“Where Two of You Gather, There Am I”: On the Symbolism of the SW Summit

Symbolic World CollectiveSymbolic World Icon
March 18, 2024

So tell me what do we need with the sun?
Now we have an electric one
To melt every shadow away
Turn the night into day
So give a shout of “Fare well!”
Now we know we can build it ourselves
But Oh! We stared so long
We forgot we were human

– Dirt Poor Robins, “We Forgot We Were Human”


During the last days of February and first days of March 2024, the Symbolic World Summit took place, a conference aimed at “reclaiming the cosmic image.” This summit brought together people from all parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, UK, Ukraine, Serbia, etc., with diverse backgrounds, intents, and purposes. The various conferences and panel discussions, along with extra activities such as supras and church visits, aimed to foster and strengthen the vision of the Symbolic World. This vision perceives reality as it is through a language of patterns and structures, enabling participants to understand and participate more fully in a fractal hierarchy that reaches both the heights of the Heavenly Man and the depths of the Lamb.

This article aims to address inherent questions by bridging various perspectives on the events that transpired. These questions include why strong connections were formed during the summit and what can be done with these connections now that it has concluded.

As Vesper Stamper emphasized in her talk “Cycles of Artistic Dissent,” spirituality serves as the prime mover of history, and symbolism is its primary language. Therefore, we will explore these questions by examining the symbolic structures of the summit. 

On the Liminal Aspect of the Summit

by David Joseph Brodeur


Etymologically, the term “liminal” derives from the Latin “limen,” meaning “threshold” or “boundary.” In anthropology, the concept of liminality is closely associated with rituals and was developed by Arnold Van Gennep (Les rites de passages: étude systémique des rites, 1981) and Victor Turner (The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, 1969). They proposed that rituals, especially initiation rites, consist of three distinct phases: preliminary, liminal, and postliminal.

The preliminary phase marks the moment when novices are separated from their customary social environment, i.e., from an established structure, through spatial and temporal isolation. Subsequently, they enter a state of liminality, characterized by a suspension of normal social conventions and the emergence of a counter-structure. This counter-structure is characterized by ambiguity and diversity, sometimes accompanied by conflict and tension, yet also fostering unity and enlightenment for the initiates. Participants often perceive liminality as an ontological condition transcending mere social constructs, enabling their transformation (Maurice Bloch, Prey into Hunter: The Politics of Religious Experience, 1991). Ultimately, the postliminal phase aims to reintegrate the initiates into society with their altered status, as they undergo a transformative process both internally and in the eyes of others.

According to Turner, those engaged in the liminal phase form their own communitas, a socio-cultural environment that diverges from conventional societal norms. Examples of communitas can range from more “classical” religious communal experiences — like pilgrims traveling together, or monks living isolated in the desert in small communities — to more “modern” examples — such as soldiers going through the same boot camp together and emerging with a new identity. 

One characteristic of liminality, as per Turner, is its ambiguity, which can temporarily dissolve individual identity, yet which also facilitates necessary identity reconstructions during the reintegration phase. If liminality entails a withdrawal from the structured dimensions of time and space (often termed “cosmicized”), it also offers an opportunity for critical examination and questioning of cultural values. This is possible because the customary boundaries of thought are temporarily suspended, and the societal structure is in flux (Arpad Szakolczai, “Liminality and Experience: Structuring transitory situations and transformative events,” 2009). Turner emphasizes the transient nature of liminality to preserve social cohesion: either the liminal group is reintegrated into society, or it establishes its own normative communitas. Socially, this process safeguards against the invasive potential of liminality, a concept linked to Mary Douglas’s notions of purity and impurity. In other words, one cannot stay in the margins forever. In a liminal group, individuals share a communal identity devoid of hierarchical distinctions, symbols, or affiliations, where equality prevails in the face of the dominant societal structure. Thus, liminality represents a structural aspect of ritual and symbolic discourse.

