American Metaphysical Religion: Esoteric and Mystical Traditions of the New World
by Ronnie Pontiac
“Ronnie Pontiac has produced one of the finest, most comprehensive works of independent scholarship that we possess on the mystical currents of American religion. Like a journey down a wild, winding, and uncharted river, this book takes us through byways and inlets that few historians know. Surprises emerge on nearly every page.” ― Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award-winning author of Uncertain Places
Most Americans believe the United States was founded by pious Christians. However, as Ronnie Pontiac reveals, from the very beginning America was a vibrant blend of beliefs from all four corners of the world.
Based on the latest research, with the assistance of leading scholars, this in-depth exploration of four centuries of American occult and spiritual history looks at everything from colonial-era alchemists, astrologers, and early spiritual collectives to Edgar Cayce, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, and St. Germain on Mount Shasta. Pontiac shows that Rosicrucians were among the first settlers from England and explores how young women of the Shaker community fell into trances and gave messages from the dead. He details the spiritual influence of the African diaspora, the work of mystical abolitionists, and how Indigenous groups and Latinx people played a large role in the shaping of contemporary spirituality and healing practices.
The author looks at well-known figures such as Manly P. Hall and lesser-known esoteric luminaries such as the Pagan Pilgrim, Tom Morton. He examines the Aquarian Gospel, the Sekhmet Revival, A Course in Miracles, the School of Ageless Wisdom, and mediumship in the early 20th century. He explores the profound influence of the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Los Angeles and looks at the evolution of female roles in spirituality across the centuries. He also examines the right wing of American metaphysics from the Silver Legion to QAnon.
Revealing the diverse streams that run through America’s metaphysical landscape, Pontiac offers an encyclopedic examination of occult teachers, esotericists, and spiritual collectives almost no one has heard of but who were profoundly influential.
Ronnie Pontiac worked as Manly P. Hall’s research assistant, screener, and designated substitute lecturer for seven years. He has produced award-winning documentaries and has written for Invisible College Magazine, Newtopia, Metapsychosis, Occult of Personality, and the original Reality Sandwich. He lives in Los Angeles.
January 31, 2023
6 x 1.3 x 9 inches