Near the end of his life, novelist, essayist and poet James Cowan joined fellow author Arthur Versluis in five remarkable conversations on how his journeys into the Australian Outback and his years spent among the Aborigines are indelibly linked with his vision for the reinvigoration of literature and culture through what he terms metaphysical realism. Challenging, wide-ranging, moving, always stimulating, these conversations are indeed timeless.

James G. Cowan (1942-2018) was author of numerous books, including the bestseller Mapmaker’s Dream, as well as titles on Australian Aboriginal spirituality and sacred landscape.  He was winner of the Australian Gold Medal for Literature, and held a Ph.D. from the University of Queensland.

Available now:


Shining through these conversations between two remarkable writers and thinkers is a deeply felt need for a re-enchantment of the world, a rediscovery of the sacred in the landscape and a reconnection with our spiritual roots. The re-enchantment of the world may still be possible!

—Christopher McIntosh, author of The Rosicrucians, Gardens of the Gods, Beyond the North Wind etc.

The offspring of two scintillating minds and their lifelong friendship, these timely and timeless conversations cover many engaging topics, ranging from ancient sacred sites and landscapes, traditional ways of knowing, to the spiritual rebirth of literature and culture, and even what it means to be a real writer of substance in today’s world. Very highly recommended.

— David Fideler, author of Restoring the Soul of the World

Hieros makes available audio and video files of lectures as well as, on occasion, transcripts of conversations between contemporary thought leaders whose work focuses on the sacred in the modern world. 


The following is one of those conversations, in two parts.

A Conversation Between Basarab Nicolescu and Arthur Versluis

Part One: Spirituality and Transdisciplinarity

Part Two: The Sacred and Consciousness

Spirituality of the Land Videos Now Available at Hieros.teachable.com

We are making available the audio and videos of the symposium Spirituality of the Land, held at Oxford University, and featuring John and Caitlín Matthews, Christopher Mcintosh, John Carey, Kresimir Vukovic, and Arthur Versluis, with a tribute to James G. Cowan.  To help subvent the cost of this event and to sponsor future events, there is a modest fee for accessing these audio and video files, which are available here:


Support Hieros and enjoy these lectures, available now!

About Us

Hieros is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to develop our shared understanding of the sacred in both theory and practice.

We recognize that the sacred is not quantifiable, and is not identifiable only with monotheistic or non-monotheistic texts, but rather emerges from what has been termed numinous or mystical experience. Such experiences may occur in dreams or in other ways, and are central to many esoteric practices. For instance, in the Greco-Roman Mystery traditions at Samothrace and Eleusis, there were secrets imparted directly to the initiates, and those were not accessible to the uninitiated public. It is our goal to explore and develop a more robust understanding of the sacred through accurate historical research, writing, and publications dedicate to unveiling a wide range of ancient and modern traditions. .

We understand that inspirations and intuitions of the sacred enliven literature, theater, and art. We are deeply interested in what is sometimes termed mythology, that is, hieratic stories, songs, poems, philosophy, buildings, and works of art. We recognize that the heart of the humanities is rooted in the hieratic, revealed in experiences of the sublime, and the transcendence of the subject–object distinction.

We encourage forms of education and encounter that recognize the sacred as inspirational presence that unites both culture and nature.   We are interested in what may be termed initiatory pedagogies, that is, in understanding how the sacred is revealed in the classical humanities, in the context of particular landscapes and sacred sites, in unexpected urban manifestations, and in wilderness.

We seek to understand the higher and deeper dimensions of human consciousness as expressed through cultural forms, art, literature, philosophy, architecture, and cultural integration with landscape and water.