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Exploring the Universe Story through Myth and Ritual


Jane Riddiford & Rod Sugden
Level(s):ages 6-106
Available!  2 PD Hours

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with Jane Riddiford and Rod Sugden
CPD Hours: 2
Level(s): From 6 to 106
Webcasts Available Now!

                    People everywhere are searching, asking: What is the new mythology to be, the mythology of this unified Earth as one harmonious being?  — Joseph Campbell.

For the universe to become meaningful we must find the personal in the cosmos. — Teilhard de Chardin


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How do we make the story of a vast universe personal?

In this presentation you will learn how the Universe Story can become meaningful and personal through creative engagement with it. You will see the remarkable work of Rod Sugden and Dr. Jane Riddiford in inner city London with their colleagues at environmental education charity Global Generation; and how they introduced the Universe Story to primary and secondary pupils through Big Bang Summer Schools and Space and Nature workshops. They will share the ways they have combined science and myth, imagination and practical action through involving young people in story, rituals and practical experiences of caring for the planet. You will see how young people have discovered meaning, purpose and direction by recognizing this enormous story as their own story.


A New Mythic Story and Values

Rod and Jane explore the role that myths have played for all cultures and how the story emerging in science today IS a new creation story that can play the same role.  In their own teaching, instead of trying to shoe horn the Universe Story into the curriculum they have made the Story of the Universe the primary context for all learning.

This program is an introduction to the role of mythic stories — and the Universe Story in particular —  as carriers of values and rituals as ways of grounding and embodying meaning. It’s an opportunity to learn about and participate in practices they have used to cultivate artful ways of connecting to the Universe Story with young people and adults, schools and businesses in inner city London, e.g. storytelling, deep time walks, sitting still, free fall writing, and spending time by the fire.  Students co-create their own mythic interpretation of this epic adventure.


On Being Indigenous to the Cosmos and Deeply Relating to the Land

Jane talks about how for her the Universe Story overlapped with Maori cosmology and helped her to become indigenous to the Cosmos and to have a meaningful relationship to the land.  Numerous other values in the story are explored such as ways to become comfortable being part of a story in which uncertainty plays such a central part, and the end is not yet written.  How do we see generosity, giving of self, and developing healthy boundaries inside this new story.  What can this new understanding of a a radically creative universe inform our understanding of leadership?



Rituals and Activities Included in this program:

Working With the Timeline
Sitting Still
Finding Values in Nature
Free Fall Writing
Making Bread
Sharing Story

Bread started with water and water started with a love affair between hydrogen and oxygen.

— A participant in a Global Generation workshop


You will take away . . .
* Fresh excitement about the Universe Story.
* New meaning and Understanding
* Ways to apply values within the Universe Story to one’s life
* Creative ways to explore the Universe Story and have fun sharing with others.


Deep Time Education opens our hearts and minds to a huge perspective on life and provides meaning and purpose through a genealogy that connects us to the soil , the stars and everything In between, enabling us to feel that nature is our family.  — Jane Riddiford and Rod Sugden



Rod Sugden has been a primary school teacher in the public and private sector for the last 14 years. He now divides his time between Dallington School and delivering educational programs for Global Generation. Over the last five years I have introduced children and young people to the Universe Story and have found that they have a deep enthusiasm and connection to learning about who they are and what they are a part of.

Jane Riddiford has more than 25 years of experience in delivering environmental, arts & vocational training projects in New Zealand & the UK. She is the Founding Director of Global Generation. Bringing different parts of the community together through connecting to nature in the widest sense of the word has been a consistent thread throughout her working life.  In 2016, Jane was awarded a Doctorate in Organizational Change from Ashridge Business School.  Her inquiry drew on experiences within Global Generation and focused on how the living story of ecology and the wider cosmos can support collaborative approaches to leadership within an organization.

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Reviews (1)

1 review for Exploring the Universe Story through Myth and Ritual

  1. Jennifer Morgan

    It was a great summary of my extraordinary experience at the Dallas Montessori Conference. I am so excited to learn this work and to feel a part of this educational movement.

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