URTHONA Buddhist arts journal covers all aspects of contemporary and traditional arts from a Western Buddhist perspective. It is published annually in a high quality, 68 page, glossy magazine format, and is beautifully designed.
To subscribe to the current issue, or purchase back issues go to the URTHONA SHOP page above.
This site contains selected essays and material from back issues. See page listings to right.
Urthona – the landscape: Our guardian spirits are the romantic and revolutionary writers of early 19th century London – Blake, Hazlitt and Coleridge – and the Zen poets of Japan who were similarly drawn to the open, outer reaches of mind and culture. Our founding inspiration came from the Western Buddhist teacher Sangharakshita who has always seen the arts as a key means of spiritual transformation in the contemporary world. Here you will find essays on the arts as a means of rousing the imagination and communicating a sense of the sacred in ways that are relevant to the 21st century. More about our vision in ABOUT URTHONA above.
Scroll down this page for URTHONA editor’s blog: in depth and insightful commentary on art, life and culture.
CURRENT ISSUE NO 31: The Art and Craft of Story Telling. Explore what this most ancient and fundamental art means to us now.
To buy your copy go to URTHONA SHOP page – on menu at top of page.
Explore some of the master narratives of European culture in fresh, insightful ways. Here you will find an interview with one of our master storytellers Kevin Crossley Holland, a piece on one of the most important stories in Western culture, the Quest for the Holy Grail, and an account of the story behind Jung’s Red Book by the acclaimed writer on art, education and imagination, Peter Abbs.
But what is storytelling really? And what has it to do with the quest for an authentic spirituality in the 21st century? Many contemporary Dharma teachers talk about ‘dropping the ego’s stories’. But what do they really mean? Do they mean us to turn off our imagination and become like a rock or a dry planet – surely not. Philip Pullman (whose new book of versions of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm is reviewed in this issue) says: ‘After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.’ The point, surely, is that telling stories about who we are and where we are going, about our meaning and purpose, is not simply a function of the egoistic aspect of the mind (though no doubt it often is). In fact it is something much more fundamental than that. Stories are the primary way in which the imagination orientates the sum total of our available psychic energy towards one goal or another.
* Interview with master story teller Kevin Crossley-Holland. Kevin answers some in depth questions about the art and craft of story telling. Who better to explore this than one of our best loved story tellers? He has published many books of traditional folk tales, and is the author of the acclaimed Arthur Trilogy. He says: ‘Like Icelandic Sagas, folk tales move from A to Z without digression. They deal in actions not feelings. So it follows that the proper language for retelling a tale should be simple and forthright…’
* An introduction to Jung’s Red Book, the mystical source of all of his ideas. Around the autumn of 1913 Carl Jung experienced a prolonged period of outer isolation and inner disorientation… He question all that he had achieved in his professional life, and was uncertain what lay before him. During this profound breakdown a visionary world arose before him, in which characters from the Bible, Greek Myth and the Gnostic treatises become figures of intense living power. From this arose the Red Book, a large volume that he filled with accounts of his visions in medieval scrip, and a series of remarkable mythical illustrations. Here the noted writer on art and myth, Peter Abbs explores how this book became the source of all of Jung’s later work as a psychologist.
* Quest for the Holy Grail – the romance becomes a quest for vision and transformation. Ratnagarbha looks at the oldest and most psychologically acute account of the quest for the Holy Grail by Chretien De Troyes. What has this ancient story to offer us now?
* Plus poetry from Mimi Khalvati and many others, news, reviews of the music of Meg Hutchinson and a new book of poems in tribute to William Stafford, the collected poems of Geoffrey Hill, a new biography of Tove Jannson and much more.