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Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History, by Richard Smoley takes a step into the world of esotericism in the West. With research based heavily in the mystic traditions of Western religions, Smoley’s views are interesting and uplifting.
Much like many other esoteric spiritual writers and scholars, the attainment of self betterment is ultimately the focus. The ways in which one should reach the goal are seemingly universal. However, the “scripture” behind Smoley often differs, if in nothing else other than tone.
Smoley addresses his audience in an open, nonthreatening way. Never once does he cross the line into preachy, but consistently maintains an authoritative voice in order to adequately portray the information. Though as a collection of articles, the chapters seem difficult to connect at times; yet, in the end it all comes full circle.
Beginning with a minor exploration of meditation, Smoley leads readers through worlds that appear to be in complete opposition of the peace associated with meditation. To illustrate the importance and value of practicing meditation, he explains that it’s a way to ascertain the “scale of things.” Something readers should keep in mind as they move into later chapters dealing with the validity that prophecy holds, or doesn't; how myths function in, and with, current belief structures; as well as how all of these play into the New Age system of mind power.
Supernatural never gives a definitive conclusion to any of its topics. However, it does offer some insight on what is required in order to achieve the spiritual goal of enlightenment. Smoley’s unbiased voice and perspective makes this a good read for those interested in history, new age and/or traditional religion, or those exploring spirituality at any level.