritualist”


With Marco Masi, Ph.D.

Online Lecture Video


Contrary to popular belief, the foundations of physics are facing one of its deepest intellectual crisis. While applied physics experienced a tremendous development, and several new discoveries from the micro- to macro-cosmos revolutionized our understanding of the physical world, the progress in the conceptual foundations of modern theoretical physics stagnated. For more than half a century now physicists worldwide tried to unify quantum mechanics with general relativity and conceived of a plethora of new ‘quantum gravity” theories (like superstrings, etc.) But recent results coming from particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are telling us that nature ignores them. How the universe works at these levels remains mysterious more than ever. Overall the net impression is that of a great confusion and incertitude, which clearly signals a deep foundational as methodological crises. What is left among many is a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration for the lack of real progress, and nobody knows why. I suggest that the problem is not merely technical or scientific, but has its roots in a cultural and social understanding of how education should work. Our schools and academia are designed to foster too much the intellectual and rational faculties of the child, student and academic, and tends to suppress the contact with our inner being. With most of us not being aware of it, our educational systems are designed to expunge a priori the intuitive thinker, the seer, the naive but free visionary. The lack of these spiritual and intuitive personalities in mainstream science, is best reflected in those activities of science which are not practical oriented but more of a conceptual and philosophical nature. I will discuss how this has been the case with particle physics and modern unification theories.

Marco Masi graduated in physics at the university of Padua, Italy, obtained a Ph.D in physics at the university of Trento and worked as a researcher in universities in Italy, France, and Germany, where he now lives. His interests veered towards new forms of individual learning and a new concept of free-progress education originated from his activity both as a tutor in several universities and in the last two years as a maths and physics teacher in a high school, which gave him a deep insight into the modern educational system with all its systemic, social and also unconscious intricacies that are at the root of many modern educational issues.

Saturday, September 9th, 2017:

“Infinite Information, Worlds Without End: Myth and Religion in the Age of the Internet”

With Robert Ellwood, Ph.D. (Assisted by Richard Ellwood)

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium


The Internet has greatly changed the ways we humans learn, practice, and understand religion.  This presentation will survey some of those ways, from basic information, to blogs discussing religious issues, to on-line services and even whole religions, to the mythologies of computer games, to “Second Life” religious exploration, to “Cyber Apocalyptic” speculation that in time cyborgs, human-computer hybrids, will emerge to change wholly the nature of human life, and so of religion.  Richard Ellwood will project relevant websites on a screen as the talk and conversation proceed, and will demonstrate an oculus rift device which can put the wearer in an alternative reality.

Robert Ellwood, a Ph.D. in history of religion from the University of Chicago, is emeritus professor of religion at the University of Southern California, and the author of religious studies textbooks.  He now lives in Ojai, CA, with his spouse and two cats.  Richard Ellwood is technology director at Besant Hill School in Ojai.


Fall Quarter:

Saturday, October 14th, 2017:

The Impact of the Renaissance on Occult Traditions and the Birth of Hermetic Tarot

With Yolanda Robinson, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

One of the most important contributions of the Renaissance to the history of Western thought was the fusion of Humanism with pagan traditions, pre-Socratic thought, Platonism, Aristotelianism, Christianity, and even Cabala. Classical texts were rediscovered at this time, and works like the Corpus Hermeticum, the Hymns of Orpheus, and the Chaldean Oracles (attributed to Zoroaster) were embraced as wisdom literature. Tarot, tarocchi, is a child of the Renaissance and shares many of the characteristics of the cultural and social life of that time. Hermetic Tarot also carries its own consciousness and has accrued even more hermetic and occult characteristics beyond the 17th century and into modern times.


  • To provide background and examples of the way that Tarot (tarocchi) evolved within a hermetic-cabalistic current that defined the consciousness of the Renaissance.
  • To show how magic, alchemy, astrology and mystery traditions in general were incorporated into the art and literature of the Renaissance.
  • To suggest, using the concept of “poesis of the psyche,” how the birth of Hermetic Tarot coincides with the birth of the Renaissance Magus.

Yolanda M. Robinson, Ph.D, has been researching Hermetic traditions and working with Tarot for over thirty years. She holds a M.S. in Transformational Psychology from UPRS. Dr. Robinson is a retired Foreign Service Officer and is presently on the faculty of the University of Philosophical Research. She recently edited the new edition of the Knapp-Hall deck (2014) and published a book on Mysticism and Cabala in the Knapp-Hall deck (2015).

