Naropa University Oakland

Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality


Cellular Mysteries: Bridging Science & Spirit



CSP 691 Seminar                    Number of Credit Units: 1


Instructor: Sondra Barrett     Instructor’s contact telephone number:  707-887-7253


 Email address:  [email protected]


Class Schedule: Fall 2004 Semester, October 9-10;  Saturday  9am-6:30pm, Sunday 9am-1pm


Course Description: Our cells and molecules tell tales of creation, sanctuary, survival, sustainability and even love.  Explore life through its microscopic beauty while uncovering personal meaning of the messengers within us. We enter into the physical terrain of the inner world through slides, movement, lecture, art and myth. 


With “Cellular Archeologist” Sondra Barrett delve into the scientific, archaic and mystical nature of cellular wisdom and molecular design.  Her premise: our cellular biology and molecular codes hold teachings often described as spiritual.  When we learn to look and listen, cells tell us how to live our lives wholly.  We inquire whether our ancient ancestors, through visioning, drew and enacted cell’s sacred teachings in their art and ritual.  We plant a seed for future intent.


Course Objectives:

  1. To appreciate the architecture of life as a source of great beauty and sacred wisdom.
  2. To explore the scientific and shamanic ways of knowing. 
  3. To understand how cells communicate and how we influence them.
  4. To learn several practices built on the intelligence of our cells.
  5. To experience how the senses enhance learning and cellular memory.
  6. To discover the shapeshifting nature of our cells, the hallmark for energy healing.
  7. To create intimacy with our inner nature and enjoy its many blessings.
  8. To learn about the hidden codes within us.


Course Requirements:  Instructor’s criteria, evaluation and grading of students.  Indicate in percentage (%) the weight you intend to give for each aspect of the student’s learning process. For weekend course grading, if you wish to combine areas (e.g. by putting attendance, reading and class participation all in one category), please indicate so that it is clear for the students..


1.   Attendance ,Readings and Class participation……….….….  65.%


2.   Final Paper (4-5 pages) or creative project..……..…………  35 %

Papers are due to be delivered in person or postmarked by October 25.


Required reading

Ingber, Donald              “The Architecture of Life,” Scientific American, January 1998

Barrett, Sondra  Chapter “The Cellular Shaman” Mystic Molecules, Cells& the Sacred


Recommended reading: any one of these 

Narby, Jeremy (1998)                The Cosmic Serpent  Tarcher/Putnam

Pearsall, Paul (1999)                  The Heart’s Code      Ballentine

Rensberger, Boyce (1996)         Life Itself:  Exploring the Realm of the Living Cell. Oxford U Press

Margulis, Lynn & Sagan, D        Microcosmos    University of California Press

Castaneda, Carlos (1998)           Magical Passes: Practical Wisdom shamans Ancient Mexico, Harper

De Chardin, Teilhard (1959)       The Phenomenon of Man Harper and Row 

Schneider, Michael                    A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe

Abram, David (1996)                 The Spell of the Sensuous, Vintage Books


Outline of class themes, activities and assignments. 

Saturday morning:  Cell as Sanctuary

What is Life: creation myths, scientist and shamanic views.

Creating Sanctuary for Life

Experiential: Creating the Container, Meeting the Cell 

Survival signals: pleasure and fear hard-wired

The “I AM” nature of our cells, our selves: recognition and immunity

The sound of the Self


Saturday afternoon:  Cell as Shaman

The shapeshifting matrix, the inner terrain and tensegrity

How cells change, how we change: resonance and energy

Three stages of life: a body exploration

The Medicine Wheel: directions


Sunday morning: Cell as Wisdom Guide

Messages from our cells:  what we can learn from them

Sacred traditions, art and clues from the invisible  (slides)

The Power of 3:  Body Prayer for planting a seed of intent

Closing circle


Final writing assignments or projects

Suggested topics:

1.       What creation myth(s) inform your life? 

2.       Explore the nature of tensegrity in healing, spiritual practice or nature.

3.       Discuss how ancient wisdom and art  (such as yoga, mandala, medicine wheel) reflect cellular or molecular wisdom.

4.       Where in your own life do you see molecular and cellular architecture as clues to the sacred?

5.        What inspired you most among the Cellular Mysteries and why?

6.       How do you experience the marriage of science and spirituality?

7.       Practice one of the body prayers daily for a week.  Write of your experience, any change, and intention. 

8.       Plant a seed of intent engaging the body practice to help strengthen and anchor intent.  Describe and reflect on the experience.

9.       Creative projects could include writing your own creation myth, create your model cell, or develop a practice/painting/ drawing from the course work and your knowledge base. (Creative projects are to be accompanied by a 1-2 page paper).



Art as Meditation (Saturday 3:30-6:30 p.m.)


Music, Cosmology, and the Body:   (Christine McQuiston)

Music is called the "universal language"  because it is a language that all humans share.  But music truly is the language of the universe:  The same harmonic structures in our music are present in everything from atoms to the arrangement of our solar system.  In this class, students will have an opportunity to experience how the body responds to music on a cellular level through a variety of hands-on exercises, including listening meditations, vocal toning, and reflecting on music and sound through art. 



Naropa University-Oakland will provide accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.  To request an accommodation, or to discuss any learning needs you may have, contact the Dean of Students, (510) 835-4827 ext 15.