On the Symbolic World Communitas

From this cursory examination of liminality and its implications, it’s evident that many readers will likely discern the direction of this discussion: the participants in the summit transcended their usual spatial, temporal, and social confines to unite in ritual participation within a single body. This union forged a communitas of counter-cultural significance, facilitating the fluid emergence and restructuring of new identities that are different from the current modern societal norms.

But why would the conference induce a liminal state? Isn’t it just another ordinary conference? I argue otherwise. Firstly, most attendees had to embark on long journeys, sometimes to the “edge of the world” (coming from Europe, for instance), or at least, in the case of Americans, to the periphery of their respective country, considering Florida’s geographical position. These journeys mirror a departure from normal spatial relations with reality, akin to a pilgrimage. Secondly, many faced common challenges, including the reevaluation of truths (few anticipated Fr. Stephen De Young’s profound discourse on the bodily resurrection, drawing from Nietzsche), sleep deprivation, foreign language or locations, and so forth. Thirdly, many found themselves socially isolated from their usual communities or completely alone in their journey, without any familiar faces.

The implications of this can be further explored through Jonathan Pageau’s perspective. In previous discussions, he has often delved into what I term the “fringe theory”: the notion that the fringe plays a pivotal role within society in terms of centrifugal forces. In simpler terms, in an inverted society, inversion becomes the solution; in a conventional society, the fool serves to highlight inherent structural flaws so that the center can readjust. It appears that the Symbolic World community embodies this fringe role, composed of ex-pagans and priests, ex-monks and military veterans, rock musicians and classical pianists, icon carvers and (ex-)iconoclasts, storytellers and scientists. This community resides on the societal “fringe” in contrast to conventional expectations of a “Christian” group. Yet, the primary objective of the Symbolic World communitas seems to be the perception of higher truths, beauty, and love through symbolic thought, with the aim of union with Christ. This proposition is presented within an increasingly secularized and bewildered society, underscoring its role as a catalyst for societal reorientation.

On the Communal Aspect of the Summit

Now that we’ve established the event as a liminal occurrence that generated a communitas, we can assert that this communitas fostered a unique bond in both time and space — a “bodily” binding, if you will.

But what defines a community if not a collective endeavor — where each sacrifice offers greater opportunities for both rewards and further sacrifice, as highlighted by Jordan Peterson, and moves us collectively “towards a higher goal,” as Jonathan emphasized in his talk? What, then, do we sacrifice? Attention, certainly, but in practical terms, we sacrifice time, resources (money), and other tangible assets to participate. Moreover, in our daily lives, we continually make “smaller sacrifices” to align with the symbolic understanding of the world. This alignment, as Dr. Martin Shaw suggests, enables myths to resonate with and through us in tangible ways.

Both Jonathan and Richard Rohlin have mentioned the need for people to graft themselves into the Body of Christ: the Bible becomes our narrative, and Abraham our forefather. This is precisely why the official Summit concluded on Saturday, but the majority of the participants concluded it rather on Sunday when attending church together. This communal aspect is also mirrored in our daily lives through the lived experience of faith, as Richard elucidated in his discussion on the pivotal significance of Pentecost.

* * *

So far, we’ve primarily explored the preliminary phase (separation from the world) and the liminal phase (formation of a truth-sharing community). But what about the postliminal phase? What about the return from the wilderness to the world?

Firstly, we’ve been assigned tasks: learning a poem, immersing ourselves in a story, attending church, selecting a patron saint for our home, engaging in Pentecost, taking up the pen to create, and more. These tasks empower us to effect positive change within our immediate spheres. The objective isn’t to change “the” world but rather to make an impact within “our” world, to “be famous for five miles,” as it were. And why should we undertake these tasks? Because, as Dr. Shaw emphasized, we are the “custodians of the Good Word”; we cannot relinquish this responsibility. This is the ultimate goal of our community. This is what it means to be human: to foster relationships with ourselves, our families, our community, with God. 

Furthermore, this responsibility doesn’t preclude us from nurturing our community through online correspondence, participating in internet discussions (a modern-day “Garment of Skin,” if you will), and seeking out like-minded individuals in our vicinity to facilitate smaller-scale communal gatherings. We are called to participate, and this summit was a ritual participation in the Symbolic World reality. It cannot be an end, but must be a beginning. 


