Guess who I have on as my guest today! Long-time listeners know that I love the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast. One of the co-hosts, Vanessa Zoltan, has similar views about connecting with literature as I do with artwork. In this episode, she and I discuss her book Praying with Jane Eyre and how to use sacred text (or sacred art) as a tool to help you deal with some of life’s problems, do good in the world, and become a better person in the process.

This episode was part of the Art Class Curator before we rebranded to Art and Self.

2:24​ – Vanessa briefs us on her background in education and chaplaincy

4:46 – Vanessa explains why she loves Jane Eyre so much

8:15 – What it means for something to be sacred, according to Vanessa

10:22 – Exploring the idea of how treating text as sacred leads to treating your neighbor as sacred

16:35 – The gift Vanessa recently received while reading Jane Eyre that we can all heed

19:25 – A brief description of Vanessa’s book and why her chapter on destiny shook me so much

21:27 – How a recent controversy involving JK Rowling tested people’s capacity to separate art from the artist

26:05 – How problematic elements in Bronte’s Jane Eyre reflect a dark side of the U.S.

30:42 – How to find your own sacred text or art and work with it

36:02 – Why re-reading the same exact text can still produce a different experience every time

40:20 – The artwork that has changed Vanessa’s life for 20 years running

This episode was published before we moved the full show notes over to Transcript and full show notes are available at