Pari Perspectives 16

October 2023

Return of the Sacred

Pari Perspectives 16: Return of the Sacred – Digital Edition


Return of the Sacred: Seven Encounters between Science, the Arts, and the Sacred is a late offering by holistic philosopher-scientist and writer F. David Peat.

The author brings the reader into an exploration of the sacred in life as it has evolved through time and found expression in an array of characters and cultural spaces. Drawing together threads of more than a dozen of his previously published works and interweaving them with new strands, the writing creates a broad tapestry of fresh understanding. Return of the Sacred is a point-in-time culmination of the wide-ranging explorations over decades of F. David Peat’s eclectic mind.

A hallmark of the work is its plenitude of examples and stories. The reader journeys with Peat in times and spaces of the ancient Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, and China; medieval and later Middle Ages Europe; indigenous North America; and modern Western cultural spaces; along with others, Polynesian life for example—and spanning the sciences, visual arts, literature, music, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality, all of which together knit a contextual backdrop. Against this field the author plays out the drama of ‘the sacred.’

Peat’s writing explores his perception of ‘the sacred’ in culture, in which the vital spirit of ancient ways declines in a Fall and, then in time, in our time, begins to re-emerge in a scientifically, intellectually different world. This evolution is the story, which, chapter by chapter, he tells through a series of different contexts: a broad historical overview, alchemy, music, art, space, and psychology. A final chapter focuses on praxis.

And what is the ‘sacred’? What is the significance of the word in this writing? This is important because this term has been used with varying meanings. Here is Peat’s perception:

We live in a participatory universe but its ultimate origins remain a mystery. It is here that we reconnect with the sacred. To touch the sacred is to have a sense of something much greater than oneself. It means touching the transcendent. It is to know that we are active players and participators in the world around us, a world replete with meaning and a cosmos that is alive.

Around this sense of the sacred and his vision of a return, throughout Return of the Sacred David Peat builds a picture of humankind’s journey to wholeness.

The journal is available to everyone who has become a Friend of the Pari Center: