From the sands of Alexandria via the Renaissance palaces of the Medicis, to our own times, this spiritual adventure story traces the profound influence of Hermes Trismegistus -- the 'thrice-great one', as he was often called -- on the western mind. For centuries his name ranked among the most illustrious of the ancient world. Considered by some a contemporary of Moses and a forerunner of Christ, this almost mythical figure arose in fourth century BC Alexandria, from a fusion of the Egyptian god Thoth and the Greek god Hermes. Master of magic, writing, science, and philosophy, Hermes was thought to have walked with gods and be the source of the divine wisdom granted to man at the dawn of time. Gary Lachman has written many books exploring ancient traditions for the modern mind. In The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus, he brings to life the mysterious character of this great spiritual guide, exposing the many theories and stories surrounding him, and revitalizing his teachings for the modern world. Through centuries of wars, conquests and religious persecutions, the fragile pages of the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus have still survived. This is a book for all thinkers and enquirers who want to recover that lost knowledge and awaken a shift in human consciousness.
A spiritual adventure story tracing the profound influence of Hermes Trismegistus on the western mind.
A thoughtful biography of one of the most polarizing pioneers of alternative spirituality, the occult-mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Pioneer. Visionary. Provocateur. Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—mystic, occult writer, child of Russian aristocrats, spiritual seeker who traveled five continents, and founder (with Henry Steel Olcott) of the Theosophical Society—is still being hailed as an icon and scorned as a fraud more than 120 years after her death. But despite perennial interest in her life, writings, and philosophy, no single biography has examined the controversy and legacy of this influential thinker who helped define modern alternative spirituality—until now. Gary Lachman, the acclaimed spiritual biographer behind volumes such as Rudolf Steiner and Jung the Mystic, brings us an in-depth look at Blavatsky, objectively exploring her unique and singular contributions toward introducing Eastern and esoteric spiritual ideas to the West during the nineteenth century, as well as the controversies that continue to color the discussions of her life and work.
The first truly popular biography of the influential twentieth-century mystic and educator who-while widely known for founding the Waldorf schools and other educational and humanitarian movements-remains a mystery to many who benefit from his ideas. People everywhere have heard of Waldorf schools, Biodynamic farming, Camphill Villages, and other innovations of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Indeed, Steiner-as an architect, artist, teacher, and agriculturalist-ranks among the most creative and prolific figures of the early twentieth century, pioneering work in alternative education, holistic health, and environmental research. While his accomplishments are felt all over the world, few people understand this unusual figure. Steiner's own writings and lectures fill several bookcases, intimidating those who would like to know more. Works on Steiner are often dense and "insider" in tone, further deterring the curious. No popular biography, written by a sympathetic but critical outsider, has been available. Gary Lachman's Rudolf Steiner provides this missing introduction. Along with telling Steiner's story and placing Steiner in his historical context, Lachman's book presents Steiner's key ideas in a readable, accessible manner. In particular, Lachman considers the spread of Steiner's most popular projects, which include Waldorf schools-one of the leading forms of alternative education-and Biodynamic farming-a popular precursor to organic farming. He also traces Steiner's beginnings as a young intellectual in the ferment of fin de si?cle culture, to his rise as a thought leader within the influential occult movement of Theosophy, to the founding of his own metaphysical teaching called Anthroposophy. Finally, the book illustrates how Steiner's methods are put into practice today, and relates Steiner's insights into cosmology to the work of current thinkers. Rudolf Steiner is a full-bodied portrait of one of the most original philosophical and spiritual luminaries of the last two centuries, and gives those interested in the history of ideas the opportunity to discover one of the most underappreciated figures of the twentieth century.