Saturday, November 11th, 2017:

“Principles of Transcendental Leadership: Leadership Connected to the Heart of Universal Intelligence and Collective Wisdom”


With Shawne Mitchell, M.A.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

In this talk, we will explore a new modality of leadership that is a radical attempt to synthesize leading-edge thinking, ancient wisdom, and the present conscious evolution, in order to affect profound individual and collective change – so acutely needed in our world today.Transcendental Leadership shifts us away from the old paradigms of leadership models into a new leadership modality highlighting interconnection and wholeness. We know that the complex problems of today will not be resolved by the consciousness that created them. Transcendental Leadership offers us a model to provide leadership that can contribute to the evolution of the world where the conscious awareness of all of humanity is developed for the betterment of all. 

Leading from a place of transcendence, from a consciousness of wholeness, David Bohm explained:

Your self is actually the whole of mankind … the past is enfolded in each of us in a very subtle way. If you reach deeply enough into yourself, you are reaching into the very essence of mankind. When you do this, you will be led into the generating depth of consciousness that is common to the whole of mankind and that has the whole of mankind enfolded into it. The individual’s ability to be sensitive to that becomes the key to the change of mankind. We are all connected. If this could be taught, and if people could understand it, we would have a different consciousness. 

We hope you will join us in this afternoon of change-making.

Shawne holds a Masters Degree in Consciousness Studies from the University of Philosophical Research and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Washington. Shawne has been practicing meditation for over 35 years. Her deep wisdom, combined with her travels and experiences, has evolved into speaking, teaching, workshops, published articles and books.

She is preparing a course, Mystical Traditions and Contemplative Practices, which she will be teaching at the University of Philosophical Research in 2017.

Saturday, December 9th, 2017:

“The Journey of the Fool: an Exploration of the Major Arcana as a Mythology on Life”

With Athena Kolinski, M.A.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

A journey through the Major Arcana of the Tarot will take you down roads you will know well. The experiences with both the outer and inner worlds take you to through the mundane, to the challenges of the dark night of the soul, to rebirth into new levels of who we are.

Together we will explore the movement through the cards, how they interface with each other, the characters and how they speak to you in this life. Watch the mythology of the Major Arcana come to life before your eyes, and see it in a whole new light.

Athena Johnson-Kolinski, M.A. teaches at University of Philosophical Research, where her second master’s degree was obtained in Consciousness Studies. Athena is a Dreamworker, Certified Tarotpy Practitioner and New Dreamwork Coach for Star Card Dreaming (, as well as an active member of International Association for the Study of Dreams.



UPR on Campus—Understanding the World’s Religions


Beginning Tuesday, October 25th, UPR professor Dr. Greg Salyer will offer a weekly public lecture and discussion series at UPR. Touching upon the tremendous diversity of religious traditions practiced across the globe, Dr. Salyer will utilize universal notions such as myth, ritual, the idea of the sacred, and community to weave a rich tapestry of thought and discussion in order to strengthen our understanding of the world’s religions. $10 suggested donation per lecture (we ask that you try and reserve your ticket in advance so that we can best accommodate each class)

Lectures will take place in the Auditorium. Please check-in inside our bookstore. Bookstore hours are extended until 9pm on lecture nights

All lectures are being recorded and will be made available online at the following link

Greg Salyer is the Dean of Students at the University of Philosophical Research and has been a teacher and administrator in higher education for almost twenty-five years. He has a Ph.D. in Literary Theory, Contemporary Literature, and Religious Studies from Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts and has taught in many venues, from small liberal arts colleges to a major research university, and also online since 2000. He has taught world religions at most of these schools and has developed a unique approach to the subject, one that uses five “lenses” from the discipline of religious studies to examine particular religions.

Lecture 1: Tuesday October 25, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Perspectives on Religions

Beginnings are important to a religion—and to studying it. One of the best ways to understand a phenomenon as complex as religion is to begin simply, in this case with etymology, the origin and history of the word itself.  We will also explore the five lenses we will use to study religion: the sacred, myth, ritual, community, and the individual.

Lecture 2: Tuesday November 1, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

The Sacred in Native American Religions

The oldest religions on earth can be found in contemporary expressions of indigenous traditions. In the face of globalisms old and new, their resilience is astonishing, and some of their adaptations are immensely creative. Their understandings of sacred space and time both predate and influence our own. Centered on the landscape and oral storytelling, these traditions represent a religious perspective that is unique and integrative.

Lecture 3: Tuesday November 8, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Myth in Hinduism

Like indigenous religions, Hinduism contains traces of religious belief that antedate it by incalculable years. Hinduism emerged from these earlier beliefs and practices to create the oldest institutional religion on earth. Much of its vitality is found in its sacred texts and myths, which include deep philosophical ruminations, songs, epic poems, and manuals for the performance of rituals. We will examine Hinduism through the lens of myth, specifically, in terms of its nature and functions. 

Lecture 4: Tuesday November 15, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Ritual in Buddhism

Buddhism is a branch of Hinduism that developed into its own, full-fledged religion, and it is in part a set of rituals that is uniquely centered in the body, from its beginnings in its founder’s early asceticism to its ritual practices of meditation. One of the most widespread and eclectic religions, Buddhism has many incarnations across the world. We will examine Buddhism through the lens of ritual, specifically, the body, symbol, and magic.

