The Millennium Muse
Mystery School 2002 To Awaken Your Creative Genius!
By Kay Walburger
“It is no longer possible for us to live as pale and diminished
of ourselves. For a New World in a New Millennium we need a new mind
with expanded senses and a deepened spirit.”
— Jean Houston, Ph.D.
Jean Houston was born to be the Magnificent Mystic Muse of the New Millennium. Her whole life she was trained by destiny to be an Impresario for the world’s stage. Her childhood was an epic poem in the mythical tradition of Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey, and her quest to learn and experience truth, love and wisdom is legendary.
As it happened Jean was the daughter of Jack Houston, a celebrated comedy-writer and his actress wife, Maria, a first-generation Sicilian born in Syracuse. They had to travel where the “Jokes” were, as he was a writer for Bob Hope at the time. Later he wrote for Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, Fred Allen, and Abbott and Costello. This life of travel and meeting interesting people from all over the USA helped Jean cut her teeth literally on a life of appreciating diversity and humor.
To further enrich her childhood, Jean had the awesome privilege of meeting amazing individuals who had a positive impact on her early life, such as Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Teilhard de Chardin, to name only a few.
According to Roman and Greek Mythology, there were originally Nine Muses to inspire creative artists and scientists. They were the daughters of Zuses, the King of the Gods and Goddesses, and Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory. Each Muse was naturally beautiful, ageless and spoke with melodic voices. Each was the Goddess of a specific area of art. Calliope was the Goddess of Epic Poetry; Erato of Love Poetry; Euterpe of Lyric Poetry; Melpomeue of Tragedy; Thalia of Comedy; Clio of History; Urania of Astronomy; Polyhymnin of Sacred Song; and Terpsichore of Dance.
The muses could banish all grief and sorrow and they possessed the power to see into the future (few other deities had that power). They were much sought after by all creative people and highly praised for their gifts of inspiration resulting in illustrative works of art, which brought honor and glory to the impassioned artisan. The daughters of Zuses resided in a temple named the Museum.
Imagine a Muse who is your companion, sees into your future and guides you on your personal path into in the self-expression of your full potential in any or all mediums you so choose. Your Muse does not just believe in your talents and abilities, but rather knows your true future, if only you’d hearken to the artist in your own soul!
Jean Houston’s melodious voice came over the phone lines as I interviewed her. It inspired these enriching imaginings in me and exhilarated me to the depths of my soul. As we spoke, I realized that she is all Nine Muses melded into one splendid muse for these times we live in.
Jean is willing to be your Muse and transport you through a porthole in time to time-less-ness where it is safe to see, experience, know and own the magnificent truth about yourself.
What is Mystery School?
This February 2002 will be the nineteenth Mystery School Jean has presented to seekers from all around the world. Thousands of people from eight to ninety years old, from all walks of life, have participated. Some return again and again for that year’s new theme and always unpredictable excitement and discoveries that enrich one’s life. They bring children and pets to this compassionate community of seekers and spend one weekend a month for nine months at the edge of a new reality they are helping to co-create.
According to Dr. Houston, “The purpose of Mystery School is to engender a passion for the “possible” in our human and global development while discovering ways of transcending and transforming the local self so that extraordinary life can arise!”
Her premise is that many of us are unhappy because we have suffered and not achieved our full potential.
Here is an excerpt from Houston’s Mystery School: “Regardless of how difficult and estranged your life may have been, you have done that one. You have done estrangement. You have learned from it. You have done difficulty. You have even done derangement probably. You have done angst and anxiety and existential dread. You have done toxic mayhem. Yes, you have done breakdown.”
“You’ve had all this suffering. Great! It has given you a wealth and depth of experience and compassion, if you frame it that way. If you don’t frame it that way, then all you’ve got is galloping angst. Now it’s time to try the next level.”
“Your energies, your powers, your stamina, your moral force seem limited only because you and your habituations and the habituations and expectations of your culture set limits. Therefore, what Mystery School tries to do, is to go beyond the limits and create a consensual reality in which the horizon of limits is greatly expandable and more becomes possible.”
“It is my 21st Century version of an ancient and honorable tradition, the study of the world’s spiritual mysteries. Once upon a time there were such schools in Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Afghanistan, Ireland, England, France, Hawaii, India, China, Japan and many other places on the globe. We harvest what is available (or can be imagined) of the knowledge and traditions, rites and rituals of these ancient studies, imbuing them with new realities and applications in order to live more freely and more fully.”
“Mystery School is intellectually vigorous, psychologically challenging and spiritually demanding. It is celebrational and transformational. It is also frequently hilarious and zanily satiric. Mystery School is both experiential and experimental.”
