'…… while we are in theory a materialist culture, more spiritually at home in shopping malls than in cathedrals, our art and literature refute this by demonstrating a spiritual searching though not a religious certainty. There is a sense of contemporary writers seeking connections between religious belief and new scientific discovery, and rather than rejecting religion, struggling to find a place for the spiritual alongside the material and the scientific'.
Camilla Harrison




gg_wis_church.jpgSpirituality has many definitions, but at its core spirituality helps to give our lives context. As a feeling it is not necessarily connected to a specific belief system or even religious worship. Instead, it arises from a connection with yourself and with others, the development of a personal value system, and a search for meaning in life. For many, this takes the form of religious observance, prayer, meditation or a belief in a higher power. For others, it can be found in the things of nature, music, and art or by being within a secular community.

Spirituality is different for everyone.


By opening ourselves up to the spiritual response from time to time, we get a taste of what it feels like to be what we truly are: creatures fully integrated at every moment into the greater scheme of things inspired to feel truly at home in the universe. Just as we can be good without God, we can have spirituality without spirits, even when viewing objects in a church. For most people a church provides a calm encompassing environment revealing in its particular collection of things so much of the past and the present; the names on the flower arrangers rota in the porch, the local carvers' art on the gravestones, the children’s wise men made of loo rolls, Norman moulding round the bottom of the font or the organ installed in grateful memory of those who gave their lives in the last war.




gg_warmemo.jpgPeople receive all sorts of information from all sorts of sources. All this information has some effect on the mind. We all have some thing in our life that is imbued with meaning. Perhaps something was passed on to you to remember them by, or maybe it’s a special found stone? All these are spiritual icons holding meaning if we only begin to look. There’s a line from an old song by Simon and Garfunkel, “A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” Whatever you hear and whatever you see is perceived, interpreted, explained, and recorded by the brain’s various inference systems. Every object is fodder for the mental machinery. But then some things produce the effects that we identify as 'spiritual'. Every culture and tradition links creativity and spirituality. Music, dancing, singing, poetry, and painting are common ways to express our individuality and our delight in being. Creativity shows up in our play and our improvisations. It spins out into the ways we relate to others, handle difficulties, and find innovative solutions to the world's problems. It is evident in the crafts we make and the hobbies we pursue. "Every person," according to potter M. C. Richards, "is a special kind of artist and every activity is a special art."


Since artistic inspiration is the base of every work of art, the ideal of making is the direct transmission of the maker’s enlightenment into the mind of the spectator. The two fields of crafting and spirituality merge to enable the maker to function as both a craftsman and a philosopher, with spirituality infusing every moment of creation.


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For a maker to achieve the goals set out during the creative process, the viewer of the outcome should experience the same passion, inspiration, and spirituality felt by the artist during the creation of the piece—and such an accomplishment is, by definition, the origin and purpose of any act of creation.In making a selective response to someone’s creativity the person starts to recall the thing created and uses it to explain or interpret particular events; it may trigger specific emotions; it may strongly influence the person's behaviour. It so happens that an object will have these effects in some people but not others. These things generate feelings of awe, of the holy -- the sublime, the mysterious, the numinous, the uncanny. These are feelings, which all of us have and need to have and we would regard ourselves as very impoverished if we didn’t. It’s not necessary to think in terms of divine agency.


There is simply something in these things of the spirit to which one feels thankful.Authentic spirituality involves an emotional response to things, which can include feelings of significance, unity, awe, joy, acceptance, and consolation. Such feelings are intrinsically rewarding and so are sought out in their own right, but they also help us in dealing with difficult situations involving death, loss, and disappointment. The spiritual response thus helps meet our affective needs for both celebration and reconciliation. As Richard Dawkins puts it in his book Unweaving the Rainbow, we have an "appetite for wonder," an appetite for evoking the positive emotional states that are linked to our deepest questions.

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In early times the choir alone possessed seats, but gradually benches were introduced to the nave and during the 15th century became universal. This development of church furnishings provided work for local carpenters and carvers. 'Poppy-heads became a common motive for the finials to bench ends. There is no connection with the flowers or seed heads of the poppy and there 'Poppy-heads are finials to bench ends. A common assumption is that the name "poppy head" probably originating from the Latin word "puppis", a figure head, usually applied to a ship. Most poppy heads do not depict heads but seem to be a development in the round of the fleur-de-lys motive ie it is a printer's ornament, or, more likely, a calligraphic decoration. The name fleur-de-lys, or fleur-de-lis, may derive from the iris flower found on the banks of the River Lys in France. Another explanation is that it is derived from the Madonna Lily, therefore also represents the Virgin Mary. As a triad it is also taken as an icon of the Holy Trinity On the rare occasions when a head is carved it is a variation on the 'Green Man' reign.

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