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Virtual Madonna Rising: The Alchemy of Healing Relationships

Credit: original silk painting by Jenwah Panther

Download Chartres Labryinth to use for meditation during the Intensive

Join the Chartres Community in conversation on the Ubiverse, the Ubiquity Community Platform

Chartres Community Calls – Join the faculty and participants in a monthly call on the second Sunday of the month for discussions on the topics included in the intensive. Register for future Calls.
Watch past Community Calls: January 10, 2021   February 14, 2021   March 14, 2021   April 11, 2021   May 9, 2021  

Virtual Madonna Rising: The Alchemy of Healing Relationships

In this Video Course, we explore the alchemy of relationships and the mysterious journey toward the healing of wounded relationships through understanding, love, and forgiveness. This is the Great Work of Alchemy, the pathway that turns lead into gold. No crucible is more agonizing, ecstatic, and essential than that of deeply learning to love one another.

Through lecture, deep reflection, joyous celebration, prayer, song, and dance, we cherish and embrace the rising of feminine healing power and beauty in our consciousness, in our bodies, in our relationships, and in our actions on behalf of Mother Earth.

This Course takes us deep into the heart of Chartres during the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (August 15) which honors the Church doctrine, enunciated by the Pope in 1950, at the beckoning of 8 million people, that Mary was assumed directly into heaven upon her death and now presides as the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven, a title held by Goddesses such as Isis and Inanna. We will celebrate the rise of the divine feminine, her transmutation and union with spirit as her daughters and sons and as those who long to expand the reality of her presence in the world.

The Feast of the Assumption represents two key points that we will explore metaphorically as we stand on the threshold of ushering in a new era. One is the resurgence of the feminine archetype and the recovery of the feminine aspect of the divine in order to bring back wholeness and balance to the human psyche. The other is the sacred marriage and union of matter and spirit that affirms the oneness, the utter sacredness, and blazing radiance of the whole of creation.

This is nothing new. From deep antiquity, the divine feminine has been understood as the womb of life, as the soul of the world, and as nature. Matter was considered and lived as sacred. But for us today, this worldview and attitude needs to be restored and revitalized as we leave behind the old paradigm of separation and competition and usher in the new era of connection and cooperation.

We are to find the sanctity of all of life in the midst of our lives, exactly where we are. It is urgent that we live the sacred here, and now. This coming into right relations with ourselves, one another, and the greater eco-field is the great task of our time. Our survival depends on it.

The world needs each of us to bless one another, to anoint one another with love, compassion, understanding, and wisdom. During our time together, we will explore the alchemical healing balm for our broken relationships and reinvigorate the relationships with those we love. We will explore what it means to be a friend. A friend to oneself, a friend to others, (simply a friend,) regardless of the type of relationship we are in.

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral, in its 5th rebuilding, was completed in 1260 and dedicated to the Risen Mary, the Queen of Heaven. The ancients knew geometry to be the architectural structure of matter, which, in Chartres was revered through the Divine Feminine, the birth portal of existence. This veneration was memorialized in stone and glass in the sweeping Gothic architecture of Our Lady at Chartres Cathedral, which the builders viewed as a form of sacred script. 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’. Chartres is also known as the ‘Queen of Cathedrals’ by some historians, such is its beauty and perfection of form. It rivals the Taj Mahal as an architectural masterpiece designed and built in the spirit of love. Chartres Cathedral is considered one of the wonders of the world. It has the largest collection of stained glass, close to 2500 m2 which are still radiant after 800 years. Walking inside the cathedral, you feel you have entered inside a luminous jewel. With stunning footage, we will share some of that magnificence of Chartres.

“Cathedra is Latin for ‘Throne.’ The medieval church gave birth to 125 cathedrals (—over 125 were built) the size of Chartres, and every single one was dedicated to Mary, (with) such (titles) as Notre Dame de Chartres, Notre Dame de Lyons, Notre Dame de Paris, etc. Anthropocentrism, clericalism, and sexism have co-opted the invention of the cathedral to mean the ‘place where the bishop has his (usually his) throne.’ This is false. A cathedral by definition meant the throne where the goddess sits ruling the universe with compassion and justice for the poor.” – Matthew Fox

In this Course, we explore some of the teachings of the Divine Feminine embedded in Chartres Cathedral, this 1001-page luminous manuscript, and create a replica, a virtual cathedral where we will contemplate, pray, dance, sing, share deeply, laugh and cry and renew ourselves. We will also learn to inhabit the cathedral of our body with reverence.

Let us adore the mother of all, her living presence, here in this dimension, dwelling in us and with us in the midst of her queendom, accessible to those who seek her. Often unknown and unrecognized yet she is working within the depths of life, striving to open us to the reality of her presence, and an understanding of the sacredness of her creation, her love, justice, wisdom, and truth.

The Black Madonna

Each year on the Day of the Assumption, a statue of the Black Madonna is carried through the streets of Chartres 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 in this way 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.

In this Course, we explore the nature and scope of the dark feminine as manifested in the Black Madonna as well as her healing dimensions.

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. Historically her presence has been felt 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.

Tara and Quan Yin

In this Course, we explore Tara and Quan Yin as archetypes of boundless compassion and healing and find parallels between them and the Virgin Mary and Black Madonna. Quan Yin is one of the major deities in Buddhism revered throughout Asia for her infinite compassion, mercy, and healing. Tara is another powerful representation of the divine feminine which arose in Mongolia, Nepal, and Tibet and became a central figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Both goddesses brought healing to those who were wounded and broken by illness and the vicissitudes of life. Contemplating their majesty can bring healing to us today.


