We revel in stories of creepy critters, cyborgs, zombies and vampires (including the gut-wrenching vampire squid that lurks in the abyss)! We find out why scary music freaks us out, and for all of our listeners looking forward with mingled dread and excitement to NaNoWriMo, we explore how to transform fear into freedom and anxiety into creativity. During an extended music break this week, we feature OMNIA’s live performance of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous work, “The Raven” — we promise you’ll never think of this poem the same way again! — and we wrap up the free portion of this week’s episode with some listener feedback that might just explain why cat people really are a little bit nuts. In our Pro Extension, we share the bone-chilling stories passed among homeless children living in Miami who claim to have seen a demon stalking the streets, one so evil she is feared even by Satan himself: Bloody Mary.
We need to be telling the truth. Harming the environment is not just “wrong” or “bad.” It’s evil. It is suicidal. It is evidence of a profound sickness within the human condition. It is sinful, it is blasphemy, that we persist in harming our environment in greedy and hyperconsumptive ways. Many non-Christians will recoil at this emphatic religious language, I know; and many Christians, lacking Hildegard’s prophetic vision, will simply be unable to accept the idea that despoiling the environment is sinful, let alone a form of blasphemy. Well, forgive me for taking an unpopular position here, but I have to be true to the dictates of my own conscience, even though I recognize, with sorrow and humility, that I am party to this global dynamic of the blaspheming of nature.
We look at the environmental challenges facing our churches, temples, sacred groves and other holy places today. What happens to the ecological balance of a sacred river when millions of people bathe, wash, and draw blessings from it? What about the sustainability of the materials to build a church, and the power to heat it, to cool it, and to travel to it? We also explore the irony of sacred animals who have come under threat by the very people they’ve inspired to reverence and worship. We spotlight ways people have sought to balance these conflicts, working with conservationist groups and taking personal responsibility for the effects of their worship on the landscape. Finally, we tackle the thorny question of green partnerships between government and religious organizations: is it always a good thing, or can it be misguided? What about the separation of church and state?
We look at some of the weirdest things in our wild, wonderful world, from the singing fish of Seattle to the fractal cats of imaginary mathematical space. First we check out an African shrub with berries that sparkle like ornaments: how could a Christmas tree evolve in the wild? Then we explore the strangely fuzzy boundary between plants and animals: bugs that use sunlight to create energy, salamanders that use photosynthesis, and sea slugs that look and act remarkably like leaves. Our parade of weirdness continues with birds that are hooked on ant baths, triple-gendered singing toadfish, the ultrasonic songs of mice, LOLcats that improve productivity, Julia’s infinite mathematical cats, and — now it can be revealed! The astounding truth about dog people vs. cat people. Finally, in our Pro Extension, we check out a real-life Jedi master, the Buddha from Space, exotic exoplanets, and the stunning beauty of the world’s largest mirror.
We look at the Oracle of Delphi — her place in history, archaeology, and the landscape of Greece. What kind of place is Delphi, and how did such an important oracle come to be there? What was the effect of the Oracle on the society and culture of the area, and the source of its spiritual significance? And what was the secret of the Oracle’s prophecies? The confluence of geology and geography were important for the founding and growth of Delphi in ancient Greece, but also essential to unlocking those mysteries in modern times. Finally we examine the competing metaphysics within the history of science, and how attitudes of skepticism and cynicism influence scientific research. Could it be that the various theories and attempts to unravel the mystery over the last hundred years may reveal less about the Oracle than about science and its cultural prejudices?
As I practice commitment to my Work and this seasonal cycle, I realize that I am centering myself in time and space. I am at the center of the ongoing cyclical spiral of the Wheel, where time ebbs and flows according to the great song of the world, the stories we have told since the beginning of memory, where space is defined not by our walls and doorways but by the beating pulse of the earth. Between these celebrations, I slip and slide out of sync with the cycle, concentrating in my daily practice on centering within myself and within my home, until the next ritual, the next holy day brings me back into alignment with the universe.
We look at one of the grand cycles of nature: election season. We take the Keystone XL pipeline as our jumping-off place to examine the host of environmental issues facing the world, and ask which American presidential candidate might best tackle them. Then we pivot to the culture war, one of the engines driving the tremendous polarization in American politics: why have the culture battlegrounds started to shift? For answer we delve into Jonathon Haidt’s theory of larger patterns of morality across all human societies. Finally we look at essential issues that are being completely ignored in the presidential campaign, and ask: if American democracy won’t face these problems, is it broken? We consider some rather unconventional ideas about how to fix it. Then in the Pro Extension, we tackle the separation of church and state, and consider whether political movements are strengthened or weakened by mooring themselves to religious foundations.