The New Chartres Academy

The Fourth Liberal Art


Healing the Soul,
Awakening the Spirit

July 3–9, 2016
Chartres, France

“Sound or vibration is the most powerful force in the universe. Music is a divine art, to be used not only for pleasure but as a path to God-realization.”

—Paramahansa Yogananda

Each month, the Chartres community of students, faculty and wisdom seekers gather on a free Community Call.
Click here to register for this free Community Call or to listen to audio recordings of calls.

Chartres Organ Chartres Labyrinth

Dates: July 3–9, 2016

Location: Chartres, France

Core Faculty: Jim Garrison,Ph.D., Apela Colorado, Ph.D., Andrew Harvey, Karen Rivers, Ph.D., Peggy Ruben

Guest Faculty: Seymour Bernstein, Ruth Cunningham, B.Mus., and Gary Malkin

Academic Credit:

Ubiquity University B.A. & Masters -
3 credits*

The Wisdom School (WS) Doctoral -
4 credits

Fulfills Wisdom School’s Core Course Requirement for Mystics/The Mystical Traditions


Public Audit $1,400.00 USD
UU BA/Masters Student/Alum Audit $940.00 USD
UU Doctoral Student/Alum Audit $1,250.00 USD
UU BA/Masters Student tuition* (3 credits) $1,510.00 USD
UU Doctoral Student Tuition (4 credits) $2,010.00 USD
UU Doctoral Student Tuition Deposit $500.00 USD
UU Doctoral Tuition Final Payment $1,510.00 USD

• Anyone attending both Chartres and Pilgrimage to Damanhur can receive a “combo” discount: email Stacy for one US $500 discount if taking both for academic credit, or one US $250 discount for anyone else attending both.

* Students enrolled in B.A. and M.B.A. programs should email registrar Stacy for more information about course requirements for each degree level. Active BA and MBA students may apply for tuition discounts.


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The original Chartres Academy, founded in 1006, was dedicated to a path of initiation through the Seven Liberal Arts founded on the mysteries of the Divine Feminine and the miracle of birth. In the Chartres Academy the threshold experience of birth was not only considered in light of the soul’s entry into physical existence, but also in relation to the birth of the higher self, to undergo an alchemical process of transformation leading to the capacity to embody the divine human. This process was a training through which students gained an ever-deeper understanding of cosmic harmonies. The correlation between all the Liberal Arts was a love of wisdom; the meaning of “philosopher” was ”lover of wisdom—lover of Sophia.” For the ancients, philosophy was not an intellectual exercise but a way of life, an orientation that we are seeking to recreate and honor through the New Chartres Academy.

Chartres Cathedral

The Chartrean masters knew and taught that through initiatory training we can experience a Cathedral (or other sacred place) as a threshold to the spiritual dimension. They taught the use of sanctuaries as portals through which to enter a higher consciousness. The cathedrals were built as gateways through which contact with spirit could be achieved. They consciously shaped a crucible for the transmutation of humankind.

The New Chartres Academy is grateful for the privilege to meet in this architectural wonder and holy sanctuary in pursuit of the transmutation of humankind through the Seven Liberal Arts. To Learn More about the New Chartres Academy and the pilgrimages scheduled from 2013-2019 Download this PDF.

Musica ~

Chartres Cathedral

July 3–9, 2016, we will celebrate the fourth Liberal Art of Musica. The Chartrean masters identified an iconic representative of each of the Liberal Arts. Pythagoras stands as the guiding spirit of Musica. According to tradition, the harmonic structure of western music was discovered by Pythagoras during the fifth century B.C. Pythagoras experimented with a stretched piece of cord. When plucked, the cord sounded a certain note. When halved in length and plucked again, the cord sounded a higher note completely consonant with the first. It was the same note at a higher pitch. Pythagoras discovered the ratio 2:1, the octave. Further experiments led to his understanding of the mathematical principles underlying the intervals of the western musical scale. As a result of these experiments Pythagoras perceived number as the key to the universe. When he found that harmonic music is expressed in exact numerical ratios of whole numbers, he concluded that music was the ordering principle of the world. That music was denominated in exact numerical ratios demonstrated to him the intelligibility of reality and the existence of a reasoning intelligence behind it.


He considered the harmonious sounds made with instruments or voices as an approximation of a larger harmony that existed in the universe, “the music of the spheres.” Music was number made audible. Music was human participation in the harmony of the universe. This discovery was fraught with ethical significance. By participating in heavenly harmony, music could induce spiritual harmony in the soul.

Following Pythagoras, Plato taught that “rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful.”

The ancient Greeks were also wary of music’s power because they understood that, just as there was harmony, there was disharmony. Musical discord could distort the spirit, just as musical concord could properly dispose it.

