Earth, the seasons, and celestial vistas are observed carefully, deeply, and quite spiritually by author Todd Erick Pedersen in this collection of 130 essays that he dubs “poetry in prose.”
In this work, Pedersen writes of mankind’s surroundings and how they mirror the Creator and the individual immortal soul. He notes in one essay that there is a “kind of roseate spiritual tinge to every one of these poems; an attempt at a sort of sweet psalmic holiness that is like asking the reader to believe in the ways of living and life….”
As that line indicates, the language is often lyrical and poetic. But the prose also presents challenges. Pedersen uses archaic language, similar to scripture and consisting of a multitude of adjectives and long descriptive phrases. His sentences are often overly long (such as one in “Religious Versus Spirituality” that contains 126 words), and he freely uses uncommon words, as in: “The mystic dome of the stars, or the heavenly cupola of the sun, arcing downwards with an archetypal and a soteriological grace of being, which is a generosity to our lives.” (Soteriology —the study of religious doctrines of salvation— is a word familiar only to theologists and philosophers.)
Readers should also understand that the poems’ are strictly devoted to showing how nature mirrors spirituality. There’s nothing about people and how they interact; the only information readers learn about Pedersen is that he lives in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana and loves reading, writing, and contemplating nature. Some may find that this impersonal approach distances them from the material.
Despite all, Pedersen is truly enlightened and gems sparkle amidst the text for observant readers. The natural world, the author pronounces in “Natura Naturans,” is “a type of self-evident and theurgic liturgy, present at once in the rites and the passages and with the seasons of nature.” Those willing to persevere will find similarly beautiful thoughts sprinkled throughout these pages.
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