I had hoped to journey to the Orkneys last year to see the Ring of Brodgar, the Bronze Age standing stones not far from Stromness, but it was not to be. I wanted to get a better sense of this ritual site and experience at first-hand how it feels and imagine how it might have felt … Continue reading Thankfully!
Every New Year’s Eve we become oracles, each prophesying the big political, economic and sporting moments for the year ahead.
In tandem with my book 'We are Pilgrims - Journeys in Search of Ourselves', this blog is part of a quest to understand why, each year, 200 million people from all faiths and nations, embark on a pilgrimage. It explores how we began this practice, how it has inspired musicians, artists and writers, how it … Continue reading About Why Pilgrim
In Washington earlier this week we saw at first hand the power of rhetoric when used to incite violence. But it’s not only rhetoric that influences what we think, but imagery too. My colleagues at King’s Centre for Strategic Communications (KCSC) are amongst the world’s leading experts on ‘the Propaganda of the Deed’ or POTD and the events this … Continue reading In the Pink
It's Boxing Day, reading books and eating dates...
As the days get ever shorter Deepavali carries hope with it into the darkness which lies ahead. On the darkest night of the new moon in the month of Kartika, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs will celebrate in their own way, but for each, over the course of the five days of festivities, the lighting of candles and … Continue reading By the light of the Moon
Books are a key to the future - time to get back to the library to look for clues about tomorrow..
Last weekend I went for a walk amongst an ancient grove of oaks – not just a picturesque carbon sink, but a useful illustration of how different communities experience uncertainty about the future. Once numbering 4,000 trees, this oak plantation was planted sometime in the Middle Ages by a landowner who would already be dead … Continue reading Facing an Uncertain Future
Trees and pilgrimage have been linked since ancient times, not least in the autumn
During the research for my book We are Pilgrims I encountered many pilgrim travellers but none quite like Martin Gray. Over the course of 38 years, this photographer and anthropologist has visited thousands of pilgrim sites and sacred places in 160 countries across the globe. His web-site World Pilgrimage Guide is an essential source of information for anyone contemplating … Continue reading A Life of Pilgrimage
From my lockdown study, I allow my mind to wander and think of Pandit Nehru who as a boy mastered the art of ‘astral flying’, letting his mind roam where his body could not. It served him in good stead. Nehru was imprisoned many times in pursuit of India’s independence and from his cell wrote … Continue reading Sweet Thames Run Softly