Scholar and Discordian Dr. J. Christian Greer, currently in the Bay Area preparing to teach at Stanford University, has a book out, Kumano Kodo: Pilgrimage to Powerspots, which he co-wrote with Michelle K. Oing, chronicling a trip in Japan I thought it sounded like something sombunall of you would be interested in, so I invited him to tell me a little about it. He responds:
"Writing Kumano Kodo: Pilgrimage to Powerspots is now something of a blur, as the text & art poured out of me over the course of a few weeks. Broken into three parts, it opens with a meditation of pilgrimage in the modern era, focusing heavily on the re-enchantment of travel by Kerouac. The other Beat writers loom large in the background too, especially Snyder who made some pilgrimages through Japan as well. The second part explores the Japanese traditions of mountain shamanism along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, and describes the business conspiracies that transformed their training grounds in the Kii peninsula into a UNESCO World Heritage site. The final section recounts the alterations of consciousness I experienced while walking the Kumano Kodo in March 2020. Also, the book contains dozens of full-color mandaras, which I made in Kyoto while waiting for the US to reopen its borders."
Here is the back cover blurb:
Kumano Kodo is a journey into the hallucinogenic power of pilgrimage. Part travelogue, part speculative fiction, part scholarly history, this book speaks to the universal human impulse to explore the sacred through travel.
By focusing on Japan's oldest pilgrimage route, the Kumano Kodo, the authors offer their readers a boldly transgressive and abundantly humorous look at the merry art of pilgrimage. Whether uncovering historical conspiracies, recounting bawdy folklore, or collecting ghost stories, this surrealist investigation establishes a new paradigm for spiritual travel inspired by an impressive breadth of scholarly research, and the authors' many years as pilgrims across the globe.
Compiled in Kyoto at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the book is a unique reflection on the unwieldy power of the sacred in times of crisis, and contains dozens of original, full-color mandalas.
My link at the top of this blog post goes to the book's Amazon page, where you can read useful reviews.