Mr Emerson Starts a Revolution

For most of America, Transcendentalism was a literary movement. However, in fact it was a theological and spiritual revolution within American Unitarianism and only incidentally a literary phenomenon. AS it is with movements of various sorts there are any number of moments that could be named the “beginning” of Transcendentalism. The 1836 publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Nature is probably the most common.However, I would suggest as Transcendentalism was never really about one perso … [Read more...]

Some Prophets Sing

It's good to recall that even in the worst of times, maybe actually it is always in the worst of times, that the mystery raises up a prophet to preach against greed and hatred, and to call us all to our better angels.One such, Woody Guthrie was born one hundred and four years ago.Happy birthday, Woody!We sure could use you about now... … [Read more...]

It’s Looking More and More Like God’s Away on Business

Of course the 14th of July is mostly known as Bastille Day, marking the storming of that fort, armory, and prison, and the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. On the same day a couple of years later in 1791, and not insignificantly connected, the so-called Priestley Riots in Birmingham England began. For three days a mob ran supreme in the city, attacking religious dissenters who had expressed among other challenges to the status quo, actual sympathy with the revolution. Their principal … [Read more...]

Margaret Murray, the Mother of Modern Wicca

Margaret Alice Murray was born on this day 1863 in Calcutta, a second generation Anglo Indian. As a child she didn't receive a formal education but her natural curiosity and love of learning were indulged by her wealthy parents. Following her interests, she qualified both as a nurse and a social worker.Soon, however, she turned to Egyptology, enrolling at the University College of London. It was the first time she walked into a classroom. And she found her true calling within the academy. … [Read more...]

Okay, Just a Little Sympathy for the Devil

It was on this day in 1962, that the Rolling Stones made their maiden appearance, playing at London's Marquee Club. … [Read more...]

The Day Alexander Hamilton Died

It was on this day in 1804 that Alexander Hamilton, former chief of staff to General George Washington, founder of America's financial system, a principal author of the Federalist Papers, founder of the US Coast Guard, founder of the New York Post, and first Secretary of the Treasury died, lingering for a day after being shot during a duel with former Vice-President Aaron Burr.Small wonder his story could become the subject of a Broadway musical. What is more surprising is that it hadn't … [Read more...]

Watching the Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Yesterday Jan & I went out for a movie and dinner. The movie we picked was the New Zealand film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.Rotten Tomatoes describes the plot for Hunt for the Wilderpeople. “Raised on hip-hop and foster care, defiant city kid Ricky gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec, and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, b … [Read more...]

Zheng He Sails the Ocean Blue

It was on this day in 1405 that admiral Zheng He began the first of his seven voyages. Over the years he would lead his fleet to explore, encounter, open trade, and impress the world beyond China of its vast wealth and power.He succeeded. … [Read more...]

My Faithless Heart’s Prayer

These are rough times. Hard times. It is difficult to see a way through it all. Greed, and hatred, and endless false certainties seem poison enough to destroy our species. And, sadly, likely will.Tears seem the appropriate response. Or, rage. Despair.And yet.And yet, there's something that takes my broken heart and transforms it into a deep affirmation. Why? I don't know. I don't know.But it is there. Rising out of my body in the face of it all. Trying to put words to it feels a … [Read more...]

‘Tis Tesla’s Day! May the (Alternating) Current Be With You!

Nikola Tesla, engineer both electrical and mechanical, physicist, futurist, and inventor was born on this day in 1856 in the village of Smijian, in what is today Croatia, although at the time a province of the Austrian Emprie. His father was a Serbian Orthodox priest as was his mother's father. After a number of adventures, most of which probably happened, he entered the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz. There his brilliance became apparent. However he quickly found himself in several conflicts and … [Read more...]