Urthona printed journal and Urthona essays
Urthona Magazine, Old Abbey House, Abbey Road, Cambridge CB5 8HQ
urthonamag[at]gmail.com Tel: 07443 499384
Editor: Ratnagarbha (Ambrose Gilson)
Poetry Editor: Dharmavadana (David Penn)
Art features editor: Anantamati
URTHONA Buddhist arts journal covers contemporary art, western culture, and traditional Buddhist arts from a Buddhist perspective. It is published annually in a high quality, 68 page, glossy magazine format, and is beautifully designed.
To purchase the current or back issues go to URTHONA SHOP page – see top menu.
This site also contains selected material from back issues and longer essays on the arts. See Essays and Art Features link above.
Contributing to Urthona
Submissions are welcome to the above email address (NB anti spam – insert @ sign by hand!)
We welcome poetry, essays up to 4000 words, and art / photography portfolios. You don’t need to be a Buddhist! We are looking for work with imagination and vision that is in sympathy with our values (see below).
All poetry submissions will be read by our poetry editor – please be patient as this process can take several weeks.
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 towards profound insights into the nature of Mind… communicating a sense of the sacred in ways that are relevant to the 21st century.
You will find here a Romantic / Blakean concern for revolution as an attitude of mind which seeks to regenerate human perception as the fundamental means towards transformation of society. We value the language of myth as a fundamental means to explore human experience. The methods explored are those of the most inspired artists from the whole of human culture and the meditative techniques of mental cultivation which come principally from the Buddhist East. Here you will find essays on the arts as a means of rousing the imagination and exploring a sense of the sacred in ways that are relevant now.
The magazine takes its name from Blake’s spirit of the Imagination, Urthona, one of the four Zoas. In his temporal form Los, Urthona is the archetypal blacksmith who labours at his forge to beat out forms which will awaken mankind from spiritual slumber and remind us that this world is ‘all one continued vision of Fancy or Imagination.’ Urthona is run by Buddhists mainly associated with the Triratna Buddhist Sangha founded by Sangharakshita, who has always seen the arts as an important tool for spiritual transformation.
We explore particularly the work of artists and thinkers who are working to bring about cultural renewal by expressing the sacred dimension of the arts in ways which are relevant to the 21st century. We investigate artists and writers from all eras and cultures who, to borrow a phrase from Nietzsche, ‘grope their way along new experiences, open up new tracks’.
Here you will find essays, art, photography and poetry by some of the most inspired artists and thinkers of our time.
Past issues have included work or words by Gary Snyder, Kathleen Raine, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Robert MacFarlane, Cecil Collins and many more.
Each issue has a broad theme, recent themes have included:
Drama and Insight, Celtic culture, Landscapes of the Mind, Nature writing, Indian culture, Psychogeography, Buddhism and Ecology, Creativity, Writing as a spiritual practice…..
Each issue contains
- Essays on the arts as tools of transformation
- Art photography
- Fine art features from the best contemporary artists
- Poetry from the best modern poets such as Jane Hirshfield, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Mimi Khalvati
- Reviews of movies, books, music by insightful Buddhist writers.
EXAMPLE ISSUE – Number 32: Goddesses East and West –
From the editorial:
The symbol of ‘The Goddess’ with many names and forms, is one of the most active religious symbols of our age, and this is a fascination that many modern Buddhists share, especially as regards the liberated, intensely energised female figure of the Dakini….
What people say
The light of the mind is warmed and clarified by love..
Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate…
Zen Master Huang Po
Sometimes we look to the end of the tale where there should be marriage feasts and find only as it were black marigolds and silence…