High summer approaches. For me this time of year is very much associated with that most aetherial of birds, the swift. I’m waiting eagerly for them to arrive. Remembering sitting in the garden at peace on summer afternoons; looking upwards into depth upon depth of blue, where the screaming swifts are seen looping through the sky in their great, unhindered gyres. So sad that their numbers have declined in recent years, not enough people have proper wooden eaves under which they can make their nests anymore.
I have just updated our website – let us know what you think of the new look. The featured image is now Blake’s engraving of Orc in the fires of energy, from his book America a Prophecy.
(On tablet/phone best viewed in landscape format)
URTHONA Buddhist arts magazine covers contemporary and traditional arts from a Buddhist perspective. Our inspirations are William Blake, the zen poets of Japan, and all creative spirits who have pushed back the boundaries of human consciousness. Urthona, appearing once a year, is a beautifully designed, 68 page, glossy magazine.
For essays on the transformative power of art and imagination – see listings to right.
Editor’s blog: musings on art, literature & spirit of place – scroll down past information.
Current Issue: Urthona issue 33 – THE SCIENCE FICTION ISSUE –
URTHONA investigates science fiction, and finds in speculative literature ways of expanding the imagination similar to those used by the Buddhist sages of old… Details below…
Yes, the next issue of Urthona magazine is out. It will be launched on 16th Feb 7.30 PM Cambridge Buddhist Centre, CB5 8DT LAUNCH DETAILS :
- An interview with doyen of British SF, Christopher Priest.
- Our amazingly knowledgeable movie editor Ed Piercy on classic alien encounter movies.
- A vision of Transcendental Science Fiction, with a focus on Olaf Stapledon, and the Chinese classic novel The Story of the Stone.
- Dharmavadana on the seer, Phillip K. Dick.
- A feature on Arthur C. Clarke, including memories of meeting him in Sri Lanka.
- New poetry, news, reviews and photography.
- Appreciation and interview with Ursula Le Guin
Science Fiction at its best can explore regions of human experience that no other kind of literature (apart from perhaps the heroic epic) is capable of doing justice to. The best writers open up these vistas with due regard for the subtleties of human psychology and human frailties. Such writers are moving into the same territory that Buddhists have been exploring for thousands of years. Find out how they did it in this fascinating issue.
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‘Unction and Slaughter’
Faith and Doubt in the poetry of Geoffrey Hill
by Ratnagarbha (Ambrose Gilson)
This standing stone was spotted just outside Hatfield Forest, north east Essex. Although it has clearly been set up by a farmer just outside his farmhouse as an interesting feature, the stone itself does look very old and extremely weathered. It is some kind of conglomerate with many small pebbles ingrained in the rock. Surely someone trying to manufacture a megalith would not use this kind of stone as it doesn’t look especially mythic or impressive. However its shape is certainly very like some of the smaller standing stones at Avebury. So if a forgery a clever one…
PS I hear rumours of a church somewhere in Essex that is supposed to have a ring of buried megaliths all around the edge of the grave yard. I hope to report on this properly at some point in the future. Any pointers gladly received…
Stourbridge Common –
tracks to nowhere, the iron bridge, memories of the fair…
Stourbridge Common is the nearest piece of semi-rural land to where I live in Cambridge. It is only a five minute cycle ride away but on dark winter afternoons it can take on an epic doom-laden appearance… The straight track across its centre becomes a walk into the infinite instead of a few hundred yards towards the railway bridge.