These mystical and practical discussions are explorations of spirituality and its relation to religion and psychology, with questions always. Beyond a specific religion or spiritual practice; what do we share, what do we have in common? These talks are a work in progress evolving our rich inner life, including reflections on religious texts, poems, art, and what is common in our human experience enhancing understanding of our relationships: with ourselves, with one another, and with the world we share.
Spirituality and Poetry: Perceiving Beyond the Edge of Paradigm
Henry Cretella, M.D, host of the humanistic and spiritual podcast Alchemical Dialogues, talks with Joel Lesses, host of Unraveling Religion in a far-reaching and engrossing conversation about spirituality and poetry. Listen to Henry and Joel discuss the meaning of identity and paradigm, mysticism, and ‘who am I’ as a resolution to the existential question of life. With an emphasis on the sacred, mundane, and profane, Henry and Joel take a deep dive into what poetry is in relation to authenticity and genuineness. This talk is also on Alchemical Dialogues under 'Spirituality and Poetry: Beyond the Edge.'
Alchemical Dialogues are live and unscripted conversations recorded on Zoom by Amber Light International. They choose topics from our current social and cultural climate, with an emphasis on humanism and spirituality. Subscribe to Alchemical Dialogues on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or search for us in your favorite podcast app.
Joel David Lesses' background is in psychology and counseling with other passions including the intersection of poetry, spirituality, science and phenomenology shared and disparate in the human experience, and transformative power of self inquiry and introspection through contemplative and meditative practices. Joel was nominated by Artvoice in 2013 and 2014 Buffalo's Best Poet and won the honor in 2014, he has been published in various magazines and publications, founded Ground and Sky Poetry Series, facilitated numerous poetry workshops.
'Nothing But A Tender Spirit': A Conversation With Poet Maj Ragain
In 2015, in the wide expanse of spiritual and emotional terrain, before his passing in 2018, Maj Ragain, northeast Ohio's poetic fixture and teacher sits with Joel to talk of spirituality and mentorship, sharing poems, talking of tenderness and eroticism and the flux of life, 'all rivers run to the sea.' Maj Ragain was born into a small, southeastern Illinois farm town. Home-tutored and raised on Vernor Lake, he earned a BA in English at Eastern Illinois University, and an MA in English at the University of Illinois. He has been on faculty, off and on, at Kent State University since 1969, where he obtained his PhD in 1990. He is the author of seven chapbooks of poetry and five book-length collections, all of which contribute to Clouds Pile Up in the North: New & Selected Poems. Maj had served for more than thirty years as host to open poetry readings in Kent, monthly, downtown, mentoring hundreds of poets through the years.
Personal and Universal Dream Meaning and Integration, Waking: A Conversation with Dr. Henry 'Wadud' Cretella
In this talk from 2017, Wadud and Joel explore what is beyond psychology from a religious, mystical, and spiritual perspective in dreams; also, the relation of Freud, Jung, and Sufism and what dreams teach, symbols, where does meaning stop, archetypes, the unconscious, "accidents," "symptoms/neurosis" and the balance of our actions as tipping scales to what is good. About Henry Cretella, M.D: he has had a professional career spanning over 40 years along with his spiritual and especially mystical interests. Henry Cretella, M.D and Kathleen FitzPatrick, LCSW co-direct Amber Light International, a non-profit educational/spiritual group. Through it, they offer spiritual guidance, individual and group retreats, workshops, intensive book studies, celebrations and other related experiences. Under the aegis of Amber Light, Alchemical Dialogues (link https://www.amberlightinternational.org/podcast/) are live and unscripted conversations recorded on Zoom, with topics from our current social and cultural climate, with an emphasis on humanism and spirituality.
Transforming The Human Heart: A Talk With Rabbi Micha Odenheimer
During 2015 Joel spent two months in Nepal and spoke with the NGO Tevel B'Tzedek's Founder Micha Odenheimer about Judaism, globalization, poverty, and the Prophets of the Bible. Tevel's mission is to form education and bonds in rural communities of developing nations, to enrich communities through sharing and knowlege education and resources. This talk centers on Judaism's rich tradition of supporting 'the widow orphan and stranger' and the validities of the worlds other religous traditions, working together to improve the quality of life for all people. About Rabbi Micha Odenheimer: 'Born in 1958 in Berkeley California, Micha Odenheimer has been a writer, journalist, Jewish teacher and social activist in Israel since making aliyah 31 years ago. Micha’s life and interests include fields rarely seen in combination. As a rabbi he has written dozens of essays on Judaism the Torah, and social justice, and has reported on trends in Judaism and the Jewish world. Micha has a special interest in Jewish mysticism and Hasidism.'
Crazywise Film Maker Phil Borges, A Conversation
'Crazy…or wise? The traditional wisdom of indigenous cultures often contradicts modern views about a mental health crisis. Is it a ‘calling’ to grow or just a ‘broken brain’? The documentary CRAZYWISE explores what can be learned from people around the world who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience.' Exploring alternatives to psychosis, from 2014 as Crazywise was nearing completion, Phil and Joel talk of spirituality, shamanism and healing Phil and Joel talk about the gifted (i.e., those who exhibit Shamanic potentic through hearing voices and visions) and their relation to mental health distress, our Western cultures treatment, and the traditional or indiginous view of these markers as a sensitivity and gift. Phil Borges, has been documenting indigenous cultures and striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. Phil has spoken at multiple TED talks; including TED in 2007, TEDxRainier in 2012 and TEDxUMKC in 2013 and hosted television documentaries for Discovery and National Geographic.
Visionary Landscape of Humanity's Potential With Chris Barbera
From 2008, this vintage episode with Visionary Activist and Humanitarian Chris Barbera opens to the deepest aspects and understandings of work culture race religion and its mystical application including countering systems of power that dehumanize. Chris' visionary articulation illuminates the questions that face our culture and world, applying ancient wisdom to the current dilemma and imbalance in our world and offer solutions that tie into humanity's great spiritual traditions and Masters.