“I weave together the things I love most: sacred psychology, music, history, theatre, cultural wisdom, science (fact, fiction and fantasy), neurophysiology, philosophy, anthropology, theology, poetry, laughter, cosmology, metaphysics and innovative ideas, to provide a multi-faceted, multi-level time out of time.”
“Exercises include psychophysical work, psycho-spiritual exploration, creative arts, energy resonance, movement and dance, altered states of consciousness, ritual and ceremony, high drama, high play and mutual empowerment.”
Jean claims that her school is part of a tradition that has probably existed ever “since humans have been humans.” This claim seems to imply that Mystery Schools have made very little progress. There is ample evidence she is correct about that. The reason for this is obvious: Mystery Schools don’t exist to discover the mysteries of life, but to encourage belief that life is a mystery. The only thing they transform is the mind, not by providing a better understanding of reality but by encouraging people to create their own reality. “Mystics are warriors against the world and their weapons are the weapons of the imagination.”
“They are enemies of reality. Rather than engage the world they despise, rather than try to change the world, they withdraw from the world, turn the world into an idea, and they play with that idea until the game is to their liking.
According to Houston, “The traditional question of all Mystery Schools is — How do you place the local self, your local historical self, in the service of the Self? How do you place it in the psyche where the Immanent God resides? How do you respond to the lure of becoming and keep up sufficient energy, passion, momentum, delight, engagement, and fascination, that you agree to be constantly lured?
Unfortunately the stuff of everyday life often inhibits the lure.” In short, how do you become one with God and avoid the snares distracting you from this Divine union? There’s nothing new here in terms of goals. The goal is the goal of all ecstatic mysticism: how to escape the world into transcendent glory.
Jean Houston is a scholar and researcher in human capacities, and for the past 30 years has co-directed, with her husband, Dr. Robert Masters, the Foundation for Mind Research, first in New York City and now in Ashland, Oregon. Their work has focused on the understanding of latent human abilities. She is the founder of the Mystery School — a program of cross-cultural mythic and spiritual studies — dedicated to teaching history, philosophy, the new physics, psychology, anthropology, myth, and the many dimensions of our human potential.
Dr. Houston was the protégé of the late anthropologist, Margaret Mead, who instructed her in the workings of organizations and power structures in many different cultures. With the late mythologist Joseph Campbell, she frequently co-led seminars and workshops aimed at understanding interrelationships between ancient myths and modern societies.
Additionally, Jean has made cross-cultural studies of educational and healing methods in Asia and Africa. Her principal areas of interest apart from her work are theater, archaeology and the philosophical, societal and other implications of contemporary physics. Dr. Houston’s mind has been called “a national treasure”.
Her specialty is in the development and application of multiple methods of increasing physical and mental skills, learning and creativity. She has presented the results of her work and studies in some 17 books, as well as in person through speeches and conferences at educational institutions and business organizations in over 40 countries. She is often invited to work personally with leaders of such groups, as well as heads of governmental and non-governmental agencies, to assist them in rethinking their goals and agendas.
As Advisor to UNICEF in human and cultural development, she has worked to implement some of their extensive educational and health programs, primarily in Myanmar [Burma] and Bangladesh. and has conducted seminars and workshops in more than forty countries around the world, often as consultant to the United Nations, UNICEF and other international agencies.
A past President of the Association for Humanistic Psychology , she has taught philosophy, psychology, and religion at Hunter College, the New School for Social Research, and Marymount College, as well as summer sessions in human development at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the University of British Columbia. She was Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Oklahoma in that university’s Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program in 1982.
In addition, Dr. Houston presented the William James Lecture at Harvard Divinity School, the ORR Lectures at Wilson, and the Alfred Stiernotte Lecture in Philosophy at Quinnipiac College. Since 1959, she has spoken at hundreds of colleges and universities, including the Universities of Montreal, Arizona, South Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Alabama, Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado. She has directed two three-year courses in human capacities development and a program of cross-cultural mythic and spiritual studies, now in its thirteenth year.
Among the academic and scientific convocations she has chaired was the United Nations — Temple of Understanding Conference of World Religious Leaders in 1975.
She also helped to initiate and then chaired the 1979 symposium for leading government policy makers sponsored by the Department of Commerce. Her work has been the core of hundreds of teaching-learning communities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. In 1984, she devised a national not-for-profit organization, called The Possible Society, to encourage the creation of new ways for people to work together to help solve societal problems.
In 1985, Dr. Houston was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Association of Teacher Educators. In 1993, she received the Gardner Murphy Humanitarian Award and the INTA Humanitarian of the Year award. In 1994, she received the Lifetime Outstanding Creative Achievement Award from the Creative Education Foundation.
