LIVING MYSTERY SYMPOSIUM/Dec. 10th/Kilauea Theatre/10:00am – 5:00pm
Understanding the living mysteries that surround us and the living mystery that we are. Join us as we explore this year’s theme, Super Nature, from numerous interconnected angles, with world-renowned guest speakers, including:
Whitley Strieber – New York Times best-selling author of COMMUNION and host of the Dreamland radio program. His latest novel series ALIEN HUNTER is the basis for the SyFy TV hit, Hunters. His latest nonfiction work THE SUPER NATURAL: A NEW VISION OF THE UNEXPLAINED (co-authored with Jeffrey Kripal) is the basis for this year’s symposium theme. Whitley will be asking the questions: Is the supernatural actually super natural? Are paranormal and “alien” phenomena really what they appear to be? Should they be demystified? To what extent can they be studied by science?
Whitley will also be doing a book signing after his presentation as well as leading a workshop on Sunday.
Dennis McKenna – Legendary ethnobotonist and author of THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE SCREAMING ABYSS, Dennis will be here to talk about his time in the Amazon with brother Terrence McKenna, what they learned firsthand about plant consciousness, and present his latest thinking on the wisdom of the plant teachers.
Dr. McKenna will also be doing a book signing after his presentation as well as leading a workshop on Sunday.
Jeffrey Kripal – Jeff holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, where he chaired the Department of Religion for eight years and helped create the GEM Program, a doctoral concentration in the study of Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism that is the largest program of its kind in the world. He will speak on three texts: Philip K. Dick’s VALIS (1981), Whitley Strieber’s COMMUNION (1987) and Barbara Ehrenreich’s LIVING WITH A WILD GOD (2014). In each case, we will see how the author describes a deeply personal, life-changing encounter with what any earlier culture would have recognized as a deity or demon. Each author engages these earlier religious interpretations but finally moves outside of them to posit actual invisible species in the environment that interact with human beings at their own whims and for their own interests, perhaps, the authors speculate, to “feed off” of human emotion or to tame, domesticate or evolve us via sexual communion and interspecies symbiosis. The result is a new set of evolutionary esotericisms, erotic vitalisms and biological polytheisms that pose a challenge to the reigning materialisms and projection theories of conventional science and the humanities even as they point to a new emerging metamythology.
Jeremy Vaeni – Former columnist for UFO Magazine and author of numerous books including, I KNOW WHY THE ALIENS DON’T LAND! and URGENCY. He is host of the popular and influential podcasts The Experience and Paratopia Oculus, and is a founding member of Project Core, a team of scientists and experiencers that created the first-ever scientific survey of experiencers of all things typically categorized as paranormal, spiritual, and alien. As host of the symposium, Jeremy will talk story about what it means to be an experiencer of such things and bring us deeper into the questions raised during a panel discussion/audience Q&A at the end of the day.
WORKSHOPS/Dec. 11th/Koa Conference Room/10:00am – 5:00pm
Whitley Strieber Workshop – 10:00am – 1:00pm
Join Whitley Strieber as he leads an exciting workshop entitled, High Strangeness Videos. In this exclusive workshop, Whitley will screen and dissect a selection of ultra high strangeness videos that will challenge existing assumptions about the whole UFO phenomenon.
Dennis McKenna Workshop – 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Hallucinogens or wisdom teachers? What are these plants and fungi doing? Dennis McKenna takes us deeper into the questions than we’ve ever gone before. Welcome to the screaming abyss!