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ancestral traditions Archives

The hair salon on the corner advertises, “Halloween Makeup Done Here.” There are spooks and scarecrows at the doors of the houses on my block. As we approach Halloween, I am thinking of the many meanings of the festival, from …Read More

The British visionary artist Chesca Potter says that when she moved to London, she had a vision of an immense goddess figure, dressed in green and gold, over the church of  St Pancras. This is the oldest church,  in the …Read More

In many human cultures the most profound insights into the nature of the divine and the fate of the soul after physical death have been attributed to ecstatic journeys beyond the body in waking dream or vision. In most human …Read More

The greatest crisis in our lives is a crisis of imagination. We get stuck and set ourselves up for failure because we buy into a limited or self-defeating version of reality, and refuse to see our situation differently. The answer …Read More

From a thousand years ago, in a slim autobiographical novel gusting with moonlight and desire, we have a dozen dreams of an anonymous Japanese woman who was born in Kyoto in 1008. The book itself is untitled; sometimes it is …Read More

Why the day of Saint Valentine is associated with romantic love is a mystery. A couple of sainted Valentines, both martyred, are known to the early church but what little is known of them has nothing to do with romance. …Read More

In my neighborhood, Hebe, cupbearer to the Olympian gods, is now decked out in Christmas trimmings. Though she would probably prefer to be wearing vine leaves, she may be relaxed because she will remember that Christmas decorations – especially anything …Read More

Chen Tuan (871-989) was a celebrated Taoist sage who lived a secluded life in mountain caves in China, where he created kung fu and a method of conscious dreaming. He was an ardent student of I Ching. He reputedly wandered …Read More

The memory of a dream is the memory of a journey. It may have been a short visit to a neighbor’s place or a date with the lover you will meet three years from now. It may have been a …Read More

Our earliest records of the work of a dream interpreter come from ancient Mesopotamia. Here the person you asked for help with your dream was called the “questioner”. On clay tablets from Assur and Nineveh, the “questioner” is usually a …Read More