Lecture 5: Tuesday November 29, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Community in Chinese Religions

For much of its existence, Chinese culture was closed to other cultures, especially Western cultures. As the Chinese gazed inward, they focused religiously on domestic balance and harmony. All of these religions see ethical practice, relationships, and the maintenance of institutions as the highest expressions of the sacred. We will examine Chinese religions through the lens of community, specifically, ethics and institutions.

Lecture 6: Tuesday December 6, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

The Individual in Zoroastrianism

Often overlooked even in world religions courses, Zoroastrianism has been a pivotal religion in the development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, contributing much of its ideas of individuality and eschatology to them while retaining a small but dedicated group of adherents even today. Unique rituals and concepts combine to make Zoroastrianism one of the most influential and interesting world religions. We will examine Zoroastrianism through the lens of the individual, specifically, salvation and the afterlife.

Lecture 7: Tuesday December 13, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

The Sacred in Judaism

One of the oldest living religions, Judaism offers a unique perspective on identity and tradition by virtue of its anthropomorphic deity and vital traditions. In addition to thriving despite millennia of persecution, Judaism has given birth to other religions, notably Christianity. We will examine Judaism through the lens of the sacred, specifically, anthropomorphism and tradition.

Lecture 8: Tuesday December 20, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Myth in Christianity

Christianity begins by taking another religion’s story as its own, then adding a global, evangelical element. As such, Christianity’s story has been at the center of its history and practice, even with radically diverse versions of it. We will examine Christianity through the lens of myth, specifically, its forms and relationships.

Lecture 9: Tuesday January 3, 2017 (7:00-8:30pm)

Ritual in Islam

A religion that was effectively “the world religion” for much of the Middle Ages, Islam is unique in its focus on practices, whether it is the pilgrimage to Mecca (the hajj) or one of the other five pillars. We will examine Islam through the lens of ritual, specifically, rites of passage and communitas.

Lecture 10: Tuesday January 10, 2017 (7:00-8:30pm)

Community in Sikhism, Bahá’í and New Age Religions

Religions tend to present themselves in exclusive fashion, even as they adapt to include other cultural elements, but Sikhism and Bahá’í are two religions that successfully adapt and include other religions. Sikhism blends Hinduism and Islam, Bahá’í incorporates all of the world’s religions in a fascinating mixture, while New Age Religions are eclectic by their very nature. We will examine these religions through the lens of syncretism and eclecticism.

Saturday Bookstore & Library Hours


Our Bookstore and Library will be open the 2nd Saturday of October, November, and December in preparation for our upcoming 2017 2nd Saturday Speaker’s Platform and the approaching Holiday Season.

Saturday 10/8/16: Bookstore & Library open 10am-4pm

Saturday 11/12/16: Bookstore & Library open 10am-4pm

Saturday 12/10/16: Bookstore & Library open 10am-4pm

The Research Library will limit occupancy to 10 visitors at a time.

Our Bookstore is always open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Come visit us and browse our selection of new and used books spanning an expansive array of subjects and interests from Alchemy and Alternative Healing to Depth Psychology, Mythology and Buddhist Studies…As well as a selection of incense, gem stones, symbolic prints and tarot decks

We offer literature and catalogs for all of our online degree programs as well as select textbooks and course albums for audit and independent study.

We are also the original home of an in-depth selection of works published by the Philosophical Research Society spanning from the 1930s to recent releases. Click here to view PRS Publications.

Questions? Contact us at: 323.663.2167 ext.116,

Radio Interview with Dr. Obadiah Harris


Tune in this Friday, September 9th to hear UPR President Dr. Obadiah Harris discuss the topic of spirituality expounding upon his wealth of experience as a devoted author, educator, and spiritual seeker with host David Gaggin.

The “Common Sense Spirituality Show” will air this Friday at 9am Eastern/ 6am Pacific on W4CY and WVET. Please use link to listen in and share with your online communities. The podcast is usually made available on iHeart Radio the Monday following the airing.

The Common Sense Spirituality Show discusses spiritual issues ranging from topics like karma, reincarnation, souls and faith to the nature of mankind and the purpose of life. The show considers religious, scientific and metaphysical views and seeks to help the listeners expand their consciousness by finding life’s most plausible answers. Host David Gaggin, is a former Boeing engineer, Army & NASA Director, life long researcher into mankind’s greatest mysteries, and author of The Endless Journey.

Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education.

He is the author of multiple books, including his most recent title, The Simple Road: A Handbook for the Contemporary Seeker published this year by Tarcher/Penguin.