Our intention is to heed the call of the Divine Feminine, to see her around us and become her in our very cells so we can live in harmony with each other and with the Earth and all of the Earth community. We will integrate head, heart, and body through wisdom teachings, song, dance and theater, and immersion in the imagery and symbolism of the cathedral.

The Course is a balance between:

Wisdom teachings on the Assumption; The Great Work of Alchemy; the Black Madonna; Tara and Quan Yin, Chartres Cathedral as a grail and container of mysteries.

Embodiment practices that bring you into heart presence, open a door for you to become the wisdom teachings we explore, help you release what no longer serves you, and renew yourself through sacred dance, song, and theater.

A virtual journey into Chartres Cathedral consisting of an exploration of the references to the Virgin Mary and the Assumption, the Black Madonna and the crypt, the labyrinth, and the rose windows.

A Community Circle that will bring us together and create an energetic field to nourish each and every one of us as we listen and speak from the heart.

Music that will bring inspiration, blessing, and healing.

Requirements for enrolled degree students to earn 4 Credits:

Required Reading (choose three or more of the following):

  • The Myth of the Goddess, Anne Baring and Jules Cashford
  • Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna, China Galland
  • The Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Power of Quan Yin, Stephen Levine
  • Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna, Allessandra Mellon and Matthew Fox
  • Tara: The Liberating Power of the Female, Rachel Wooten

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

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.

Madonna Rising Daily Schedule

Prior to taking this Course please watch Jim Garrison’s presentation on the history of Chartres Cathedral and the original Chartres Academy, as well as the formation of Ubiquity Chartres Academy.

Day 1

  • Feast for Eyes & Ears: Live music by Ruth Cunningham accompanied with footage from Chartres Cathedral
  • Opening Ritual
  • Presentation on The Great Work of Alchemy: Healing the Soul by Anne Baring
  • Small Groups: sharing and discussion
  • Singing with Ruth Cunningham

Day 2

  • Feast for Eyes & Ears: Live music by Ruth Cunningham accompanied with footage from Chartres Cathedral
  • Movement Invocation with Banafsheh Sayyad
  • Call & Response with Ruth Cunningham
  • Presentation on The Sacred Waters of Chartres by Calen Rayne
  • Activating the Healing Field: Sacred Theater with Peggy Rubin

Day 3

  • Feast for Eyes & Ears: Live music by Ruth Cunningham accompanied with footage from Chartres Cathedral
  • Movement Invocation with Banafsheh Sayyad
  • Call & Response with Ruth Cunningham
  • Presentation on The Black Madonna by Andrew Harvey
  • Making Friends with Conflict: Sacred Theater with Peggy Rubin

Day 4

  • Feast for Eyes & Ears: Live music by Ruth Cunningham accompanied with footage from Chartres Cathedral
  • Invocation with Peggy Rubin
  • Call & Response with Ruth Cunningham
  • Presentation on The Two Marys of Chartres by Anne Baring
  • Rising with the Madonna: Sacred Dance with Banafsheh Sayyad

Day 5

  • Feast for Eyes & Ears: Live music by Ruth Cunningham accompanied with footage from Chartres Cathedral
  • Invocation with Peggy Rubin
  • Call & Response with Ruth Cunningham
  • Presentation on In Praise of Tara and Quan Yin by Gyorgyi Szabo
  • Embodying Compassion: Sacred Dance with Banafsheh Sayyad

Day 6

  • Feast for Eyes & Ears: Live music by Ruth Cunningham accompanied with footage from Chartres Cathedral
  • Invocation with Peggy Rubin
  • Call & Response with Ruth Cunningham
  • Presentation on The Art of Friendship by Jim Garrison
  • Being a friend: Sacred Dance with Banafsheh Sayyad

Day 7

  • Feast for Eyes & Ears: Live music by Ruth Cunningham accompanied with footage from Chartres Cathedral
  • Movement Invocation and Summary with Banafsheh Sayyad
  • Presentation on The Mysteries of the Labyrinth by Calen Rayne
  • Labyrinth Meditation and Ceremony led by Peggy Rubin
  • Call & Response with Ruth Cunningham
  •  Reflections


  • Anne Baring, PhD (Hons) author and co-author of 7 books will present on the Great Work of Alchemy.
  • Ruth Cunningham, classically trained musician, sound healer and founding member of the Anonymous 4 will create soundscapes.
  • Jim Garrison, PhD President, Ubiquity University, Co-Convener, Chartres Academy, will present on Friendship among other topics.
  • Andrew Harvey, PhD (Hons), scholar, mystic and author of more than 30 books, will share his understanding of the Black Madonna.
  • Calen Rayne, DMin will share insights on the labyrinth and the waters of Chartres.
  • Peggy Rubin, Shakespearian actor and master of sacred ritual and group theatre, will guide us into the enactment of the mysteries we explore and share her deep insights into the nature of the Black Madonna and how to use the transformational energy of the feminine for personal growth and group harmony.
  • Banafsheh Sayyad, MFA, MA, sacred dancer, choreographer, founder of Dance of Oneness®, and Co-Convener, Chartres Academy, will moderate and guide us to embody the wisdom teachings we explore during our week via embodiment practices and sacred dance.
  • Gyorgyi Szabo, PhD, the Dean of Graduate Studies at Ubiquity University and as the Executive Director at The Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research, will present on Tara and Quan Yin.

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.

This intensive is co-presented with Dance of Oneness®

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