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Religion > Mystical and Esoteric Traditions

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Real-Life X-Files Cover

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Real-Life X-Files

Investigating the Paranormal

Joe Nickell

As a former private investigator and forensic writer, Joe Nickell has spent much of his career identifying forged documents, working undercover to infiltrate theft rings, and investigating questioned deaths. Now he turns his considerable investigative skill toward the paranormal, researching the most well-known and mysterious phenomena all over the world—spontaneous human combustion, UFO visitations, auras, electronic poltergeists, and many, many more—with an eye toward solving these mysteries rather than promoting or dismissing them. Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal examines the cases of over forty paranormal mysteries. Using a hands-on approach, Nickell visits the scene of the so-called unexplainable activity whenever possible and attempts to physically duplicate the miraculous. Whether he’s inflicting stigmata on himself or recreating the liquefying blood of Saint Januarius, Nickell does whatever necessary to eliminate the probable before considering the supernatural. What is left is that much more fascinating. Nickell reports on familiar legends from American history such as the supernatural events surrounding Abraham Lincoln’s death and the supposed crash landing of an alien spacecraft near Roswell, New Mexico. He closely examines claims of the miraculous, from rose petals bearing the likeness of Jesus to photographs of a “golden door” to heaven. Controversial mysteries such as clairvoyance and “spirit painting,” haunted places, and freaks of nature are just a few of the many topics covered. Suspenseful, engrossing, funny, and grounded in scientific methodology, Real-Life X-Files provides real explanations for the “paranormal” activities that have intrigued human beings for centuries.

Respectfully Yours: Signed and Sealed, Francis of Assisi Cover

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Respectfully Yours: Signed and Sealed, Francis of Assisi

Aspects of His Authorship and Focuses of His Spirituality

Through a meticulous reading of his writing, one can discover Francis the Mystic. The authors pay full attention to what Francis has to say and pay special attention to texts from the liturgy of Francis’s time. It is undeniable that at least some of his texts were subject to deliberate composition techniques. By bringing these to light, the "coordinates" or "power lines" of his spirituality become visible.

Restoring Paradise Cover

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Restoring Paradise

Western Esotericism, Literature, Art, and Consciousness

Focusing on how spiritual initiation takes place in Western esoteric religious, literary, and artistic traditions from antiquity to the present, Restoring Paradise provides an introduction to Western esotericism, including early modern esoteric movements like alchemy, Christian theosophy, and Rosicrucianism. The author argues that European and American literature and art often entail a written transmission of spiritual knowledge in which writing itself works to transmute consciousness, to generate, provoke, or convey spiritual awakening. He focuses on several important figures whose work has not received the attention it deserves, including American writer and Imagist poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and British painter Cecil Collins, among others. While Arthur Versluis presents a new way of understanding Western esotericism in a contemporary light, above all he has crafted a book about knowing, and about how we come to know, and what “knowing” by way of literature and language actually means.

Rose Cross and the Age of Reason, The Cover

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Rose Cross and the Age of Reason, The

Eighteenth-Century Rosicrucianism in Central Europe and its Relationship to the Enlightenment

Examines the relationship between diverse iterations of Rosicrucianism and the philosophy of the Enlightenment. This new edition of Christopher McIntosh's classic book on the Golden and Rosy Cross order is eagerly awaited. The order stands out as one of the most fascinating and influential of the high-degree masonic and illuminist groups that mushroomed in Europe from the 18th century onward. Active mainly in the German-speaking lands, it recast the original Rosicrucian vision and gave it renewed vitality. At one point it became politically influential when the Prussian King, Frederick William II, was a member of the order. Historians have often perceived the Golden and Rosy Cross as having had a conservative, anti-Enlightenment agenda, but this study – drawing on rare German sources – shows that the matter was more complex. The members of the order practiced alchemy and operated a degree system that was later imitated by later orders such as the Golden Dawn. Like the latter, the Golden and Rosy Cross exerted a wide and enduring cultural influence. Both the alchemy of the order and its powerful ritual system are insightfully described in Christopher McIntosh's clear and compelling style.

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Society and the Supernatural in Song China

Edward L. Davis

Society and the Supernatural in Song China is at once a meticulous examination of spirit possession and exorcism in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and a social history of the full panoply of China's religious practices and practitioners at the moment when she was poised to dominate the world economy. Although the Song dynasty (960-1276) is often identified with the establishment of Confucian orthodoxy, Edward Davis demonstrates the renewed vitality of the dynasty's Taoist, Buddhist, and local religious traditions. He charts the rise of hundreds of new temple-cults and the lineages of clerical exorcists and vernacular priests; the increasingly competitive interaction among all practitioners of therapeutic ritual; and the wide social range of their patrons and clients.

