By Nathan Baker | The Citizen | October 23, 2012
Auburnians will soon have the opportunity to meet and learn from a leading theologian and hear his theories to help gain balance in the world.
Andrew Harvey, a poet, author, translator and modern mystic to some, will visit the Auburn Public Theater this week for a trio of live events.
His lectures, "The Divine Feminine" and "Rumi Renaissance," will lead audience members on a journey of exploration into some of the themes of both Eastern and Western religions.
Harvey claims his spiritual inquiry began at a very young age in his native India, where he discovered a common thread that connects most major religions.
Since leaving Oxford University in 1978, he began a decades-long spiritual journey to learn the most sacred ideas of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.
Over his years of spiritual study and practices, Harvey synthesized the major themes into his theory of sacred activism, through which he encourages deep religious practices in order to effect change and create sustainability in modern society.
"Sacred activism is the great power and force that is born when you combine the passion for God with the passion for justice," Harvey said. "By doing so, you can birth a new world out of the contemporary crisis."
Through the idea of the divine feminine, which is a focus of one of Harvey's two dozen books and one of his lectures, he encourages the marriage of "the feminine powers of the psyche, [namely] intuition, patience, reverence for nature and knowledge of the holy unity of things" with "the masculine energies of rule, reason and passion for order and control" to allow humans to realize their full potential.
Harvey is also a leading scholar of Jalaluddin Rumi, a Muslim poet, theologian and Sufi mystic who lived in 13th-century Persia.
In France, beginning in the 1980s, he began a 10-year study of Rumi and his mysticism under the tutelage of a group of Parisian Sufis.
Rumi's poetry became wildly popular in America in the last decade, and he is now one of the most widely read spiritual writers in the country.
"Rumi is the greatest mystical poet of the world," Harvey said. "I believe that the return of his voice and message is absolutely crucial for our inspiration and survival."
Other than his lectures, Harvey will join composer Hans Christian at the APT for "Rumi Symphony," a musical and spoken word event.
APT Artistic Director Angela Daddabbo said the performance will be the first time the work has ever been composed for a live audience.
"Hans Christian and his group performed here in May, and I so enjoyed his music that I asked him to recommend an album of his work," Daddabbo said. "I listened to this album that he and Andrew recorded, and I so enjoyed the music that I asked if he could come back and get Andrew to perform live."
Daddabbo met Harvey in the 1990s while living in Los Angeles and found out that some of his few available dates were open when Christian would be performing at the theater.
"I'm hoping for a great lecture series with plenty of surprises," she said. "Andrew has an incredible voice, and I can't image what the combination of the music and poetry will be like. The closest I can think of to describe it is spiritual Pop Rocks."
Harvey said he hopes to impart three ideas on attendees of his appearances.
"I hope they will learn a new and challenging vision of what's happening in the world, gain an injection of the sacred and inspirational into their lives, and they will be introduced to the spiritual tools that will help them realize their own deepest potentials to be an agent of change in their times," he said.