In Alumni in Action, Alumni Resources, Events

Divine Darkness: A Lecture by Dr. Colette Kavanagh

Mythological studies alumni Colette Kavanagh will be presenting a timely online lecture on Divine Darkness on Dec. 17th in association with the  Embassy of the Free Mind in Amsterdam.

Today we are living in a time of spirit. Everything must be fast and light: fast-connecting devices, fast food, fast service, fast dating, fast epidemic, fast quarantine, fast “lockdown” and even fast vaccines. Spirit is masculine energy and it is wonderful. It helps us to breathe new life into things, to innovate, create, and inspire us to new heights and accomplishments. But when it is disembodied from feminine energy, from matter, reaching ever upward, we may fall like Icarus risking “burn out”.

Surrounded by darkness, we are invited to slow down, deeply reflect, sleep, and make communion with intuitively felt wisdom and intelligence grounded in our bodies and the world. The darkness penetrates our soul and reminds us of the sacredness of all things – it helps us to see with different eyes.

This is why Colette named her talk “Divine Darkness”. For centuries, we have been demonising both “darkness” and “blackness” as metaphors for evil, decadence and an inferior way of being in the world. It’s in our language, our religions and our psychic reality. This has negative consequences, racism being one of them, and it has resulted in disrespecting feminine qualities also.

Dr. Colette Kavanagh comes from Ireland where the Stone Age temple “Newgrange”, originally called Brú na Bóinne (ancient name Síd in Bhru), stands for over five thousand two hundred years. It covers roughly one acre of land, is six hundred years older than the Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, and one thousand years older than Stonehenge in England.

The word “Sid” means “otherworldly,” while Brú in the Old Irish language means “womb.” It is, therefore, not surprising that the temple’s form appears to represent the female body which in the Neolithic period and the times of Old Europe was a common metaphor for fertility and nature.
Each year at the Winter Solstice, the Sun enters the narrow passageway of the temple illuminating the rear, circular chamber and shining directly on a triple spiral carved on the rear wall. The alchemical dictum, ‘As above, so below’ suggests that this annual cosmic event celebrated the sacred marriage or Hieros Gamos in the human psyche as a ritual, symbolic penetration of the male (sun or spirit) and the female (earth or matter).

We need this wisdom now more than ever to continually rebalance the energetic “light” of spirit and the reflective “dark” of the soul. Spirit without a body is a ghost. Body without spirit is a corpse. The marriage of these opposites is necessary to create the cosmos as well as a well-balanced life.


ONLINE LECTURE: The lecture will be live streamed through Zoom from Amsterdam so everyone who is interested can watch the talk at home. You will be able to ask questions via Zoom to Colette Kavanagh. You will receive a Zoom link via email in the week of the lecture.


After the lecture, you will receive a private link to the recording of the lecture that will be available until 31 January 2021. So even if you can’t join on the evening of the lecture itself you will still be able to watch the event!


Dr. Colette Kavanagh is a Cultural Psychologist, an international lecturer, and a published writer who grew up in Ireland. She acquired her Ph.D. at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Her subject: Myth and Symbol in Art, Literature and Religion, with special emphasis in Depth Psychology (psychology of the unconscious), led her to explore the connection between ancient myths, symbols and modern culture. Her understanding of liminality, transition and change: how cultures evolve and develop, was the focus of her Ph.D. dissertation and her on-going research.

Despite her passionate interest in modern culture, she also loves to explore the stories, myths, poetry and rituals that have sustained her Irish ancestors for generations, thereby grasping the deep-seeded truths and beliefs that have been passed on from generation to generation and built the culture in which they lived.


Date: Thursday 17 December 2020

Tickets: € 12.50 / $ 15

Language: English

Time: 7.30 – 8.45 pm AMSTERDAM

1.30 – 2.45 pm NEW YORK

10.30 am – 11.45 pm LOS ANGELES


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