A summary of the world's great religious traditions
Original Essays on Religion and World events
Archive of Peter's Newsletters My favorite interfaith links
Discussion of religion and spirituality Come and See
Classes on writing taught online Editorial and Spiritual Consultation
Books I have written or contributed to A sampling of the world's religious art and it's meaning

The earth's spiritual traditions are a rich repository of wisdom, practical advice, and healing knowledge, as well as art, music, and mystery. This site is a place to explore all those dimensions, ask questions, and engage in dialogue.

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My Blog: Spirit on the Web
January 2
The Real Yoga of Yogananda
"Imagine hearing that God is in your spine. In 1920."  So says one of the many scientific and spiritual authorities interviewed in the new documentary film Awake: the Life of Yogananda. The line may sound funny, or intended to shock viewers unfamiliar with the film's subject, but it serves as...
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August 13
Robin Williams: The Uncertain Residue of Design
I'm grateful to Robin Williams for helping me put things in perspective. Like Philip Seymour Hoffman before him, and David Foster Wallace and so many others, it's as if the gods, or the buddhas, or the lords of karma are using him to send us a message that no amount...
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June 8
The Jazz Pope
   Way back in 1959, the renowned jazz critic for The New Yorker, Whitney Balliett, wrote a book he called The Sound of Surprise. It was his tribute to the consistently inventive art of jazz improvisation, not only in terms of sudden changes in the historical styles and structures of...
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March 28
The Gospel According to Pasolini
Much has been written about Pope Francis and his new emphasis on the social justice teachings of Jesus as they appear in the Gospels. As a prelude to President Obama's recent meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, the New York Times ran an intriguing article about Barack Obama's interactions with the black Catholic...
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December 6
Pope Francis Hits the Streets
Is the new pope just following his conscience?             Although parochial schools of the 1950s and '60s were the source of much emotional, verbal, and physical abuse, they did have a few saving graces. For one thing, we learned the basics of grammar and syntax to the extent that some of...
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December 24
The Michael Moore Archetype: Peaceful Warrior or Destroyer?
I wish I had a dollar for every time a friend has said, over the years, "I don't much like Michael Moore personally, but he really hit the nail on the head this time." I suspect they're probably just jealous of how good Moore is at self-promotion, a jealously...
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August 19
Compassionate Catholicism
The Roman Catholic church in which I was raised hasn't had much to recommend it recently, from pedophilia cover-ups to the male hierarchy's domineering attacks on a whole new generation of socially conscious nuns. But one aspect of core Catholic teachings that I have always admired is the church's outspoken...
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Quote for Thursday, July 30
The greater part of the symbolism nowadays regarded as being peculiarly Christian or Jewish seems to be due to adaptations from Egyptian and Eastern religions. . . .The thought-forms and thought-processes of Orient and of Occident are, fundamentally, much alike. [D]espite differences of race and creed and of physical and social environment, the nations of mankind are, and have been since time immemorial, mentally & spiritually one.- W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Tibetan Book of the Dead

Click here to sign up for Peter Occhiogrosso's email list. You'll receive notice of new blog posts, workshops, and other goodies. Peter's Blog, which has replaced his Newsletter, covers a wide range of contemporary spiritual topics, including the interface of spirituality, science, and politics. Past Newsletters are archived on this site; past blogs are also archived on this site.

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Here is the complete text of my interview with Yoko Ono as it appeared in the Soho News, December 3, 1980, with photographs by Allan Tannenbaum.
[ Click to read full article. ]

Writing for Print & Digital Magazines
New Online Class begins May 18 on Writers.com

Magazine writing requires a special set of skills that are related to, yet different from, those needed to write a nonfiction book. I've written both and taught both and I can appreciate the difference. But that's only the beginning. Once you get the green light on an assignment, you'll need to structure a piece of anywhere from 300 to 3000 words or more. And, just as the marketplace for book publishing has gone through a seismic shift with the advent of ebooks and self-publishing, massive changes have also altered the playing field in the periodical world. It's not just online editions of mainstream publications from The New York Times to Vanity Fair, but also many new online-only ezines, and digital publications that are accessible only on smartphones and tablets. I know, because I've begun writing for one of the newest ones, Best Self (available on Apple Newsstands and Google Play), which has definite advantages but requires a somewhat different approach. Likewise, blogs now compete with the good old newspaper column. Yet, because many outlets, like The Huffington Post, generally don't pay for blogs, as a writer you have to determine how blogging can help you in other ways.

Read more and Register for the class

What are Archetypes?

