© 2019 Richard Hodges


Cicero says, in On The Nature of the Gods (De Natura Deorum, 45 BCE), that the word “religion” (Latin religio)  derives not as usually thought from re-ligare, which would mean “to reconnect” (e.g. man with god) but from re-legere “to re-collect”, “to re-member”, “to re-read”. In order to have a true relationship with our sacred books, including the book of the world, and the book of oneself, one must re-read them.

Re-reading also implies re-creation. The following are my re-readings of a few traditional sources.


The Cuckoo of Awareness

Attributed to Vairocana

From a 10th Century Bön Dzogchen text discovered in the in the Dunhuang caves


The way things are is non-conceptual

but the way of action is conditioned by forms.

Having abandoned the disease of striving,

Since one already has it all,

through being spontaneously present

one leaves it as it is.

Image result for bon yungdrung

Yungdrung, the left-turning swastika of Tibetan Bön religion



Blekete Song

Possession-dance song

Ghanaian syncretistic cult “Blekete



In God’s shrine, this world

What everybody wants is a good life.

Why do people always make trouble?

God has given principles to live by,

But only you yourself can follow them.



Image result for adinkra symbols gye nyame


Adinkra symbol Gye Nyame, “except for God”

“Nothing is real except for God”



from Cantares Mexicanos, 16th century Aztec song collection



Song is a flower-place[1] within my soul.


The vapor-scent befuddles me.


My heart grows sweetly drunk in the joy-place


Before the Ever-Present[2], Ever-Near


Image: Two Aztec singer-shamans, Codex Borbonicus, Paris




from Cantares Mexicanos


Beauty-painted viper, stay, be still

while I dream-imprint your subtle pattern.

I shall weave it in a gift-cloth[3]

To entice a lover.

       Her beauty shall exalt

alone, of all that shines,

You: ever-present serpent[4].


Image: Gaboon Viper                                                       Image: The Brazen Serpent, William Blake


Ayat an-Nur

Verse on Light, Koran 24:35


God is the Light of heaven and the earth.

The image of His Light a lamp within a niche.

The lamp is in a glass, the glass, as it were, a glittering star,

lit from a blessed olive tree,

neither of the East nor the West,

whose oil appears to shine,

though never touched by fire:

Light upon light,

God guides to His Light whom He chooses,

God shows forth images to mankind,

God is knowledge of all things.


Creation Hymn

Rg Veda 10.129



Ancient wise men sensed a doubled universe—

Existence here below, source up above.

This line drawn, questions then arose:

What is above, and what below?

How does potential put on being?


Who indeed can say?

The very gods are later than Creation,

And whether He whose eye’s perspective

surveys All did make the world, or did not—

He alone might know the reason it was made;

or may not know.

[1] Compound words are a stylistic feature of the flowery Nahuatl of Cantares Mexicanos.

[2] “The Ever-Present” is a frequent refrain in Nahuatl song texts  (Cantares Mexicanos)

[3] “Gift” means “Poison” in German; hence, the viper’s venom, which in cloth-form subjugates the separate ego, as does love.

[4] “Ever-Present” here becomes a double anagram: “Ever”=Reve (“Dream” in French); “Present”=Serpent.