Profane Sacredness: Spirituality, Sexuality and Violence in Art

Can sacred art be ugly? Can it seem even to be against the sacred? There are a couple of contemporary manifestation of religion and imagery that might cause us to ask these questions. In India, today, poster images of Hindu goddesses Saraswati, Durga and Lakshmi have begun being displayed in public as part of the “Save […]

Authoritarian Personality: Power and Subversion in Popular Culture

Duran Duran: The Chauffeur.

Moral superiority is the preferred pose of those lacking knowledge and understanding, it seems. And today, in our neo-Victorian era, morality is all the rage. Facts, thin on the ground, are swept under the rug with the suggestion that the speaker — whether pundit, politician, or popular entertainer — is morally offended. Yet, throughout the […]

The Spiritual Warrior and the Dharma Way

According to the Bhagavad Gita, it is on the battlefield that Krishna (Lord of the Universe) teaches the eternal truth (Sanatana Dharma), and reveals his omnipotent form, to his disciple Arjuna. Again, we are told that Krishna his brother Balarama defeated the powerful wrestlers sent, by King Kamsa of Mathura, to kill them. Early stories about the Buddha […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Can radical spirituality end racism?

“”What the superior man seeks,” said Confucius, “is in himself; what the ordinary man seeks, is in others.” In the West, those who consider themselves spiritual, thinking people, inevitably consider themselves to be concerned with the internal — the inner being — not the external. Frequently, though, nothing could be further from the truth. And […]

Death becomes us? the skull as symbol of transcendence

“There was a small splash a couple of weeks ago about a new coffee: “Death Wish.” No prizes for guessing that this brew has an extremely high caffeine content. According to the website dedicated to this dark brew, it has about twice the amount of caffeine as regular strong coffee. What’s perhaps more interesting from […]