Peter RichardsonPeter Tufts Richardson



U. U. Congregation,
Andover, MA

Maine Authors Publishing

Kalloch Family Reunion Association

Tufts University

St. Lawrence University


My Biography as a Writer

I grew up in a household surrounded by shelves and piles of books, beginning my library at an early age. I was surrounded by teachers in my extended family, two grandparents and two aunts. My mother’s sister, Aunt Dot, taught English and through frequently corrected usage I learned the difference between “can” and “may,” “shall” and “will,” and the weakness of overusing “very.” In my generation the problem of using inappropriately “like” hadn’t yet surfaced. In high school I encountered an English teacher who actually required that we write on an almost daily basis!

In college as a history major with supporting courses in philosophy, political science and education and graduate courses preparing for the ministry, writing and research became a way of life. I wrote the first chapter of my MDiv thesis five times before it was right. There I developed a research style resembling more the action of a vacuum cleaner than a linear path to a preordained goal. Creative juxtaposition of insights prevailed over a pinched attention to details.

The ministry of religion resulted in over 1200 sermons added to numerous meditations, newsletter columns and occasional productions. My first two books came out of this practice. At the nation’s Bicentennial, disturbed by the false claims of evangelicals that the founders of the United States were Biblically motivated, I preached a series of six sermons resulting in The Spiritual Founders of Our Constitution (1987). Meditations/prayers spoken during my 16 years serving the First Parish in Kennebunk, Maine, resulted in Meditations In A Maine Meeting House (1986) Both these books benefited by my camera work as well, an important adjunct to my ministry. It is estimated that the American public absorbs well over half its information via visual images.

This combination continued with my book, Sunday Meditations (2009), with 102 photographs to accompany 65 meditations spoken in worship for Kennebunk and Andover, MA. I was pleasantly surprised to find my poetry had greatly improved in the decades since 1984! Writing as a spiritual practice does deepen our reflections.

In 1989 I qualified to administer the MBTIÔ (Myers Briggs Type Indicator), the most widely used psychological instrument, based in psychologist, Carl Jung’s, personality typology. I then surveyed the literature on type and spirituality, finding there were no sources embracing all traditions of world religion. Thus I wrote Four Spiritualities (1996), published by Consulting Psychologists Press, publisher of the MBTIÔ. It sold nearly 11,000 copies and went out of print, December 2010.

During a decade of conducting workshops and lectures on the Four Spiritualities I discovered participants were learning by experiencing the four patterns as present within themselves, not by imposing labels upon behavioral observations. This indicated to me that the Four Spiritualities and likely psychological type itself is archetypical. Behind a multitude of motifs, myths, narratives and practices is the universal inner archetype from which they all derive. Long before the alphabet and written scriptures how were the Four Spiritualities expressed? I found each of the elements of the archetype described and documented by students of religious symbolism, Eliade, Jung, Campbell and others. But none had seen the system as a whole, as a model for spiritual growth, dating back into our human beginnings. Elements of the archetype are present everywhere: earth, sky, sun, moon and the tree of life, embodied in the serpentine human spine. Looking through my photographic travel images in many countries I found I had already documented the archetype, really an archetype complex. I consider Archetype of the Spirit (2007) my most important discovery (together with its 108 illustrations).

In 2001, revised in 2007, I created a workshop leader manual, Growing Your Spirituality, now out of print, to be used with Four Spiritualities and Archetype of the Spirit.

I discovered the deep history of Unitarianism in Boston while an undergraduate at Tufts. Inheriting eight of the original nine Puritan churches and the city’s oldest Anglican and Presbyterian churches, the Unitarians founded 74 societies within the city limits. Such a concentration not only gave leadership to the wider Unitarian movement but to American culture as well in literature and the humanities, war and peace, education, architecture and commerce. The New England Renaissance and the Transcendentalist movement only added to the city’s reputation as “the Athens of America” and “the Preacher’s Paradise.” The Boston Religion (2003) is a study of how an open, liberal, democratically governed, “un-sectarian sect” can journey towards “a multi-faith faith” in an urban environment.

The Boston Religion brought me an invitation to deliver the Minns Lectures for 2005. Renamed and annotated the lectures became Exploring Unitarian Universalist Identity (2006). Chapters introduce the religion’s leadership, its polity, the Transcendentalist emergence, and the stages of development to a multi-faith globally-embracing orientation today.

It takes time to mature a philosophy of religion. New this fall is Journey Beyond God with discussions “Alone,” “Together,” “Between” and “Among,” in a context of a humanist naturalist perspective. Of course it includes 35 of my photographs giving it nuance and enjoyment.

Writing plans going forward include publishing the local father-son Ingraham Journals (1795-1875) here in Rockland, ME, with an interpretive essay, and a study of the Universalists and Unitarians in Maine. There may have been as many as 400 local congregations in the state. An essay will document the central role of Unitarians in founding the State of Maine and the Universalists in a transforming influence in Protestant theology. To date I have gathered over 240 photographs of buildings constructed and occupied by Universalist and Unitarian congregations. A memoir is in the works to be shared with family and friends.

Peter Tufts Richardson
June 2010

Books by
Peter Richardson

Archetype of the Spirit

Archetype of the Spirit


Four Spiritualities

Four Spiritualities


Journey Beyoond God

Journey Beyond God


Sunday Meditations

Sunday Meditations


The Boston Religion

The Boston Religion


Exploring UU Identity

Exploring U.U. Identity