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Venus Rising – Pilgrimage to Chartres, France, August 13 to 19

Dates: August 13 to 19, 2022
Location: Chartres, France
Faculty: Apela Colorado, Ruth Cunningham, Eve Ensler (V), Jim Garrison, Andrew Harvey, Lynn Bell, Calen Rayne, Banafsheh Sayyad
Academic Credit: BA, MA and PhD – 4 credits

Logistics: Click here for information on travel and accommodations. This represents what has been confirmed to date, but is subject to change or revision. Information about hotel bookings at the St. Yves will be posted as soon as details are confirmed.

Ubiquity Chartres Community Webinars – Join the faculty and other participants in a monthly webinar on the second Sunday of the month for discussions on the topics included in the intensive. Register for future webinars. Click on the links to watch past webinars in 2022: January 9,  February 13, March 13, April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10

Venus Rising: Regenerating Love Through Apology, Reconciliation and Healing

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, most of us are feeling worn down with all the lockdowns, social distancing, isolation and uncertainty. More than anything, we need intimacy, we need community, we need to actually be with one another. So much needs healing, so much needs praying for. We must regenerate our capacity to love so we can heal ourselves, each other and the larger ecology of life.

In this spirit we invite you to join us in a pilgrimage to Chartres during its holiest time of the year during the Feast of the Assumption of Mary and the honoring of the Black Madonna. Join us for a 7-day initiation under the radiance of a full moon into the mysteries of the Divine Feminine through deep reflection, joyous celebration and empowering dance at one of the holiest shrines of the Great Goddess.

Reimagining and regenerating how we love requires that we come to a deep reckoning of the trauma caused by thousands of years of patriarchal oppression of the feminine, of nature, of indigenous peoples, all of which have had the effect of constraining and distorting the expression of love. We need to apologize for what we have done, we need to speak the truth about our wounds, we need to be reconciled with each other at a deep level of interconnectedness. We must learn the most ancient teaching of the masters anew, that we must embrace with unconditional regard the fullness of the Other.

We must strip away the structures of oppression and learn deeper layers of self love so that we can love others more deeply, especially at this time of such global suffering. We must embody the fierceness of love so our inner coherence can compensate for the deepening chaos all around us and catalyze greater compassion for the world. This is why regenerating love is the imperative of our time.

We will explore the regeneration of love through a contemplation the 3rd Liberal Art of Rhetorica, studied since ancient times under the aegis of the planet and Goddess Venus (called Aphrodite by the Greeks), known in ancient times as the Goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality.

Venus Rising in all her splendor illuminates the pathway of love for us to embody as we navigate through these very challenging times. Rhetorica corresponds to the 3rd Chakra: the Solar Plexus, which is about how we embody and express ourselves in the world. We will explore what the ancients taught about the science of right thought, right speech and right action. The key to doing what is right is knowing how to love. Right thought, right speech, right action follows the pathway of the heart.

The study of rhetoric educates us in a particular freedom, Plato taught, the freedom to remake the world. Rhetoric, he said, is “the art of soul-leading by means of words.” Such a soul leading in its finest and fullest manifestation is a form of love.

V’s Statement
We are in a global time of reckoning. Love is longing to be freed. It cannot be full or sincere where there is no justice or accountability. So to liberate love we have to focus on the practice of apology.
What is an apology? It is a humbling. It is a loss of grandiosity and superiority. It is an admission of wrongdoings. It is a surrender. It is an equalizer. It’s making true connection.
An apology is the antidote to convenient and diabolical amnesia which grips our families and countries. Apologies rip open the lies, denial, myths, delusions that keep the violent story in place. An apology is a remembering, a public acknowledgement that what occurred actually did occur.
Without this accounting we cannot go on. For a lingering lie is an undeniable stain that controls and defines. That lie is like a cancer cell that first invades and then spreads through the whole system.
We teach prayer. We teach meditation. I believe we need to teach the practice of apology.

