Peter Dawkins (writer)
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Peter Dawkins (born 12 November 1945) is a philosopher, seer, geomancer, historian, author, lecturer, workshop leader and teacher.
Dawkins is a particular specialist in 'landscape temples' and sacred space, the Western wisdom traditions, the 'matter' of Britain, and Baconian and Shakespearean studies.
After practising as an architect for nine years in both England and Scotland, from 1978 onwards Dawkins has devoted himself full-time to research, education and healing work in connection with the world's wisdom traditions, mythology, architecture and landscape, with an especial focus on the intimate relationship between the human being, the landscape and the spiritual realms. He teaches, runs courses and leads wisdom tours and geomantic pilgrimages in several countries. He has written many books, newsletters and articles, advised teachers, actors, directors and film-makers, and been interviewed internationally on TV, radio and documentaries.
Dawkins is founder and principal of The Francis Bacon Research Trust (FBRT), co-founder and elder of Gatekeeper Trust, and founder of the Zoence Academy and Mystery School which he runs in partnership with his wife Sarah. He has also served as a trustee of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust and of the British Council of the UN University of Peace.
Early life and education
Dawkins was born Anthony Peter Dawkins in Birmingham, England, the son and eldest child of David George Dawkins and Jeanne Mary Jefferies. He has one sister, Sally, wife of John Stenning. From childhood he has always had an artistic and visionary gift, including the ability to see angels, etc., which has never left him, but developed further.
Dawkins was educated first at Hallfield Preparatory School, Edgbaston, Birmingham (1952–59), then at King Edward VI High School, Edgbaston, Birmingham (1959–1964). In October 1964 he went to St Catharine's College, Cambridge, to study architecture on a 3-year degree course (1964–67) followed by a post-graduate 2-year diploma course (1967–69). Whilst at Cambridge he played as a drummer in the South Side Jazz Band and took part in rowing eights. His other main interests were hill-walking and exploring the landscape generally, sacred and megalithic architecture, classical philosophy and the ancient wisdom traditions. It was during this time that he began to appreciate the powerful effect that the environment has on people in different ways, including health, consciousness and behaviour, and therefore where best to build or not to build, etc., and thought that there should be a proper science concerning this. He also began to perceive earth energies and chakra systems in the landscape.
After Cambridge Dawkins entered architectural practice, first with A. G. Sheppard Fidler & Associates in their Birmingham office (1969–1972), becoming a registered architect in October 1971), then with Rowand Anderson Kininmonth & Paul in their Edinburgh office (1972–76), and finally with The Scottish Special Housing Association (1976–78), working in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.
During this time Dawkins continued his landscape researches and wisdom studies, together with meditation and other spiritual practices. In addition, shortly after marrying in March 1973, Dawkins was given extraordinary instructions in a dream that threw him directly into research work concerning the philosopher Francis Bacon and the Rosicrucians, and the rich heritage that they have left for us today. Then, in 1978, following a powerful inner calling given in meditation and vision, Dawkins left the practice of architecture to devote himself full-time to research and educational work in connection with the wisdom traditions, the landscape and environment generally, and the Baconian-Rosicrucian-Shakespeare mysteries.
By this time Dawkins had met Sir George Trevelyan who invited him to speak at Wrekin Trust events, encouraged him to make his landscape research and discoveries known publicly, and introduced him to the poetry and wisdom of Shakespeare. In this way Dawkins started to become a lecturer and teacher. Dawkins had also met Hope Brameld, secretary of the Francis Bacon Society, and the research work started with her in 1973 led eventually, with the help of the Marquess of Northampton and others, to the founding of the Francis Bacon Research Trust as an educational charity in 1980. Dawkins also met Stanley Messenger in the 1970s and, together with him and a group of friends, started a movement that gave rise to the Gatekeeper Trust, registered as an educational charity in 1982. Dawkins was also a trustee and honorary president of the British Council of the UN University for Peace (1986–87), and a trustee of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust (2002–2013).
From 1980 onwards Dawkins’ public educational work started in earnest, first of all by means of the FBRT and Gatekeeper Trust, and then also with Zoence Academy, co-founded with his wife Sarah Dawkins in 1994. All three organisations continue to exist and flourish.
The educational work and geomantic pilgrimages in which Dawkins is involved are or have been in the UK, Republic of Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, India, South Africa, South America and the USA.
Wisdom of Shakespeare
The philosophy and wisdom embodied in the Shakespeare plays has been an important part of Dawkins’ studies, and as a result he has given Wisdom of Shakespeare seminars, summer schools and other events since the mid-1980s, first with Sir George Trevelyan in Warwickshire, then with Mark Rylance at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, London (1997–2005), and since then with Jill Line in Warwickshire and Mark Rylance elsewhere.
Dawkins married Sarah Hiscock on 31 March 1973. They have three children: John, Elene and Samuel.
Concerned especially with the harmonious relationship of humanity with both the spiritual and natural worlds, Dawkins’ pioneering researches, begun in the 1960s, have led directly to a developing art and science of ‘landscape temples’ and ‘geomantic pilgrimage’, and their association with the spiritual or archetypal realms of existence and underlying wisdom or laws of life. This ‘geocosmology’, together with a synthesis of the heart truths of the various wisdom traditions, has been named ‘Zoence’—a word coined by Peter and Sarah Dawkins and meaning ‘science of life’ or ‘pathways of the soul’. Since the 1970s Dawkins has introduced many people of different nations to the concept and experience of both sacred landscape and townscape, as ‘landscape temples’ and ‘townscape temples’, and how to live, serve and pilgrimage within them in healing and life-enhancing ways. The word ‘Zoence’ is registered to Peter Dawkins and Zoence Academy is his business partnership with his wife Sarah. Zoence Academy runs a regular programme of events and hosts an informative website.
The Francis Bacon Research Trust
The FBRT specialises in research into Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, the Rosicrucians and the Western Wisdom Tradition, and their involvement with the extraordinary 50-year blossoming of the English Renaissance that, to a large degree, powered the birth of modern science, law, culture and society. The Baconian work, which is involved with knowledge of the landscape as well as history, philosophy, mythology, culture and consciousness, concerns one of the great doorways into the otherwise esoteric Western Wisdom Tradition. Shakespeare, Freemasonry and the Rosicrucians are part of this story. The FBRT shares its research via a programme of talks, seminars, summer schools and wisdom tours, its informative website, and a newsletter plus various articles for FBRT friends. The FBRT is a UK Registered Charitable Trust (# 280616) and has a governing board of trustees. Dawkins is the principal of the Trust.
The Gatekeeper Trust
The Gatekeeper Trust is devoted to personal and planetary healing through pilgrimage and the arts, such as sacred song and dance. It seeks to rediscover the ancient art of pilgrimage as a way of journeying with an awareness of and respect for the sacred nature of our environment, and for the wisdom and archetypal patterns that underlie it. It researches both ancient and modern knowledge about the landscape, and shares that knowledge through an annual programme of journeys, workshops, talks and conferences, and an informative website. As well as nationally organised events, the Gatekeeper Trust has several active local groups, and it runs a friendship scheme. Gatekeeper Trust is a UK Registered Educational Charity (# 326416) and has a governing board of trustees. Dawkins was a founder-trustee and is now an elder of the Trust.
- Zoence – the Science of Life: Discovering the Sacred Spaces of Your Life. Wigmore Publications, UK. 1995. Illustrated paperback, 92pp. ISBN 0-946982-08-2. (Expanded US version: Samuel Weiser, 1998. Illustrated paperback, 153pp. ISBN 1-57863-042-8).
- Wahrheiten aus dem Urgrund ewiger Freude: Das Grundlagenwerk der westlichen Weisheitstraditionen (Translated from English by Marianne Rieke). Sheema Medien Verlag, Germany, 2008. Illustrated hardback, 232pp. ISBN 1-57863-042-8.
- The Shakespeare Enigma (Foreword by Mark Rylance). Polair, UK. 2004. Illustrated paperback, 476pp. ISBN 0-9545389-4-3.
- Building Paradise. FBRT, UK. 2001. Illustrated paperback, 232pp. ISBN 0-86293-010-3.
- Francis Bacon – Herald of the New Age. FBRT, UK. 1997. Illustrated paperback, 124pp. ISBN 0-86293-009-X.
FBRT Journal Series
- The Pattern of Initiation in the Evolution of Human Consciousness (written with Sir George Trevelyan). FBRT, UK. 1981. Large format, illustrated paperback, 56pp. ISBN 0-86293-001-4.
- The Virgin Ideal. FBRT, UK. 1982. Large format, illustrated paperback, 76pp. ISBN 0-86293-002-2.
- Dedication to the Light. FBRT, UK. 1984. Large format, illustrated paperback, 156pp. ISBN 0-86293-006-5.
- The Great Vision. FBRT, UK 1985. Large format, illustrated paperback, 300pp. ISBN 0-86293-007-3.
- Arcadia. FBRT, UK. 1988. Large format, illustrated paperback, 300pp. ISBN 0-86293-008-1.
The Wisdom of Shakespeare Series
- The Wisdom of Shakespeare in As You Like It. I.C. Media Productions, 1998. Paperback. ISBN 0-9532890-1-X.
- The Wisdom of Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice. I.C. Media Productions, 1998. Paperback. ISBN 0-9532890-0-1.
- The Wisdom of Shakespeare in Julius Caesar. I.C. Media Productions, 1999. Paperback. ISBN 0-9532890-2-8.
- The Wisdom of Shakespeare in The Tempest. I.C. Media Productions, 2000. Paperback. ISBN 0-9532890-3-6.
- The Wisdom of Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. I.C. Media Productions, 2002. Paperback. ISBN 0-9532890-4-4.
- 3. The Vero Nihil Verius Award of Scholarly Excellence, presented to Peter Dawkins by Daniel L. Wright, Director of the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre, Department of Humanities on 4 April 2008 at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon. www.cu-portland.edu/ctas/humanities. www.authorshipstudies.org.