Cicero claims that music can return humans to a paradise lost. It is a form of communion with divine truth.

Musicians are artistic alchemists who help to transmute the Earth by making its substance and human souls resonate with echoes of heavenly music. In so doing, these earthly echoes also become audible in the heavenly spheres, thereby creating an energetic weaving between heaven and earth. The metaphysics of music, like the art of alchemy, aims towards the harmonization of all nature as well as to the reunion of the human being with his or her divine self—changing gross metals into gold.

—Joscelyn Godwin

Research has shown that music has the power to change emotional states, change perceptions and physiology, and elevate spiritual awareness. Certain types of music, devotional and sacred in nature, also have the power to transform individual and collective consciousness into the heightened states of love, forgiveness, compassion and physical healing. Such heightened states of loving awareness are what empower human consciousness to more empathetically identify with disharmonious societal and geopolitical issues, environmental imbalances and attune to a deeper awareness of the root causes behind physical health situations. This same heightened awareness is what inspires the ability to envision, co-create and implement solutions for these various disharmonies. Music can heal the soul, attune the spirit to the Prime Resonance of God/Creation, and unite human beings in harmonious creativity. Music is capable of artistically revealing the trials of initiation. It can bring to expression personal experiences of pain and liberation and open avenues of contact with divine spiritual beings. In this way, music can become a bridge between the sense world and the spiritual world, transforming our life path into a conscious spiritual path.

Wisdom has created a superlative gathering of thinkers who care about the future of humans and this beautiful planet. The radiance and truth of Chartres shines through the carefully woven themes so eloquently expressed that one is deeply inspired and expanded!!

—Student - Rhetorica, 2015

We will experience the practice of listening, of toning, of harmonizing, which are all elements of the curriculum designed to awaken new faculties of perception. This and more will be part of our immersion in the Liberal Art of Musica.

Daily Program ~

Each day will include Sacred Practice, Dreamwork, an opening session, focused work to develop the spiritual art of Musica, immersion in the Cathedral, time for meditation and exploration. The afternoon will include artistic work and singing. We will have one private evening in the cathedral devoted to walking the labyrinth, accompanied by Gregorian chant, another private evening in the crypt, and a morning for sacred song.

Dreamwork ~

A significant part of our Chartres program is dreamwork led by Apela Colorado. Over the years, students have dreamed powerful and often prescient dreams in Chartres. The community comes together each morning to report on their dreams and to discern their deeper meaning.

The New Chartres Academy provided me with not only an exceptional intellectual experience as I learned about rhetorica and the history and lore of Chartres Cathedral, but even more importantly, it provided an opportunity for the deepest of sacred exploration, and personal transformation. The faculty were uniformly excellent, experts in their fields, and the gathering took place in lovely Chartres village on a hill overlooking the river where it is said the Druids roamed in ancient times. In this place I felt the presence of the Shakti, the Divine Mover, the Sacred Feminine, so needed in our world today. Of all of the similar gatherings I am attended over the years, the New Chartres Academy, Rhetorica: Love and Beauty Through the Word, has been by far the most deeply felt and personally transformative.

—Student - Rhetorica, 2015

Core Faculty includes:

Jim Garrison, Apela Colorado, Andrew Harvey, Karen Rivers, Peggy Ruben.

Guest Faculty

Seymour Bernstein

Seymour Bernstein is one of the most gifted pianists in the world today. Andrew Harvey has called Seymour the “Jewish Dalai Lama” because of his exquisite artistic sensibilities and profound empathy with students and indeed everyone he meets. At 88, he is quite literally a living treasure and we are very privileged to have him with us.

Seymour and Andrew have just co-written an amazing book called Play Life More Beautifully, a dialogue between the two of them on the transformational power of music. Seymour’s passion is composition and performance but, most deeply, he loves teaching and mentoring students on the piano in his home on the upper west side in New York City.

Seymour is the subject of a major documentary by the movie star Ethan Hawke called Seymour: An Introduction (full film available on Netflix or Amazon) which was released last Fall to critical international acclaim.

Ruth Cunningham

Ruth Cunningham is a classically trained musician, a sound healing practitioner, and a founding member Anonymous 4. She combines these skills to improvise music that connects people to the healing and spiritual power of music. She specializes in improvisational sacred music from varied spiritual traditions in both liturgical and concert settings. Her new solo program Light and Shadow encompasses a mixture of music including several traditional chants from Western and Eastern traditions as well as Ruth’s own compositions and improvisations. The texts include Medieval Latin Marian texts, Sanskrit texts, prayers, and poems by Ruth’s sister Elizabeth Cunningham. She accompanies herself on Medieval harp, Renaissance flute and recorder, piano and shruti box.