Credentials and Educational Background
B.A., Barnard College, Ph.D., Psychology, Union Graduate School; Teaching Background (partial), Lecturer, Hunter College of CUNY, Department of Psychology & Philosophy, New School for Social Research, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Marymount College, Tarrytown, N.Y., The William James Lecture, Harvard Divinity School, Lecturer, University of California at Santa Cruz, Visiting Scholar, Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program; Recent Distinctions and Awards, Teacher/Educator of the Year Award, INTA Humanitarian of the Year Award, Gardner Murphy Award, Lifetime Award in Creative Achievement, Creative Education Foundation, Joseph Campbell Award for Contributions to the understanding of Mythology, National Pathfinder’s Award - of AHP., Past-President, American Association for Humanistic, Psychology.
The Foundation for Mind Research was established in 1966 for the purpose of conducting phenomenological studies of “mind,” and particularly of altered states of consciousness, as such studies are relevant to the larger exploration of human potential. The approach has always been multidisciplinary, involving historical, anthropological, literary and sociological, as well as experimental, philosophical and psychological investigations. As the research has developed, a greater emphasis has frequently been placed on the physical aspects of body-mind interactions, and various kinds of scientific approaches have been used as appropriate.
During the early years of the Foundation, research was focused mainly on the creative process, on sensory imageries, on the exploration of trance states and their phenomena, and on peak- and religious-type experiences. A number of mechanical devices to alter consciousness were created and described in various writings. These included a unique “sensory overload chamber” and “sensory deprivation environments.”
Parapsychological experiments in dream telepathy were conducted in cooperation with the Department of Psychiatry of Maimonides Hospital-Brooklyn and with the Psychology Department of the University of Wyoming. These experiments were described in various papers written with co-researchers. Much of the work in the 1960’s was made accessible in a book, “Mind Games,” co-authored by Drs. Robert Masters and Jean Houston. This book was the first attempt to systematically utilize altered states of consciousness for educational purposes. Late professor, Joseph Campbell, wrote that “Masters and Houston actually have broken through to a new understanding of the sense and uses of the disciplines of inward-turned contemplation — an understanding that leaves the Freudian schools of technique and theory far behind.”
“Their accent is not on the curing of disease but on the enlargement, rather, of our health; not fear of the mysteries of the unconscious, but joy in them, increased life-wisdom in their knowledge, and the pleasure of learning to sport in them, like dolphins playing in a sea where land mammals drown.” [Joseph Campbell became a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board and a valued constructive critic of its work.]
During the remainder of the 1960’s, the Foundation’s work was described in lectures — and demonstrated in workshops at colleges, universities and conference centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Some teaching was also done in various European countries. Research projects to study mainly trance and other altered states of consciousness were conducted in Bali and Java [Indonesia] and Morocco.
In 1972, the Foundation moved to its present location in Ashland, Oregon. Close associations were formed with anthropologist, Margaret Mead, and with the distinguished Israeli physicist, Moshe Feldenkrais, both of whom also became valued and most helpful members of the Foundation’s Advisory Board. Explorations of problems of consciousness in outer space were conducted with Dr. Edgar Mitchell, astronaut and sixth man on the moon.
Very intensive and extensive research projects were conducted in the areas of neural, sensory, and kinesthetic re-education — research which continues at the present time. That particular work was described by the Foundation’s directors [Masters and Houston] in a book, “Listening to the Body” and by Dr. Masters in six volumes of “Psychophysical Method Exercises.” Additional accounts were provided in both scientific journals and more general publications.
Throughout the remainder of the 1970’s and 1980’s the Foundation’s work was disseminated by means of lectures and workshops to many different kinds of audiences in North America, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The three-year Human Capacities Training Program was established and co-directed by Drs. Masters and Houston, and almost 300 adult students have now completed the two sessions of that program. In addition, Jean Houston has taught for many years a year-long “Mystery School” — established for the purpose of exploring psychological and other developmental aspects of spiritual disciplines and “sacred psychologies.”
Work at all times continues to identify, describe, understand and gain productive access to the great variety of latent potentials of the human mind-body system. This includes ongoing research into altered states of consciousness, visual and other sensory imageries, self-regulation of experiential time, self-regulation of the personal continuum of states of consciousness, and the exploration of the contents and processes of both the personal and collective unconscious.
Other Work and Objectives
“The Foundation’s work has been made available through many books and other publications, and by means of hundreds of lectures, workshops and seminars offered throughout the world. It is our hope that the work can be further disseminated by means of audio and videotapes, and films to be created by us. (There are some hundreds of audio tapes in the Foundation’s Archives and some of those are available to researchers and/or to the public. Videotapes and films — made by others — have been available from time to time. However we want to considerably expand our work with these kinds of educational tools.”
“Come To the Feast: Mystery School 2002”
“You are invited to participate in an absolutely unique, once-in a-lifetime event.”
“You may not think I know you, but I do. You are a seeker; you are a fledging, ready to take flight. You sense intuitively that you have potential to tap. You are a bud ready to blossom. A chrysalis waiting to become a butterfly. You are filled with ideals, skills, and dreams, but have not yet figured out how to harness that energy…”
“Whoever you are. Whatever your life may be, I know you as I know myself. We both face the same challenges. We are living in a time of the most far-reaching and rapid change in human history. How do we go about preparing ourselves to become stewards of the planet, filled with enough passion for the possible to partner one another through the Greatest Social Transformation ever known?”
“Regardless of how unfulfilled our lives may seem, regardless of how meager our Self-esteem, we are called into Greatness by The Necessity of our Age, and we have little choice but to say “Yes!”
“During the year-long Mystery School we will explore the world’s cultures and the gifts each different culture provides to the richness of the whole world. You can experience: From India, The Art of GOD Seeing; From Iroquois Confederacy, The Nature of Making Peace Possible; From North America, Living in True Abundance; From Australia’s Aboriginal, Dreamtime as Creative Source and Resource; From Bali, Discovering the Inner Artist; From: Peru & Ecuador, Shamanic Ecstasy; From Tibet, Dimensions of Reality; From West Africa, Problem-Solving in the Real World; From The Mediterranean, L Dolce Vita; From Ancient Egyptians, Living the Gods Within.”
“As we encounter the archetypal world within us, a partnership is
formed whereby we grow as do the gods and goddesses within us.”
— Jean Houston
The Mystery of Love
“Love is evolutionary energy par excellence. It is the force that allows us to go beyond all our conditions, expectations, and our impediments. It carries us across thresholds of our lives allowing us to be seized by possibility.”
“Whenever we look at history and psychology of anything that really works over a long period of time — be it the miracle of birth, the miracle of friendship, the miracle of responding to a creative challenge with courage and joy, or the miracle of going beyond one’s boundaries — invariably we find at the source, some profound kind of loving. It may be the love of an idea, or a child, or a friend, or God. It is never ineffectual or ephemeral. It is not conceptual or philosophical. It is feisty and rich, and it seizes us beyond all expectation. And we agree to be seized. One of the major problems with present Western notions of loving is that they often neglect the question of Divine seizure; we have no psychology of sacred seizure.”
“At a time in the evolution of humankind when our charge is to love or perish, the survival of our planet depends upon our allowing the transforming power of love to yoke our little, local selves to the depths of the I Am.”
“Many of you are preparing yourselves, whether you like it or not, for a time and place, which may be now, when the doors between the worlds are blown open.”
“Why now? Because of planetization. Because of the rise of women into full partnership. Because of the new technology. Because of the new physics, biology, science and the arts of consciousness in which transcendence becomes transparent to meaning. Because of the revolution in understanding of cultures and consciousness.” “Suddenly, for whatever reason, everything is available. It doesn’t last long, but it’s there. Don’t fritter it away then; don’t talk it away. Because at that point everything becomes possible.”
“Earth is a vast canvas that reveals the cultural montage of
humanity. Through participation and cooperation, we harvest the genius and root
knowledge of many cultures, thereby empowering ourselves to embody a greater
— Jean Houston
Dr. Houston is the best-selling author or co-author of more than seventeen books, including “Jump Time,” her autobiography “A Mythic Life,” “The Possible Human,” “The Search For The Beloved,” and “The Hero and the Goddess,” “Public Like a Frog,” “Godseed,” “Life Force,” “Listening to the Body,” “Manual for the Peacemaker,” “The Passion of Isis and Osiris,” and “Learning to Live Our Greater Stories.”
Her ability to inspire and invigorate people enables her to convey her vision of the finest possible achievement of individual potential and share the excitement of that possibility with her audiences and students all over the world.
For more information on the Mystery School, write or call Jean Houston, PMB 501, 2305-C Ashland St., Ashland, OR 97520 or call (541) 488-1200, fax (541) 488-3200, or e-mail email@example.com
*Portions of this article were segments or quotes from several of Jean Houston’s books, pamphlets, or website, with express consent and permission to do so.
Jean Houston will speak January 9 at The Inside Edge, University Club, on the UCI campus at the corner of Los Trancos and Peltason E. Drives, 6:30 a.m. For reservations, please call (949) 460-4242.
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