The Symbolic Supra

by Gareth Boyd

To the heights, to the heights
Oh we’re climbing higher
Everyday a little bit better
We’ll rise to the heights forever

– Dirt Poor Robins, “To the Heights”

While an excellent analysis of the supra itself can be found in Daniel Padrnos’s article here on The Symbolic World, there is a way in which the Symbolic World Summit mirrors the structure of the supra. Like the supra, the occasion of the Summit brings in a diverse set of individual people, unites them in a common (if temporary) cause, and under the direction of the tamada has the attentions and experiences shaped both from above and below in a cosmic pattern we see at play throughout creation. 

The tamada is the master of ceremonies for the supra. He sits at the head of the table, at the summit of the mountain, and directs the tone and flow of those who sit at feast through the institution of toasts upon certain themes (e.g., the Mother of God, Parental Love, Humor, Nostalgia, Death, etc). For the Symbolic World, we have Jonathan who sits in this place. Like a kind of priest, he mediates heaven and earth. He draws the attention of those below to the higher things, and endeavors to bring down the higher into the perception of the lower. He does this ordinarily through his videos and lectures, but at the Summit it is accomplished when he takes the stage to give a talk. 

The community of the Symbolic World is diverse, and within it circles of relationships emerge organically from below. This is seen at the supra in the form of the conviviality and conversation which occurs between those who sit beside or across from one another. At the Summit, it is the natural grouping of peoples (mostly) laterally. It is lunch with old friends and new. It is a late night conversation over libations and a grill. This is, in a way, an expression of the Sabbath Principle (à la Matthieu Pageau), where the structured creation of ordered space (the program of talks) is relaxed, and the built up tension is allowed to dissipate just a little. The fields are allowed to rewild, to encourage fertility within the minds of those attendees in preparation for the next talk, where the disparate attention is again drawn to the tamada, and through him to the summit of the Holy Mountain. (A bit more on directionality and its role can be found in my short article here.)

This is ultimately what is at play within the supra itself. It is a microcosm of the cosmic order where attention is drawn upward and directed to heaven, and then allowed to relax and dissipate through the lower creation. Room is provided for the sadgredzelo (a Georgian term approximating “and now to you”), or the toast from below, which occurs when an individual participant stands to offer a toast upon the current theme set by the tamada. This can occur at the desire of the individual, or the tamada can call upon someone from above to offer a toast. In the case of The Symbolic World, we see this in the various content creators, YouTubers, writers, artists, and poets who function within the community. At the Summit, it is both the speakers who were invited, and those attendees who initiated discussions and fellowship around Tarpon Springs. To some of the speakers (Jordan Peterson), a greater degree of freedom is given at the behest of the tamada in the form of the alaverdi, where the tamada will pass the next high level toast to someone else at the table, essentially making them tamada for a brief while. The authority always returns back to the original tamada, however. 


The supra is a feast. The table is laden with culinary delights, and when the wine is paired with words we enjoy both merriment and meat; to say nothing of the meaning around which we are continuously drawn by the tamada. At the Summit, ideas expressed through image and word are our nourishment. There we find no shortage of beer and bourbon (or a little ouzo) during the leisurely times of relaxation. While drunkenness is always to be avoided, an indulgence of the little chaos that is invoked by the “pairing of words with wine” serves to lubricate our interpersonal exchanges, forming rivulets of potentiality between friends and strangers. Once the chaos and potential is tasted of, it is a real relationship which is then actualized. The fermentation which leads to libation (and to bread) is a kind of death. In the case of wine, we see grapes subjected to a controlled and purposeful decay in order to produce, through a little death, a product that is greater and more powerful than the mere sum of its parts. So too in controlled imbibing, we can subject ourselves to a little death in order to realize a little magic. 

