Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History

Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History

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by Richard Smoley
     
 

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This gem-like, concise anthology provides thoughtful people with both an introduction to the paranormal and a reason to take a fresh look at it.

 Nostradamus...channeling...Atlantis...divination. Most serious people consider such topics nonsense. But look again. Writing with intellectual verve and a deeply critical mind, religious thinker Richard Smoley

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Overview

This gem-like, concise anthology provides thoughtful people with both an introduction to the paranormal and a reason to take a fresh look at it.

 Nostradamus...channeling...Atlantis...divination. Most serious people consider such topics nonsense. But look again. Writing with intellectual verve and a deeply critical mind, religious thinker Richard Smoley explores and reconsiders the supernatural in history and today.

We are often conditioned to think of the Judeo-Christian tradition as the only valid, historically accurate, and rational spiritual philosophy. Occultism, magic, and the esoteric are, by contrast, considered illegitimate, delusional, and lacking in intrinsic worth. Supernatural challenges this prejudice, revealing that Western occult traditions are richer and more historically impactful than most of us imagine. The book reveals hidden diamonds and neglected ideas that characterize the magical tradition in the West.

For any reader, at any level of experience, who has ever been curious about an arcane subject – from psychical powers to secret societies – here is a book that gives a complete yet precise, critical, yet serious, and always respectful account of topics from the unseen world. Supernatural is a brilliant primer to the occult and magical traditions of the West.

Praise for RICHARD SMOLEY

“I have a standing rule: I read anything Richard Smoley writes.” —Larry Dossey, M.D.

“Smoley . . . is adept at unknotting the paradoxes of spiritual traditions and making new connections across centuries and languages.” —Library Journal

“He is one of the liveliest, most intrepid, and most gifted explorers of the spiritual landscape writing today.”

—Ptolemy Tompkins, author of Paradise Fever

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The religious world is, and has always been, populated by both traditional practitioners and those who seek outside the halls of respectability for insights and wisdom that come only from a sincere search for what has been called “ancient wisdom.” Smoley, an editor for Quest Books and for Quest: Journal of the American Theosophical Society, has compiled a fascinating series of brief glimpses into the lives of some of the major players and their ideas and beliefs. Some are recognizable: Nostradamus and the Masons, for instance. But others will be less familiar. Taken as a whole, this short work offers the reader an easy to understand introduction to traditions and ideas that have informed the world for centuries. From the ancient Hellenistic thinkers to the modern phenomenon known as “A Course in Miracles,” as Smoley shows, religious adventurers have been discovering their own paths to the Infinite. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“A fascinating series of brief glimpses into the lives of some of the major players and their ideas and beliefs. Taken as a whole, this short work offers the reader an easy to understand introduction to traditions and ideas that have informed the world for centuries."
—Publishers Weekly

“I have a standing rule: I read anything Richard Smoley writes.”
Larry Dossey, M.D.“Smoley . . . is adept at unknotting the paradoxes of spiritual traditions and making new connections across centuries and languages.”
Library Journal“He is one of the liveliest, most intrepid, and most gifted explorers of the spiritual landscape writing today.”
—Ptolemy Tompkins, author of Paradise Fever"With scholarly precision, [Smoley] revisits Nostradamus, The Da Vinci Code, Atlantis, Freemasonry, A Course in Miracles, New Thought, and many other famed repositories of “secret wisdom”. Fair and clear-eyed, he communicates what his research unearthed in a surprisingly lively style. He speaks honestly to his readers as he recounts, elaborates and debunks. It makes for an intriguing read as well as excellent reference material."
Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight

Kirkus Reviews
A skilled sampling of spiritual and religious subjects. Though most of the essays have been published in the New-Age spirituality magazine New Dawn, their collection captures the restless mood of the last quarter of the 20th century--a time, Smoley (The Dice Game of Shiva: How Consciousness Creates the Universe, 2009, etc.) writes, when hope for a "massive awakening of society" once bloomed. Throughout his prolific career, Smoley has plumbed the depths of consciousness, transcendent thought, Gnosticism and religious history, and here, he turns his eye to subjects fresh but not unfamiliar to him and his audience. Skeptical views on future forecasting and of Nostradamus' "spotty" success record are as pensive as his assessment of the hidden "secrets" of The Da Vinci Code. Though a lack of material evidence has kept the drowned, lost continent of Atlantis little more than a glorified fable, Smoley notes that it remains a cautionary reminder of potential eco-disasters. Most affecting and resolute are short appraisals of metaphysicians, the history of Masonry, light and dark magic, the popularized power of positive thinking, and a chilling chapter about a Swiss psychologist who believed Hitler, and Germany at large, was, at one time, possessed by a malevolent entity. Smoley theorizes how esotericism came into mainstream popularity through these brief but plausible interpretations of the occult and, though mired in conjecture, these subjects are truly spiritualistic food for thought. To the author, they present opportunities to increase consciousness and improve the world without leaning on prognostication and "feeling the need to terrify ourselves into action." A learned, highbrow approach to matters mystical and extrasensory.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399161827
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/07/2013
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
775,179
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

One of today’s most highly regarded writers on esoteric topics, RICHARD SMOLEY is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Oxford. He was a longtime editor of the venerated spiritual journal Gnosis. Smoley is the author of books including Inner Christianity, The Essential Nostradamus, and Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism. He currently works as editor of Quest Books and of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America. He lives in Chicago.

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