Author Archives: Elderwoman

‘Sacred Earth Celebrations’ by Glennie Kindred

With her whole-hearted commitment to celebrating the Earth and its cycles, Glennie Kindred delves into the living tradition of our Celtic ancestors and arrives at a magnificent collection of sacred ceremonies based on the eight Celtic festivals: the Summer and Winter Solstices, the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, the four cross-quarter points of Imbolc, Beltain, Lammas and Samhain. However, the celebrations in the collection are not in any way fixed or immutable; for her …they help us to discover more about ourselves and our intrinsic connection to Earth. Glennie believes we are free to celebrate the festivals in whatever way we choose, and her book is packed with suggested ways to do just this.
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‘Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms and Communities Worldwide’ by Juliana Birnbaum & Louis Fox

After an impassioned Foreword by Paul Hawken and some excellent explanations of Permaculture principles and ethics, this colourful and lavishly illustrated book takes us on a tour around the entire globe visiting no fewer than sixty different—and all equally inspiring—projects based either directly or indirectly on Permaculture concepts. These range from desert reclamation in the hottest, driest area in Jordan to the re-establishment of forest in India to educational urban farms like Melbourne’s Ceres and from long-established communities such as Findhorn on the north coast of Scotland to a newly-established eco-village in Kenya. Continue reading

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‘Love Letter to the Earth’ by Thich Nhat Hanh

It has been said before that we will not protect what we do not love. In this sweet book, Thich Nhat Hanh not only shows his love for our beautiful planet, but fully explains how the planet is lovable. He reminds us of Earth’s many blessings and leaves us with practical examples of how it behoves every one of us to create a loving relationship with her. Continue reading

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‘People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities’ by F. Kaid Benfield

As well as easy access to the places we go to for shopping, services, leisure and socializing, human beings need comfort, cosiness, connectedness, clean air, beauty, lovability, safety, atmosphere, diversity and other subtle qualities of place that are hard to name but which we all recognize with our hearts. This book is about turning our existing cities into dense, mixed-use urban environments with high ‘walkability,’ excellent public transit, cycle paths etc., along with greening and revitalizing run-down neighbourhoods and finding ways to retrofit existing suburbs to cope with changing demographics, changing work patterns and dwindling natural resources. Continue reading

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‘Ecology and Religion’ (Foundations of Contemporary Environmental Studies Series) by John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker

These authors have spent many years studying world religions. Their particular interest is in the relationship between religion and ecology and between them, they have probably done more than any academics anywhere to bring religious and ethical perspectives into environmental discussions. The aim of this textbook is to bring the fruits of their thought and study to the coming generations. Continue reading

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‘Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth’ Edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Our present ecological crisis—accelerating climate change, species depletion, pollution and acidification of the oceans — is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis if we are to help bring the world as a living whole back into balance and in this book, under the editorship of Sufi teacher and author Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, twenty powerful voices take it in turns to do that, each in his or her own way. Continue reading

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‘Wild Mind: A Field guide to the human psyche’ by Bill Plotkin

Plotkin, an eco-psychologist and wilderness guide well known for his earlier books Soulcraft and Nature and the Human Soul, turns his attention now to a complete and holistic re-visioning of psychology. Rather than focusing on pathology and dysfunction as most psychologists—except perhaps the Jungian ones—have done, his focus is on wellness. Not just wellness in the sense of being ‘normal’ and well-functioning but in the much wider and deeper context of our existence as just one species among many and just one aspect of ‘all-that-is.’ Continue reading

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‘Common Ground on Hostile Turf: Stories from an Environmental Mediator’ by Lucy Moore

Lucy Moore, an environmental and public policy mediator with twenty-five years of experience, has written this book of what are basically ‘teaching stories’ as a way of sharing some of what she has learned in her work at the front lines of conflict resolution. Her work is done mostly in the American Southwest but the lessons we can learn from her are widely applicable to environmental conflict anywhere on the planet. Continue reading

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‘The Unselfish Spirit: Human evolution in a time of global crisis’ by Mick Collins

Our planet is in crisis, largely as a result of human actions and attitudes over the last few centuries. This is a book about how we can develop spiritually and try to avoid what seems to be the impending extinction of humankind. Continue reading

