Hildegard of Bingen:

The Nun who loved the Earth

Monday, March 6, 2017 at 11 AM

One of Christianity's greatest mystic's, Hildegard of Bingen was a visionary with a distinct and remarkable voice. She celebrated the beauty of nature and creation in art and music as the expression of divine love. Join us for a one-hour presentation of Hildegard's views on the relationship between humanity and nature.

Roots & Wings Gallery, Montecito, CA 805-969-7978


October 28- 31, 2014. Ojai, CA

Hearts of Fire:
Women Who Blazed a

Wisdom Path

Warriors of Light:
Hildegard of Bingen & Julian of Norwich

November 1 - 4, 2016, Ojai, CA

The Power of Gratitude

Weekend Retreat, November 5 & 6, 2016

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank-you,’ it will be enough.”
Meister Eckhart

2018 Public Events

Weekend Retreat

November 1 & 2, 2014

Can We End Endless War?

Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 7 PM

at Ojai Retreat

160 Besant Road • Ojai, California 93023

805-646-2536  for reservations

Krishnamurti on Beauty,

Nature & the Earth

When you lose touch with nature,

you lose touch with humanity.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

In his journals, Krishnamurti wrote with great sensitivity about the beauty and wonders of nature. He spoke of timeless encounters with the aliveness of the earth;  the “immensity” of silence in a grove of trees;  a lone lizard warming itself on a rock -- these and his many other observations of the natural world convey perhaps better than anything else, his teaching about attention, inner freedom and the art of living.

During his long walks, he also observed what he called a lack of “tenderness” in the way most humans respond to nature, and suggested that without an authentic relationship to the natural world, humanity will remain divided, violent and unable to be at peace with itself. This program will explore Krishnamurti’s profound kinship with nature, and what we can learn from his insights.

April 17 - 20, 2018 

Tuesday through Friday, 10 AM - Noon

Please call 805-646-1139

for registration and information.
$15 per session, or $50 for the series.
Krotona Institute of Theosophy,

46 Krotona Street, Ojai, CA 93023


Madame Blavatsky was a  spiritual  trailblazer who brought ancient mystical teachings to the West. She was bold, unorthodox and controversial, but her influence is far reaching. She has been called the "mother of modern spirituality."

The seminar will focus on bringing Madame Blavatsky to life as a human being. We will explore her incredibly adventurous life and the influence it had on her work and world view. We’ll look what made her human, fallible, and deeply loved. Her message of religious tolerance, compassion and transformation is a call to the conscience of every spiritual seeker and to anyone who yearns for a better world.

Sacred Earth

Tuesday, February 21,2017 7 PM

October 31 - November 3,  2017

Loving the Earth

“A blackbird was singing in a bush close by,
and that was an everlasting blessing.”

J. Krishnamurti

For those who are sensitive to the beauty of the natural world, the earth is alive and aware, filled with energy, mystery and wonder. Mystics, poets, writers and artists from every part of the world have conveyed a sense of awe and spiritual fullness when in communion with nature. Tonight is a tribute to Earth. We’ll explore the work of artists and writers who have loved the earth deeply, and have spoken of its sacredness. Included will be J. Krishnamurti, Henry David Thoreau and Mary Oliver. We’ll also discuss our own relationship with the earth, and how a loving response to the natural world can bring about healing and peace.

Tuesday, April 21,    7 - 8 PM, Free event

Ojai Valley Lodge, 46 Krotona Street, Ojai, CA 93023


Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich were mystics and visionaries who envisioned a world in harmonious balance despite the violence and religious intolerance of their day. They offered wisdom to a fragmented and chaotic world that was quite similar to our own.

Born during the turbulent upheaval of the Middle Ages, they spoke of a divine unity that connects us to one another and to all of creation. They offered a nourishing, holistic approach to the spiritual search and wrote about God as both Mother and Father, an indivisible union of female and male energies representing wholeness.

Hildegard and Julian were revolutionaries who transformed their personal struggles into spiritual energy, and set an example of selflessness, regardless of one’s spiritual tradition. Together we’ll explore what these two women can teach us, and how we can benefit from listening to them.


What might our lives be like if we lived every day as a “thank-you?” How different would our life experience be if we viewed each day as a gift? What happens inside our bodies when we look at the astonishing beauty of the natural world, and feel a rush of gratitude simply for being able to see its splendor?

Gratitude is a potent energy that has the power to transform our lives and make us whole. In our weekend together, we’ll discover how gratefulness opens us to an invigorated sense of joy and well-being. Through Stillness, contemplation, active listening, and encounters with nature, we’ll cultivate the exquisite art of gratitude and the inner peace it brings.


One Day Retreat
Saturday, November 7, 2015

The quest for meaning and a longing for freedom are fundamental questions of human existence. We long to be free of restraints and entanglements, yet we often seek  freedom in the very things that enslave us.

Spiritual understanding seems to grow slowly within us, much like a spiral. We seek, we falter, we learn, we grow; and then we begin again, though it seems we never quite reach the wholeness we seek.

What does it mean to be free? Is it possible to be free of seeking? What is human existence for? We'll approach these questions from both Eastern and Western perspectives.
Our guides in this inquiry will be  J. Krishnamurti, H.P. Blavatsky,  Ramana Maharshi, Viktor Frankl, Christian mysticism, and verses from the Upanishads. Our intention will be to delve deeply into our own being.