Claiming Our Stories


Swan at SunsetSaturday, September 10th, 2016

A six-hour seminar with Jonathan Young and Anne Bach. 

A sense of life-story can have a strong impact on our inner development. This course explores major themes in formative myths. We will look at how hidden motivations and expectations can shape the unfolding adventure. Such patterns influence perceptions, choices, and possibilities. Tales like The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson are more than entertainments. They have guiding wisdom for how we see our own journeys. Life fulfillment can be seen as a project of creating a satisfactory biography. It is crucial to cultivate a vision that nurtures our best qualities. Central tasks include finding authenticity, being loyal to cherished values, and having compassion towards oneself and others. Integration involves cultivating a radical sense of acceptance of our stories as they are.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discern the shaping influence of life stories.
  2. Recognize how crises of faith, courage, and identity can be calls for renewal.
  3. Establish how reflecting on personal storyline can aid in the integration of competing goals.

Open to everyone. The course is not just for psychotherapists. It is open to all those interested in archetypal perspectives. The lectures are presented at the introductory level and require no background in mythology, narrative theory, or Jungian psychology. 


Jonathan Young, Ph.D., PSY10231, is a psychologist storyteller, and writer on mythic stories. He assisted mythologist Joseph Campbell at seminars and was the Founding Curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library. His books and articles focus on personal mythology. Dr. Young is on the faculty of the University of Philosophical Research     

Anne Bach, M.S., MFT 38891 is a specialist in uses of writing in psychotherapy. She gives presentations on creativity as inner work at major conferences, and lectures widely on psychological dimensions of expressive writing. Her clinical background includes poetry therapy with residential mentally ill patients.   


In person: $140 with CE credit   ~   $95 non-credit

Webinar: $95 with CE credit   ~   $45. non-credit

Call (323) 663-2167 ext. 112 to reserve your ticket over the phone or select one of the following to purchase tickets online:

Claiming Our Stories — Click for Tuition Options:

 For half-price tuition (students and UPR alumni only) please call (323) 663-2167 ext. 112

Day Schedule:

Checking-in begins at 9:30 a.m.

10:00 – Underlying Patterns in Life Stories

11:15 – Break (approximate time)

11:30 – Character as Identity and Purpose

12:30 – Lunch Break

1:30 – Cultivating the Richness of Destiny

2:30 – Break(approximate time)

2:50 – Harvesting the Layers of Emerging Narratives

3:50 – Break(approximate time)

4:00 – Story Work in Helping People

5:00 – Course concludes – Total 6 hours (RNs 7 hours)

CE Credit Information:

The material is presented at an introductory level, requiring no background in mythic studies, narrative theory, or Jungian psychology. Non-credit: Those not needing verification of attendance, such as teachers, writers, clergy, and artists – are welcome as non-credit attendees. Spouses, friends, students, and others not needing verification of attendance can also choose the lower non-credit tuition. 

Continuing Education hours are available for psychologists, marriage & family therapists, social workers, nurses, and other mental health professionals. The course meets CE requirements in most states. The certificate of completion will be provided by the Center for Story and Symbol. 

The following CE credits are available:

Psychology, MFT, LCSW, LPCC : 6 CE hours, Nursing: 7 hours. Most teachers must get credits approved by their school administration. Credits are provided by the Center for Story and Symbol. Center courses meet the requirements in most states. 

CE Hours: 

Psychology, MFT, LCSW, LPCC, Ed Psych: 6 CE hours   –   Nursing : 7 hours  Approvals:  Psychology ~ The Center for Story and Symbol is approved by the American Psychology Association to sponsor continuing education hours for psychologists. The Center maintains responsibility for these programs and their contents. CE hours are accepted by the California MCEP program. Full attendance is required for psychologists – No partial credit. The level is introductory for psychologists. 

MFT, LCSW, LPCC ~ California BBS Provider Number PCE 3903  RN ~ Provider approved by the Calif. Board of Registered Nursing, BRN Provider Number CEP 12477 

Teachers ~ Continuing Education courses are customarily approved by immediate supervisors. It is usually sufficient for teachers to attend on a non-credit (auditing) basis and present a receipt for the course. 

Facing Death Without Fear by Dr. Barry Kerzin


Friday, June 17, 2016, at 7 PM

California Lutheran University’s Samuelson Chapel


Many people spend considerable time worrying about their ultimate death, fearing the unknown yet trying to prepare for the occurrence. Knowledge and acceptance of death as the natural extension of life may provide some comfort on our journey. The process of death involves eight stages from the
Buddhist understanding. We will discuss and contemplate on these processes. Through understanding, what is happening as we die reduces fear. I will share some experiences of unusual deaths as a physician and Buddhist monk.”

Please get a free ticket, necessary for entry, at our Altruism in Medicine Institute website

1-day workshops are June 18 & 19 and June 25 & 26.
For more info, go to