The ability to imagine is at the heart of what makes us human. Through our imagination we experience more fully the world both around us and within us. Imagination plays a key role in creativity and innovation. Until the seventeenth century, the human imagination was celebrated. Since then, with the emergence of science as the dominant worldview, imagination has been marginalised -- depicted as a way of escaping reality, rather than knowing it more profoundly -- and its significance to our humanity has been downplayed. Yet as we move further into the strange new dimensions of the twenty-first century, the need to regain this lost knowledge seems more necessary than ever before. This insightful and inspiring book argues that, for the sake of our future in the world, we must reclaim the ability to imagine and redress the balance of influence between imagination and science. Through the work of Owen Barfield, Goethe, Henry Corbin, Kathleen Raine, and others, and ranging from the teachings of ancient mystics to the latest developments in neuroscience, The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination draws us back to a philosophy and tradition that restores imagination to its rightful place, essential to our knowing reality to the full, and to our very humanity itself.
Hermes--the fascinating, mercurial messenger of the gods, eloquent revealer of hidden wisdom, and guardian of occult knowledge has played a central role in the development of esotericism in the West. Drawing upon many rare books and manuscripts, this highly illustrated work explores the question of where Hermes Trismegistus came from, how he came to be a patron of the esoteric traditions, and how the figure of Hermes has remained lively and inspiring to our own day.
Drawing on esoteric, spritual and philosophical thought, this book cononsiders the all-important question -- why are we here? -- and offers a counter-argument to the current nihilsm prevalent in our world.
In this introduction to Hermeticism and its mythical founder, Florian Ebeling provides a concise overview of the Corpus Hermeticum and other writings attributed to Hermes, tracing their influence on Western thought from the ancient world to the present.
A clear and concise overview of the life and work of the immensely influential but little understood eighteenth-century mystic-scientist Emanuel Swedenborg. “Lachman identifies all the roles Swedenborg inhabited (spiritual thinker, psychic, scientist, inventor, statesman, traveler, and possibly even spy) and does an exceptionally good job of suggesting why this little-known polymath deserves more substantial critical attention.” – The Independent on Sunday (UK) It is difficult to imagine modern Western alternative spirituality without the influence of Swedish scientist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Every movement in alternative spirituality – from mental-healing and Spiritualism to New Age mysticism and the twelve-step recovery movement – owes an immeasurable debt to the ideas he exploded upon the Western world. Yet Swedenborg’s work can be challenging for modern readers. His influence, everywhere at once, is difficult to get a handle on. Now, however, Gary Lachman provides an accessible, lively, and masterful introduction to the life and ideas of this spiritual giant. Lachman takes us to Swedenborg’s roots as brilliant rationalist and scientist who, well into mid-life, began to experience visions of other realms. From this point Swedenborg produced an extraordinary range of writings based on his out-of-body experiences, in which he related encounters with angels, other-planetary beings, and “the world of spirits.” As Lachman explores, Swedenborg’s work opened up a radically liberal and refreshing ideal of religion. The great mystic saw humanity, and all of nature, as phenomena emerging from the “spiritual world,” and man as a vessel for divine influences. This vision inspired Western seekers to see man as a product of spiritual phenomena, and thus a being intimately connected with the cosmos. From this perspective grew bold new ideas about channeling, spiritual healing, mystical experience, mediumship – a litany of concepts that prefigured the revolutions in alternative and therapeutic spirituality.
