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Salt Lake City, Utah

Previous Activities:

Winter 2005 Lecture Series


From Merlin to Gandalf, the figure of the wizard has a primal place in the Western imagination. In our legacy of legends, the wizard stands as intermediary between seen and unseen worlds. He councils and guides men in the perilous journey through the ancient forest of destiny where light and dark forces intermingle.

Occasionally the appellation of “wizard” falls upon a historical figure, an exceptional being who mysteriously touches our collective imaginal definition of a wizard. The Swiss physician and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung was just such a man.

Throughout his long life, Jung labored to share a vision that stretched out beyond the common ken. True to the wizard archetype, he was pitched in his own personal quest between realities seen and unseen, conscious and unconscious, known and forgotten. And in spirit, he remains a consummate guide to the modern soul on the ancient path that “passes through the Great Hedge and leads beyond the familiar world of the Shire.”

In this series of four lectures, Dr. Lance Owens will examine the life and work of C. G. Jung, and reflect upon the nature of his wizardry. In our discussions, we will search to understand the human experience that motivates our enduring interest in Wizards. (This is a special tenth anniversary edition of Dr. Owens’ popular “Jung course”, formerly offered at the University of Utah.)

Please come join us each Tuesday evening in February at 7:00pm. The lectures will be hosted at the Anderson Commons, 734 E. 200 South, in downtown Salt Lake City. Andersen Commons is a center for meetings, retreats, and lectures, housed in a three-story brick mansion on the south side of 200 south (second from the corner). Note that this is a change of location from our prior lectures, held at the Jubilee center. There is a $5.00 suggested donation per lecture. Due to limited space, we ask those wishing to attend preregister by emailing 

These lecture will also be available on-line -- just click on the links below.


Lecture Schedule:

I. Archetype of the Wizard 
Tuesday, February 1st at 7:00 pm

Listen to the Lecture Now Online
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(RealAudio(MP3 part 1part 2)

II. Jung and the Tradition of Vision
Tuesday, February 8th at 7:00 pm

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(RealAudio(MP3 part 1part 2)

III. Jung and the Alchemical Renaissance
Tuesday, February 15th at 7:00 pm

Listen to the Lecture Now Online
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(RealAudio(MP3 part 1part 2)

IV. Jung and the Wizard in Modern Culture
Tuesday, February 22nd at 7:00 pm

Listen to the Lecture Now Online
Click Preferred Audio Format: 

RealAudio(MP3 part 1part 2)


All lectures will be hosted at the Anderson Commons, 734 E. 200 South, in downtown Salt Lake City. The Andersen Commons is a three-story brick mansion on the south side of 200 south (second from the corner). There is a $5.00 suggested donation per lecture. Refreshments will be available.

Call Dr. Owens at 581-0196 for further information, or check our web site:


Winter 2004 Schedule

Mary Magdalene:
The Feminine Mystery in Western History

Publication of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code has sparked a resurgence of interest in Mary Magdalene and of speculation about the existence of a “secret lost tradition” associated with her name.  In this series of lectures, we will explore the facts, the legends, and the psychological meanings to be found hidden within the lost legacy of Mary Magdalene, the Apostola Apostolorum of Christianity.

Mary Magdalene: The First Apostle 
Wednesday, January 21, 2004 at 7:30 PM

(This lecture is now available in RealAudio format on-line -- Click Here)

Introduction to the history and myth surrounding the woman known as Mary of Magdala.  We begin with an overview of  the “spiritual landscape” of the first century, and then turn to the story the Magdalen. What role did she play in early Christianity?   Which parts of her story are historically verifiable, which are mythic?   And which of the two, history or the myth, is most true? 

Woman, Sex, and Heresy in the Formation of Christianity
Wednesday, February 4, 2000 at 7:30 PM

(This lecture is now available in RealAudio format on-line -- Click Here)

The formation of orthodoxy during the first four centuries of Christianity – and the views this orthodoxy held about human sexuality and feminine nature – cast a long shadow across two millennia of Western Culture.  Tonight we examine how Mary Magdalene, the beloved disciple, became a harlot….