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‘The Third Covenant: The Transmission of Consciousness in the Work of Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, Thomas Berry, and Albert J. Lachance’ by Albert J LaChance and Rebecca LaChance Goodwin.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin devoted his life to reuniting the artificial fracture between science and religion and Thomas Berry furthered this reunification by repositioning the human in the unfolding of an evolving universe, integrated and interdependent with the rest of the life systems of the planet. Albert LaChance, himself a six-year, face-to-face student of Berry, brought this new paradigm into his work as a poet, psychologist, addiction recovery professional, and as a mystic and scholar of religion. Along with his daughter, Rebecca LaChance Goodwin, he explores, here, the development of this crucial shift in human understanding and its implications for the future. Continue reading

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‘The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World’ by Carl Safina

Set primarily in the sandy, windswept area around the author’s home at Lazy Point on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York and organized around the calendar year, this book includes beautiful, detailed observations of Nature and the changes that happen as the seasons slowly revolve. Plus it is interspersed with commentaries and descriptions of various field trips made to other places far north and far south. Witnessing and documenting this ‘natural year in an unnatural world,’ Safina shows how the problems of the environment are linked to questions of social justice and the politics of greed. Continue reading

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‘The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth’ by Bruce Lipton

This book about the dynamics of intimate relationships and their potential as a vehicle for personal growth has two things that make it different from other books on relationships: (a) it is written by a biologist and underpinned by science, and (b) it addresses the connection between personal love and planetary healing. Continue reading

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‘Earth Calling: A climate change handbook for the 21st century’ by Ellen Gunter and Ted Carter

Ever since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, there have been many more books on our desecration of the environment in the name of materialist profit. There is a massive amount of data in this book, also, about the harm we are doing to our Earth, but it is presented here in a readable way. And despite this despairing message of the Earth in peril, the final 80 pages of this book provide a guide to ways each individual can make a positive contribution to survival. Continue reading

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‘Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals (Sacred Activism)’ by Linda Bender

This author, a scientifically trained veterinarian, who has worked with animal all her life, talks to us about the way animals think and feel and dwell–unlike us–in the ever-present moment. They have a lot to teach us. She encourages her readers “…to think of intuitive, telepathic communication with animals as a natural ability that you once had and have temporarily misplaced rather than as a supernatural power that you are trying to acquire.” It is, she says, a skill that is achievable by all of us. A lovely, thought-provoking and insightful book. Continue reading

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‘Stories of the Great Turning’ edited by Peter Reason and Melanie Newman

An inspiring collection of personal stories, told by sixteen people who are each, in their own individual ways, involved in working towards what Joanna Macy calls ‘The Great Turning,’ i.e. the movement away from the madness of our materialist, militaristic, industrial culture and towards the sanity of living sustainably and co-operatively on our planet. Continue reading

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‘Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times’ by Carolyn Baker

In a collapsing world, it is no good surviving physically unless we can also survive—and help each other survive—emotionally and spiritually, and the aim of this book is to help us do just that. The first two-thirds of the book describe and explain, in 109 easy-to-read, wisdom-packed pages, the psycho-spiritual preparations that need to be made for the collapse that has already begun, and why, even though the collapse may be a long, slow process, it is so vital that we start making them. The last third consists of a carefully-chosen set of 52 weekly ‘meditations’ – in the sense of quotes and thoughts to be pondered upon – all geared towards helping us deal with the collapse of our old world whilst also saving and guarding the seeds we hope to plant in the new one that will—we hope—eventually rise from the ruins.
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‘Christian Animism’ by Shawn Sanford Beck

The churches have tended to regard creation as sacred only in so far as it reveals God to us and the focus is on our obligation to be responsible stewards rather than being in a real relationship with the rest of creation. Beck’s religious faith is important to him and he makes the case for Christian animism. The definition of animism that he uses is the attribution of a living soul to inanimate objects and natural phenomena and he argues that this is that is compatible with Christian tradition and the Bible. Continue reading

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‘Acorns Among the Grass: Adventures in Eco-Therapy’ by Caroline Brazier

In the summer of 2010, Caroline Brazier co-led a week-long eco-therapy group in her Buddhist community’s retreat centre in the French countryside. At the conclusion of the week, she began to write down her thoughts and reflections. In her words, “This book is the result. An account of a group and of a summer, interwoven with the ideas and therapeutic theory which framed our work, it is an invitation to share, to join the exploration and to experience the process of engagement in a healing relationship with nature.” Continue reading