This epic study unveils the esoteric masters who have covertly impacted the intellectual development of the West, from Pythagoras and Zoroaster to the modern icons Jean Gebser and Schwaller de Lubicz. Running alongside the mainstream of Western intellectual history there is another current, which, in a very real sense, should take pride of place, but which for the last few centuries has occupied a shadowy, inferior position, somewhere underground. This 'other' stream forms the subject of Gary Lachman's sweeping history and analysis The Secret Teachers of the Western World. In this clarifying, accessible, and fascinating study, the acclaimed historian explores the Western esoteric tradition - a thought movement with ancient roots and modern expressions, which, in a broad sense, regards the cosmos as a living, spiritual, meaningful being and humankind as having a unique obligation and responsibility in it. The historical roots of our 'counter tradition,' as Lachman explores, trace an extraordinary arc of history from ancient Egypt and other primeval cultures through the reawakening of the Western mind during the Renaissance and Enlightenment, through the occult revival of the late nineteenth century that brought names such as Blavatsky and Crowley into common usage, to the psychedelic and thought experiments of the 1960s, to our present era which has experienced the rebirth of a critical, rigorous investigation of the ancient wisdom. With many detours and dead ends, we now seem to be slowly moving into a watershed, Lachman observes. It has become clear that the dominant, left-brain, reductionist view, once so liberating and exciting, has run out of steam, and the promise of that much-sought-after 'paradigm change' seems possible. We may be on the brink of a culminating moment of the long esoteric intellectual tradition of the West. 'Gary Lachman makes ideas thrilling.' Ptolemy Tompkins, author of Paradise Fever'No other writer of esoteric subjects displays such fluidity, vibrancy, and gentle but assertive purpose.' Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America
Within the concentric circles of Trump's regime lies an unseen culture of occultists, power-seekers, and mind-magicians whose influence is on the rise. In this unparalleled account, historian Gary Lachman examines the influence of occult and esoteric philosophy on the unexpected rise of the alt-right. Did positive thinking and mental science help put Donald Trump in the White House? And are there any other hidden powers of the mind and thought at work in today's world politics? In Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump, historian and cultural critic Gary Lachman takes a close look at the various magical and esoteric ideas that are impacting political events across the globe. From New Thought and Chaos Magick to the far-right esotericism of Julius Evola and the Traditionalists, Lachman follows a trail of mystic clues that involve, among others, Norman Vincent Peale, domineering gurus and demagogues, Ayn Rand, Pepe the Frog, Rene Schwaller de Lubicz, synarchy, the Alt-Right, meme magic, and Vladimir Putin and his postmodern Rasputin. Come take a drop down the rabbit hole of occult politics in the twenty-first century and find out the post-truths and alternative facts surrounding the 45th President of the United States with one of the leading writers on esotericism and its influence on modern culture.
The ancient Egyptians were firmly convinced of the importance of magic, which was both a source of supernatural wisdom and a means of affecting one's own fate. The gods themselves used it for creating the world, granting mankind magical powers as an aid to the struggle for existence. Magic formed a link between human beings, gods, and the dead. Magicians were the indispensable guardians of the god-given cosmic order, learned scholars who were always searching for the Magic Book of Thoth,which could explain the wonders of nature. Egyptian Magic, illustrated with wonderful and mysterious objects from European and Egyptian museum collections, describes how Egyptian sorcerers used their craft to protect the weakest members of society, to support the gods in their fight against evil, and to imbue the dead with immortality, and explores the arcane systems and traditions of the occult that governed this well-organized universe of ancient Egypt.
Explorers of occult mysteries and the edges of consciousness change the way we view not only the nature of reality, but also our deepest sense of self. Insightful author Gary Lachman presents punchy, enlightening, and intriguing biographies of some of the most influential esoteric luminaries in recent history. His 16 subjects include Swedish mystical scientist Emanuel Swedenborg; H. P. Blavatsky, Russian cofounder of the Theosophical Society; Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who inspired the Waldorf School of education; Swiss visionary C. G. Jung, founder of depth psychology; notorious English ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley; Russian esotericist P. D. Ouspensky, explicator of Gurdjieff’s early works; and British psychic artist Dion Fortune, who was influential in the modern revival of magical arts.
