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Spud Murphy Spud Murphy
Wood Art, Fiction & The Great Work

So that's 2022 then and it was a bit of a mad one.

Thanks for signing up for the newsletter, in the New Year I hope to make this a regular occurance.


It'll mostly be a re-cap of whatever's been put up on the blog and a few links to bits and pieces that have caught my eye from the world of spirituality/mysticism etc. And a wee bit of media/culture as well.

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Here are two recent posts from the website:

The Child and the Blackbirds
Let’s try something a bit different, write about something not so spirituality-linked although it still is but anyway you’ll see. This afternoon I was under the obligation to collect Wee…
The Silent Thread
In Alan Chapman’s Magia, there’s something called ‘the silent knowing’. In this article I want to tackle what I think it is, how it has gone by many other names…
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Meister Eckhart is someone I keep returning to as I continue to learn about mysticism and in particular his idea of 'isness' or 'beingness'. Towards the end of his life he'd gotten himself in some hot water with the Pope of the time, so you know he was doing something right; this video is probably one of the best around if you want to learn more about him:



MEDIA - Non-Fiction

I've been diving into a book of late; The Origins of the World's Mythologies and it's been a fascinating read. For anyone who listened to the TaSTA podcast it was a recurring theme for me; the study of where our myths come from. 


The Origins of the World's MythologiesIt's not so easy to summarise this book for you all but E J Michael Witzel came up with a pretty genius idea of how to trace back the world's myths. He used a similar method to how linguists re-formed the ancient Proto-Indo-European language and from there used a whole boatload of archaeological evidence to mold together what he thinks are our two origin myths and shows that one of them was an off-shoot of the earlier one. 


Now, if that’s not cool (or nerd-y) enough he does something you have to have some appreciation for. He calls out Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell on the idea of archetypes. Jung believed that all our myths came from the underlying subsconscious or collective unconscious and it manifested in our dreams/visions/feelings/thoughts etc. and thus became the subject of myths so we could attempt to figure life out. Witzel claims it’s not so, as he says he’s found our origin story and that’s where they come from. Now, I’m not a professional in any of the connected fields and I’d probably still side with Jung that the thoughts and visions/dreams came before the stories but it’s still fascinating to think that after all these years there’s a common story that unites us all.

MEDIA - Fiction

After a 2022 where I demolished a whole load of Philip K. Dick books, I cannot for the life of me figure out why it took me until the age of 40 to read his books...anyway, I went looking for some contemporary sci-fi and came across A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. This caught my eye because it won the Hugo Award in 2020 so I gave it a bash.


There’s a cool idea in it. Martine was/is big into her Byzantium history and in particular how the Byzantians used poetry in public for things like political addresses and announcements and whatnot. The book is about a politician who is sent to a ruling planet as an ambassador to replace the previous one who’s been found dead. There’s an impending civil war on the horizon and a larger inter-galactic war looming too. There’s a lot on politicking going on as well as trying to find out who killed the last ambassador.


Honestly, while it sounds pretty interesting it’s a bit of a let down. I’d thought there would have been more of the Byzantium-style poetry and there’s not all that much and the war stuff is a bit meh too. I can however, see it being transferred to a streaming service pretty well and I think what didn’t work in the book could be improved on the screen. I’m in the minority however, most reviewers bloody loved it. Maybe comparing it to PKD is my fault as you can’t beat the master.

MEDIA - Tele

Yellowstone is a guilty pleasure of mine. It's basically a soap opera but it's got Kevin Costner, cowboys ranching on a ranch the size of a feckin’ Irish province and fist fights. I'm easily pleased. There’s a lot of family drama, he’s adopted, she had a secret abortion; classic South-American telenovela stuff but what is enjoyable are two things; the B/C characters of the cowboys and the absolutely-jaw-droppingly-amazing scenery of Montana.


For you American readers, when I talk about Bieszczady where our horses are, it's a bit like that, but the mountains aren’t quite as big. Stunning stuff, I can only imagine the fun the camera crews have filming the scenery. 



But other than that, it’s the cowboys living on the ranch that make the show. Each one of them is like a different form of the archetypical cowboy; stoic, hard-working, intelligent, tough, fun when-not-working and dedicated to both the animals they take care of and their brothers/sisters-in-arms. They’ve ridden bison too, which was bloody hilarious and, of course, gave new life to the Guy on a Buffalo video.


But really, there's a lot we can take from the archetype of the cowboy; willing to sacrifice himself for his colleagues and the herd, fighting for justice and not being cowardly, having the wisdom of experience and passing it on. In these time when toxic masculinity is in great abundance there's still plenty to be learned from the cowboy approach to life.

MEDIA - Music

I'm old so obviously I don't have a clue about modern music and boy was I happy to see The Smashing Pumpkin's Billy Corgan interviewed by Rick Beato recently. 


Beato's YT channel is a delight, he's just this massive rock music fan and has tons of videos where he goes through songs and even though we know they're great he really adds to the layers of enjoyment you get from listening to music you already love. 


Yea, relive a bit of your youth with this one.

So, I hope you all have had a Merry Christmas and I wish you all a Mighty New Year too whether you'll be out galavanting and on the soup or if you'll be tucked up and asleep long before 12 (like me). 


What does 2023 hold? Nobody knows, so let's see. For me, I plan to keep on writing about what I've been writing about and I'm planning on bringing you my interpretation of the Bhagavad-Gita in article form too so keep an eye out for that.


If you’d like to donate to help keep the website going you can do so via PayPal here. You an check out my woodwork here, or if you’d like something commissioned hit me up, or buy me a book here.


And thanks, once again, for signing up, feel free to share it to anyone who might be interested, see y'all in 2023.


Godspeed and g'luck!


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