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‘Tomorrow’s God’ by Neale Douglas Walsch

Neale Douglas Walsch has probably done more than anyone in this last couple of decades to assist people in outgrowing their infantile images of ‘God’ as some old, judgmental, sky-dwelling patriarch in a nightie, and replace them with something closer to the Perennial Philosophy. His Conversations with God series of books and tapes has been remarkably popular, not least because his main tool is humour and he uses it so well. Continue reading

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‘Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organisations & Society’ by Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski & Betty Sue Flowers

I’ve always wondered what manner of ‘profound change’ it would take to alter how individuals think and act. Individuals make up society; if enough of them did change, that would mean society itself would undergo some kind of transformation. Thus it was with great curiosity and anticipation that I waded in and began absorbing the discerning logic and experiential wisdom the four experts had woven in and out of all kinds of background qualifications and assembled into one gigantic platter of prescriptions for how to make sense of who we are, how society functions, the consequences of our interactions and the kinds of scenarios that result because of the choices we make, both personal and public, at all levels of human conduct. Continue reading

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‘The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine’ by Matthew Fox

Finally, I suggest that this book is for women just as much as for men. Partly because, as Matthew rightly says, we all have our inner masculine and inner feminine to honour. And also because the more understanding and dialogue there is between the sexes, the more chance there is for a sacred union between these two polarities. Although as he says, the dance between the two polarities never ends; they need to be in creative tension. Continue reading

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‘Towards Wisdom’ by Sheila Ward

Sheila’s book, Towards Wisdom, is in part autobiographical, exploring the author’s own journey of personal and spiritual growth through the membership of various groups and circles in which she has taken part over the years. It details the techniques and practices used in each of these and how they might be used by other groups or individuals, particularly groups of women entering — or already in — the second half of their lives. Continue reading

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‘The Living Universe: Where Are We? Who Are We? Where Are We Going?’ by Duane Elgin

How many of us, staring up into the unfathomable reaches of the Milky Way on a clear, moonless night, have felt a shiver run through us? Who could not feel a shiver of awe – perhaps even of terror – in contemplating his or her puny insignificance against a background of stars? Compared to the immensity of even this visible fragment of the mysterious universe, we are mere specks of dust. And yet… perhaps we are less puny and less separate than we think. Continue reading

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‘Hope for Humanity: how understanding and healing trauma could solve the planetary crisis’ by Malcolm Hollick and Christine Connelly

As can be verified from Google, it has often been said that “what we do to the planet we do to ourselves.” An even more chilling thought, however, is that what we humans do to ourselves we may also do to the planet. A significant proportion of us have, today and throughout our history, routinely inflicted the most horrifying suffering on each other, on scales from the individual to genocide, despite widely spread contrary teachings from the major religions and despite – or maybe because of – the power and sophistication of our mind. So what is it about Homo sapiens that makes us the scourge both of other species and of our own? Continue reading

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‘Find Your Power: A Toolkit for Resilience and Positive Change ‘ by Chris Johnstone

“Ever felt stuck?” asks the publisher of this highly accessible book. “Here is an approach”, they claim, “..that helps us overcome obstacles, improve our relationships, supports our values, and moves us towards our goals.” For once, I’m pleased to say, the publisher’s blurb has not overstated its case. Continue reading

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‘Gaia Eros:Reconnecting to the Magic and Spirit of Nature’ by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Jesse Wolf Hardin’s book bears an accurately descriptive title. Gaia, the living, conscious, inspirited Earth, and eros, the love of the Earth. Gaia Eros – Earth love. Its thirty-eight small chapters felt to me more like a collection of love poems than a series of essays. Unconnected by a logical, progressive unfolding of ideas, each is complete in itself like musical variations on a theme – the theme of Earthly love. Continue reading

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‘The Kids’ Book of Awesome Stuff’ by Charlene Brotman

The Kids’ Book of Awesome Stuff is filled with information, ideas, and activities to develop awareness in children that they are “…part of a wonderful web of life.” Grounded in scientific facts – including explanations of the Big Bang, nuclear fusion, evolution, photosynthesis – the book is engaging and inspiring and should leave any receptive young reader enthralled and sparkling with enthusiasm. Charlene Brotman’s accessible style and creative use of activity-based, interactive learning techniques combine with Jelia Gueramian’s friendly illustrations to make this book a treasure for children and adults alike. Continue reading

