An exploration of our extraordinary shift away from materialism toward renewal of the numinous, mysterious, and uncertain
• Examines topics that evoke widespread misunderstanding, including the real history of secret societies, the wisdom of the Satanic, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, out-of-body experience, and the contemporary war on witches
• Looks at the influence of the founding lights of modern occultism, including mystic Neville Goddard, occult scholar Manly P. Hall, and surrealist filmmaker David Lynch, and debunks famous pseudo-skeptics such as the Amazing Randi
• Explores magickal practices, including Anarchic Magick, mind metaphysics, the Law of Attraction, and Ouija boards, and upends hallowed spiritual concepts like forgiveness
All of us today dwell in uncertain places--realities in which thoughts make things happen, ESP is provable by the scientific methods once used to debunk it, UFOs are mainstream, and magick no longer requires rite and ritual but is as near as your own mind.
Today’s leading voice of esotericism and the occult, Mitch Horowitz explores topics that evoke widespread misunderstanding, including the real history of secret societies, the wisdom of the Satanic, the relevance of Gnosticism, and the slender but authentic connection between today’s spiritual culture and antiquity, including in areas of Hermeticism, deity worship, out-of-body experience, and magick. He demonstrates the occult roots of wide-ranging facets of modern culture, including politics, abstract art, mind-body healing, self-help, and breakthrough scientific fields such as quantum physics and neuroplasticity. He looks at the influence of the founding lights of modern occultism, including mystic Neville Goddard, occult scholar Manly P. Hall, and surrealist filmmaker David Lynch, and provides a magnificent take-down of famous debunkers and pseudo-skeptics such as the Amazing Randi. He explores magickal practices, including Anarchic Magick, mind metaphysics, the Law of Attraction, and the history of Ouija boards and questions time-honored spiritual values like forgiveness. Mitch also examines the contemporary war on witches around the world and what it is like to be blacklisted.
Offering a thought-provoking investigation of the spiritual, the occult, the magickal, and the extra-physical, Mitch lays the groundwork for readers to continue their own journeys into these esoteric streams of consciousness.
About the Author
Mitch Horowitz is a PEN Award–winning historian, longtime publishing executive, and a leading New Thought commentator with bylines in The New York Times, Time, Politico, Salon, and The Wall Street Journal and media appearances on Dateline NBC, CBS Sunday Morning, All Things Considered, and Coast to Coast AM. He is the author of several books, including Occult America and One Simple Idea. He lives in New York City.
“Treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness that is too often lost in today’s raised-voice discussions.” — Washington Post
“This book is nothing less than a masterpiece. It introduces, informs, inspires, and ignites critical thinking in a way that is unique to Horowitz’s creative mind. He is a constant source of infectious curiosity and openmindedness; no esoteric stone, small or big, is left unturned in his pursuit of new perspectives and connections. His mind and work are those of a restless rebel who provokes the stagnant and causally dull with sparks and nuggets of great wisdom. In many ways, Horowitz is the perfect mix of Manly P. Hall, Joseph Campbell, and Prometheus, eloquently carrying the torch of mythic and spiritual illumination into the twenty-first century.” — Carl Abrahamsson, author of Source Magic and Occulture
“In Uncertain Places, Mitch Horowitz achieves the impossible. He provides a crystal-clear look at topics that are drenched in the murkiest of ambiguities yet continue to fascinate every living soul. Horowitz aims a brilliantly lucid lens toward the great unwashed domain of the occult, and he magically manages to bring into view shocking truths about a realm that has always been hiding in plain sight.” — Dean Radin, Ph.D., author of Real Magic
“Mitch Horowitz is at his best when he throws new light on the hidden subtext of accepted dogma. From ‘anarchic magick’ to ‘reclaiming the damned,’ Uncertain Places stands as a sweeping reinterpretation of major themes at the sharp edge of American imagination.” — Jacques Vallée, coauthor of TRINITY: The Best-Kept Secret
“I admire Mitch Horowitz enormously. He has struggled virtually singlehandedly to get the American intelligentsia to give occult and esoteric currents the serious attention they deserve. This collection exemplifies the intelligence, sincerity, and integrity Mitch has always brought to his inquiry. He has fearlessly faced some of the most awkward subjects in his field and cast his own unique light on them. Fascinating and erudite.” — Richard Smoley, author of A Theology of Love: Reimagining Christianity through A Course in Miracles
“What a welcome guide in these uncertain times! Mitch Horowitz continues his program for bringing esoteric ideas out of the closet and into the public forum. Here he reveals the New Age for what it really is: the exoteric face of the Hermetic philosophy. Once we realize that the human mind is the extension of the divine creative power, the rest follows, like a flood sweeping away the debris of religions and anti-religions alike. To paraphrase: Mind is the ultimate arbiter of reality. All self-expression is sacred. The only evil is to prevent other beings from reaching their highest potential. We are all gods in the making, but more than gods, being forged in the crucible of the world. Even those familiar with this line of thought will relish the parade of characters, charlatans, and sages that emerge from Uncertain Places.” — Joscelyn Godwin, author of The Greater and Lesser Worlds of Robert Fludd
“Who are we? What are we? Have we ever really been entirely human? Whether or not we have or have not, if we want to make any advancement in this respect, we will have to delve into certain quagmires such as the occult and the paranormal to discover ourselves. This work is dangerous, but Mitch Horowitz has the courage to undertake it. As a bonus, his writing is very amusing.” — Peter Lamborn Wilson, author of Peacock Angel
“Here is a learned yet accessible book about the shaping power of will and intention, about the reality of an extraphysical world (or worlds), about just how wrong and stupid the debunkers and conspiracy theorists have been, and about religious belief as dissociation—the still unknown mirror in which we will someday come to recognize ourselves. Here are the ‘uncertain places’ that many of us have not yet gone but will.” — Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of The Superhumanities: Historical Precedents, Moral Objections, New Reali
“To make the density of countless esoteric teachings and life-changing mind metaphysics accessible to nearly anyone is a gift Mitch Horowitz is currently in the practice of leaving us all with.” — Jesse Draxler, American visual artist and author of Misophonia
"A fast-paced collection of essays covering a wide range of controversial topics--among them: the creative agency of the mind, the dynamic interplay of inner and outer realities, paranormal research, causality of thought, the metaphysical dimension of the human experience, and alternative spirituality. This book serves as a compass to navigate the tricky maze of occulture's house of mirrors, with its seductive dead-ends, alluring distorted images, and misinformation galore. Horowitz's essays are erudite yet accessible, persuasive and pragmatic, full of striking observation casting a new light on how we see and interpret the world." — Ferdinando Buscema, BoingBoing.nt