Upcoming Events

Events Calendar 2017

Upcoming events include:

20 September, 18 October, 22 November, 13 December: 'The Essence of The Bhagavad Gītā'

9 Dec: "The Book of Hours" with Jeremy Naydler details

For next year, we are planning events looking at Welsh mythology, Norse mythology, and Hindu festivals - more details when we get them.

For comments, feedback, podcasts and photographs of events that have already taken place, click 'Older Posts' at the foot of this first page.

All events are held at Fintry Retreat House, Church Lane, Brook, Godalming, Surrey GU8 5UQ, unless otherwise stated. Take a look at who we are: Fintry photo album

The Essence of The Bhagavad Gītā

A series of four sessions this autumn exploring 'The Essence of The Bhagavad Gītā', led by Stephen Silver.

The Bhagavad Gītā is an Indian classic and a timeless and practical guide to life, and it provides the essence of the teaching of Advaita, non-duality. It describes the paths by which each individual human being can attain liberation.

Sri Ramana Maharshi was asked by a student if there was a simpler way of coming to the essence of the Gītā without having to learn all 700 verses. Out of compassion, he selected 42 verses and reordered them to into a narrative. In this course, consisting of four monthly sessions, we will study these 42 selected verses in an attempt to touch the essence of this great work. The dates are: 20 September, 18 October, 22 November, 13 December.

The provided study material will include the verses from a number of different translations, each giving an indication to the meaning. Participants are welcome to bring their own favourite version of the Gītā if they have one. The course is open to those who have no previous experience of the Gītā and to those who have studied it for years. No knowledge of Sanskrit is required.

The course will be led by Stephen Silver, a student of philosophy for over 40 years. Stephen is currently in charge of Practical Philosophy Berkshire, a branch of the School of Economic Science.

Cost: £10.00 per monthly session, to include all refreshments and access to the house and grounds from 9.30am–12pm.

For bookings and enquiries, contact 01428 682621 or fintry.administrator@btconnect.com.

The Medieval Book of Hours - 9 December

The Medieval Book of Hours and The Sanctification of Time
Saturday 9 December 2017 10.15–15.30

The Book of Hours was the standard book of popular devotion during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. It enabled the devout laity to follow inwardly the spiritual rhythm of the monasteries, thereby grounding the shifting moods of the soul in a greater sacred time-cycle. At the core of this illustrated prayer book was a sequence of images known as ‘The Hours of the Virgin’. The images focus on the relationship of the Virgin Mary to Christ, and include familiar episodes from both before and after the birth of Christ. These episodes are brought into relationship with the seven Hours of the day and the one Hour in the middle of the night dedicated to the inner life of prayer and meditation.

The two illustrated talks will aim to show that the long-neglected tradition of the Book of Hours still offers a deep and viable meditative path that can both give direction to, and strengthen, our inner life.

Speaker: Jeremy Naydler holds a PhD in Theology and Religious Studies and is author of a number of books on religious life in antiquity and the history of consciousness. He has a long-standing interest in medieval spiritual life and has previously spoken at Fintry on The Seven Deadly Sins and on Dante’s Divine Comedy.


Past Events

Below this point are all the past events, some with podcasts and/or photographs, and the list continues  under "Older Posts".  Any donations would be gratefully received (see lefthand margin).  Feedback can be given by clicking "Comment".

Windows into Heaven: Understanding Russian Icons - 2 September

Saturday 2 September, 10.15-15.30

A day workshop looking at some important examples of Russian Icon painting, demonstrating how to decode Icon symbolism, examining some of the key biblical episodes focussed on by icon painters, and considering the use of colour and composition in the portrayals. During the day participants spent time contemplating key painters and miraculous stories associated with icons, as well as their use within homes and in Orthodox churches.

The speaker, Frances Eley, is a lecturer in Classics and Archaeology for the Open University, who has particular research interests in ancient Mystery Religions.

Understanding Egyptian Gods - 15 July

This day workshop looked at the key pantheon of Egypt, the Gods, Goddesses and holy families, their symbols and attributes. We examined key myths, such as the myths of Isis and Osiris and the Creation, as well as important sanctuary sites on the Nile, and also considered ideas about the afterlife and morality and some ancient Egyptian Liturgy.

Speaker: Frances Eley is a lecturer in Classics and Archaeology for the Open University, with particular research interests in ancient Mystery Religions.


The Wisdom of The Bhagavad Gītā - 10 June

An afternoon talk on an Indian classic and timeless guide for life. Aldous Huxley said that the Bhagavad Gītā ‘is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.’ Albert Einstein said ‘When I read the Bhagavad-Gītā and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.’ In this talk, Stephen Silver showed why this ancient text has such appeal to modern scientists and philosophers from East and West, and how it can be a practical guide for life for each of us today.

Speaker: Stephen Silver has been a student of philosophy for over 40 years. He is currently in charge of Practical Philosophy Berkshire, a branch of the School of Economic Science, an educational charity and centre for spiritual development promoting the philosophy of Advaita, non-duality.


Gregorian Chant - 8 April

This was a taster day in Gregorian Chant, led by Helen Nattrass, Director of Canterbury Gregorian Music Society. Chant has ancient roots and is used in many spiritual rites throughout the world. It is a way of heightening the emotional effect of prayers and other spiritual communications. Gregorian Chant is an example of chant used in the western Christian tradition for singing the Mass and the Divine Office; it survives particularly in monastic communities, but also in parishes where it is valued. It is known for its serenity and the way it speaks deeply to the heart. Gregorian Chant is not difficult to sing: there is only one music line and no complex counterpoint or harmony. It also has a flexibility of pitch to suit the voices of the group, so you can relax as you learn to join in this most beautiful of spiritual arts.

Helen Nattrass has worked with Canterbury Gregorian Music Society (www.gregoriansociety.wordpress.com) for ten years, teaching and coaching groups of ordinary non-specialist amateurs in this music. She is well-known for her friendly and down-to-earth approach, and her ability to enthuse the beginner with an appreciation of the subject. Details

Two videos of the day can be viewed on our Youtube channel, with Helen Nattrass leading the participants in learning chant:

Herbs and Herbal Remedies - 17 March

Understand more about the natural world around you and learn about the beneficial use of plants and herbs. Learn about infusions, decoctions, glycerites, salves and much else. The tutor for this study day is Karin Haile, who is a member of the Association of Master Herbalists and has been a herbal practitioner for many years.


Come Home to the Heart - 18 February

A Silent Day of Mindfulness and Compassion, led by Barbara Boxhall. This will be a day for turning inwards and experiencing the practices of mindfulness and compassion: the body scan, sitting, eating, walking, moving and deepening into the stillness that these practices bring.

The day costs £30.00 (please bring packed lunch). To book, contact Barbara directly at barbara@stillness.co.uk or 01243 785333.