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Sufis and Saints' Bodies

Mysticism, Corporeality, and Sacred Power in Islam

Scott A. Kugle

Islam is often described as abstract, ascetic, and uniquely disengaged from the human body. Scott Kugle refutes this assertion in the first full study of Islamic mysticism as it relates to the human body. Examining Sufi conceptions of the body in religious writings from the late fifteenth through the nineteenth century, Kugle demonstrates that literature from this era often treated saints' physical bodies as sites of sacred power. ###Sufis and Saints' Bodies# focuses on six important saints from Sufi communities in North Africa and South Asia. Kugle singles out a specific part of the body to which each saint is frequently associated in religious literature. The saints' bodies, Kugle argues, are treated as symbolic resources for generating religious meaning, communal solidarity, and the experience of sacred power. In each chapter, Kugle also features a particular theoretical problem, drawing methodologically from religious studies, anthropology, studies of gender and sexuality, theology, feminism, and philosophy. Bringing a new perspective to Islamic studies, Kugle shows how an important Islamic tradition integrated myriad understandings of the body in its nurturing role in the material, social, and spiritual realms. Kugle examines Islamic--particularly Sufi--conceptions of the human body in religious writings from the late medieval to early modern period of Islamic history. He explores the network of Muslim mystics who played a significant role in shaping Islamic culture during this formative period, as these Sufi saint-teachers served as moral exemplars and, often, political leaders. Religious literature from this period often treated the saints' physical bodies as sites of sacred power, Kugle argues. He illustrates by pairing each of six prominent saints with a part of the body to which they are frequently associated in the literature (breath, lips, heart, etc.). With each chapter, he also addresses a theoretical problem. Islam is often described as particularly abstract, ascetic, and uniquely disengaged from the human body. Scott Kugle refutes this assertion in the first full study of Islamic mysticism as it relates to the human body. Examining Sufi conceptions of the body in religious writings from the late fifteenth through the nineteenth century, Kugle demonstrates that literature from this era often treated saints' physical bodies as sites of sacred power. Islam is often described as abstract, ascetic, and uniquely disengaged from the human body. Scott Kugle refutes this assertion in the first full study of Islamic mysticism as it relates to the human body. Examining Sufi conceptions of the body in religious writings from the late fifteenth through the nineteenth century, Kugle demonstrates that literature from this era often treated saints' physical bodies as sites of sacred power. ###Sufis and Saints' Bodies# focuses on six important saints from Sufi communities in North Africa and South Asia. Kugle singles out a specific part of the body to which each saint is frequently associated in religious literature. The saints' bodies, Kugle argues, are treated as symbolic resources for generating religious meaning, communal solidarity, and the experience of sacred power. In each chapter, Kugle also features a particular theoretical problem, drawing methodologically from religious studies, anthropology, studies of gender and sexuality, theology, feminism, and philosophy. Bringing a new perspective to Islamic studies, Kugle shows how an important Islamic tradition integrated myriad understandings of the body in its nurturing role in the material, social, and spiritual realms.

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Tales of Kentucky Ghosts

William Montell

A good ghost story can make your hair stand on end, your palms sweat, and your heart race. The bone-chilling collection Tales of Kentucky Ghosts presents more than 250 stories that do just that. In his new book, William Lynwood Montell has assembled an entertaining and diverse array of tales from across the commonwealth that will keep you checking under the bed every night. The first-person accounts in this collection showcase folklore that Montell has drawn from archives, family stories, and oral traditions throughout Kentucky. The stories include that of the ghost bride of Laurel County, who appears each year on the anniversary of her wedding day; the tale of the murdered worker who haunts the Simpson County home of his killer and former employer; and the account of the lost mandolin that plays itself in a house in Graves County. These and many other chilling stories haunt the pages of Tales of Kentucky Ghosts. In the tradition of Montell’s previous Kentucky ghost books (Ghosts across Kentucky and Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky), Tales of Kentucky Ghosts brings together a variety of terrifying narratives that not only entertain and frighten but also serve as a unique record of Kentucky’s rich heritage of storytelling.

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The Teacher of His Heart

There was a passion, an intense energy of love that drove Francis to center his entire life in Christ. Christ was, indeed, the teacher of his heart. This book concentrates on the Christological dimension of Francis’s thought seen through the prism of his writings and against the background of the world in which he lived.

The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales Cover

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The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales

Ruth Musick

" West Virginia boasts an unusually rich heritage of ghost tales. Originally West Virginians told these hundred stories not for idle amusement but to report supernatural experiences that defied ordinary human explanation. From jealous rivals and ghostly children to murdered kinsmen and omens of death, these tales reflect the inner lives—the hopes, beliefs, and fears—of a people. Like all folklore, these tales reveal much of the history of the region: its isolation and violence, the passions and bloodshed of the Civil War era, the hardships of miners and railroad laborers, and the lingering vitality of Old World traditions.

Western Esotericism Cover

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Western Esotericism

A Concise History

A survey of Western esoteric currents since late antiquity, with an emphasis on the last six centuries. Widely received in France, this brief, comprehensive introduction to Western esotericism by the founder of the field is at last available in English. A historical and pedagogical guide, the book is written primarily for students and novices. In clear, precise language, author Antoine Faivre provides an overview of Western esoteric currents since late antiquity. The bulk of the book is laid out chronologically, from ancient and medieval sources (Alexandrian hermetism, gnosticism, neoplatonism), through the Renaissance up to the present time. Its coverage includes spiritual alchemy, Jewish and Christian Kabbalah, Christian theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Illuminism, ‘mystical’ Free-Masonry, the Occultist current, Theosophical and Anthroposophical Societies, the Traditionalist School, and ‘esotericism’ in contemporary initiatic societies and in New Religious Movements. Faivre explores how these currents are connected, and refers to where they appear in art and literature. The book concludes with an annotated bibliography, which makes it an essential resource for beginners and scholars alike.

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