A Spiritual Almanac is a production of Granola Soul

Spiritual Almanac – Thursday, January 14, 2021: Lewis Carroll

Jan 14, 2021

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Today marks the death of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, in 1898. He was born into a family of high-church Anglicans and his father was a clergyman. Dodgson didn’t share his family’s high-church tendencies, but he was a committed Anglican and was himself ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1861. On his religious views, Dodgson wrote:

 “I believe that when you and I come to lie down for the last time, if only we can keep firm hold of the great truths Christ taught us—our own utter worthlessness and His infinite worth; and that He has brought us back to [God], and made us His brethren and brethren to one another—we shall have all we need to guide us through the shadows.”

 For work, Dodgson taught mathematics at Oxford. But as the writer, Lewis Carroll, Dodgson is a more controversial and complicated figure. He’s mostly known for writing the children’s books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel, Through the Looking-Glass. Although there’s no evidence of inappropriate acts, Dodgson’s fondness for Alice Liddell, the inspiration for his Alice character, and other children have come under increased scrutiny by historians.

 Today, we’re looking at one of Carroll’s poems that speaks to the universal struggle between good and evil. It’s the famous nonsense poem titled “Jabberwocky.”

 JABBERWOCKY

By Lewis Carroll

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;

Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree

And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

 

Some more inspirational nuggets for today:

  • Today also marks the death of Seraphim of Sarov in 1754. Born Prokhur Moshnin in Kursk, Russia, he joined the Sarov monastery at the age of 19 and took the name “Seraphim,” which means “fiery” or “burning.” As Seraphim, he adopted the lifestyle of a hermit, living alone in a remote cabin near Sarov for 25 years. According to legend, he was assaulted by a gang of thieves who beat him and left him for dead. Afterward, he spent 1,000 straight nights on a rock, praying with his arms raised to the sky — which was deemed miraculous by the Eastern Orthodox Church given the lingering injuries he suffered from the beating. “Acquire a peaceful spirit,” Seraphim is quoted as saying, “and around you thousands will be saved.” Today, he is revered as one of Russia’s most popular saints in both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches. 
  • And on this day in 1967, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park was the site of the Human Be-In, an event that set the stage for the Summer of Love just a few months later. The Be-In was launched as a response to California’s ban of the psychedelic drug, LSD, in October. It attracted more than 20,000 people and introduced the counter-culture to the mainstream. Speakers at the event included LSD evangelist, Timothy Leary, and the beat poet, Allen Ginsberg. Music for the event was provided by local bands that included Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and the Steve Miller Band. At the end of the Be-In, its organizer, Michael Bowen, asked one of the speakers, Ram Dass, “Isn’t this far out? People are sure hungry for some communicating. They love it. It’s a joyous moment.” Dass replied, ““It’s a hell of a gathering. It’s just being. Humans being. Being together.”

That’s today’s Spiritual Almanac.

For more information on Dodgson’s life and writing, check out the The Mystery of Lewis Carrol by Jenny Woolf. There’s a link in the description.

A Spiritual Almanac is a production of Granola Soul. You can find a text version of today’s episode, Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” and other resources at our website, GranolaSoul.com.

Be kind, take good care and we’ll see you soon.

 

For the audio podcast, visit https://spiritualalmanac.buzzsprout.com.

For the video podcast, visit https://www.youtube.com/c/Granolasoul.

Jabberwockyby Lewis Carroll. Public domain.

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