Sacrifices, priestesses, and the roots of modern sport

“What is remarkable about [ancient] Greek sport,” says David Sansone in Greek Athletics and the Genesis of Sport, “is the seriousness with which it was taken as a  cultural and even religious phenomenon.” “Sport is, no less than burnt offerings and libations, a form of ritual sacrifice.” Though spotlighted almost exclusively in entertainment — and rarely […]

The Higher Man in the modern world: a short survival guide

Can the Higher Man participate in the modern world, elevating his surroundings and giving those around him a glimpse of the transcendental even as he participates in worldly affairs? This is the question that confronts us today with so many spiritual people living in modern cities, with their fast pace of life and often superficial […]

Violence and the sacred: finding inner peace in times of outer conflict

A few weeks ago I happened to be reading Vali Nasr’s The Shia Revival on the way back from a martial arts session. I’d received a pretty firm kick in the side, and was conscious of pain in that area. I don’t want to overdramatize it, the injury meant sleeping was difficult for the following […]

Neo-Paganism left and right, old and new

“The past two centuries of European history”, says Claire Berlisnki in Menace in Europe: Why the Continents Crisis is America’s, too, “can be viewed as a series of struggles to find a replacement for what Europe has lost.” For Berlinski, Europe lost Christianity. Since the USA remains Christian to a far greater degree, the assertion […]

Platonism, “Pandrogyny” and Panache: how pop hints at the primordial man

The figure of the Hermaphrodite in esoteric symbolism is perhaps one of the strangest and most alien to the ordinary consciousness of man. It has probably always been this way. The primitive shaman — part priest, part mystic, part sorcerer, a figure of fear and reverence — is known to have feminized his appearance, and […]

Tantra for the practitioner

Christopher D. Wallis, Oxford graduate in Comparative Religion and assistant professor of Sanskrit in Berkeley, treats us to a very well-written book: Tantra Illuminated. The Philosophy, History and Practice of a Timeless Tradition (Anusara Press, The Woodlands TX, 2012). It is academically sound yet stands out among the dry academic works by being very engaged […]

Bohemian Groves: the 19th century roots of the Hippie movement

The world’s first self-conscious “youth” movement sprang up in response to, and as a rejection of, urban life and the cold, impersonal mechanics of modernity. It’s members wanted to reunite themselves with nature. They went vegetarian, sometimes favored nudism, hiked and even camped out in the wilderness, creating alternative societies to the mainstream. It was […]

Banned: the ancient Hindu symbol of Dharma mistaken for hate sign

In this age, in which Westerners pride themselves on ethnic and religious tolerance, Indians and Hindus have been shocked and surprised to discover their most sacred symbol banned from public display by Western organizations – most recently, Facebook. The symbol that I am talking about is the ancient swastika. It is a sad irony that […]

Merkabah: the esoteric photography of Antonella Arismendi

The work of photographer Antonella Arismendi has appeared in Rolling Stone, British FHM, Vnfold, and DMag, among others. She’s also photographed for a range of clients, including Loreal France, Nike, and Docomo Japan. But, with pentagrams, the Cabalistic Tree of Life, pyramids and other symbols appearing in her photo shoots, Antonella’s work is infused with the spiritual and the […]