Follow the history of the kaleidoscope through the Renaissance and Enlightenment with a cast of historical figures such as Isaac Newton and Giambattista della Porta.
The origin story of the kaleidoscope meanders around magic, an eccentric mage who was persecuted by the Inquisition, and secret societies of scholars. A famed inventor, David Brewster, and an alchemist and tinkerer, Giambattista della Porta, each played a role in this tale. And in the history of the kaleidoscope, a curious time is revealed, when science and magic seemingly overlapped.
This essay is a meditation stemming from visits to three shops in San Francisco, all of which provide items and services that can be utilized in spiritual systems, especially in alternative and non-mainstream beliefs. The three stores include a botánica (Tres Niñas Blancas in the Mission), an importer (The African Outlet in the Bayview), and… Read more »
Exploring West Marin County, California, one might observe the imprint of a particular artist without ever knowing the name “Ernesto Sanchez.” The seaside village of Bolinas is home to his outdoor piece “Emergence of Spirit” (sometimes called “The Lady of Bolinas” shrine), a nonspecific goddess not representative of any particular belief system, yet still fondly… Read more »