The fifth toast of the supra is to Death, and Daniel does a marvelous job articulating this moment of the feast:

When the time comes for the fifth toast, the toast to “ancestors” or those who have gone before, all participants stand. The tamada recounts the lives of saints or martyrs, or great family members passed. As the tamada speaks, participants pour wine (symbolic of time) onto a piece of bread (symbolic of space) before consuming it. This act, clearly reminiscent of the eucharistic meal, puts flesh to dry bones, making those who have passed away present at the table, carrying forward tradition by renewing it with new life. The fifth toast does not end the Supra, but smoothly transitions into the sixth toast, to life and newborn children.

– Daniel Padrnos,
The Symbolism of the Supra

Being predominantly children of the West, many of us in attendance at the Symbolic World Summit are converts to the Orthodox Church (those who are not, I can of course not speak for), and for us the place from which we have come is ever present in our minds. We see it in relation to the majesty that we perceive within Holy Orthodoxy. Sometimes our feelings about our parents or the pastors of our youth are complicated. They can range from love and appreciation to resentment and bitterness. Hopefully we all can look back to see the good in those who went before us. This is our toast to our ancestors in a way: that we remember and honor the good that was planted by the lives and words of those who went before us, whether they have fallen asleep or not. Whatever their failings, we remember the good that cultivated the natural inclination toward God within our own lives and in the lives of our children. We are grateful for this. We love them for this. To them be the victory! 


Ultimately the supra ends. The diners go back to their homes and beds, and life returns to its normal course. The magic of the feast, however, and the reminders of the summit of the Holy Mountain, toward which we are all drawn, remain. So also with the Symbolic World Summit. We eventually board our planes and cars to return to Earth from our vista upon the mountain, whereupon we gazed briefly through “a little window, that looketh upon a great world” (George MacDonald, Phantastes). This is the purpose of the supra, and of the Symbolic World with its Summit: that we might regain that which Man has lost. That we might be reminded of that great world from which we have come, and will one day return. 


Embodying the Cosmic Image

by David Flores

Lofty ideas like “Reclaiming the Cosmic Image.” What the heck does that even mean?! But let ourselves think about it and discuss it and dream about it. We may be heading toward civilizational death, but what comes next is nothing short of resurrection. And I’m here for it. So you know what we should do? Let’s go make some [...stuff].

– Vesper Stamper

The Summit is a difficult experience to process, much less describe. The whirlwind pilgrimage — a fitting word for the journey — was an event that seemed outside of time. Returning back to the rhythms of normal life has been a little like trying to put a ship in a bottle. I will do my best to describe a portion of events, to give a sense of what it was like.

The Individual: In-Body-Ment

I will take the liberty of speaking for everyone in this article (I do not think they will mind) that we were there more to meet each other than the speakers. Some of us have been in conversation for around three years. Some of these online friends, I had accepted that I would never meet in person. Several were literal worlds away geographically.

How to describe meeting someone you have shared profoundly transformative conversations with through the digital medium in body? To say I am fortunate to have been able to stay in an Airbnb (The Symbolic House) with four other pilgrims is not words enough. Gifts of art prints and stickers I designed were given, and warm greetings exchanged. We fell into conversations with the ease of brothers.

The Communal: Hearth and Home

The Symbolic House became a hearth, home, and tavern for our merry band. To create a body, there must be a unifying principle. One would assume that the summit was that principle, but that was only partly true. The Summit itself was embedded in something higher.

It’s no secret that Jonathan’s work points to God. “Go to church” is, after all, a constant refrain of his. This manifested itself in our routines at the house. In the morning, we prayed together. Evening prayers (very late evening prayers) were also done communally, lead in French more often than not. These two rituals were a given. The prayers incorporated in our daily lives seamlessly transitioned into a communal bond.

The Summit: A Call

The Summit was of course the thing that unified all these disparate people. From Canada, Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom, Louisiana, and other far-flung places. The opening afternoon and evening began with John Heers and Jonathan Pageau laying out the loose structure of the event. John Heers (whom I was unfamiliar with) proved to be an excellent guide, cheerfully filling the gaps between speakers, and gently shepherding the sometimes chaotic Q and A’s with more grace and patience than I could have managed.

The opening night ended with music. And what a delight! The Dirt Poor Robins’ performance was impressive. It is quite difficult for a band to sound as good live as their album. Even more so if the songs have the level of complexity that theirs do. They did not disappoint. They also debuted their new album Firebird the same day. I have seen and heard many people state that the Summit left them reeling. I share that sentiment. My typical routines of listening to an overabundance of heady podcasts and audiobooks was shattered and difficult to turn back to. Listening to Firebird on repeat has been something that has helped. I cannot help having the feeling that this particular album of theirs will be something I listen to in the future that will help me recall these cherished moments.

The Divine: Saints and Shrines

Prior to the Summit’s opening day, we were introduced to Tarpon Springs by James Kourtides. After breakfasting at Toula’s, James’s mother’s restaurant, and spending time in conversation with many new acquaintances, he lead us to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. A beautiful church where Eastern and Western art forms merge. The real surprise was to come afterwards.

Tarpon Springs is home to the Shrine of St. Michael Taxiarchis. The small stone shrine houses a miraculous icon of Archangel Michael. As a recent convert to Orthodox Christianity I have had some difficulty in understanding the relationship one has to the saints. As Archangel Michael is my own patron saint, the import of this unexpected occurrence was not lost upon me.

The shrine became another point of centrality for those of us at the Symbolic House. Our morning prayers were said at the shrine before attending the Summit the next day. Lunches taken to go were eaten in the quiet area outside the shrine. Archangel Michael became a companion, and for us, an unofficial patron of the Summit.

Saturday evening, many of the summit-goers attended Great Vespers at St. Nicholas. John Heers had said during the Summit that vespers is a special service of the Orthodox Church. I resonate much with this as it is the door through which I entered the Church. The beautiful chanting in the majestic church was certainly powerful. The weighty presence of the Spirit could be felt, and the pews were full.

If my flight had not been scheduled to go out Sunday morning I, like many who stayed, would have attended Divine Liturgy. I am certain those who did must have had a deep and profound experience. The Summit culminated in the place which it was pointing to for those who chose to go.

The Summit: Reclaiming the Cosmic Image

My expectations for the speakers were something of a mixed bag. There were those I was excited to see and others I was not familiar enough with to have any preconceptions. The speakers during the breaks and transitions were extremely gracious with their time, answering questions and having discussions with attendees.

The topics of the talks looked as far removed from each other and the title “Reclaiming the Cosmic Image” as firebirds are from foxes. However, when the Summit was over, I perceived a throughline that was certainly not planned: storytelling.

I cannot speak to the Universal History pathways, but stories seemed to be involved in each talk: how to tell stories, how new stories are being told, the images used to tell stories, and in the case of Dr. Martin Shaw (one of the highlights of the conference), the actual telling of stories.

Vesper Stamper, one of my no-expectations speakers, impressed me greatly. Her speech was certainly one of the best. Concise, surgical, to the point — and Oh! What a point! It was a rousing call to quit lamenting the poor quality of contemporary stories in media. Her challenge to make something better was the forceful kick in the pants many need to hear (especially me!). The time is ripe for creatives to create. We have the stories, many have the skills. Our efforts and attention need to shift now that the problem has been more than identified. Reclaiming the Cosmic Image means reclaiming the creative space, and that requires effort and energy pointed at telling better stories.

The Communal: Breaking Bread

Sharing a meal is another binding ritual. Breakfast at Toula’s expanded our band and filled our stomachs; Hellas’s delicious Greek food (the best gyros I’ve ever had); and the Symbolic Barbeque (J.-P. and David’s brainchild) are a few of the more noteworthy places of shared meals.

The Barbeque was what turned the house not just into a location for the five of us who stayed there, but a point of contact for some fellow travelers and characters floating around the Symbolic World. Many people showed up, generously bringing libations and good conversations. In the future, I will reminisce about the night where a circle was formed, with Jonathan Pageau at the head. A wheel of conversation turned back and forth between twenty or so people. Varying viewpoints and input with everyone trying to grapple with the implications of artificial intelligence, the consequences of individuals’ decisions within powerfully structured hierarchies, and how to set up a hierarchy in a way to where it is pointed toward the Spirit. 

