2016 workshops at Cecil Sharp House
2 Regents Park Road, London, NW1 7AY
One day workshops with Tim Addey
These workshops are open to all and will run from 10.45 am to 5.30 pm, with breaks for refreshments (which will be provided) and lunch. Numbers will be limited and you are invited to book early by writing to email@example.com for a booking form. The cost of the day, including refreshments, is £25 but if you cannot afford this, you are invited to write to the Treasurer at the above email address for a concession.
April 10th – The Symposium "The Initiations of Diotima"
Plato's Symposium is one of the great philosophical works of the world: in it a group of well-educated gentlemen settle down to discourse on Love. Even the normally bare-footed Socrates has put on a pair of shoes in recognition that this is high company – but into this circle of Athens' intelligentsia Socrates introduces the initiating priestess Diotima. He recalls how she taught him the hidden mysteries of Love or Eros – a strange intermediary between mortals and the immortal Gods, an unconquerable power who calls each of us towards divine beauty, a conductor of souls to their happiest life. Step by step, Socrates says, she showed him the path to the highest goal of human striving, following the pattern laid out by the mystery initiations of Eleusis. She also shows how profoundly Eros and Philosophy are related to each other: for in just the same way that Eros is an intermediary, so too is Philosophy (the love of wisdom), standing as she does between our ordinary consciousness and true Wisdom. In this workshop we will explore the teaching of Diotima as reported by Socrates, attempting to follow that path of initiation in which truth and beauty are conjoined, for as the Platonically inclined Keats wrote –
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
June 12th – The Republic "The Divided Line and the Cave"
At the heart of Plato's magnum opus, the Republic, is a relatively small section which concentrates much of the entire dialogue's message into two images: the first is the "divided line" which outlines Plato's understanding of our ability to know truth at various levels; the second is the story of the Cave which challenges us to re-examine our assumptions about reality. The two images taken together reveal why it is that the philosophic life is centred around the process of firstly, bringing light to bear on our inner powers, and secondly, using that light not only on the inner but also on the outer life. In this workshop we will begin by asking ourselves whether we recognize in ourselves the experience of the four levels of knowledge (which can be described as perception of images, perception of physical objects, perception of rational objects, and perception of intuitive objects)? And if so, what validity do we ascribe to the experiences? We will then move on to explore the cave, the movement the story describes from possible illusion to reality, and the responsibilities which attach themselves to those who embrace the love and discovery of wisdom.
August 7th– "Homer’s Odyssey as the Soul's Journey"
Homer, that half-legendary, half-historical figure who links the oral story-telling age of mythology to the literate age of high Greek civilisation is known for his two great epics, the Illiad and the Odyssey: the Platonic tradition mined both works for their profound insights into the human condition. In this workshop we will concentrate on the Odyssey which is seen by Platonic philosophers as a representation of the soul's re-ascent to her true home – the celestial "Ithica." The tests that Odysseus undergoes as he makes his way from the shores of Troy, laden with treasure, to the cave upon Ithica's shore in which the Goddess Athena appears before him can be considered as images of the various trials each of us must face as we cross the ocean of life before regaining the lost empire of the soul. We will draw on the writings of Porphyry, Proclus, Plotinus and Thomas Taylor who all wrote about the hidden wisdom of Homer and the convergence of myth and philosophy.