Saturday, July 17, 2010

Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis

Forthcoming August 1, 2010

Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis

Editor: Thomas Singer
Preface: Thomas Kirsch

Psyche and The City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis, is a collection of depth-oriented articles about several of the great cities of the world. Its chapters explore each city’s unique identity in terms of such hard-to-define qualities as psyche, soul, and spirit through history, geography, and anecdotes from the authors’ personal experiences.

The following is excerpted from the beginning of Erel Shalit's chapter on Jerusalem:

Human Ground, Archetypal Spirit

Unlike Rome, not all roads lead to Jerusalem, and those that do may all too easily lead the visitor astray in a labyrinth of divinity and madness. In the course of history, when Rome became the center of power, sanctity and glory, Jerusalem sank into spiritual ruin and peripheral oblivion. Thus, even those modern roads that bring you smoothly to the city may force the pilgrim to pass “through thorny hedges…” of his or her mind.

One may conveniently approach Jerusalem from the west, ascending the modern highway, which climbs eastward through the Judean Hills–like a Western mind moving toward the Orient. By approaching Jerusalem driving on the comfortable asphalt that smoothly covers the ground and softens the bumps, one may arrive only to find a noisy and neglected city, tired by too much spirit and worn out by too much poverty. Slowly winding upward through the hills, parallel to the highway, runs the dusty old donkey path, burdened by archetypal history. Arriving this way, one may find the sparks of illumination that shine from within the dry stones, as well as the strife and conflict that cut through the rocks of Jerusalem.

Alternatively, one may proceed toward Jerusalem on the Route of the Patriarchs, from the desert in the east. This is the path on which the ancient Hebrews arrived, as they crossed the river into the land of Canaan, thus gaining their name and reputation as Hebrews, which means “those that came from across the river.”

One may capture Jerusalem by drawing the sword against evil spells, as did King David from the Jebusites three millennia ago, or enter the city humbly on a donkey, like Jesus did and any future Messiah is supposed to do as well, or like the Caliph Omar majestically riding on a white camel. In whatever way one arrives, the visitor must be ready to overcome the obstacles of Earthly Jerusalem, which far from always mirrors her Heavenly Sister’s image of completeness and redemption.

“Crouched among its hills,” Jerusalem is immersed with mythological, religious, and symbolic significance. Yet, scarce in natural resources, the surrounding land is cultivated rather than fertile by nature, and the so-called Jerusalem stone, the pale limestone that characterizes many of the city houses, nearly cracks and shatters by carrying the burden of Heavenly Jerusalem. In its often shabby garb, terrestrial Jerusalem seems to want to shake off its Celestial Glory, releasing itself from the task of being “the gateway to heaven.” At other times, when the light from above is reflected in her harsh stones, Jerusalem seems to embrace the presence of the Shekhinah, the earthly dwelling of the divine. Especially at dawn and at dusk, the reflection of the light may bring that which is below and that which is above, earth and heaven, reality and imagination into play with each other–marble-like clouds weighing heavily above, and stones that radiate light.


Soul/City Luigi Zoja
Bangalore Kusum Dhar Prabhu
Berlin Jörg Rasche
Cairo Antonio Lanfranchi
Cape Town Astrid Berg
Jerusalem Erel Shalit
Kyoto Toshio Kawai
London Christopher Hauke
Los Angeles Nancy Furlotti
Mexico City Jackie Gerson
Montreal Tom Kelly
Moscow Elena Pourtova
New Orleans Charlotte Mathes
New York Beverley Zabriskie
Paris Viviane Thibaudier
San Francisco John Beebe
Sao Paulo Gustavo Barcello
Shanghai Heyong Shen
Sydney Craig san Roque
Zürich Murray Stein

Tom Singer (Ed.) Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis, Spring Journal Books.

Order Psyche and the City from Amazon, from Spring Journal and Books, or from Fisher King Press

Enemy, Cripple, Beggar is on sale now for $17.95 and Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return is on sale now for $14.95, or $30.00 for the pair when ordered directly from the Fisher King Press. Phone orders welcomed, Credit Cards accepted.1-800-228-9316 toll free in the US & Canada, International +1-831-238-7799.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ten Little Boxes

The Treasures of Brod and Kafka – in Ten Little Boxes

Will the mystery of the whereabouts of Kafka’s remaining, unknown writings soon be revealed? Ofer Aderet reports in Haaretz Newspaper that the first of ten boxes containing documents and writings of Brod and Kafka has finally been opened, but publication of the content has so far been withheld.

The following is a brief excerpt from Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return:

… Behind closed doors, Judge K. presided over the Brod-Hoppe-Kafka trial. Quite simply and very briefly, Brod’s secretary, some say mistress, had taken hold of his personal library and all the treasures … Paranoically, Mrs. Hoppe seemed to fulfill K’s will rather than Brod’s. True, she did not burn the library, she kept most of the treasures away from the public’s eye, in contrast to Brod, who had saved them for the world of literature and culture. She managed, as well, to capitalize on some of the manuscripts, shipping them abroad, earning a comfortable sum in exchange for the trials of Josef K. After her death, her already elderly daughters kept pythonian guard of the shrine, only letting the cats roam freely. Hardly anyone would know what remained hidden behind the castle gates, except for an expert from foreign lands, whom Max Brod had given brief and conditional permission to bring his looking glass into the judge’s private chamber. He may remain the only living person, who has read at least part of Kafka’s unpublished works. According to leaks, likely by this foreign expert, one story is about a rat, one among many rats in Prague’s sewage system. But this rat had a complex, golden mechanical device, a precise micro-cosmos built into its mind. When Eli Shimeoni tried to imagine it, he came to think of the exquisite Marie-Antoinette watch. It had taken the supreme watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet forty-four years to complete this masterpiece of all times. The Queen did not live to see this timeless tabernacle of time, ready to be presented to the world only in 1827, even after Breguet himself had ascended from this world. As Sir David Lionel Salomons, the last owner of the watch had claimed, to carry a Breguet watch is to have the brains of a genius in your pocket…

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return is on sale now for $14.95, and Enemy, Cripple, Beggar is on sale now for $19.95 or $30.00 for the pair when ordered directly from the Fisher King Press.  You can also order The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitcal Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel directly from Fisher King Press. Phone orders welcomed, Credit Cards accepted. 1-800-228-9316  toll free in the US & Canada, International +1-831-238-7799