Explore fascinating cultures
Lectures usually include projected color slides and actual artifacts.
Choose one or several of these colorful destinations:
- Ethiopia - Legends of Crusaders, Icons and Frankincense,
The Source of the Nile
- The Islands of NusaTengara (Remote Indonesia) - Artisans
- Burma - Exploring the Land of the White Elephant,
- Myanma - Sacred temples and Caves of the Imagination
- Hunzaland and the N.W. Frontier - The Rugged Route
to Shangrila, Indus Valley, the influence of Alexander the
Great, Secrets of Longevity
- Ecuador and Peru - Colonial and Indigenous
Cultures, special trip to Macchu Pichu
- Peru and Bolivia - Inca, Tiwanaku and Titicaca, birthplace
of the Ancients
- Pilgrimage to South India - Fantastic Temples, Gods
- Cambodia's Angkor Wat -Temple Mountains and Enlightened
- Morocco - The Route of the Caravanserai
- Mali - Africa, South of the Sahara and the Dogon
- Mexico - Pyramids, Aztec, Maya, Zapotec, and Folk
- Nepal - Living Temples and Mountain treks
- Kenya - Animal and Tribal Safari - Special trip to
the Zanzibar coast
- Java and Madura - Beautiful islands, Ancient temples
- Philippines - Mountain, Island, and Colonial Cultures
- Thailand - Buddhist Culture, Gorgeous Islands of
the Andamon Sea
- Bali - What is Seen and What is not. Dances Temples
Art Lifestyle (Our most colorful and popular lecture)
- Utah - Extraordinary views of the American West
- Laos - Charming Buddhist Capital on the Mekong River
- Egypt - Magic carpet ride along the Nile and the
Valley of the Kings
- Egyptian Mysteries - A deeper look at the art and
- Sri Lanka - The Hill Country and Ancient Civilizations
- Arizona & New Mexico - Spirit Places, Anasazi
Ruins in the Natural Landscape
- Vietnam - The Dragon Awakens
- Turkey - Mount Ararat and the mysteries of Cappodocia
- Mosaic Legends of the Mediterranean
- Peru -
Searching for the Real Treasure of the Incas
- Flowering of Christian, Muslim
and Jewish Spain
Java - Multicultural Tropical Island
"What a great presentation! Fluent, flawless- you’re a pro. The subject was beautiful and the message so spiritual I know everybody enjoyed it as much as I did. We must schedule another.
-Rick Chrisman, Director of Berkshire Community College Forum, now at Skidmore College
Fusion, Spice and Color in Bali
Beyond being a tropical paradise, Bali has become an entangled mystery of art, culture and commerce. In this two part presentation we go behind the highly-touristed surface to understand what makes this island so unique in the world. Discover secret temples, hidden unspoiled valleys, the strange customs of natives. Based on the slopes of a giant volcano half way between the sacred crater lake and surfer beaches below we explore both ancient and modern lifestyle.
Designer home and artisan craft industries are mushrooming. Delicious food, smart restaurants and garden hotels are among the best in the world. We visit a purification ceremony, preparation for a feast, witness a ritual offering, walk with a procession of dancers and musicians, watch temple dramas. We consider the meaning of tradition, offering and sacrifice. This is an opportunity to meet many different Balinese personalities, to think about the effect of our culture upon theirs and delve into both strangeness and beauty.
presentations and workshops:
- A Comparison of Pyramid cultures in Mexico and Egypt
- Egyptian Mysteries - The Art and Religion of Ancient Egypt
- The Significance of Dwellings and Vessels
- Mountains: Inspirations and Destinations
- The Entrance to Heaven and Hell
- The Dragon that lives beside the Tree of Life
- The Symbolism of Plants and Animals
- Cultural Perspectives on Death
- Images of Women/Images of Men
- Celebration, Ceremony, Dance and Rites of Passage
- Comparative Religion - Buddhism and Hinduism
- Angkor: The Throne of Heaven
| Programs vary in length
from 45 minutes to 3 hours depending on subject matter and format. The speaker welcomes
questions and the perspectives of the audience. Requirements and fees on request.
Do you have creative ideas? Would you like a customized presentation? We are currently assembling
slide shows on these themes:
- Monsters and Fantastic Creatures
- The Power of Landscape
- Costumes - Indigenous Color and Classical Style
- Churches and Temples
- Water and Coastal Cultures
- Goddesses Past and Present
- Turn of the Last Millenium(1000 CE)
You can discuss
booking a slide presentation or workshop for your school or organization by letter, phone
Mr. Levenson has given presentations at colleges,
public libraries, museums,
wellness centers, elementary and high schools, private homes, and retirement communities. Bio
- Dudley Levenson
- Brushwood Farm
- Routes 7 & 20
- Lenox, MA 01240 USA
"Dudley Levenson offered a thought-provoking and insightful survey of women
depicted in art, East and West. I found myself transported across time
and cultures. And yet, the array of images also served to communicate a
deeper sense of what has not changed--women's enduring presence throughout
music therapist, www.pianobeautiful.com
"Our residents absolutely love your presentations! We are looking forward to many more of them.
