“Mystical Experiences and Glimpses of Eternity” Mini Series Part 3 – Sir Laurens Van Der Post, Explorer of the Spirit

We shall not cease from exploration wrote TS Eliot in his poem “Little Gidding”. And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. These words seem very appropriate for author and explorer Sir Laurens Van Der Post (1906-1996), whom I first cameContinue reading ““Mystical Experiences and Glimpses of Eternity” Mini Series Part 3 – Sir Laurens Van Der Post, Explorer of the Spirit”

“Mystical Experiences and Glimpses of Eternity” Mini Series Part 1: Stirred By A Scientist to Share a Childhood Religious Experience

What’s the difference between nature or music appreciation… and a mystical experience? When does “being moved by something beautiful” become a religious experience? Surely the criterion for a mystical experience is that it changes your life? In my case, it did. My early childhood mystical experiences ultimately led me on a spiritual journey of manyContinue reading ““Mystical Experiences and Glimpses of Eternity” Mini Series Part 1: Stirred By A Scientist to Share a Childhood Religious Experience”

“Mystical Experiences and Glimpses of Eternity” Mini Series Part 2 – The Curious Case of the Kindly Professor and the Cunning Cult Leader

This sounds like a case for Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson, doesn’t it? The kindly professor in question is: Dr Raynor Johnson, Physicist, and Master of Queen’s University Melbourne – scientist turned spiritual seeker. And the cunning cult leader is: Anne Hamilton-Byrne,a “self-appointed mystic” who led a cult proclaiming herself to be a reincarnationContinue reading ““Mystical Experiences and Glimpses of Eternity” Mini Series Part 2 – The Curious Case of the Kindly Professor and the Cunning Cult Leader”

Musings From a Saxon Sanctuary – A Lesson of History: Success or Failure Turns on Quirks of Fate

Hidden in the heart of rural Warwickshire is a Saxon Sanctuary I only recently discovered. It’s in St Peter’s Church at Wootton Wawen, situated between Henley-in-Arden and Stratford-upon-Avon. In the Lady Chapel, an exhibition tells the story of Wagen’s woodland village in the Forest of Arden. Wagen was a Saxon lord who owned the landContinue reading “Musings From a Saxon Sanctuary – A Lesson of History: Success or Failure Turns on Quirks of Fate”

The Novels of Susan Howatch, Love, Miracle Wine and the Language of Invitation

“Do you want to be well-integrated, do you want to feel whole, happy, or in tune with your deeper self?” These are the questions that novelist Susan Howatch asks her readers in her Starbridge series of novels, and her St Benets Trilogy. And then, when her readers respond to this question, they find stories withContinue reading “The Novels of Susan Howatch, Love, Miracle Wine and the Language of Invitation”

Books That Shock, Move and Change Their Readers

I have loved many books in my life, but the ones that stand out for me have three ingredients: archetypal themes, emotional charge and X factor. And they are the ones which can indeed change the way you see the world. My three nominations will be grouped under the headings of the power they exertedContinue reading “Books That Shock, Move and Change Their Readers”

The Double-Edged Sword of an Artist’s Silence

“If I didn’t make films I don’t know what else I would do, apart from playing jazz and making a nuisance of myself.” (Woody Allen) Woody Allen’s words above show the nature of passion for art. For many creative people cannot imagine giving up, retiring, or falling into silence, before they die. The master of comicContinue reading “The Double-Edged Sword of an Artist’s Silence”

Searching for Love… And Craving Celebrity

In my last post, on the case of Jimmy Savile, I wrote about the dark side of celebrity. We live in a society obsessed with celebrities – the gods of this secular age. And we try to convince ourselves that fame would guarantee entry into a perfect region of love, wealth and success. Yet theContinue reading “Searching for Love… And Craving Celebrity”

Seeking Personal Growth; and Sitting at the Feet of a Charismatic Guru

We find ourselves in a culture where many seek answers to the deep issues of life in spirituality, beyond the boundaries of organized religion. Different needs within people draw them to seek spiritual relief – and for some, esoteric New Age spiritual groups hold a strong appeal. You’ll meet some of those who are attractedContinue reading “Seeking Personal Growth; and Sitting at the Feet of a Charismatic Guru”

Offerings to the Water Spirit

“If there is magic on the planet it is contained in the water” (Loren Eiseley – American anthropologist, philosopher & natural science writer). I’m led to reflect on this every time I come upon a pool of water in a public place – whether that be the pool in the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew,Continue reading “Offerings to the Water Spirit”