American Metaphysical Religion

This tag is associated with 13 posts

Willy Reichel’s Magical Mystery Tour Part 2: More Occult Wonders; The Great Earthquake

    Part travel log, part guide to colonial spiritualists, part almanac and eye witness account of history, readers in 1908 must have found shockingly exotic Willy Reichel’s book An Occultist’s Travels, with its combination of beautiful scenery, gold mines, the ruins of San Francisco, and dead friends materializing and speaking obscure dialects. Willy seemed … Continue reading

Esoteric Architecture of Washington, D.C.

Long before Dan Brown’s enigmatic bestseller The Lost Symbol popularized the idea that Masonic emblems reveal a conspiracy involving the history and design of Washington, D.C., generations of writers have speculated on the subject. Various Christian authors have developed an extensive mythology around the idea that a satanic pentagram marks the original D.C. city plan. … Continue reading

Mysteries of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor

Sexuality defines spirituality and visa versa, from the celibacy of Catholic priests and the strict rules of evangelical Christian marriages to transgressive tantric intercourse deliberately breaking taboos, human beings have struggled in vain to find a dependable universal formula for balancing sex and religion.  The men and women of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, a … Continue reading

The Queen of Hearts and the Rosicrucian Dawn

A tragic romance, a lost kingdom, an audacious hoax, the history of Elizabeth Stuart, The Bohemian Spring and The Rosicrucian Enlightenment may sound like a fairy tale but it set forces in motion that still shape our world today. In November 1572 in the constellation Cassiopeia a supernova glowed for sixteen months.  Five years later … Continue reading

The Red Harlot of Liberty: The Rise and Fall of Frances Wright

The first female in America to address mixed crowds at a public event, Frances Wright was one of the first American feminists, and female abolitionists, a champion of worker’s rights, and a sharp critic of religious institutions.  Frances was the first American to write eloquently of sexual passion as a wonderful pleasure, not a sinful … Continue reading

The Brothers Guthrie: Pagan Christianity of the Early 20th Century

 “Inspiration and Aspiration” by Solon Borglum, in the garden of St. Mark’s of the Bowery, commissioned by William Guthrie Christianity remains the most acceptable, best-known and officially sanctioned religion in America, but American Metaphysical Religion has intersected and in many ways transformed Christian belief and practice. The brothers Guthrie are an excellent example of the … Continue reading

The Eclectic Life of Alexander Wilder: Alchemical Generals, Isis Unveiled, and Early American Holistic Medicine

Alexander Wilder, pioneer of holistic medicine, helped Madame Blavatsky finish her classic book Isis Unveiled.  As a young man he was a member of the notorious Oneida cult.  As a politician and journalist he fought against slavery then helped kick Boss Tweed out of New York.  He lectured at the famous New England Transcendentalist Concord … Continue reading

The Intelligencers and the Fifth Moon of Jupiter: Alchemy in the American Colonies

Puritan alchemists founded America; sounds like bad fiction but it’s fact.  As befits a young republic, the history of the earliest origins of American Metaphysical Religion amounts to a long list of extraordinary characters, daring experiments, and unlikely friendships.  We’ll meet alchemists who persecuted witches, alchemists who were governors, and several alchemists who served as … Continue reading

The Other Betty White: A True Story of Love Beyond Death

One of America’s favorite hobbies since at least the 19th century has been attempted communication with the dead.  From backwoods cults of pre-Revolutionary days to distinguished university professors, Americans of every race and religious tradition have been preoccupied with ghostly chats. In 2012 on television the Long Island Medium delivers a message from the dead … Continue reading

Roots of American Metaphysical Religion #1: The Slacker Emperor

Prague Castle at night.  What is a Bohemian? Bohemian.  The word in English is a polite way of dismissing a beatnik, hippie, or hipster.  To say that someone is bohemian accuses them of being artistic, kooky, way out of the ordinary, probably devoted to underground arts or shady spiritual pursuits. In the early 19th century … Continue reading