Freedom & the Search for Meaning
October 31 - November 3
10 AM - Noon 

 Please call 805-646-1139 for registration and information.

$15 per session, or $50 for the series.

Krotona Institute of Theosophy


“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”
The Dalai Lama

We live in a world that has become ever more divided. Yet as human beings, we are more alike than different; we all have the same basic needs, and we share a mutual longing for happiness and fulfillment.

So why can’t we be at peace and live harmoniously with each other

and with nature?

Sages from every tradition tell us that peace has to be cultivated from within before it can flourish in our lives and in the world. With stillness, contemplation, deep listening and communion with nature, we will relax and explore the stability and comfort of inner peace.

Peace & Stillness Weekend Retreat

November 4 and 5. Saturday and Sunday. 

Please call 805-646-1139 for reservations. $40 plus $12 optional lunch.


November 5 - 8, 2013

The Call from Within:
A Poet, a Nun and a Yogi

October 19 -21, 2012

The Incredible Adventure of

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

The search for a deeper understanding of who we are, where we came from, and where we are going are perennial questions at the center of human existence. They activate our spiritual inquiry and help us realize how much we don’t know.

Together we’ll explore the longing for answers and how it captivated the hearts of three remarkable women: Mary Magdalene, wrongly cast as a repentant harlot, but also as a saint and “the Apostle to the Apostles”; Sufi mystic and former slave, Rabi’a al-Adawiyya, who wrote ecstatic poetry 500 years before Rumi; and Yeshe Tsogyal, a revered Tibetan yogini who helped bring Buddhism to Tibet. Each of them asked the same questions we ask, and each faced challenges that seemed insurmountable. Yet they left a spiritual legacy which burns like a fire that never goes out.

One Day Retreat

Saturday, November 7, 2015,

Letting Go & Coming Home

Our lives are largely conditioned by a mind that sees the world through the lens of the past, or that is preoccupied with what will happen in the future. We are rarely alive to the present moment and the wonder of creation. Without realizing it, we have become prisoners of what we call Time. But in moments of Stillness, the constraints of time disappear and we are given a taste of inner freedom.

In our day together, we will invite a deeper sense of Stillness into our lives with the cultivation of silence and active listening.


Beyond tradition, theological doctrine, dogma, and myth, who is Mary of Nazareth? She is known as Theotokos, or God-bearer, but what might she represent in our understanding of the inner journey which unites all spiritual traditions? What deeper dimensions can we find in the story of the Virgin Birth, the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel, and the Seven Sorrows of Mary’s heart? What relevance does Mary have in the modern world?

Other spiritual traditions regard Mary as a manifestation of the Divine Mother. In this context, Mary’s compassion and spiritual wisdom resonates with Isis, Shakti, Tara, and Kwan Yin, within the traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and ancient Egyptian mythology.

In this seminar, we will take a look at what I call the Nine Narrow Gates through which Mary traveled. Together, we’ll explore the mystery and spiritual significance of Mary of Nazareth using canonical and non-canonical texts to illuminate the fullness of her story. Her challenges can help us understand our own journey through life.  We'll also examine the concept of a Cosmic Mother, the Feminine Principle at the root of creation.


 November 3 - 6, 2015

Mary of Nazareth & The Divine Mother

Cynthia Overweg

Upcoming Speaking Events  & Retreats

What does the sight of a soaring eagle, a pristine wilderness, or the fragrance of a rose add to the human experience? Are we an intimate part of nature, or separate from it? Is the earth something to exploit for profit, or is it a living organism to honor and sustain?

Join me for a discussion of the beauty and sacredness of the natural world. Our planet sustains humanity and all living creatures in an ecosystem that is in peril.

This presentation will explore how culture, mythology and religion shape our relationship to nature. The challenges we face with climate change, rising sea levels, pollution, and species extinction are directly linked to our collective world view.

7 PM Tuesday, February 21, Admission is free.  46 Krotona Street, Ojai, CA.

805-640-3761 or 805-646-2653


Previous Public Events

2012 - 2017

The inner call to be in communion with a higher purpose in life is a recurring human story more poignant than any other. When we listen to that “still small voice” within, we are listening to the deepest part of our being. Yet, the call to a greater good can ignite an arduous inner struggle. This is the core teaching of those who have lived it.

Together we’ll explore the spiritual calling of three very different people – a poet, Dante Alighieri; a nun, Teresa of Avila; and a Tibetan yogi, Milarepa. We’ll look at how they searched for and eventually found inner peace. Each of them embodies our own spiritual yearnings and personal failings, as we learn how to live the spiritual life from within.

Fall 2018 events will be announced soon.

Peace & Stillness

Weekend Retreat, November 4 & 5, 2017

Ojai, CA

Weekend Retreat

When Stillness Speaks

November 1 & 2,, 2014

The stress and turbulence of daily life can be overwhelming. We long for a place to retreat and feel refreshed by a sense of beauty and inner quiet. But how do we find the peace we long for? Where is that quiet space we need?

In our weekend retreat, we'll explore the practice of quietude, gratitude and inner harmony inspired by the wisdom of Teresa of Avila, Ramana Maharshi and The Voice of the Silence by H.P. Blavatsky.

We'll gather in a communion of Stillness and active listening with ample time for solitude and reflection as we move deeper into the sacred mystery within.