It was a privilege and a joy to be there listening and participating in the big conversation, and the many other smaller more intimate conversations that cropped up on the fringes of the main circle. There were big ideas, but also good people. When you paid attention you were welcome to a kindness and goodness that seemed to fill the entire Summit.

The Individual: Interpersonal

When I reflect on the Summit, I will always be struck at the openness of the attendees. Nearly everyone I spoke to — many of whom I had never met — had such an ease about them. You would walk up to anyone and immediately find yourself in some deep, rich, profound conversation. The kind of conversations usually reserved for a far more intimate relationship, a family member or close friend perhaps, certainly not a complete stranger.

Oftentimes, you would be in conversation and suddenly realize you had not even asked this person their name! This phenomenon is one of the main reasons the Summit felt like a place outside of time. 

I cannot describe how much this affected me. To have such a volume of deep, personal, raw windows into people through conversation, and see so much goodness shine through was overwhelming. If you were not in attendance, and speak to those who were, this is a large part of why people may pause to collect their thoughts before trying to relate why they feel like they are still reeling.

I struggle quite a bit with the Christian ideal of recognizing the image of God in one’s fellow man. In much of our daily lives, we have cause to be suspicious, wary, and we endure disappointment, maybe even betrayal — we may even expect it of those around us. The Summit gave me a glimpse into the other side of this. The profound goodness that lies within individuals, and how that can scale up within a community (visible and invisible). 

The idea of reclaiming comes with presuppositions. Firstly, something of value is needed. Secondly, that it has fallen into unworthy hands. Thirdly, that its value is so important it must be taken back. We fight not against flesh and blood.... So we must take up pen, and keyboard; brushes, analog and digital; instruments and voices; song and story; and make something beautiful.

Manifesting within thyself the invincible power of zeal for the glory of God, thou didst stand at the head of the choirs of angels against the malice-breathing most-proud morning star. With him and his dark comrades being cast down from on high to the nether regions, the heavenly armies most gloriously led by thee, with gladness, as with one mouth, before the throne of God cried aloud: Alleluia!

– Akathist to the Holy Archangel Michael, Kontakion 3
Carving of the Archangel Michael on the façade of St. Michael’s Shrine in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Bear One Another’s Burdens

by J.Z Schafer

While anyone who attended the Symbolic World Summit has, I am sure, much to say about the theological and philosophical aspects of the discourse, I would like briefly to explore a dynamic that my wife and I noticed over the period of the conference.

The first day began with our being introduced to two Greek Orthodox presvyteras (priests’ wives) — one was the spouse of the local clergyman, the other had flown in deliberately to attend the conference (another was present as well, that I did not have a chance to meet). Both of these women expressed a deep curiosity, openness, and enthusiasm for this gathering which was of a highly irregular type for the long-standing and faithful Greek community. There was a sense of calm profundity about each of them, and I felt that their presence demonstrated that the liminality of the Symbolic World was beginning to be felt in the deeper ligatures of the Church. 

My wife attended the conference with me without expecting very much from the discourse. She is a baker, a seamstress, and a doula; the phenomenological indispensability of the archetypal Son of Man is not exactly something she is quixotically concerned with. However, she very quickly discovered her place at the conference. It turned out that she was not the only young woman (my wife and I are in our early twenties, and recent converts to Orthodoxy) who had tagged along with their significant other. She was soon engaged in fielding questions from these young women about the day-to-day implications of this symbolic worldview, of liturgical Christianity, and of the tensions subsequent to a long inhabitation of the spaces liminal (that is, having airy-headed philosopher husbands). The conference over its course seemed to become increasingly more incarnate: lofty discourse transformed into the tear-inducing speech of Richard Rohlin about sacrifice and fatherhood, and at the very end of the conference, Jonathan Pageau introduced and thanked his wife for her companionship and support. Probably I am not the only one that was deeply moved by this. There was a certain vulnerability among the attendees; the questions that were asked during Q & A’s were often quite personal, and the audience was supportive and compassionate. This was no mere scholarly colloquium of existentially disinterested individuals. Hereafter, having met in the flesh many whom I had known only through medium of video or text, the community of the Symbolic World will no longer be something abstract, but a community of persons whom I am responsible for in prayer. This Summit and these conversations ramify in ways impossible to predict, transforming souls, marriages, and hopefully nations. The Church is a family, and this last weekend that became immediately apparent. Now that we know the imperatives (memorize a poem, become a saint — probably in that order), it is time to put our hands to the plow and not turn back.

