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Overviews, Introductions & Surveys
of Occult, Esoteric, New Age, Mythic, Religious,
Paranormal, Spiritual, Metaphysical, & Mystical Subjects

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Into the Unknown

Into the Unknown
by Reader's Digest Staff

Readers Digest, 1982, 352 pp.

"Is there direct mind-to-mind communication?  Is reincarnation possible?  Is there a connection between the planets, the stars and human destiny?  Do extraordinary paranormal capacities await discovery in the billion-cell landscape of the human brain?  Do UFOs exist and have people been carried off by them?  Can the human body heal itself without surgery or medication?"

"Here in one fully illustrated book, these and scores of other questions from the world of the unknown, the paranormal, the occult and extrasensory are examined in authoritative and fully comprehensible terms.  More than 350 illustrations help document and explain the unknown, as well as reveal the faces of those people who have pursued its mysteries or been caught in the power of its often inexplicable grasp."

"Table of Contents:  Ancient Unknowns, Earth Shrines, Atlantis, Art of Magic, Witchcraft, Monsters, Divination, Astrology, Reincarnation, Ghosts and Spirits, Spiritualism, Psi and Science, Power of Dreams, Animal Psi, Mind Over Matter, Leaving the Body, Healing, Enigma of UFOs, Psi and the Brain and Miscellanea of the Unknown."

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Revelations: Wisdom of the Ages

Revelations:  Wisdom of the Ages
by Paul Roland

Ulysses Press, 1995, 160 pp.

"Throughout history, there have been individuals who have sought and attained insight into Cosmic Truths which changed their lives and shaped the course of entire civilizations.  These basic truths, which explain the origins of existence and our purpose in the Universe, have been known by many names.  The philosophers of ancient China knew it as Tao, 'The Way", mystics and occultists in the West have called it the 'Ageless Wisdom' or the Perennial Philosophy.  All religions have an element of the truth, a strand of the Golden Thread, but no single tradition has all the answers."

"In this beautifully illustrated book, author Paul Roland describes the various entangled strands of the Golden Thread in the world's religions and mysteries. Two-page overviews highlight more than 70 topics covering the Kabbalistic Mysteries, the Western Mystery Tradition, the Eastern Perspective, the Modern Age, and Towards the Millennium. Each overview includes essential information and colorful photographs and reproductions with informative captions."

See Table of Contents for a list of topics surveyed..

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Mysteries of the Unknown

Mysteries of the Unknown
by Editors of Time-Life Books

Time-Life Books, 1997, 435 pp.

"In one volume, the editors at Time-Life have combined twelve of the books in their popular 'Mysteries of the Unknown' series. Using interesting narratives with illustrations, this book covers various paranormal activity from ghosts to UFOs to ESP."

"The entire text of the following 'Mysteries of the Unknown' titles is contained in this 1997 volume:  Mystic Places, The UFO Phenomenon, Psychic Voyages, Phantom Encounters, Mysterious Creatures, Transformations, Visions and Prophecies, Mind over Matter, Cosmic Connections, Dreams and Dreaming, Magical Arts, and Witches and Witchcraft."

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New Age Living: A Guide to Principles, Practices and Beliefs New Age Living: A Guide to Principles, Practices and Beliefs
By Paul Roland

Hamlyn, UK, 2000, 192 pp.

"Here is a lushly illustrated, lucid, practical, and thought provoking introduction to New Age practices.  Topics also include Egyptian mysteries, the Kabbalah, Shamanism, Mother Earth, standing stones, channeling, foreseeing the future, Buddhism, Zen, etc."

"Two-page overviews feature more than 60 topics covering 'Sacred Secrets', 'Turning to Mother Earth', 'Foreseeing the Future', 'Soul Searching', 'Inner Child and Higher Self' and 'Holistic Health'. Each overview includes essential information and colorful photographs and reproductions about the topic."

See Table of Contents.

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The New Age: The History of a Movement

The New Age: The History of a Movement
by Nevill Drury

Thames & Hudson, 2004, 224 pp., 131 illustrations, 53 in color.

"The New Age movement may well reflect the future face of Western religion. Drawing on an eclectic mix of Eastern and Western spiritual philosophies, it embraces an extensive range of holistic mind-body and self-empowerment forms and practices. Nevill Drury presents the movement's key themes, along with numerous telling and unfamiliar illustrations."

