cover image Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience

Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience

Mark L. Tompkins, Jennifer McMahon, . . Celestial Arts, $18.95 (146pp) ISBN 978-1-58761-277-0

Try to love the questions themselves," wrote Rainer Maria Rilke in his oft-quoted Letters to a Young Poet . That's what writer and photographer Tompkins and editor and creative designer McMahon have done in this collection of prose, poems, interviews and artwork from 180 contributors in 42 countries that explore questions that launch and keep people on the spiritual journey. Each piece is prefaced with a description of the spiritual "influences" felt by the author or artist, highlighting the concept that despite differences in particular faith perspectives, the questions we all ask are much the same. Chapters address the need to ask questions, following a particular spiritual path, coping with dark times and the roles of beauty, nature, rites, doctrine, practices and creativity in spiritual quests. The full-color pages and the layout and design are inviting and signal that the book is to dip into rather than read straight through. As with any anthology, the quality of the pieces is uneven, but overall this celebration of curiosity and questioning will appeal to those who are on a spiritual journey and find individual exploration to be more fulfilling than institutional religious experience. (Oct.)