I look back at this after fifteen years, and it’s not terrible. I’ve come to deeper and more nuanced understandings of each of these points, but nothing that makes me disavow this explanation. So then, what are those deeper and more nuanced understandings? What have I found that makes me keep each of these elements as a part of my well-balanced spiritual practice, and recommend them to others? Read more

There can be plenty of enchantment in the objective world-view. There is a form of beauty in seeing how the moon’s orbit and the arc of a pop fly follow the same Newtonian law of universal gravitation. Cantor’s diagonalization proof that there are more real numbers than rational numbers is one of the most beautiful things I know. Read more

All throughout the massacres of the 20th century, but most especially on that day of shame seven decades ago, traditional religions failed. Christianity failed. Buddhism failed. Shintō failed. Every child burned to death in the flash over Hiroshima, every lingering case of radiation poisoning or leukemia, testifies to the fact that the spiritual systems of our past are inadequate to the challenges of a technological species. Read more

watching the sunset reflected on a billboard / thinking about summer winding down / I can already see the daylight getting shorter / however high the temperature climbs Read more

If this sort of experience is the goal of Zen practice, and if the psychedelic experience is something of the same order or type, then it’s not unreasonable to think that psychedelics could be a shortcut to enlightenment. The problem is that the satori experience isn’t the goal. It is at best a step along the way. Read more

once again I / fell madly in love with the impossible / trying to flirt with the Milky Way / dance up next to her in the night sky / and catch her eye Read more

That’s just how it goes with Starwood. Besides the friendships and the personal connections and the brilliant speakers, a tremendous amount of magical energy gets raised. It can change your life. Read more

Zen teacher and punk rocker Brad Warner recently posted a piece titled “Don’t Try to Help” at his blog Hardcore Zen. You ought to read it if for no other reason than that he quotes both an old Zen koan and a great Suicidal Tendencies song, and that’s probably the most interesting combination you’ll see this week. But I got asked about something similar last week at Starwood by an earnest young man, as we took shelter from the rain… Read more

Both the Order and the Kindred met in the New Forest area, the same area as Gardner’s supposed coven. Both groups practiced nudism (or “naturism”), used rituals based on bits of old British folklore, and took “Kin names” or “Woodcraft names,” a practice similar to the Wiccan use of “Craft” names. Gardner was known to be friendly with members of the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, and was sighted at their meetings in the 1950s. This has led to speculation that Gardner’s “coven” was in fact the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry. Read more

The basic plan of agricultural hierarchical society and its associated religious practices had endured for thousands of years, through the Neolithic, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, from the Sumerians through the Roman Empire to the kingdoms of medieval Europe. But in less than three centuries we went from the medieval manor to movable type, the fragmentation of the dominant religious system, mass production, and the beginnings of modern science and technology. Read more

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