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Atlas Of Holy Places & Sacred Sites by Colin…
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Atlas Of Holy Places & Sacred Sites (1996)

by Colin Wilson

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The Atlas of Holy Places and Sacred Sites by Colin Wilson. Library section 7 A: The Church in the World, World Religions. This book is an illustrated guide to the location, history and significance of the world’s most revered holy sites, with marvelous full color photographs of these places, and a gazetteer at the end of the book which shows locations of these sites on maps in continental divisions, such as Southeast Asia or Europe. It is fun to just find the continent or area of the world that interests you most and begin there, reading about everything from Stonehenge to the statues of Easter Island, from Machu Picchu to Angkor Wat. Or you can read the whole book from start to finish.
As you read about these sites sprinkled all over the world, first you notice the differences, mostly in their shape, size, materials, and their use. Then you begin to see how they resemble one another. Humans have always been religious; the desire to change and evolve for the better is not seen in lower animals but is fundamental to humans. Humans have always connected nature to a higher spiritual reality.
This author speculates that a brain explosion, the rather sudden enlargement of the human brain half a million years ago, may have been due to the development of language. Language is deeply involved with the human religious sense because with language one can express one’s spirituality with others and pass it to the next generation.
The author suggests that a belief in life after death and in the world of the spirits are the common denominators in all religions. And the priest or shaman, male or female, is the intermediary between the people and the spirits. At first shamans guaranteed success in the hunt, thus keeping people fed and alive. Close ties developed between humans and natural places that charmed them, or were unusual or unique, or with natural objects like the sun, whose rays guaranteed the growth of crops. Now wonder there was fear during eclipses. Would the sun return or leave forever? The Egyptian pyramidal shape imitated the shape of the sun’s rays falling to earth. Stonehenge was a giant solar clock that its creators used to determine the winter and summer solstices, the sun’s signals for them to safely plant crops.
It is just interesting to see how these spiritual ways underpin our own modern-day religious beliefs. Old habits and myths die very hard, and in fact, culture becomes richer when they are passed along in folklore, myths and legends. It is what makes visiting these sites in person eerie, unique, and sometimes life-changing. And while Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu are not really on my bucket list, I wouldn’t mind seeing Chartres Cathedral in France, or Chaco Canyon in the USA. Interestingly the Acropolis did not even get into this book, though Delphi and Olympia did.
This book is published by my favorite publisher, Dorling-Kindersley, or DK. They publish the children’s Eyewitness books as well as adult travel guides. DK books always have marvelous photos and clean design layouts that make their books a joy to read and navigate. Enjoy reading about these places and next time you plan a trip abroad you may want to visit a site or two; they exist all over the world.
What is the coolest religious place YOU have ever visited? Mine are fairly common – underground kivas at Mesa Verde, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, Westminster Abbey in London, and a Russian Orthodox church in St. Petersburg, built on the site of the assassination of a tsar. How about you? I know there are some real world travelers in our congregation! I’ll bet you have visited some of the places in this book! ( )
  Epiphany-OviedoELCA | Jun 10, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0789410516, Hardcover)

More than 1,000 religious and mystical sites are covered in this extensively illustrated guide. The significance and history of each locale is defined on stunning, state-of-the-art maps, revealing how humankind connects with its deepest beliefs.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:36 -0400)

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