The Assumption of Mary and the Black Madonna

This pilgrimage will center us deeply in the heart of Chartres. We will be there on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (August 15) which honors the Church doctrine, enunciated by the Pope in 1950, that Mary was assumed directly into heaven upon her death and now presides as Mother of God. Carl Jung believed that this doctrine elevating the feminine into the Godhead marked the most important development in Christian theology in the last 2000 years. This year’s Feast coincides with the full moon. A city that has reverenced the feminine for several thousand years, honors the feminine in the deepest of ways. On the Day of the Assumption, the Black Madonna is carried through the streets before being placed in front of the statue of the Assumption of Mary, where she is kept for one week and then hidden away till the following year.

Parading the Black Madonna recalls the way the Druids in ancient times brought her out of the grotto underneath the granite promontory upon which the cathedral today stands. They honored Mother Earth and the cycles of the seasons through the Black Madonna. Being in Chartres at this one time of the year will both deepen our Memory of ancient rites and activate our souls to a greater reverence for the Mother of God.

It is in this sacred space that we will deeply explore the nature and scope of the dark feminine as manifested in the Black Madonna. The dark feminine in all her aspects has been revered since ancient times. She was refracted through the great Goddesses of antiquity such as Innana and Isis, Kali and Quan Yin. There are over 300 statues and sacred sites in Europe alone dedicated to the Black Madonna, the most famous and revered of which is at Rocamadour in France.

One of the critical issues we will explore is how the Black Madonna is present today in world affairs and personal transformation. She has historically been present during times of turbulence and upheaval when a culture or civilization is dying and something profound and redemptive is being born. The metamorphosis from the old to the new is uniquely the domain of the Black Madonna, which is why she is so actively present in our lives today.

Daily Program

Each day will include sacred movement, chanting/singing and dreamwork. Throughout the week, we will have presentations on various aspects of Venus and the archetype of the Feminine, the significance of the Assumption, the Black Madonna, the Liberal Art of Rhetorica and what love means for our time. We will have sound baths for deep relaxation and integrate the teachings through sacred dance. You will have ample personal time for meditation, prayer and exploration.

Our group will have abundant exclusive time to immerse in the Cathedral outside of public hours. This includes a labyrinth ceremony accompanied by the music of the Soundscape. We will spend an evening exploring the Crypt and communing with the underground Black Madonna. We will hold rituals in the Cathedral and the labyrinth early in the mornings, experiencing the many aspects of Mary and commune with the Black Madonna in the only week of the year where she is accessible in the Cathedral.

We will build an altar together upon which we will bring artifacts representing our apologies for the past, our adoration of the Great Goddess and our hopes for the future. By registering for the pilgrimage, participants vow to work on healing what is in need of healing and to make peace with those from whom they are estranged. You will come with what you seek healing for to place on our collective altar.

There will also be time to enjoy the marvelous cafes and restaurants around the Cathedral with old and new friends, and the most extraordinary light shows around the town of Chartres at night.


  • Apela Colorado, PhD, indigenous scientist and elder of the Oneida-Gaul ancestry, founder of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network, will invoke our days and guide the exploration of our dreams, as well as offer a Native American perspective on race.
  • Ruth Cunningham, classically trained musician, sound healer and founding member of the Anonymous 4 will create soundscapes during the week.
  • Eve Ensler (V), author of The Vagina Monologues, The Apology, and other bestselling books and plays, and founder of V Day and One Billion Rising and Co-Founder City of Joy – global activist movements to end violence against all women (cisgender, transgender, and gender non-conforming), girls and the planet.
  • Jim Garrison, PhD, will co-moderate the proceedings and speak on various aspects of the archetype of Venus and Plato’s Symposium.
  • Andrew Harvey, PhD (Hons), scholar, mystic and author of more than 30 books, will share his understanding of the Black Madonna.
  • Lynn Bell, a Paris-based astrologer whose work spans multiple cultures as a speaker, teacher, author and consultant in astrology, will share astrological insights
  • Calen Rayne, DMin, will share insights on the labyrinth and lower church, and assist with preparation for ritual experiences.
  • Banafsheh Sayyad, MFA, MA, sacred dancer, choreographer and founder of Dance of Oneness, will guide us into healing through dance and embodiment practices.

