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.

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 helps illuminate the search for inner freedom.

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


November 5 - 8, 2013

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

"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 come from within before it can flourish in our lives and in the world. With stillness, 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.


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.

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,  Ramana Maharshi, HP Blavatsky, Viktor Frankl, and verses from the Gospels and 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.


Warriors of Light:
Hildegard of Bingen & Julian of Norwich

November 1 - 4, 2016, Ojai, CA

Additional Workshops & Retreats will be posted soon.
Thank-you for visiting.  Come back soon!

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, 2018    7 - 8 PM, Free event

Ojai Valley Lodge, 46 Krotona Street,

Ojai, CA 93023


October 27, 2018

One Day Retreat
Saturday, November 7, 2015

Inner silence is often imagined as an ocean; vast, deep, powerful and unknown. When the mind is silent, life has exquisite beauty, balance and equilibrium. 

In the ocean of silence, there is no concept of time, no deadlines, no stress.

To still the mind and relax in a supportive environment is the aim of this retreat.  With self-inquiry, deep listening, and walks in nature, our intention is to leave behind the

noise and conflict of the world.

Saturday, October 27, 2018 - 10 AM - 4 PM

$35 plus lunch at  $13

Please call 805-646-1139 for reservations
Email:  schoolinfo@krotonainstitute.org


What might our lives be like if we lived every day as a “thank-you?” 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 can bring joy and a sense of wonder.  In our weekend together, we’ll discover how gratefulness opens us to a sense of  well-being. Through Stillness, active listening, and encounters with nature, we'll explore how a quiet mind can help us "see" the beauty of simply being alive.


Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich were visionaries who saw a world that could be 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.


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

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 freedom. Each of them embodies our own spiritual yearnings and personal failings, as we learn how to live the spiritual life from within.

Madame Blavatsky was a trailblazer who brought Eastern spiritual 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, controversial and admired. 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.

Nature's Bliss

February 25, 2019

Krishnamurti on Beauty,

Nature & the Earth

When you lose touch with nature,

you lose touch with humanity.”
J. 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 mountain bathed in luminous light; a lone lizard warming itself on a rock. His walks in nature often filled him with awe.  Krishnamurti's  observations of the natural world convey, perhaps better than anything else, his teaching about attention, inner freedom and the art of living.

But 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.

Please call 805-646-1139
Email:  schoolinfo@krotonainstitute.org

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

46 Krotona Street, Ojai, CA 93023


Sacred Earth

Tuesday, February 21,2017 7 PM

at The Ojai Retreat

May 17, 2018 - 7PM

Saturday, April 20, 2019, Krotona Institute,

Ojai, CA Please call 805-646-1139

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 -- the unveiling of the "me" and the discovery of inner freedom. Together, we’ll explore the mystery  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.


How does our perception of the natural world affect our relationships with others and all of creation?  A one-hour presentation.

at Valle Verde in Santa Barbara.


Weekend Retreat

November 1 & 2, 2014

Can the cycle of war ever come to an end?

What will it take for the momentum of the

world’s war machines to finally cease to exist?

 Join us for a discussion on what is

if we want to end war once and for all.

Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 7 PM

at The Ojai Retreat
160 Besant Road • Ojai, California 93023

Proceeds will go to Save the Children

www.OjaiRetreat.org    $10 donation.


It has been said that a silent mind opens the door to inner freedom and awakens compassion in the human heart. But the mind is too noisy and disordered to be either silent or free, and thus to listen to what the heart seeks.

What is inner freedom? Why is it so elusive? How does a silent mind bring us closer to what is beautiful and true?

Our guides in this inquiry will be The Voice of the Silence by HP Blavatsky and Freedom from the Known  by J. Krishnamurti. Our aim is to encounter the inner silence which ends conflict and opens us to the wonder

and joy of life.

Please call 805-646-1139 for  reservations.

Email:  schoolinfo@krotonainstitute.org
$15 per session, or $50 for the series.
46 Krotona Street, Ojai, CA 93023


Cynthia Overweg

Upcoming Workshops  & Retreats

The Sermon on the Mount:
A Wisdom Teaching for the Modern World

April 16 to 19, 2019

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most powerful and influential wisdom teachings ever given. It was radical and revolutionary. It challenged religious and secular authorities with its call for mercy, compassion, freedom from oppression, and spiritual unfoldment without the burden of dogma or the abuse of power.

The focus of this workshop will be on deeper insights into the eight Beatitudes, arguably the most beautiful, elusive and compelling portion of the Sermon. But we will also explore the entire text and discuss the spiritual and ethical values it conveys to our turbulent and violent world.

Krotona Institute, Ojai, CA
Please call for information

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

A  summary of previous Workshops & Retreats

is listed below.

Can War Ever End?

Previous Workshops & Retreats

2012 - 2018

2019  Workshops & Retreats

Empowering Awareness, Attention & Understanding

Renewal: One Day Retreat

Peace & Stillness

Weekend Retreat, November 4 & 5, 2017

Ojai, CA

Breaking Free:

The Call to Awaken

October 15 - 18, 2019

An exploration into the transformation of human consciousness, one person at a time. This is an interactive workshop.

Call 805-646-1139 for information.

Krotona in Ojai, CA


 November 3 - 6, 2015

Mary of Nazareth & The Divine Mother

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 Ramana Maharshi and J. Krishnamurti.

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.


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.