Spiritual Surf: Star Trek’s Vulcan spirit, yoga culture in Enlighten Up!, ghost hunter Hans Holzer dies at 89
Star Trek’s Vulcan spirit
On Friday pointy-eared fans will be lining up to see the new J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias) Star Trek. Central to the new plot is Mr. Spock, played by both the original, Leonard Nimoy, and by the young Zachary Quinto. Spock — with his Vulcan blend of logic and mysticism so obviously derived from a mix of Eastern practices that seem to include Zen, the Tao, a dash of Shaolin Kung Fu for martial flavor (can you say “Vulcan neck pinch?”) and the Kabbalah (Nimoy, who is Jewish, is said to have derived the “Vulcan peace sign” from an ancient kohanim gesture — has always been Star Trek’s most engaging character. Just for fun, here are some resources on Vulcan practices created by Trekker fans:
- Star Trek and Religion
– The four Jewish themes of Star Trek
– BBS on Vulcan philosophy
– Glossary of Vulcan spiritual terms
– How to make a Vulcan Mindmeld
– Vulcans and sex (“pon farr”) for dummies
Enlighten Up! explores yoga’s quirky culture
Director Kate Churchill is a longtime practitioner of yoga who recruits a non-practitioner for to see if yoga really is for everyone. She chose a 29-year-old New York journalist and a natural skeptic. The subject travels around the world, hooking up with various gurus, each seeming a little quirkier than the last — including a “yoga for dudes” instructor and a “guru of giggles.” The results are mixed, but this little film is engaging.
Hanz Holzer’s ghostly truths
In almost every seeker’s life there comes a book that changes it. For me that book came along in my 8th grade school library. It was Hans Holzer’s The Truth about Witchcraft (a book that might be banned in many schools today). While I never took up Wiccan practice, the book opened my eyes to the wider variety of spiritual experience outside what was taught in Sunday school. Holzer wrote more than 140 books on paranormal experience, including several non-fictional and fictional accounts of the Amityville hauntings. He died last week at age 89.
Anne Lamott and the Tao of toast
Writer Anne Lamott stirred a teacup tempest among fans when the erstwhile agnostic announced a few years ago that she had converted to Christianity. Never mind that hers was a very personal and idiosyncratic Christianity. Today, Lamott, remains a writer but has also become a spiritual counselor in her own right. The inimitable Jon Caroll, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, relates a tale of Lamott’s early days, when she lived the bohemian life aboard a Sausalito house boat and offered friends the only entertainment she could afford — a Festival of Toast. Talk about our kind of girl.
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