-Marcy Dalheimer, Activities Director, Devonshire Estates.
"One of the highlights for me was the lecture on Bali. The photographs
were magnificent. He had a marvelous way of introducing the culture and
-Trude Geismar, artist, commenting
after a series of three presentations on the art and culture of Asia.
"The Village at Laurel Lake's residents all love the presentations given by Dudley Levenson of Inspired Planet. His lectures are very interesting and the travel pictures are beautiful. After a presentation the residents often comment that they feel like they just got back from vacation. The Inspired Planet Explorations are an asset to the activities program.
-Hope Fontaine, Activities Director, Kindred Health Care.
"An intriguing exploration of cultural concepts regarding good and evil."
-Gunther Stuhlmann, publisher and writer, who participated in a workshop
titled: The Entrance to Heaven and Hell
Adventurer, photographer and
collector, Dudley Levenson,
has years of
traveling around the world with great
slides, artifacts and stories to share.
Ethiopia- Crossroads of Myth
Photo-Presentation with adventurer and art historian Dudley Levenson
Imagine a story that includes Crusader knights, the Queen of Sheba and the Lion of Judah, with tribes as fierce as baboons living on the edge of a gorgeous mountain valley. The quest for the Ark of the Covenant, the elusive source of the Nile, the origin of African Jews--- all lead us to a land at the end of the known earth. This is where the earliest human bones were found. We are sad to find the poorest people on the planet here. Yet Ethiopia is rich with music, art, history and religion. We will travel to Crusader holy sites, visit native markets and view rare illuminated manuscripts. Then we ask how it is possible for a people and culture to survive after centuries of degradation. This photo journey through Ethiopia is a testament to the enduring human spirit.
Angkor Wat- The Throne of Heaven
Our explorer photographer braved Khmer Rouge infested jungle to investigate the mystery of Angkor. Temples of gold and advanced irrigation systems were praised by Marco Polo and other early travelers to Cambodia. What is now the poorest country in Southeast Asia was once the richest. The ancient Khmer Kingdom flourished for six hundred years generating art and ideas from a vast temple complex that archeologists have been slowly piecing together. Here kings became gods, serpents became princesses, Hinduism melded with Buddhism. The magnificent overgrown ruins inspire our imagination and ask the big question: Why do civilizations rise and fall?
Bali III– Art and Ritual in 2 parts
This year our photographer/ adventurer, Dudley Levenson returned to Bali for 3 months of work and exploration. He brought back colorful images, handcrafted artifacts and many stories about the people and customs of this small tropical island with big reputation. We take a whirlwind tour around the volcanic landscape, sample Balinese cuisine, meet local characters and witness a full moon purification ceremony at a riverside temple. Examine extraordinary masks made by some of the finest wood carvers in the world, listen to lovely fusion music and then quake with fear at unique monsters called oogah oogah. You will visit a Balinese home for a special blessing and see the amazing bamboo structures of the new environmental green school. Finally we are invited to a spectacular temple ceremony with costumes and dancing in which Balinese dramatize the balance of good and evil in the world.
The Legend and Reality of Shangri-La
High in the Karakoram Mountains, in the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan, south of China and east of Afghanistan, Hunzaland is a remote Shangrila with diverse cultural influences from the ancient crossroads of Central Asia. The Aryan race, Alexander and his classical Greek forces, Kushan Kings, Tibetans and the Aga Khan were all here leaving their cultural mark. Yet the magnificent valleys have been geographically protected from the rest of the world for centuries. Life in Hunza is rugged, but according to legend the people had extraordinary life spans, upwards of 140 years. Our explorer was there to find out the reality of the legends. What we find is a changing environment and culture that makes us think about how we live in the world.
Jerusalem- Quest for the Holy Land
How can sacred ground, be the most hotly contested place on the planet? Jerusalem is of mythic importance to Christians, Muslims and Jews. But the story is told differently according to Roman, Judaic, Mohammedan, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox point of view. We visit contemporary Jerusalem, the markets, the museums, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Mount of Olives. We discuss what has more sovereignty- the Temple Mount or Dome of the Rock?
Like pilgrims we hope to find inspiration and peace in this divided land.
The Golden Devices of the Momas
The lure of El Dorado, a city of gold, with golden king and lake of gold drove the fierce Spanish conquest in South America during the 16th century. Pizarro concentrated his forces in Peru among the splendors of the Inca. Cortes pillaged the Aztecs in Mexico. They never found Ciudad Perdido, the Lost City of the Momas in the highlands of Colombia with its trove of pre-Colombian treasure. Even now, the government holds the largest horde of old gold in South America, without acknowledging its spiritual power. Our expedition takes us into the verdant wilds of Colombian highlands and tropics where we meet monsters, sweet senoritas and ultimately Tayrona Indians whose shaman Momas are the keepers of ancient medicine wisdom.