Dreamwork in Chartres

From the moment the Wisdom School arrived at Chartres, dreams of a particular quality began to come to participants. We had no container in which to receive these nocturnal messages so created a circle based in Dr. Colorado’s Oneida tradition. In Musica, the fourth Liberal Art celebrated at Chartres, a remarkable transformation occurred. An unregistered person showed up carrying a five foot long monochord and a woman’s organizational developer (who did glyphing) introduced the elements of sound and illustrating, like the ancient indigenous practice of painting significant dreams on rocks. When we added music and glyphing of dreams to our Circle with protocols of invocation (purifying with cedar smoke, prayer and deep listening to shared dreams) an innovative, collective, place based and powerful dream ceremony had manifested.

In the ensuing decade, we have come to see that the Chartres Dream Ceremony enfolds and recreates community in the present and through time. Ancient spirits of the land – Sequanna, goddess of the river Seine, Tiranus, god of thunder and indigenous leaders of old continue to make themselves known and to be remembered. Co-dreaming by multiple participants dreaming the same dream synchronistically and the composite narrative shared in a video at the end of the week, spark healings (sometimes immediate), bring comfort, release pain and are often predictive.

We have learned that Chartres Dreamwork is a living process that grows and evolves with each iteration. Joining the circle, sharing a dream or snippet of a dream will help bring us closer to the sacred hill, to each other and the communal, holistic, sustainable, way of knowing and being our Ancestors lived.

Dreamers convene each morning in this on-site dream ceremony, greeted first by prayer and chant. We share dreams with others who deeply listen in silence; there is no side talk or analyzing. Dreams are scribed, glyphed (drawn) and audio recorded, so that the dream team can meet at the end of each day to look for emergent patterns and narratives in this collective process. At the conclusion of each session, the dream team gives a presentation back to the dreamers for discussion.

We encourage you to join the Dream Circle on days of your choosing and for a length of time that works for you and become a part of an unfolding Chartrean mystery. Watch video about the Dreamwork in Chartres.

We also recommend purchasing Apela Colorado’s Journal des Reves here to record your dreams and reflections.

Requirements for enrolled degree students to earn 4 Credits:

Required Reading/Watching:
Watch video about The Chartres Academy 

Choose three of the following books for your course reading:

  • Apela Colorado, Woman Between the Worlds
  • Eve Ensler (V), The Apology, Vagina Monologues, In the Body of the World
  • Andrew Harvey, Return of the Mother
  • Jaqueline Lewis, Fierce Love
  • Rene Querido, The Golden Age of Chartres

End of course essay regarding the learnings in this course using APA style.

  • For BA students – 6-9 pages in length
  • For MA students – 10-15 pages in length
  • For PhD students – 20-25 pages in length

Your paper should be focused on one or more aspects of the relationship between apology, reconciliation and healing during the regeneration of love, weaving together content from the lectures, discussions, artistic activities, reading materials and your experiences related to the entire course. Artistic work is welcome to supplement your paper.

All papers must be written to the APA standard and demonstrate the “subject/object synthesis” — we want students to demonstrate command of the content of the course, and we want students to demonstrate how they have been affected by what they have learned, how the content has informed their spiritual or personal development. We welcome all forms of artistic expression as part of the student’s paper.