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‘Deep Equality: Living in the flow of natural rhythms’ by Jocelyn Chaplin

At the core of this book is a profound understanding of the state that Jocelyn Chaplin sets out to evoke, being in “the flow”, which lies within us all but which in the West is hard to make contact with and live from. Rooted in her childhood spent in the Sudan and Ghana, and her adult years as a political activist, scholar, artist and psychotherapist, her writing succeeds in synthesising all these strands of her life. Continue reading

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‘Enough:Breaking free from the world of more’ by John Naish

This book opens with words from the Tao Te Ching “He who knows he has enough is rich” … and then continues … “We have some evolving to do. And quickly. We need to develop a sense of ‘enoughness.’” Continue reading

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‘Living with Honour: A Pagan Ethics’ by Emma Restall Orr

Emma is head of the international Druid Network and the author of ten books. She teaches courses worldwide, and lectures at universities and conferences on Druidry, environmentalism, healing, and women’s spirituality. Continue reading

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‘Green Spirituality: One answer to global environmental problems and world poverty’ by Chris Philpott

From GreenSpirit member Chris Philpott comes a book, many years in the making, that is a compendium of attitudes and sources of wisdom about the spiritual basis of what it is to be green. In an inspiring Foreword, the author, scientist and activist Vandana Shiva suggests that this book could help us to rediscover what she calls a ‘spiritual sheet anchor.’ Continue reading

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‘Life Ascending: the Ten Great Inventions of Evolution’ by Nick Lane

It is very appropriate that this book should have appeared in Darwin’s year (2009) and I started to write this review on the 150th anniversary day of the publication of The Origin of Species. Continue reading

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‘Tomorrow’s Christian: A new framework for Christian living’ by Adrian Smith

GreenSpirit member Adrian Smith sees the journey away from unquestioned tradition as forking into two slightly different paths. Continue reading

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‘Peace is the Way’ by Deepak Chopra

In Peace is the Way, Deepak Chopra speaks of the choice that contemporary people face concerning religion. Not religion per se, but religion in the ossified, tradition-encrusted form in which it appears to so many people today. Continue reading

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‘Understanding Gregory Bateson: mind, beauty and the sacred earth’ by Noel Charlton

“Our most dangerous characteristic is our propensity to develop and rely on our conscious purposes…until we see the world as a network of relating, as a vast interrelated process of which we are dependent members, we will not be fit to survive in it.” (p.29). Continue reading

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‘The Animals’ Lawsuit against Humanity’ by Ikhwan al-Safa

The story of this book is miraculous in itself. The fable and the message it so clearly contains date from over a thousand years ago. The origins of the story were Indian, but it was actually written down for the first time in the tenth century C.E. in Arabic by a Sufi order. It has since circulated through most of the Eastern religions; this edition is the first one in English. I found out about it through Isabel Carlisle, who converted it into play form and has used it in schools over the last few years. Continue reading

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‘Green Kingdom Come! Jesus and a Sustainable Earth Community’ by Joe Grabill

The overall theme and objective of this book is to illustrate that Jesus of Nazareth was green. Grabill shows, from a study of biblical translations direct from the Aramaic and quotations from texts long ago eliminated from the bible by church politicians, that Jesus would probably be at the forefront of the green movement were he alive and teaching today. Continue reading

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‘Nature as Mirror: An Ecology of Body, Mind and Soul’ by Stephanie Sorrell

The old mechanistic paradigm under which most of us grew up has trained our thought habits so thoroughly that those of us struggling to express an ecocentric worldview often find ourselves literally at a loss for words. For example, we hear ourselves using phrases like ‘walking outside in Nature,’ even though we know that Nature includes us also, whether outdoors or in. We talk about ‘caring for the planet’ as though it were a thing and separate from ourselves. And if finding a vocabulary for ecocentrism is hard, how much harder is it to live it? Continue reading

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‘Shinto: A Celebration of Life’ by Aidan Rankin

Like most people in the Western world, I’d had little or no exposure to Shinto, the ancient, traditional spirituality of Japan. It was never included in my mental list of wisdom traditions and, I am now ashamed to say, if I thought about it at all I’d dismissed it as merely a set of rituals that Japanese people traditionally observed out of habit rather than conviction. How wrong I was. Continue reading