Himalayan Quest plus special added attraction Nepali Wedding
This spring inveterate traveler, Dudley Levenson, was invited back to Katmandu for the wedding of the eldest son of the Kadka clan, fellow traders on the oriental Silk Road. It turned out to be not just a joyous affair, but a cultural immersion replete with Nepalese rituals, costumes and drama.
After trekking Annapurna and searching for healer/shamans in remote regions of Nepal, where to go but up… to the top of the world! We join our world traveler on a journey to the region of Langtang 27,000 ft which runs along the Tibetan border. This is a quest to collect holy water at the sacred lake of the god, Shiva. Along the way we see beautiful terraced farmland, meet native people and witness some spectacular sunrises. Because of the high altitude, Spartan conditions and dangers facing the elements, this trek is an initiatory experience. Life presents challenges, and if we’re fortunate, inspiring locations.
Exploring the Neolithic Mind
Inspired Planet joined archeologists, anthropologists, geomancers, historians, sound physicists and
visionary artists for an international conference on the island of Malta called Metageum. During Dudley
Levenson’s 2 presentations he connected shamanism from the latest stone age digs in China to Pre-
Colombian cosmology and the psychedelic art of Mexican Indians. The cross-disciplinary ideas were
sparking across the room and from ancient times, igniting our collective synapses from the fiery edge of
The Golden Devices
of Pre Colombian
Shamans presents our explorations into the mysterious
world of ancient medicine wisdom in the wilds of Colombia. Gold artifacts
from the Momas are more than treasure, they are empowered gifts from the
Peru-Searching for the Real Treasure of the Incas
In Pre-Columbian times the Inca Empire stretched from Boliva, along the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Coast to Ecuador and the Amazon. Where did these high-achievers come from and what was their motivation? We explore the mythic origin of the Inca and we will visit their mysterious ceremonial site of Machu Picchu.
Beyond that we discover the natural beauty of Peru, especially places off the beaten path. Our discussion reveals the spiritual values that exalted the Inca and consider some reasons their civilization fell to the Conquistadors.
Andalusia-The Flowering of Christian, Muslim and Jewish Spain
A thousand years ago what we call Spain was the most advanced region of Europe. Under the Moorish occupation, science and the arts, architecture and agriculture, gastronomy and philosophy flourished. The Arab, Christian and Jewish communities each had an important role to play. Today we might well pay attention to the successful blending of different cultures, an antidote to strife in our world. The Golden Age of Andalusia is perhaps the greatest example of cross-cultural fertilization we have to build upon. In this photo-presentation we explore the history, celebrations and landscapes that make Andalusia a great destination.
Travel to tropical Java, the cultural center of Indonesia, with artist explorer, Dudley Levenson. Java is the most populous island on earth with 150 million people and the capital of the world’s largest Muslim nation. Straddling the equator with a huge range of active volcanoes makes this the hottest place on the globe and one of the most dangerous. We visit the scenes of recent earthquakes and survey a thousand years of colorful history including classical Hindu and Buddhist civilizations. Indonesia is an experiment in multi-culturalism and democracy.
Sicily- Mosaic Legends
of the Mediterranean
The Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Normans left their marks on the island of Sicily in their quests for empire and high culture. Each epoch brought new art and mythology to the cultural evolution. The islands greatest minds gathered in the storied mosaics of Amarina and Monreal. We will explore Palermo, the interior as well as remote sites on the Mediterranean coast. Our discussion touches on philosophical battles and heavenly salvation.
Burma - Caves of the Imagination
The Land of the White Elephant has a long history of wealthy kingdoms, colorful mountain tribes and a century of British Raj. Burma(now called Myanmar) remains a mysterious land, insulated from the modern world, seemingly controlled by a military regime in an exotic corner of Asia bordered by India, Thailand and China. We will visit the ruins of one of the world’s great temple cities and look into the faces of Burmese people. Our discussion touches on the plight and promise of Myanmar, but our focus returns to the peaceful practice of Buddhism.
The Fusion of Desert and Mediterranean Cultures
Legends told of treasure buried in the rock-hewn palaces of Jordan, but 18th century explorers and archeologists found evidence of something far richer. For five hundred years a civilization flourished along the trade route between Greece, Rome, Arabia, Babylon and the Holy Land. Who were these people, what was their relationship to the classical world, why did they vanish? We discover beautiful ruins hidden in the rocks and contemplate the rise and fall of civilizations.
Images of Women from Classic, Tribal and Emerging Cultures
Take a look at young beauties and seasoned wise women living in the Himalayas, the Amazon and Mediterranean. Our exploration is a survey of art history as well as a whirlwind trip to Bali, Ethiopia, Mexico, Tibet and Italy. We compare art from ancient to modern to fusion cultures. This is a chance to spark the imagination, open the heart and consider who we are. What emerges is an understanding of our evolutionary timeline, the empowerment of embracing the full spectrum of female archetypes