With Anonymous 4, she has performed in concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East and made ten recordings, nine of medieval chant and polyphony for harmonia mundi and one, Voices of Light by contemporary composer Richard Einhorn, for Sony Classical. After leaving Anonymous 4 for a number of years to study music and healing, Ruth rejoined the group in 2007 and is once again touring and recording with them.

Ruth’s most recent CD releases are Light and Shadow: Chants, Prayers and Improvisations and Harpmodes: Journey for Voice and Harp. She has released two CDs of multi faith chants with colleague Ana Hernandez: Blessed by Light and HARC: Inside Chants. Among her other recordings are Sacred Light with harpist Diana Stork on the At Peace Music label and Ancient Beginnings which is part of the Open Ear Center’s music for healing series. She is featured on Invoking the Muse a CD with Frame Drummer Layne Redmond released on the SoundsTrue label.

Gary Malkin

Gary Malkin, a multiple Emmy, CLIO, and ASCAP award-winning composer, producer and recording artist, is dedicated to making a difference in the world by creating musical resources and events that inspire the heart and catalyze individual and social healing. He is a dynamic presenter, passionately speaking and performing on the vital role music and sound can serve as a catalyst for greater emotional and spiritual coherence for the individual—as well as for the world’s institutions. Gary is the co-creator of the internationally acclaimed book and CD set, Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying, produced by his life-enhancing media production company, Wisdom of the World, which is dedicated to harnessing the healing power of music to deliver poignant messages from the world’s known and unknown visionaries in support of facing our life transitions with more mindfulness, wholeheartedness, and Grace.

Gary is the founder, along with music/healing pioneer Michael Stillwater, of a non-profit organization called Companion Arts, dedicated to psycho-spiritually supporting healthcare providers to access greater resilience and self-care skills through provider-focused educational programs and resources called Care for the Journey. He also created a new contemplative film genre called WisdomFilms™ which features music-infused messages from leading global thinkers such as Deepak Chopra, Desmond Tutu, and Thich Nath Hanh for stress reduction and heart/mind integration during these challenging times.

He has given keynotes, presentations, and performances for the Harvard’s Conference on Spirituality and Health; Scripps Clinic, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association, Association for Professional Chaplains, the Institute for Noetic Sciences, and The Center for Integrative Medicine among many others. He is a contributing author to the Oxford University Press compilation entitled, A Time for Listening and Caring: Spirituality at the End of Life.

Required Reading

This list is evolving—additional essays and audio links to come.

The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song by Elena Mannes

The award-winning creator of the acclaimed documentary “The Music Instinct: Science & Song,” explores the power of music and its connection to the body, the brain, and the world of nature. Only recently has science sought in earnest to understand and explain this impact. One remarkable recent study, analyzing the cries of newborns, shows that infants' cries contain common musical intervals. Physics experiments show that sound waves can physically change the structure of a material; musician and world-famous conductor Daniel Barenboim believes musical sound vibrations physically penetrate our bodies, shifting molecules as they do.

The Power of Music follows visionary researchers and accomplished musicians to the crossroads of science and culture, to discover: how much of our musicality is learned and how much is innate? Can examining the biological foundations of music help scientists unravel the intricate web of human cognition and brain function? Why is music virtually universal across cultures and time—does it provide some evolutionary advantage? Can music make people healthier? Might music contain organizing principles of harmonic vibration that underlie the cosmos itself?

The World Is Sound: Nada Brahma:
Music and the Landscape of Consciousness
by Joachim-Ernst Berendt

Scientists have only recently learned that the particles of an oxygen atom vibrate in a major key and that blades of grass ‘sing.’ Europe’s foremost jazz producer takes the reader on an exhilarating journey through Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America, exploring the musical traditions of diverse cultures and reaffirming what the ancients have always known—the world is sound, rhythm, and vibration. Berendt’s book is alive with his experiences—living in Bali, studying at a Zen monastery in Kyoto, and encountering budding jazz stars in Indonesia, Japan, Europe, and the United States. Drawing from his friendships with composers and performers as well as his knowledge of new physics and Tantra, cybernetics, Sufism, and the works of Hermann Hesse, he reveals the importance of sound in shaping cultural and spiritual life worldwide.

A tribute to the work of many of the greatest figures of our age—including Hans Kayser, Jean Gebser, Sufi Hazrat lnayat Khan, musicians John Coltrane and Ravi Shankar—Berendt’s book suggests that hearing, rather than seeing, is the key to a more spiritual experience of consciousness. His discussion of sound in relation to mathematics, logic, sacred geometry, myth, and sexuality is practical as well as theoretical, offering readers a variety of techniques for developing the ear as an organ of spiritual perception.

Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying, by Wisdom of the World.

Through words and music, this beautifully designed set offers a renewal of faith to anyone struggling with grief. The book’s heartfelt words, from some of the world’s greatest visionary leaders, are set to original soulstirring music, creating an atmosphere of relaxation, insight, and healing. Created by the cofounders of the Companion Arts Foundation, Graceful Passages addresses themes of letting go, closure, expressing love, forgiveness, appreciation of life, and continuity of spirit from different perspectives and faith traditions. Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish clergy are represented as well as Native American, Confucian, and Buddhist voices, creating a truly multifaith resource. A compelling musical score, created by a pioneering healing music artist and award-winning composer, lovely still-life photographs, and elegant design create a gentle invitation for the reader and listener to reflect upon what matters most in life.

Play Life More Beautifully: Conversations with Seymour by Seymour Bernstein

Play Life More Beautifully is a series of passionate and illuminating conversations between religious scholar, poet and teacher of mystical traditions, Andrew Harvey, and acclaimed pianist, composer and teacher Seymour Bernstein. Seymour Bernstein—87 and going strong—has become an inspiration to thousands of people thanks to the hit documentary Seymour: An Introduction, directed by the actor Ethan Hawke.

In the style of the bestselling and poignant Tuesdays with Morrie, this book covers everything from God, music, friendship, teaching, death and more. Through the conversation of these two dear friends, readers will learn more about themselves and their precious life on this earth.

This is a must-read for those who want gentle guidance and honest advice about embracing and expressing their creativity, living meaningfully and following their dreams.


The Golden Age of Chartres, by René Querido.

Rene Querido explores the golden age of Chartres in the early eleventh century through the great Chartrean masters, interweaving the magnificence of the building, and the great significance of the ideas that developed around it.

Recommended Reading

Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination by Robert Jourdain

What is music? How and why does it affect us? What is the nature of musical genius? Author/composer Robert Jourdain explores these and other questions, from the essential nature of sound through composition, performance, and, finally, the nature of ecstasy. His prose is eminently readable, offering a very accessible account of a difficult subject to the general reader as well as to the musical sophisticate. This is a fascinating and intriguing book, written by someone who clearly knows his subject. —This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Synthesizing recent research from the burgeoning science of musical psychoacoustics, Jourdain, a California musician, provides a richly informative, exuberant, wonderfully accessible introduction to how we perceive and experience music. Choosing examples eclectically, from Henry Mancini’s “The Pink Panther” to Mozart, Stravinsky and Duke Ellington, he explores how, when we compose, perform or listen to music, the brain assembles musical devices, patterns and harmonies into vast, meaningful hierarchies of sound. He also offers tantalizing if inevitably unsatisfying answers to such age-old enigmas as what makes a great melody or how music elicits emotions and gives pleasure. Requiring no prior musical or scientific knowledge, this survey is sprinkled with interesting historical anecdotes (Beethoven was an early victim of metronome mania; Aaron Copland hit upon the title Appalachian Spring only after he had finished composing his tone poem) as well as seldom-appreciated facts. We learn, for instance, that musical dissonance and consonance have a neurological basis, in the inner ear’s structure. Jourdain writes with verve, infectious enthusiasm and rare insight into music's emotive power.

The Divine Feminine: Recovering the Feminine Face of God Around the World,
by Andrew Harvey and Anne Baring

The Divine Feminine is an exploration of the way the Goddess archetype has been worshipped and celebrated around the world, stemming from antiquity and passing down into modern times. In this beautifully illustrated anthology, celebrating the goddess in her many permutations from Isis, Ishtar, and Gaia, to Kali, Kuan Yin, and the Virgin Mary. Including wisdom of the Feminine from ancient Egypt, Sumeria, Greece, in Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Sufism, Christianity, and Buddhism, as well as native religions.

This book is foundational for all students attending the New Chartres Academy.

Writing Assignment for those taking the course for credit

There is no Pre-Paper Assignment for this course.

Post-Paper Assignment

Write 12–15 pages focused on the ideal of Musica, weaving together content from the reading materials, lectures, meditations, ritual and artistic work, and your experiences of inner transformation. Explore the alchemical power of music as an agent of soul and spirit transformation. Include your experiences of these mysteries during your time in Chartres, and what may have been revealed to you in your interface with the Divine Feminine. In keeping with the mystical rigor and creative expression essential to the original Chartres School, visual imagery, drawings, musical composition, musical recording, poetry, dreams or visions are welcome as part of your paper.

Papers are submitted to Karen Rivers at: