Friday Fiver: Carolyn Rivers

Carolyn Rivers

Carolyn Rivers

Carolyn Rivers is looking the change the world. Founder and director of The Sophia Institute, Carolyn guides the organization as “she focuses on personal and societal transformation that fosters the emergence of the Feminine, cultivating wisdom and mindfulness, for a more just, sustainable, flourishing world.” The Sophia Institute conducts retreats, classes, and seminars year-round. Their next event, More Lessons in Becoming Myself on Saturday April 30, features Academy Award winning actress Ellen Burstyn, who “chronicles through story and poetry her latest lessons in her transformative journey as a woman and an artist.”

We sat down with Carolyn for this week’s Friday Fiver:

What is the significance of “Sophia” in your organization’s name?

Sophia means “divine wisdom” in the ancient Greek and is portrayed in all the world’s traditions as the Feminine divine nature. In Christianity she is portrayed as Sophia or Mary, in Buddhism as Tara or Quan Yin, in Hinduism as Saraswati. She’s also the basis of philosophy- philosophy, the love of Sophia. At Sophia Institute our work is centered on the rise of the feminine, cultivating wisdom and mindfulness, for a more just, sustainable, and thriving world. Wisdom awakens us to new ways of living and being on the planet that honors the sacredness at the center of life and moves us to love in action to make the world a better place.

The Sophia Institute seeks to bring change to our world by “using a new model of spiritual partnership and integration between feminine and masculine values.” What is one way you hope that people can see the world differently through this new model?

I think the world is in a time of profound transformative change as more and more people awaken to what they are truly called to, to a wholeness that is part of their own innate nature. We have the opportunity now to move from “power over” or domination, to “power with” or true partnership and to cultivate a world that is more egalitarian, just, sustainable, and potentially a much more conscious world.

Your next speaker is acclaimed actress, storyteller, and author Ellen Burstyn. Why Ellen Burstyn as your choice for a speaker?

Ellen Burstyn

Ellen Burstyn

We’ve always loved Ellen Burstyn and the roles that she’s portrayed for women in our culture through film and theater. When we read her memoir Lessons in Becoming Myself we were truly moved by that, because we understood that the roles that she’s chosen and portrayed so well come out of a deep wellspring that she has found within herself, a wellspring that she’s cultivated, she’s worked hard to excavate through study, through her depth in Sufism, and through her mentor Lee Strasburg who really helped her perform from this deep wellspring, from her own true nature.

When you travel in your car, what’s on the radio?

Either its music like that of Harold Budd or All Things Considered.

If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston, what one thing would happen instantly?

Charleston would become a model city for greening consciousness and for greening the planet — for racial justice and environmental justice. It’s really what Sophia Institute is investing in now. It’s central to our evolving work.

Interested in being a Friday Fiver? Email mike@artscharleston.org.