New Post – THE GATE IS OPEN: William Blake’s time by the sea

 

 

Albion Rose

THE GATE IS OPEN

Adriana Díaz-Enciso explores the inspiring but troubled sojourn of Blake and his wife in a cottage by the sea on the South Coast at Felpham

THE GATE IS OPEN

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New Post – striking mythic drawings based on ancient slavic beliefs

Rarog the Divine Falcon

Rarog the divine Falcon

We feature the fascinating mythic art work of Marek Hapon based on the ancient slavic beliefs of his pagan ancestors. 

“My first contact with ancient Slavic beliefs occurred while spending summers at my grandmother’s farm in eastern Poland. It was there that I discovered the world of supernatural beings — some frightening and others wondrous. One such scary demon was the Licho…. ”

Marek Hapon Drawings

Sci Fi and Fantasy issue – call for ideas!

Dark MOON
2018 ISSUE OF URTHONA ON THE THEME OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
Please let us know if you have any thoughts about a Buddhist perspective on this kind of literature, or any author recommendations – apart from the obvious ones.
     Science Fiction and Fantasy allow unfettered licence to the imagination. This can be liberating but also it has drawbacks. Many books in these genres lack emotional depth, and get lost in the details of building an alternative world or worlds. On the other hand there is the opportunity to deal directly with universal archetypal themes – heroism, betrayal, the quest for truth and beauty, the unmasking of comfortable illusions of self and world – that are not easily dealt with directly in genres that are tethered to what we think of as ‘realism’. So we want to seek out the best writing there is in this area, particularly from contemporary authors, and ask what it has to offer spiritual seekers in the 21st century.
     It has been quite a learning curve for me looking into this area as I have not explored it since I was a teenager. So far as I can see there is a great deal of very fine recent science fiction out there. I have enjoyed reading Venor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, Dan Simmons The Hyperion Cantos (a sci-fi version of the Canterbury Tales) and Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station.
     However the fantasy genre seems to be quite moribund to me! It has been taken over by the Grim-Dark Game of Thrones type of fantasy almost completely it seems. There are a few  rather whimsical English fantasy books from the last few decades such as those by William Horwood, but that it is it apart from Phillip Pullman – we have covered him in issue 19 but may return to him in this or a future issue.
     So do let me know if you feel I have missed out on any other fantasy authors after Lewis and Tolkien who have moral and imaginative integrity, or if you have any science fiction recommendations that we might have missed.
     I’m aware of the book ‘Dharma of Demon’s and Dragons’ on a Buddhist approach to this literature, which is useful if a bit superficial in my view, and we will build on what Loy did there. 

 

Our plans so far include a piece on the novelist Nicola Barker, hopefully an interview with Christopher Priest, something on ‘The inklings – Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, something on Phillip K Dick, and possibly to reprint an interview with LeGuin we did about 15 years ago. Movie wise we have a piece on some classic alien encounter movies such as ‘forbidden planet’, and a review of the recent release ‘Arrival’. We would of course like to cover the seminal work of spiritual / cosmic science fiction: Olaf Stapleton’s ‘Star-maker’.

A walk in the Malverns

A walk in the Malverns

It was a sultry summer day, not very hot, but humid. There was a decadent end of summer feel even though it was only towards the end of July. I decided that August would be a herald of autumn rather than a glorious finish to the season, and so it was necessary to make the best of it, dress light and step out with determination along the languid maze of lanes that thread the countryside to the west of the great spine of the Malverns. Beyond that tawny ridge to the east I knew there are motorways, cities and the hundred million distractions of modern life. But here, west of that sheltering spine, just silence apart from what Heaney so memorably called ‘the distant gargling of tractors’. On the verges the thresh of bleached grasses is soaked in dew, there is a sense of rot about to happen, but for now the air is damp but cool and the lanes are empty and inviting. The sky is a mix of clouds and clarity. Sometimes for half an hour it appears to be going to cloud up completely and looks ominous, but the next moment the vapours dissolve and the sky goddess is back in her glory…

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URTHONA Issue 33 Launch Event

Similar to last year’s excellent event at the West London Buddhist Centre (address below), on 1st July we have another issue launch of Urthona, the Buddhist Arts magazine. Introduced by its poetry editor, Dharmavadana. There will be readings from four poets featured in issue 33 – Caroline Maldonado, Cath Drake, Ian Marriott and Subhadassi – Satyadaka reading his brilliant new Rilke translations, editor Ratnagarbha with translations from Dante, plus music from the Bright Moments Duo: Jonathan Cohen (Piano), Francois Moreau (Double Bass) play jazz and Latin standards and originals, Music for Head, Heart and Feet. And some surprises! You’ll be able to purchase copies of the new Urthona on the night.

There will also be meditation in the main shrine room from 6 pm, introduced and guided for those who are new to it and would like a taster.

Booking is not necessary and the event is free but the West London Centre does appreciate donations.

Urthona # 33 launch  7 – 9 pm Saturday 1st July

 West London Buddhist Centre,

Royal Oak House,

45a Porchester Rd,

London W2 5DP.

020 7727 9382

http://westlondonbuddhistcentre.com/

More details here:

http://westlondonbuddhistcentre.com/urthona-launch-2/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Castle Hill at dusk

Castle Hill_11

The Castle Hill area of Cambridge is almost certainly the oldest continuously inhabited part of the city – it is here that the Roman fort was established in the first century CE. Perhaps this is why the whole area, which is still a tangle of streets and alleyways, once you leave the wide ring road that snakes through it, has a sense of strangeness and dislocation. You are very close to the hyper-busy tourist areas of the colleges and shops, but there is a sense of being threaded into the density of the past, the whole area has a slightly eerie quietly brooding atmosphere that clogs the arteries of one’s immediate concerns…. Continue reading

Cambridge on a winter afternoon

A walk in Cambridge on a razor bright February afternoon. The market square below is in shadow with warm slumberous lights beginning to glow from the various stalls. Long furtive shadows from bicycles and pedestrians on the streets.  Even manhole covers seem scalded with an otherworldly radiance. Up above old bricks are etched with light as if they were made of some strange kind of opaque crystal. The sun melts mediaeval pinnacles into molten gold – everything is changed…. Continue reading