Someone asked Elder Arsenie Papacioc, after a discourse about the magnificent value of the woman, “What is left for man?” He replied, “To love her.”

Whether this means our spouse or the Church and the Mother of God, I would add this as an additional imperative. The seeds that this conference planted will not flourish unless we water them in the quotidian; the symbolic world-view which is a product of the Incarnation of our Lord teaches us that the most transcendentally mystical events are those which are primitive to our experience of being human: birth, marriage, the giving and receiving of gifts, hospitality. Those of us who believe that we are engaged on a metaphysical quest of isolated importance are frighteningly mistaken: the New Creation that we are slowly journeying towards will call everything into question, while simultaneously renewing everything, and it is an ineluctably and necessarily communal journey; it is a journey that we make with our ancestors on our backs, and hand in hand with our families. 

On the last day of the conference, I hung my Symbolic World lanyard beneath the wonderworking icon of St. Michael the Archangel. It felt the right thing to do. May he intercede for all of us, protecting and guiding our every step.

Where the Eagles Gather

by J.Z Schafer

When Heraclitus strung his bow
Between the two horns of the moon,
And Zarathustra walked thereon
Like a great circus-bear,
And God sat at the potter’s wheel
When Stephen the first martyr died;
Strawberries ripened in the field,
Four living creatures learned the names
Written primordially in flames,
And cherished them.
God shaped a flute of Adam’s rib
Lest motherless He should persist;
We learned the tongue that Adam had
Before his feet were thistle-torn,
And saw the eagles gather where
The honey of the lion’s blood,
Conglobéd in a several flood,
Lustrated everything.
All knowledge boasts for naught
Unless the blood runs hot;
This is the Summit of our thought,
We shall not sow the earth with salt.
So let that arrow find the heart
Strong-armed St. Michael shot;
Elsewhere, nowhere. Then lay your treasures up
With He those treasures wrought;
This was the mustard-seed:
Be careful lest it ravens be
Perch in the blossoms of that tree,
Or the nine spheres compel its boughs
Into rotundity. 

Reflecting on The Symbolic World Summit 2024 experience together

by Derek J Fiedler

Note: A livestream discussion was also done on the subject by Derek J Fiedler with some of the same people featured in this article.


On Saturday morning, Fr. Stephen De Young (as is his wont) decided to shake us a bit by declaring that through the bodily resurrection, our joy will be brought into and endure for eternity, while our sorrows — our suffering, impurities, sins, and the like — will be consumed like chaff.

What is joy? I propose, in light of this Summit, that within the Christian context, joy can be understood as the presence of God. “Where two of you gather, there am I” (Matt. 18:19–20): indeed, we have experienced true joy during these past few days. Joy in our encounters, in our discoveries, in forging new friendships and sharing both laughter and tears, ignorance and truth, sin and beauty, fear and love. Joy because we witnessed the presence of Christ among us, culminating in His real presence during Sunday’s liturgy.

Therefore, this joy, we will bring it into eternity. 

Project led by David Joseph Brodeur. Written, discussed and commented on by David Flores, Gareth Boyd, David Joseph Brodeur, Cameron Dixon, Colin Miller, Jean-Philippe Marceau, and J.Z Schafer. Edited by Cormac Jones.

This article is currently being edited and will be reposted soon

Linked Articles & Posts

No items found.

Linked Premium Articles & Posts

No items found.
Please log in or register to view the comment section for this post and to add your own.
Please click here to create your community profile to view comments, add your own, and participate in discussions!
Follow us on social media: