Tagged religion

La Passione di Roma & the difference between modern and classical art

William James (often referred to as the father of modern psychology) was greatly impressed with what he believed to be the distinction between classical and modern art. In ancient Greek art, he argued, lay the quintessence of all reality. There the artist’s idea runs through all his creation allowing it to lose any amount of detail and still smile as freely as before.  A smashed nose or broken arm could never diminish a Greek statute’s rapport.  By contrast the ‘modern’ Madonna’s missing nose destroyed her very essence. According to James, something in modern art created a dissonance, a subjective distance…

The Summer Solstice and the Portal of Mortals

“Today is the summer solstice – the longest day of the year.   From here we start the long, slow slog to darkness, which culminates at the winter solstice when the sun does its annual ‘about face’ to again, favour us with its warming rays. As markers of our seasons, the solstices have long been the subject of magic and myth.  Even in our scientifically oriented times – if approached with an enquiring spirit, these ancient ideas can inform much about our relationship with the world. In a letter to a wealthy patron, the renowned Renaissance philosopher and astrologer, Marsilio Ficino,…

The Many Faces of God

“God” is a dicey word. Not only is it downright dangerous to use the word “God” at the wrong time or in the wrong place, but even when you do get it right there’s no guarantee the person with whom you’re speaking entertains the same ideas about what you mean by “God”  as do you. Having been brought up as an open-minded Christian, I was still very surprised to learn there were so many possible definitions or images of God. The following are just several broad images of what has over time been meant by “God” (with many variations on…

Whom does the Grail Serve? An Interpretation of the Prologue of the Gospel of John

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”[i] And so we begin at the ‘beginning’ when ‘the Word was with God’ and indeed ‘the Word was God.’ This intriguing combination of time and speech suggests a storehouse of immense cosmic energy awaiting release. …

In the Age of Aquarius What Happens to God?

Today, many believe that the Christian God of our forefathers – a god distinct from and superior to man – is dead.  Astrology concurs with this conclusion.  For a preview of what might come next, read on. For the last 2000 years, we’ve been living in the Age of Pisces – the symbol of which is two fishes swimming in opposite directions.  If you look carefully, you’ll see that one fish is moving upwards toward heaven while the other is moving parallel with the earth plane.  The underlying assumption is that the material and spiritual worlds are separate and distinct.…

Self, Spirituality, and Zen – Journey of the Ox-Tamer

The concept of ‘self’ is as woolly as that of  ‘spirituality’. Yet today’s Western spirituality seeker must come to grips with both because now he’s so psychologically oriented, the ‘self’ is the centre of his ‘spirituality’.[i] While both mystics and psychologically oriented spirituality seekers often speak in terms of ‘transcending the self’, I suggest they mean completely different things.  The confusion is not surprising given that the source for today’s Western notions of spirituality is found in the European mystical traditions of the 12th century.[ii] In his book Riding the Ox Home (London, 1982), Willard Johnson helps come to grips…

Playing God – Religious Experience in the 21st Century

At the turn of the last century, the famous philosopher and scientist William James asserted “….the mother sea and fountain-head of all religions lies in the mystical experience of the individual”. James believed that the key to understanding such experience, was to be found in the manner in which our eyes and minds, together, created our world.  Quite simply, for James the varieties of religious and mystical experience were dependent on the varieties of human nature, which in turn, were dependent on the nature of consciousness itself. Has much changed in the 21st century where we embrace anything from artificial…

The Secret Book of John

Anger and The Secret Book of John Short fiction by Debra Moolenaar © 2010 “Tomorrow I shall have to tell them.”    Glancing down at my hands, I wince and stuff my wedding ring in my jean’s pocket.  After shuffling across the room, I practice silent arpeggios before the well-stoked fire.  A week before Christmas and even Marseilles is cold and damp as a grave.   With increased circulation comes unexpected hope.  “What shall I tell them in London, Mother?   What shall I tell them when I go home?” “The truth, child.”   Mother Superior hands me a cup of strong china…