"This fast-paced history relies heavily on quick biographies to tell the New Age story. For genesis, Drury looks to Emanuel Swedenborg, Franz Mesmer and Helena Blavatsky. Then he swiftly touches on mind-probers (Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Carl Rogers); Esalen Institute founders Michael Murphy and Richard Price; San Francisco's famously psychedelic Haight-Ashbury district; Eastern delvers Aldous Huxley and Alan Watts; and the Harvard spiritual spelunkers triumvirate of Ralph Metzner, Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) and Timothy Leary. Later chapters skip through mythologizers Jean Houston and Joseph Campbell; poet Allen Ginsberg; the timeless Tibetan Book of the Dead; John Lilly's sensory deprivation tanks; yoga; all-stars Shakti Gawain and Deepak Chopra; Maharishi Mahesh, guru to the Beatles; nonguru Krishnamurti; native pathfinders Starhawk, Carlos Castaneda and Lynn Andrews; quantum physics as it pertains to timeless connections; near-death experiences; and more"

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The Roots of Consciousness: The Classic Encyclopedia of Consciousness Studies The Roots of Consciousness: The Classic Encyclopedia of Consciousness Studies
by Jeffrey Mishlove

Marlowe & Co, 1997, revised edition, 478 pp.

"This revised edition of The Roots of Consciousness is a thorough review of the literature of the occult and the paranormal, mystical, and religious roots of what can broadly be termed 'consciousness.' The study is filled with useful information."

"The Roots of Consciousness is a large volume with lots of excellent black and white photographs and illustrations.  By flipping this book open randomly to any given page, one is immediately rewarded with fascinating insights into the details of some branch of parapsychology. Mishlove's interdisciplinary expertise lends this book tremendous depth and breadth of scope, as it includes history, mathematics, physics, psychology, and religion."

"This book is organized into several main sections which cover history, folklore, scientific studies, and theories to explain what is going on when people demonstrate extraordinary events and human abilities."

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Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions
by Richard Smoley and Jay Kinney

Penguin, 1999, 400 pp.

"While terms from Eastern spiritual practices such as Zen, mantra, and karma have become part of our daily lexicon, the traditions of Western spirituality have been largely unexplored by people searching for non-mainstream routes to spiritual experience. But for those who identify with Western culture, Western religious traditions have their own wisdom teachings that are more suitable to their needs and expectations. Many of those searching for alternative religions are not even aware that Western civilization has always had its own traditions, which are often hidden. In this fascinating introduction to non-mainstream Western spirituality, the authors guide you through the teachings of Jung and Gurdjieff, the Kabbalah, neo-paganism, shamanism, alchemy, Sufism, and more. Explaining the history and practice of each tradition and describing its important figures, the authors present the ideas, strengths, and weaknesses of each tradition and offer a wealth of resources for those interested in pursuing these paths further."

"The opening chapter explores how Jung's idea of the collective unconscious and his discussions of alchemy spurred new interest in Western esotericism. In subsequent chapters, Smolley and Kinney offer engaging and lively histories of esoteric movements, ranging from Kabbalism, magic, Wicca and neopaganism to shamanism, alchemy, hermeticism and Sufism. Each chapter provides a historical overview, an introduction to the major beliefs and practices of the movement and comments on the reasons spiritual seekers might find that particular esoteric tradition attractive, closing with an annotated bibliography. Smolley and Kinney's handbook provides a useful introduction to the many varieties of Western esotericism."

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Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America
by Robert S. Ellwood and Harry Partin

Prentice Hall, 1998, 2nd edition, 384 pp.

"This book, regarded as a 'classic' and 'definitive guide' since the publication of the first edition by Robert Ellwood in 1973, surveys the world of 'alternative' or 'unconventional' religions in the United States. There is a discussion of the controversial word 'cult,' and a history of alternative religion in Europe and America from ancient times on. Then chapters follow on Theosophical and Rosicrucian groups, on Spiritualism and UFO religions, on initiatory religions such as Scientology and Gurdjieff groups, on Neo-Paganism, and on Eastern religions in America, including yoga groups, Transcendental Meditation, Krishna Consciousness, Zen, and Baha'i. Final chapters treat of sociological and psychological approaches to new religions, and of the Black Muslims and the People's Temple. The tone throughout is respectful and empathetic toward the religions under discussion, yet also academic. If you have ever wanted to know about religions like these from a neutral and informed perspective, give this book a try."

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