“Bringing the Spiritual to Its Senses”

Greeley

Incense fills the nostrils of a Krishna devotee in a temple in Vrindavan, India, letting him know he is in a sacred place; Muslim worshipers heed the muezzin’s amplified call to prayer from the minaret of a Moroccan mosque; a girl tastes bitter herbs at a Passover Seder in Brooklyn, reminding her of the harshness of her ancestors’ slavery in Egypt; a Greek Orthodox woman gazes reverently upon an icon of Jesus Christ and sees the gaze returned, knowing she is blessed; a Zen Buddhist acolyte … [Read more...]

“Atheism for Lent”: The Spiritual Practice of Doubt

A

A few months ago, I wrote a post on “Poetically Dwelling on the Earth as a Mortal,” which was in honor of my favorite undergraduate philosophy professor, James Edwards. Dr. Edwards was the most well-known, articulate, and matter-of-fact of atheist at my college. And suffice it to say that in the late 1990s in South Carolina there were very few “out” atheists. I had a few good friends in high school that were self-professed agnostics, but Dr. Edwards was — if not the first atheist I … [Read more...]

Why Jung Threw the Yijing (or I Ching) and Why Might You?

Yijing

This year the Chinese New Year will begin on what we call January 31st on our Gregorian (or “Western”) calendar. And when I was considering a good date to explore both the history and potential contemporary meaning of the I Ching, one of China’s contributions to the classics of world religious literature, a time close to the Chinese New Year seemed auspicious. And when considering criteria such as “longevity, domestic significance, and global spread,” scholars rank the I Ching in the … [Read more...]

Pagan Reflections on the Season of Samhain: Speaking to the Spark within the Darkness

IreneJericho

Yesterday, I posted on Scarred, Scared, and Sacred: Spiritual Practices for the Fall Triduum of Halloween, Samhain, and All Souls Day. Continuing on the theme of that post, this reflection is a guest post from Irene Jericho, a member of my congregation at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland, and a leader of our Earth-centered Spirituality ("UU Pagan") group. When I was 13, one of my closest friends lost a lengthy battle with childhood leukemia.  It was my first big … [Read more...]

Scarred, Scared, and Sacred: Spiritual Practices for the Fall Triduum of Halloween, Samhain, and All Souls Day

Wheel_of_the_Year

Can you feel the Wheel of the Year turning? Can you feel fall in the air — the chilling breeze and changing leaves, the tell tale signs of winter’s coming? In this season of each day growing incrementally shorter, can you sense our inexorable movement, here in the Northern Hemisphere, toward Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year? If you imagine the year as a circle, our Western, secular calendar marks four major seasonal turning points: Winter Solstice (the darkest day of the … [Read more...]

Water Communion and David Foster Wallace’s “This Is Water”

IJ

David Foster Wallace (1962 - 2008) is perhaps best know for his 1996 postmodern novel Infinite Jest, which is famous for its length (weighing in at more than 1,000 pages) and complexity (its footnotes have footnotes). I will confess to having started reading it once a few years ago, and never finding the time to finish. I hope to return to it someday. Wallace tragically committed suicide in 2008 at age 46 after a decades-long struggle with depression. He was beloved by many of the most … [Read more...]


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