There has been plenty of buzz about archetypes in the past few years, and even a whole new snazzy Web site devoted to them. But I haven’t seen much solid, useful material that can be applied to your personal, psychological or spiritual development. Or how they can be used in counseling or life coaching, for which I think they make ideal companions. So what are they, exactly? Archetypes are ancient patterns of behavior encoded in our DNA—or what the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious.” Some are impersonal patterns that affect us all, like Death and Rebirth. Others have names based on age-old human roles, such as the Mother, Knight, Warrior, Vampire, Rescuer, Sage, Victim, Saboteur, and Child. These are patterns that we all share, but certain archetypes are more prominently on display in each of us. Properly understood, archetypes provide a window into the motivations and actions of ourselves and others. For more on Archetypes, go here. For information on my archetypal readings, see the Archetypal Readings news item just below.

Archetypal Readings
I am now offering Archetypal Readings and Counseling for individuals. Perhaps the most compelling set of hidden powers within our psyches that I have worked with over the last decade are the Archetypes — ancient patterns of behavior like the Queen, Warrior, Child, Saboteur, Victim, and Mystic. They are part of our Collective Unconscious, and understanding how they work can give us a valuable tool for gaining insight into our motives and appetites, strengths and weaknesses.

Most of the people whom I've helped to gain insight into their Archetypes have been extremely enthusiastic about how well this fits with their desire to understand their lives without endless therapy sessions. They have said that a familiarity with archetypal patterns has also helped them enormously in the work they do, whether as schoolteachers, yoga instructors, life coaches, therapists, actors, writers, or business people. But most of all, they use the insights they learn to see themselves and others in archetypal terms.

A reading and possible follow-up sessions can help you:

  • Gain clarity about your life choices
  • Identify and manage fear and other emotions
  • Get insight into health issues
  • Enjoy more satisfying relationships
Read more and Request a Reading

Dreamlight Pen

Some people insist that they don't dream, but what they really mean is that they don't remember their dreams. And that's mainly because they haven't gotten in the habit of recording them right away. One great help is to keep a small dream journal and a special "Dreamlight" Pen next to your bed. These pens allow you to see well enough to write without waking yourself up any more than needed. Exposure to bright light during the sleep cycle can interrupt the flow of melatonin, which helps us sleep. When you double-click the Dreamlight Pen, a small light goes on around the tip enabling you to see while you write. (They're also ideal for taking notes in a darkened theater or movie house.)

$10 includes shipping.

The Promise: Yoga Journal Review

In his new book The Promise of Love, Sex and Intimacy, world-renowned teacher Mark Whitwell reveals a secret seven-minute practice he distilled from the greatest yoga masters of India. The original purpose of these ancient teachings was not to gain enlightenment but to heighten the levels of emotional and physical intimacy with yourself and others in your life. I had the privilege of working with Mark on the manuscript of his book, and getting it published by Atria – the imprint of Simon & Schuster that also Publishes The Secret. Although Mark is best known as a yoga teacher, The Promise is written for non-yogis and yogis alike. It just received a great review in Yoga Journal that includes an interview with the author, which you can read here.

Purchase The Promise

I'm excited to announce that the popular deck of Healing Cards that I created with Caroline Myss a few years ago has just been made into an iPhone app.
Healing Cards iPhone app. | Healing Cards.

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World Religions

Visit the all new World Religions section with detailed material drawn from my book The Joy of Sects.

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8 CD Set: Creating a Personal Spiritual Practice
Peter Occhiogrosso and Lench Archuleta

Many people on the spiritual path have expressed the desire to create a personal spiritual practice that can be integrated into their daily experience. In this CD set, recorded live at a three-day workshop held at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y., in August 2007, Lench Archuleta and Peter Occhiogrosso present a diverse array of wisdom, rituals, and traditional methodologies from which to create your own daily practice. Working separately and together, Lench and Peter draw on both Native American and Eastern traditions that connect Body, Mind, and Spirit.

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DVD: Building a Personal Spiritual Practice
Peter Occhiogrosso and Lench Archuleta

Discover elements of a Personal Spiritual Practice that you can integrate into your daily life. Learn to build a home altar. Yaqui healer Lench Archuleta joins author, spiritual writing teacher and breathing instructor Peter Occhiogrosso to show how to create a sacred space almost anywhere in your home. Lench explores the sacred in urban and country landscapes, including how to create a sacred circle in the woods. Peter demonstrates a classic Qigong exercise called the Swimming Dragon. Together, Lench and Peter offer an interactive combination of Native American and Eastern traditions based on workshops they have taught together at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, and The Crossings in Austin, Texas.


email me at peter@joyofsects.com
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