Historian Gary Lachman delivers a fascinating, rollicking biography of literary and cultural rebel Colin Wilson, one of the most adventurous, hopeful, and least understood intellects of the past century. You will embark on the intellectual ride of a lifetime in this rediscovery of the life and work of writer, rebel, and social experimenter Colin Wilson (1931-2013). Author of the classic The Outsider, Wilson, across his 118 books, purveyed a philosophy of mind power and human potential that made him one of the least understood and most important voices of the twentieth century. Wilson helped usher in the cultural revolution of the 1960s with his landmark work, The Outsider, published in 1956. The Outsider was an intelligent, meticulous, and unprecedented study of nonconformity in all facets of life. Wilson, finally, became a prolific and unparalleled historian of the occult, providing a generation of readers with a responsible and scholarly entry point to a world of mysteries. Now, acclaimed historian Gary Lachman, a friend of Wilson and a scholar of his work, provides an extraordinary and delightful biography that delves into the life, thought, and evolution of one of the greatest intellectual rebels and underrated visionaries of the twentieth century. From the Trade Paperback edition.
P. D. Ouspensky's classic work In Search of the Miraculous was the first to disseminate the ideas of G. I. Gurdjieff, the mysterious master of esoteric thought in the early twentieth century who still commands a following today. Gurdjieff's mystique has long eclipsed Ouspensky, once described by Gurdjieff as "nice to drink vodka with, but a weak man." Yet Ouspensky was a brilliant, accomplished philosopher in his own right, and some consider his meeting with the charismatic "Mr. G." the catastrophe of his life. Indeed, in subsequent years Ouspensky tried hard, with limited success, to break away. This book moves Ouspensky's own story center stage, against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution, the dervishes of Constantinople, and a cosmopolitan Europe entre deux guerres. The archetypal encounter it describes echoes that of Don Juan and Castaneda, or perhaps Mephistopheles and Faust. One of the great mystical adventures of our time, it will fascinate everyone interested in the farthest reaches of what it means to be human. The paperback edition includes a new chapter on Gary Lachman's own former work in Gurdjieff's psychology.
The author of A Secret History of Consciousness and Turn Off Your Mind explores the influence of the occult on history and thought from the Renaissance through the modern age, discussing its impact on Emanuel Swedenborg, Charles Boudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, and many others.
The Spiritual, Occult and Historical significance of the "Emerald Tablets" is almost beyond belief of modern man. Written around 36,000 B.C. by Thoth, an Atlantean priest-king, this manuscript dates far back beyond reach of any Egyptian writings ever found. The author, Thoth, a Master-Teacher of the early Egyptians, put this treatise to writing in his native Atlantean language and Dr. Doreal, by use of his expertise as an Occultist and Master of time and space, was given the directive to retrieve these Tablets and translate them into English for the edification of modern man. The powerful and rhythmic verse of Thoth is wonderfully retained in Doreal's translation. Contained within the pages of Thoth's masterpiece of Spiritual and Occult Wisdom is the synthesis of the Ancient Wisdom Teachings, the guideline for initiates of all ages, revealing the Knowledge and Wisdom hitherto held secret, but now in this New Age, revealed to all Seekers on the Path of Light. Dr. M. Doreal, Ms.D., Psy.D., is the Spiritual; Teacher of a multitude of Seekers of Light, having founded a Metaphysical Church and College - The Brotherhood of the White Temple, Inc. He is the author of all of the Organization's writings and teachings, having been given permission for the Esoteric Wisdom to be remitted in a public forum by the Great White Lodge, the Elder Brothers of mankind who shape and form the Spiritual evolution of earth's inhabitants. The Brotherhood of the White Temple, Inc. is a correspondence school, accredited through the State of Colorado, and mails out to its world-wide membership weekly Lessons of Truth. Its four and one-half year College Course unveils the secrets of the Symbolism of all Mystery Schools, giving precisely and beautifully, the step by step progression all Seekers have searched for in their quest for Oneness with God, and for attainment of Cosmic Consciousness. "Read, Believe or not, but read, and the vibration found therein will awaken a response in your soul.' - Doreal
An esoteric thriller full of sex, magic, and politics. This gripping page-turner has something for every fan of occult fiction: a murder mystery set against religious extremism with symbolism, alchemy, and magic fueling the action. The evocative setting of Venice and the Veneto region of Italy dominates the plot, along with vivid scences in Santiage de Compostela, Provence, Washington, and the Vatican.