The rules guiding our assignment collection and grading process can be found here: Ubiquity University Grading Policy

Pricing (this fee is for registration only and does not include travel and accommodations):

  • BA Level: $1,200
  • MA Level: $1,600
  • PhD Level: $2,000
  • Audit-No Credit: $1,400

Questions: Please do not email faculty directly with any technology or registration issues. If this is your first time purchasing from us, or you need a refresher, we suggest you review our tutorial How to Purchase a Course. If you do not have a user account, you will be required to create one upon your initial purchase. Save your username and password as you will need it to login to access course materials later and to make purchasing faster in the future. If you need technical assistance you can use the chat button located at the bottom, left-hand side of the screen and you can also email our Registrar, Veronica Saldias at registrar@ubiquityuniversity.org.

Information about how we process refund or cancellation requests can be found here: Refund and Cancellation Policy


Our Lineage

Ubiquity Chartres Academy builds upon and reinterprets the original Chartres Academy founded by Fulbert in 1006 when he became bishop of Chartres. Fulbert called his school the Academy to indicate that he was in the lineage of Plato’s Academy founded in 387 BC in Athens. We at Ubiquity University are privileged to be in this lineage and to count Fulbert and Plato among the giants upon whose shoulders we sit.

Our Chartres Academy is intended as a gathering point for a contemporary wisdom community to come together through the very same learning system that Fulbert and Plato used — the seven Liberal Arts. The Liberal Arts were initially refined by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who organized the first four, called the Quadrivium, comprised of music, mathematics, geometry, and astronomy. Plato learned the Quadrivium from Pythagoras and with Aristotle developed the Trivium of grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Together, they form the seven Liberal Arts.

The Liberal Arts were designed by these great thinkers as initiatory rites into the deepest truths about the universe, with each Liberal Art describing a certain essential element of the larger whole and designed to prepare the students for both professional skills and spiritual awareness. The goal for both students and teachers was to participate in an alchemical process of transformation leading to a deeper understanding of the universe and how to live an active compassionate life in the community.

Building on this foundation, the Seven Liberal Arts were brought to their highest expression by the Chartres Academy during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The seven arts also shaped the education refined during the Renaissance and gave rise to our modern “liberal arts” education, although education today has long lost the deep spiritual aspects of the original liberal arts. This is what the academies of Plato, then Fulbert, sought to instill, and that now our Chartres Academy seeks to recover and utilize as a transformational tool for what Plato called “the enlargement of the soul.”

What makes the Chartres Academy such a powerful experience is that it convenes in one of the most sacred sites in the world — the place which the ancient Druids, coming to the region over 3,500 years ago, considered the most sacred site in all of Europe, full of feminine energy. Each year, the entire Celtic tribe would convene in Chartres, called their Vatican, meaning “the seat.”

This is the site where the cathedral now stands. Chartres has been a focal point for the veneration of the Divine Feminine and a center for the mysteries of healing and birth for thousands of years and has been considered sacred from the earliest of times. This veneration was memorialized in stone and glass in the sweeping Gothic architecture of the cathedral, which the builders viewed as a form of sacred writing. Over 400 images of the feminine grace its walls and stained glass windows. The great mythologist Joseph Campbell called Chartres the ”womb of the world.“ It is also known as the “queen of cathedrals,” such is the beauty and perfection of its form. It rivals the Taj Mahal as an architectural masterpiece designed and built in the spirit of love.

Fulbert and the Chartrian Masters who succeeded him, following Pythagoras and Plato, guided by the sacred feminine, understood that proportion and rhythm underlies the order of the cosmos. Their genius is that they were able to represent this perfection in the cathedral they built as a tribute to this truth. 


The week in Chartres fills my spirit for the whole year. The faculty is eager to share their knowledge and wisdom; they challenge the mind and help the spirit grow. Experiencing the divine at Chartres is priceless.

– Ashely Lloyd

I have just attended a marvelous week with Ubiquity University in Chartres. I feel like I have found ‘my tribe,’ a group of passionate truth seekers who are truly heart-centered. I learned so much and it will take some time to fully integrate such an amazing, powerful experience.

– Elizabeth Huxtable

The magic of this week will stay with you forever giving you hope for the future.

– Collette CorcoranLynn

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