Call Me Ishmael

Twenty odd years before Herman Melville penned ‘Clarel’ an epic poem on pilgrimage, he wrote  ‘Moby-Dick’, that wondrous mixture of fiction, natural history and social anthropology. Published in 1851, the book was a commercial failure. At the time the Nantucket whaling industry was already in decline and American readers no more wanted novels about whalers than … Continue reading Call Me Ishmael

Forty days

While the government contemplates the logistics, costs and implications for personal liberty of introducing quarantine for travelers, and hostile states whip up anti-vax sentiment, we might take a peek at the link between faith and pestilence, as sadly the two often travel hand in hand. Amongst the largest gatherings on the planet is the Hindu pilgrimage … Continue reading Forty days

Thankfully!

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!

In the Pink

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

From here to eternity

Every New Year’s Eve we become oracles, each prophesying the big political, economic and sporting moments for the year ahead.

By the light of the Moon

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

Books are a key to the future - time to get back to the library to look for clues about tomorrow..

Facing an Uncertain Future

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

As Autumn Leaves Are Falling

Trees and pilgrimage have been linked since ancient times, not least in the autumn