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‘Enlightenment Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be: A Journey of Discovery, Snow and Jazz in the Soul’ by Robert Forman

At the beginning of his book, Forman points out that: “the thought that you can be utterly ego-less , that you can remember to attend to your thought processes often enough to change them, that your guru is utterly egoless, that your everyday life is or will be complete and entirely easy and that these are or should be our goals, has been a damaging fantasy, at best, and counter-productive at worst…it is high time that we turned around and looked squarely in the maw of our own daydreams.” Continue reading

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‘The Path of the Blue Raven:From Religion to Re-Enchantment’ by Mark Townsend

BBC presenter Peter Owen-Jones puts his finger right on the spot when he describes Mark Townsend as “a priest on the edge.” As he reminds us, edges are always the places in the biosphere where we find the most diversity and the greatest creativity. In the noösphere, the same applies. The edge is where one finds people bold enough to move out of comfort and familiarity, to seek, to question and to birth new ideas. Continue reading

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‘The Fire Dogs of Climate Change: An inspirational call to action’ by Sally Andrew

Sally Andrew is a sublime storyteller. Her brand of delightful whimsicality is so captivating that I predict she is headed for literary fame in the coming years—and not only in her homeland of South Africa, either. Meanwhile, right now, her energy and passion are channelled into raising awareness about climate change and the need for urgent action to avoid eco-catastrophe Continue reading

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‘Elderwoman: Reap the wisdom, feel the power, embrace the joy’ by Marian Van Eyk McCain

What I like most about this book is that it genuinely celebrates the late afternoon and evening of our lives. Most biographies draw the human life as though it were a hump – starting small, growing towards the prime, and then downhill all the way, leading to death often in depression and failed faculties. Continue reading

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‘The Way Beyond the Shaman: Birthing a New earth Consciousness’ by Barry Cottrell

A main thrust of GreenSpirit is the ‘re-membering’ of ourselves in Nature, the awakening of our sense of belonging to Earth and the deep connection with the more-than-human world that our ancestors probably had and which we, in our fool’s paradise of modern, consumer society, have largely lost. Continue reading

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‘Holy Night’ by Vincent Tilsley

Is it a novel? Is it a screenplay? What on earth (or in heaven) is it? Vincent Tilsley’s Holy Night is unlike anything else I have ever read. It also stirred up more excitement in me than any book I have read in a long time and stretched my mind to its furthest limits. Continue reading

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‘The Psychology of Spirituality: An Introduction’ by Larry Culliford

From my experience of a career in the so-called ‘helping professions,’ I think I can safely claim that in these industries geared to health, healing and helping, scant attention is ever paid to people’s spirituality. We train our medical, paramedical and mental health workers in the mechanical workings of the body and the mind, but speak rarely of the heart and never of the soul. Continue reading

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‘The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles’ by Bruce Lipton

We’ve all been taught – whether by high school biology teachers, college lecturers or the journalists and TV documentary-makers of popular culture – that it is the DNA in our cells which determines who we are. Nurture is important but it is our genes that confer upon us our individual identity. Continue reading

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‘The Art Of Conversation With The Genius Loci’ by Barry Patterson

…Nevertheless, I liked his book for three reasons. Firstly, it teaches a slow, careful and highly conscious way of interacting with – and appreciating – place. Continue reading

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‘Madness, Mystery and the Survival of God’ by Isabel Clarke

Healing, at least in part, can come through making sense of suffering and learning from it. So, for those who have suffered from mental ill-health or those who meet people who do, this book is particularly helpful. Continue reading

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‘The Spirituality Revolution: The Emergence of Contemporary Spirituality’ by David Tacey

When I was a child, everyone went to church (or chapel) on Sundays, or so it seemed. Spirituality and religion appeared synonymous. That is so no longer. The winds of change have blown hard in my lifetime, and you and I now live in a predominantly secular society – one of many in the Western world. But there is another strong weather pattern coming up against the wind. Religion may be in decline, but spirituality has never been so much in evidence. In a culture that now worships at the shopping mall yet comes away empty-hearted, there is a swell of yearning for a deeper connection – or a reconnection – with the sacred. Continue reading

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