Actually walking 500 miles to Santiago de Compostela proved “a demented delusion.” But “the Camino” also serves those who sit and those who wait — upon others.
The ancient world may have struggled with written language, antibacterial medications, and a workable system of democratic governance, but they certainly solved the riddle of making delicious wine. Many, if not most, modern wine-making practices — trellising, pruning, manipulation of grape-skin contact with the fermenting juice, fermentation locks, and so on — all have been used in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Mediterranean Basin for thousands of years. Problems did exist, to be sure. For example, our winemaking ancestors didn’t work out airtight stoppers for their amphorae.
Symbols are religion’s most powerful references to their systems of belief. They can effectively diagram, call upon, and communicate mystery, all without the need of words. A new book, Sacred Symbols, brings together hundreds of these images from Eastern and Western cultures and traditions and organizes them under the themes of Peoples, Religions, and Mysteries. From Egyptians to Celts to Mayans, from China to Japan to India and back to the Tarot, Sacred Symbols is a visual feast and compelling food for thought.
Being invited to teach Tibetan refugee children at Yongling Creche and Kindergarten in Dharamsala was, for me, an answered prayer. Up until that time, I was navigating an inner-city clinic system as a family and child therapist — I longed to see children in a spiritually-based community. Tibetan parenting methods, I felt, made intuitive and analytical sense. So many of these seemed to offer golden nuggets of wisdom that can be extrapolated to complement other parenting styles. Here are a few:
The world's major spiritual traditions have long taught the value of forgiveness as a tool for freeing ourselves and others from the tyranny of past judgments and perceptions -- or misperceptions. The traditions may offer different rationales for why we should forgive, and different ways to go about it, but the ultimate goal is strikingly similar.
One of my most memorable meals wasn't an actual meal; rather, it was a dining experience cradled in hospitality, friendship, and good, simple food. The place: the patio of a friend's villa in a medieval town in Switzerland. The time: nearing midnight. The setting: like a Turner painting, an almost-full moon lighting the nearby lake. The food: an assortment of Italian cheese, apples and oranges, and rich red wine. Social ingredients: my husband, friends, and Frau Bucher, our hostess.
“What’s the most soulful place in Taipei?” I asked a Taiwanese woman whose English name is Norma.
“Come with me,” she said, and she led me to the much-beloved Longshan Temple in the Manka district of Taiwan’s multifaceted and fascinating capital city.
We wandered through a maze of brilliantly hued and carved architecture, past a haze of smoke from incense burners and altars laden with floral and fruit offerings, past the central shrine, where Quan Yin, the goddess of mercy, dwells.
Jesus had wine. We have beer. . . well, except for one couple who brought wine made from grapes on their own farm. That’s what its like to be a Unitarian Universalist. Organize a beer contest, advertise it for weeks, clearly explain the rules . . . and there surely will be a group that brings wine.