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By Catherine L. Albanese

This path-breaking ebook tells the tale of yankee metaphysical faith extra absolutely than it has ever been informed earlier than, alongside the best way considerably revising the landscape of yank non secular heritage. Catherine L. Albanese follows metaphysical traditions from Renaissance Europe to England after which the USA, the place they've got flourished from colonial days to the twenty-first century, mixing usually with African, local American, and different cultural elements.The ebook follows evolving types of metaphysical faith, together with Freemasonry, early Mormonism, Universalism, and Transcendentalism—and such extra incarnations as Spiritualism, Theosophy, New suggestion, Christian technology, and reinvented models of Asian rules and practices. carrying on with into the 20 th century and after, the ebook exhibits  how the metaphysical combine has broadened to surround flying saucers task, channeling, and chakras within the  New Age movement—and a wider new spirituality within the current. In its personal approach, Albanese argues, American metaphysical faith has been as energetic, persuasive, and influential because the evangelical culture that's extra frequently the point of interest of non secular students’ awareness. She makes the case that as a result of its combinative nature—its skill to include differing ideals and practices—metaphysical faith deals key insights into the heritage of all American religions.

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By contrast, argues Schipperges, a series of deutero-Paracelsian writings and followers spiritualized the concrete arcana away. ’’ Reading between the lines of the Schipperges complaint, what emerges clearly is that the Paracelsists carried the thought of their master into a patently Hermetic and magical world in which healing concerns became increasingly metaphysicalized. In this new ‘‘Paracelsian’’ world, the body of matter became so impregnated by spirit that it reproduced not a direct contact with almighty Nature but instead the mediations that led on an upward path to mind and illuminated knowing .

4 Professional scholars of the Hermetic tradition underline the abiding importance of Hermes and Hermetic literature for western European culture and its offshoots. That the Hermetic texts were ‘‘translated prior to those of Plato’’ testified to the ‘‘interest they aroused and to the importance attributed to them even before they could be read,’’ according to Antoine Faivre. Many years earlier, Frances A. Yates said the same. ’’ ‘‘Egypt was before Greece; Hermes was earlier than Plato. ’’ 5 In the centuries that ensued, Hermes and his lore would continue to inspire a small army of devotees and, as we will see, the Hermetic writings made their way out of the closed world of high cultural texts and into the vernacular culture of the West.

27 hermes of the north So far I have been arguing that Hermeticism and its attendant arts such as alchemy acquired a distinctive, if broad and complex, shape as they passed into and out of the European Renaissance. I have hinted, too, that these acquisitions as well as the inherent combinativeness of Hermeticism—alongside its themes of correspondence, mind, energy, and salvation (healing)—had much to do with what took form in the nineteenth-century United States as metaphysical religion. However, as the Renaissance waned and a later era dawned, there were other important carriers for the Hermetic cultural cargo that traveled to England and its North American colonies.

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