Lectures 2018 Winter

Details of the 2018 Autumn programme of lectures may be found below. The entrance fee to each lecture is currently £8 for members and £10 for non-members.


Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, London NW1 6XT

Directions for getting to Steiner House may be found here.

Doors Open 6.45 p.m.   Lecture begins at 7.15 p.m.


Note. RILKO were recently informed that, owing to family concerns, Anthony Thorley would not be able to give his lecture entitled “The Glastonbury Zodiac Milky Way Pilgrimage Route: Ancient Trackway or Modern Delusion?”. Instead, Christine Rhone has very kindly stepped in at short notice to give the lecture described below, on “The International Crop Circle Making Competition of 1992”.

Friday 30th November – Christine Rhone 7.15 p.m.

The John Michell Memorial Lecture


The International Crop Circle Making Competition of 1992 was a unique experiment. What would happen if contestants were asked to produce a complex crop circle design, as a set piece, outside in a field, in a limited time frame, under cover of darkness, and with difficult-to-fake features? Would the results be convincing? Aiming to contribute data to the ‘genuine’ versus ‘fake’ argument, while enriching the narrative of “croppiedom”, the Crop Circle Making Competition brought together two influential and controversial thinkers. These were the late John Michell, known for his writings on leys and landscape geometry, and biologist Rupert Sheldrake, known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance or memory in nature. To some, they are sources of inspiration; to others, purveyors of pseudo-science. And just how are Platonic philosophy and Pyrenean mountain dogs connected with any of this?

Christine Rhone is a French-American translator and writer, with decades of teaching experience. Staff member of and contributor to The Cereologist magazine in the days of the competition, she was a friend and collaborator of John Michell’s for over 20 years.



Friday 26th October – Caroline Wise 7.15 p.m.


Caroline will be speaking about the quest to find ‘Elen of the Ways’, an elusive figure who is associated with deer and the ancient tracks of the land. In Britain, her story is conflated with that of St Elen of Wales, Elen Luyddog, whose mythic story is told in the Mabinogion. But her tracks and her ways take us much further afield. Who is Elen? Where does she come from, and where can we find her?

Caroline Wise has contributed to several books on goddesses, is the author of Finding Elen, the Quest for Elen of the Ways, and co-editor, with John Matthews, of The Secret Lore of London. She was involved in Earth Mysteries from the late 70s, taking part as a volunteer in the Dragon Project, which investigated the reality behind the claims of strange phenomena at ancient sacred sites in Britain and Ireland. She was associated with the Ley Hunter magazine in the 1980s, and was a founder member of ASSAP in 1982. In 1981 she met Andrew Collins at the home of the counter-cultural ‘Sage of Notting Hill’, John Michell, and fell into the intriguing world of Psychic Questing – following dreams and intuition to uncover enigmas in the landscape. A former owner of Atlantis Book- shop, she also worked for the spiritualist newspaper, Psychic News.



Friday 28th September – Andrew Baker 7.15 p.m.


Andrew’s talk explores two kinds of lost knowledge: the ideas behind 18th century Shugborough and the nature of the place itself. He will look first at the historical background, the facts about the mysterious Shepherds Monument, and the artistic and intellectual circle around Thomas Anson, a secretive patron of arts and ideas. The Monument is the earliest surviving building of the Greek Revival, a quiet revolution in art, but also an attempted revolution in ideas, opposing Platonism against the materialism and deism of 18th century England. This was not so much a matter of changing the world, but of changing perceptions. The second part of his talk will look at Shugborough in terms of the creative imagination, and the meaning of the Arcadian landscape.

Andrew Baker has been interested in how landscape has meaning since living in Bunyan country in north Bedfordshire as a teenager. He moved to Staffordshire in 1982 and lived in a former estate cottage on the Shugborough Estate. Beginning with research material by Michael Baigent, he started uncovering the story of the secretive owner, Thomas Anson. In 1984, he ran a weekend conference at Shugborough with Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. In recent years, more material has become accessible and since 2007, Andrew has made many more discoveries about individuals and ideas that influenced Shugborough, some of which he has written-up on an extensive website. As a retired Music Librarian and Composer, he is particularly pleased to rediscover the musical life of Thomas Anson. In his own work Andrew uses music to explore the Spirit of Place.