Edgar Cayce: Ordinary Man, Extraordinary Messenger


By MITCH HOROWITZ The year 1910 marked a turning point in Western spirituality. It saw the deaths of some of the most luminous religious thinkers of the nineteenth century, including psychologist-seeker William James; popular medium Andrew Jackson Davis; and Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy. These three figures deeply impacted the movements in positive thinking, prayer healing, and psychical research. Their death that year was accompanied by the rise to prominence of a new religious … [Read more...]

Kindling the Divine Spark: The Secret to Awakening


By TIM BOUCHER Blessed is he who has a soul, blessed is he who has none, but woe and grief to him who has it in embryo.1 – G.I. Gurdjieff The United States Declaration of Independence proudly proclaims the mystical truth that “all men are created equal.” What happens after that, though, is anybody’s guess. Once we’ve been created equally, does that mean all our lives are the same? Do the essential differences between us come from genetics, environment, free will, the soul? Do we all end up … [Read more...]

Manifesting Your Will

Man and physics

By RICHARD SMOLEY Much of New Thought is about manifesting your will. It’s far more helpful to do this if your will is in alignment with your own higher nature. This exercise is designed to help you accomplish this aim. It may be read aloud and recorded, or one person may read it to another or to a group if that is helpful. Sit in a comfortable but erect position, free from disturbances, so that you can be as relaxed and alert as possible. You may want to begin with a prayer to God or to … [Read more...]

The Bogomils: Europe’s Forgotten Gnostics


By PAUL TICE Few people in the modern world have heard of the Bogomils, who existed during a seven-century time span in and around Bulgaria. Although almost forgotten, they represent an important movement that should be studied by anyone interested in Gnosticism, spiritual freedom, the Cathars of France (who succeeded them), and the history of religions. For most of their existence, from the mid 900’s to the late 1400’s CE, the Bogomils sought to restore the earliest and purest form of … [Read more...]

Understanding the Traditionalists

Artist rendition of René Guénon. Credit: Pierre Laffillé (published in Planéte Plus, April 1970)

By JOSCELYN GODWIN Traditionalists, for present purposes, means the loosely-constituted group inspired by René Guénon (1886-1951). Many of them also revere Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877-1947). Later Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) became central to the group, while the work of Julius Evola (1898-1974) partly overlapped with the others. Any one of these four can serve as a gateway to the movement and its quest for the esoteric truth that transcends religious differences. That is their first mission. … [Read more...]

Has Consciousness Evolved?


By RICHARD SMOLEY The idea that consciousness is evolving is one of the most important doctrines of the New Age. But is it true? Over the long term, the answer seems obvious. Even the stupidest of humans is far more intelligent and sophisticated than a trilobite. Although materialists have skirted the conclusion that evolution has a direction – and that this direction is toward greater complexity – they have not managed to shoot it down. The New Age idea of evolving consciousness is a … [Read more...]

The Rebirth of Gnosticism: An Interview with Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller

Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, Presiding Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica in Los Angeles

By RICHARD SMOLEY One of the most compelling themes of current times is Gnosis – the idea of a transcendental knowledge that, like enlightenment, liberates the individual from bondage to the world of suffering. While Gnosis and Gnosticism were long relegated to the archives of memory as heretical and obsolete aspects of early Christianity, over the last few generations their ideas have resurfaced, displaying an unforeseen power and resonance. Stephan A. Hoeller is among the leading … [Read more...]

Is Your God a Devil?


By RICHARD SMOLEY It is one of the most familiar and reassuring lines in scripture: “The Lord is my shepherd.” But when you think about it, the metaphor is a disturbing one. It’s true that a shepherd looks after his sheep. But he also shears them and kills them and eats them. Does the God we adore act totally with our best interests at heart, or are we a species of livestock that he uses for his own ends? Voices have occasionally uttered doubt, not about the existence of the gods, but … [Read more...]

Will Thinking Make It So? An Interview With Mitch Horowitz

Mitch Grand Central B&W 5X7

By RICHARD SMOLEY Much of today’s writing about spirituality is loaded with nonsense. Often it consists of little more than wild speculation, shoddy reasoning, and the repetition of a few stale truisms. A very small number of writers and editors have climbed above this morass to combine spiritual depth with intellectual acumen and literary polish. Mitch Horowitz is one of them. A writer and publisher of many years’ experience with a lifelong interest in man’s search for meaning, he is … [Read more...]

The Secret History of Astrology


By RICHARD SMOLEY The history of astrology is in many ways the history of a polemic. The question of whether astrology works, as crucial as it is, is soon buried under other issues, such as what this might have to say about human free will and whether the stars and planets that govern our fates are benign, malevolent, or neither. These issues have been debated for thousands of years. Before we get into them, however, we should probably begin with why astrology is the way it is. To do this, … [Read more...]