Quest for the Grail:  Feminine Mystery in the Middle-Ages 
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 at 7:30 PM

(This lecture is now available in RealAudio format on-line -- Click Here)

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a sacred myth of the Feminine was reborn and recast in bardic legend.  What was the role of the Magdalen in this seminal tradition?   Was she at the center of a secret heretical tradition, as suggested in recent novel, The Da Vinci Code?  What role do the Knights Templar, Alchemy, Kabbalah, and “secret guardians” play in the story? 


Archetype of the Feminine: The Magdalene in Modern Perspective  
Wednesday, March 3, 2004 at 7:30 PM

Our own time is experiencing a remarkable resurgence of interest in Mary of Magdala, linked with hopes of rediscovering a lost traditions associated with her name.  Is there a two millennia old secret still hidden and yet somehow accessible to our age?  If so, who are its guardians?  How do we find the code that unlocks its secrets?  And what does interest in such questions tell us about the psychology and the spiritual yearnings of modern culture?

A painting to view for this lecture:  Fra Angelico: The Coronation of the Virgin

Reading list for the series:

I recommend the following reading, for those who want a more in-depth study of the subject:

 The Beloved of the Logos:   A Homily for the Day of Holy Mary of Magdala
The figure of Mary of Magdala, also known as Mary Magdalen, is both complex and controversial. She has remained a mystery for a very long time and an object of difficulty for the Church from the very beginning of Christianity. One question we receive from those of mainstream backgrounds is why the importance of Mary Magdalen in the Gnostic scriptures and our contemporary practice of Gnosticism. more 

The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene
From the Akhmim Codex (Papyrus Berolinensis 8502). This codex preserves the most complete surviving copy of the Gospel of Mary (as the text is named in the manuscript, though it is clear this named Mary is the person we call Mary of Magdala). Two other small fragments of the Gospel of Mary from separate Greek editions were later also unearthed in archaelogical excavations at Oxyrhynchus in Northern Egypt. Unfortunately, the extant manuscript of the Gospel of Mary is missing pages 1 to 6 and pages 11 to 14 -- pages that included sections of the text up to chapter 4, and portions of chapter 5 to 8.


The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, by Karen KingThe Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle by Karen King 

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is one the most surprising and delightful of the rediscovered Gnostic texts. This excellent new print edition of the Gospel of Mary of Magdala by the widely respected scholar Karen King is the best authorative edition available.  It incorporates translations of the Coptic Gospel of Mary found in 1896 in Cairo, along with the two small Greek fragments of the text found at Oxyrhynchus.   Included is a superb introduction along with extensive commentary on the text and its implications for modern understandings of early Christianity.  Highly Recommended.


The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine PagelsThe Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

For any reading program, this is the place to start.  Pagels has produced a popular classic, a book acclaimed for two decades by laymen and scholars alike.  You will find no better introduction to classical Gnosticism and the Gnostic texts discovered at Nag Hammadi.  The combined reading of this book and Stephan Hoeller's text (see bookstore) will  give an excellent introduction to Gnosticism. Of course, after finishing The Gnostic Gospels, you will also want to read Pagels recent book, Beyond Belief (see bookstore).


resmarymag.jpg (5271 bytes)The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene: Legends, Apocrypha, and the Christian Testament by Jane Schaberg.

 A feminist appraisal of the Magdalene's  history -- and an excellent (if somewhat technical) review of all canonical and apocryphal material related to her history. 


marymagmyth.jpg (6427 bytes) Mary Magdalen: Myth and Metaphor  by Susan Haskins. 

An excellent study of the myth of the Magdalene in Western culture, with extensive review of her representation in Western art and iconography.  (The sections of the text dealing with Gnosticism are poorly informed, but the rest of the book merits attention.)  


womenalabaster.jpg (6477 bytes)The Woman with the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird.

This book covers the "occult" legends of Mary Magdalene as the consort of Christ.  It gives an interesting overview of the myths, and "conspiracy theory" behind the myths.  Material in the book should not be read as history -- but it gives a good overview of a type of story told about the Magdalen. 

Winter 2003 Lecture Series


J.R.R. Tolkien and

The Creative Imagination



And see ye not yon bonny road
That winds about yon fernie brae?
That is the road to fir Elfland,
Where thou and I this night maun gae...


With the world-wide cinematic success of The Lord of the Rings, the majesty of Tolkien’s mythic vision has again enchanted modern imagination – perhaps more profoundly than at any time since its publication over forty years ago. Tolkien invites us, in The Lord of the Rings, to follow on an epic quest into an alternative reality: a land seemingly more real than the world we call “real”.


In this Winter lectures series, we will discuss the life of Tolkien and the gift of creative imagination which made him our own age’s superlative guide to the land of Faerie. Are there elven-folk amidst us, exiled from a glorious home? Where starts the ancient path that leads beyond “Middle Earth”, toward the Western shores? 


Thursday, Feb. 6th: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Creative Imagination.  We begin with an overview of Tolkien’s life and work, introducing his vision of the alternative creation as expressed in his famous lecture, “On Fairy-tales”.


Thursday, Feb. 20th: Myths of The Silmarillion.  The Lord of the Rings was rooted in a vision that began taking form as early as 1916, while Tolkien fought in the fetid, death-filled trenches of the Great War.  It started with a myth of the Silmarillion….


Thursday, March 6th: The Lord of the Rings.  Should we seek for any deeper meaning in an entertaining fairytale of hobbits and men, dwarfs and elves – and of the one Ring that would bind them?


Thursday, March 20th:  Armageddon – The Final Battle. The perennial myth of epic conflict between good and evil pervades Tolkien’s literary creation.  As we face images of our own modern Armageddon, might Tolkien’s wisdom be our magic weapon?



Fall 2002 Lecture Series

  The Mythic Vision of Joseph Campbell

 In October Dr. Lance Owens will start a new season of lectures at the Wasatch Gnostic Society, beginning with a series of four discussions centering on The Mythic Vision of Joseph Campbell. The series will start this Thursday, October 17th and continue the first and third Thursday in November (Nov. 7th and Nov 21st), and the first Thursday of December (Dec 5th). The lectures are also avialable on-line in RealAudio format -- check the links below.

 Bill Moyers’ interviews with  Joseph Campbell – broadcast on PBS television a decade ago – introduced a wide audience to the relevance of myth as a doorway to our own inner living mystery. The boldness and breadth of Campbell’s vision marks him as one of the great figures of the twentieth century.   His erudition, charm and spirit made him a wonderful teacher.

 For this series three books are recommended as companion reading: The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Creative Mythology (Vol. 4 in the Masks of God series), and Myths to Live By.  The first of these is a classic – even if you have read it before, I suggest you read it again.   

Thursday, October 17th  – The Hero’s Journey:  An Introduction to Joseph Campbell.  Tonight we will explore the remarkable life and times of Campbell and his approach to mythology. Click here to listen to the lecture.


Thursday, November 7th  Hero with a Thousand Faces.  Campbell defined a pattern recurrent in the all the great hero myths of mankind.  It is a myth of journey, trial and return. 


Thursday, November 21st – The Myth of Love.  The four volume series titled The Masks of God was Campbell “masterwork”.   In the last of these volumes, Creative Mythology, Campbell beautiful weaves his vision of the myth that nurtured our modern age: the myth of Love. Follow the path of the troubadours, towards this holy grail…


Thursday, December 5th – Myths to Live By.  Do we individually “have a myth to live by?”  How does one find the road to the land of myth, and return with the sacred boon of meaning?  


All lectures are at 7:30 pm (and will start promptly). Come and join us at the Jubilee Center (located on 309 E. 100 S. in downtown Salt Lake City).  You may call Dr. Owens at 581-0196 for more information if needed.

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