Intimations of Immortality


Professor John Moriarty was more than a a keener for Indigenous spirituality. After all he was also a long time professor of English literature and a poet.

The English poet Wordsworth put this well in his poem, “Ode and the Intimations of Immortality:

“In the beginning like trailing clouds of glory do we come. This is from the poem

“Our birth is but a sleeping and a forgetting

The soul that rises with us,

Our life star hath had elsewhere setting

And cometh from afar

Not an entire forgetfulness and not another nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From god who is our home.

Heaven lies above us in our infancy,

Shades of the prison house begin to close upon the growing boy

But he behold the light and whence it flows he sees it in his joy

The youth who daily farther from the east must travel,

Is still his nature’s priest

And by the vision splendid is on his way attended.

At length the man perceives it die away

And fade into the light of common day.”



This story is of course not unlike the Ojibwa story of the origin of agriculture. What we all must do is unlearn what we have learned from corrupt or dirty devices and become once more the child who can enter the kingdom of god. The prison of ordinary life can be a prison for a young boy if it squeezes out nature and can lose the “vision splendid.”  The old man must learn to walk beautifully on the earth to regain that vision and escape the prison of the ordinary day. I think that is what Professor Moriarty wanted to do. It was part of his religious quest.  I hope he managed to do that. Most of us never do.


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