World Tree Lyceum
Ex Amore Naturaque, veritas
In Love and Nature, we find truth
What is a Lyceum?
In Ancient Greece, the Athenian Lyceum was a meeting place in a grove of trees, where people gathered to discuss, discover, and learn inside the classroom of nature. While many of the famous Athenian scholars including Plato and Socrates taught at the Lyceum, it was Aristotle who created the school called Peripatos, from the Greek peripatêtikos, "given to walking about." With each step, learning happens. It is not walking merely to get somewhere, but walking to take a journey, or just to walk for its own sake, in order to engage with the world, and with each other.
Because learning is an active pursuit, a movement towards, and sometimes, a dance -- and the very best school, the most valuable classroom, is the natural world around us. Aristotle taught that true happiness and a sense of meaning comes from living an authentic and virtuous life, and that we will know "virtue" by living in the ways of nature. So to live in harmony with nature, you must learn to know nature, and notice the web of meaning and connections all around us. The more we learn about the natural world, the more we learn of our own true nature -- for as without, so within.
What happened to the Lyceum?
The Lyceum in Athens was destroyed during the sack of Athens in 86 BCE (and rediscovered in 1996!), but has inspired others throughout history, and to this day, the term is used for schools around the world. Starting in 1826, a Lyceum movement spread throughout the United States, especially in New England and the Midwest. As in the Lyceum of Athens, citizens gathered to hear speeches, writers and entertainers, and to talk, learn, and share ideas. It was very much the "TED Talks" of the day. The Lyceum movement hit its peak around the time of the American Civil War, with luminaries such as the great Transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as Mark Twain and Susan B. Anthony, among countless others, frequent guests and speakers at the Lyceums found in many towns.
What Is The World Tree Lyceum?
It seems to us that the time has come for a new Lyceum, not just in one place, but in every place. The World Tree Lyceum is our attempt to create such a place. In addition to the in-person events we've been hosting and teaching in Washington DC, in New England, in London and Wales and Somerset, in Texas and Minnesota and Australia, for decades: workshops, gatherings, classes, bardic circles, drum jams and arts weekends, in addition to all of the learning and sharing that goes on face-to-face, this new Lyceum is rooted in the Earth, in the World Tree that lies at the heart of things, that connects all places, and all worlds.
The amazing, and at times quite magical connectivity we have online can be a part of our World Tree. We come together in our Lyceum across the miles, across time zones and continents, to learn, to share, and to connect.
Our Lyceum, like the center of the labyrinth, is the place where everything comes together, everything connects. Past, present, and future, was, is, and shall be, what is, what is not, and what may be, all the roots, leaves and branches, touch, here and now.
If you are seeking that authentic connection, if you are hungering and thirsting for knowledge -- true knowledge, the truth and meaning that comes from finding those tools that will help you find your own way into and through the woods, we invite you to come join us in the World Tree Lyceum, wherever you are.