Recommended Reading

tumblr_lohjyvzj241qlhukmo1_500This is an unabashedly biased list, and where obvious omissions occur, it is probably due to lack of exposure on my part (I don’t feel right recommending something I haven’t experienced personally and only know of by reputation). But if you see I am missing a title that is deserving of mention here and would benefit other readers, please send a message and I will get acquainted with it. You may open a whole new channel of insight for future N2 material…..

These listings are categorized as follows: Smriti (literature without acknowledged human authors, multiple authors obscured by legend, or just plain old mysterious origin), Fiction (human authors who acknowledge their stuff didn’t actually happen, at least as they recorded it), Non-Fiction (essays, commentary, illuminations and whatnot), and Poetry. I’ve also led with my “A-List,” the creme de la creme that played the largest roles in shaping my personal experience of the Avant-God. These are most emphatically NOT sorted by religion, tradition, denomination or any other -ion you can imagine.

Waldo’s A-List

SMRITI

  • The Upanishads: If I could keep only one book for the rest of my life to help keep me plugged into the upanishadsmetatheological mind when I waver, this would be it. My favorite translation is by Eknath Easwaran; his commentary is first-rate. It is sold in a nice set along with the Bhagavad-Gita and Dhammapada. So, naturally….
  • The Bhagavad-Gita: The book that inspired Gandhi. Easwaran’s is excellent, though I’m loyal to the translation by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood that contains Huxley’s introduction. Not certain if this one is still in print.
  • Dhammapada: original teachings of Gautama Buddha
  • New King James Version of the Bible: This is the version I almost always use for quotes. It retains a lot of the power and poetry of the KJV, but without the overwhelming Middle English terminology that will make your hair hurt trying to read.
  • Tao Te Ching: The definitive source of Taoist wisdom. Stephen Mitchell’s translation has long been my favorite.
  • Principia Discordia: Purportedly written by two people (one of whom may or may not have been Robert Anton Wilson) after a mystical experience they shared in a bowling alley in Whittier, California in the late 1950s. It’s OK to laugh, in fact you won’t understand it if you don’t. But don’t sell it short because of its irreverence; there is a lot of solid, mostly Eastern wisdom in this book, especially on the dangers of taking oneself too seriously.HOWL-1350

FICTION

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig: The one that got me started down the Avant-God path. Following a recommendation of a very trusted friend, I picked this up at Olsson’s Books and Records in Georgetown, Washington DC on 29 February, 1992 (the receipt is taped to the inside of the front cover), and I have never been the same since. Pirsig’s arrival at the Tao through exploration of “Quality” is masterful DIY metatheology in action.
  • Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger: Shortly after ZMM, the same friend intro’d me to J.D. Following his bombardment of publicity with the success of Catcher in the Rye, Salinger famously retreated to a hermetic life in New Hampshire. But he also became an avid student of Vedanta, and this is his greatest testimony. You’ll never see Christ (or the Fat Lady) the same way again.
  • illuminatusThe Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea: This book won’t teach you metatheology so much as it will throw a hand grenade into your mind and blow it open, toppling walls you didn’t know you had, leaving you free to venture out and explore. A classic example of imagination channeled to serve the purpose of Truth-seeking.
  • The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac: I know. I get all the criticism from a Buddhist perspective, its being “spiritually crude and lacking seriousness,” according to Wiki. But many will say the same about me so I can’t bury it just for that. And I have to include Kerouac somewhere on this list since we are such close soul-brothers. His “empty and awake” motif gives Fly Above the Storm so much of its unique flavor, and beyond that, I find this a good first-hand account of what was going on out West as the beatniks tried, however unsuccessfully in most cases, to learn Buddhism in the 1950s, and how that dovetailed into the consciousness movements of the 60s and 70s.
  • The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis: When this was made into a movie, Christians poured a great deal of energy into vilifying “Hollywood” for portraying Christ as someone who had the capacity to lust for Mary Magdalene and wish for a simple family life with her over crucifixion, and for casting Judas Iscariot in an almost heroic role. I bet few if any of the protesters realized the movie was based on a novel by a devout Christian. More than these contrasts, it was his re-visions of some of Christ’s parables that moved me so, and influenced the writing of The Continuing Story of Ananias and Saphirra in his avant-god tradition.

Reader-is-sexyNON-FICTION

  • The Supreme Identity by Alan Watts: I could include so many Watts titles here; others would include The Joyous Cosmology, Psychotherapy East and West, Beyond Theology: the Art of Godmanship, and Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown. But Supreme Identity was probably his most scholarly work, and may have had the single most profound influence on snapping me out of the trap of binary logic. I read it feverishly while pumping gas on the graveyeard shift through a winter in Oregon, 2003-04. Tops of this very elite list.
  • The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley:  There’s a whole page devoted to this volume elsewhere, but I can’t overstate the importance of Huxley’s work to me personally and to the modern student of the Avant-God in general. It’s no exaggeration to say that Not Two exists only because PP did first.
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell: Like Watts, I really should just promote the whole catalog of his work, maybe even moreso in this case. Campbell drove home to me the notion that one can leave behind devotion to a spiritual path or faith without losing reverence for it, and in fact that reverence may grow as it becomes part of a universal experience. Some of my foundational statements on this site, such as the opening paragraph on the homepage and the poem “Metaphysicis,” come direct from Campbell’s influence.
  • christ taoChrist the Eternal Tao by Hieromonk Damascene: Another book I found during the seminal time in Ashland, this was my introduction to the very potent mysticism of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, and a luminous work of synthesis between this and classical Taoism. Despite the numerous protests against being seen as a work of syncretism (methinks he doth protest too much, actually), it is hard to take it any other way, and it made me want to reach through the pages, embrace the northern Californian monk who wrote it, and say “IT’S OK, IT’S OK!”
  • The Way of Chuang Tzu, edited by Thomas Merton: This pocket-sized entry from Shambhala is kind of a double-dose of awesome, with Merton’s insights as an introduction and his sensitive translation of one of classic Taoism’s masters as a great main course. More anecdotal and parable-driven than Tao Te Ching, for those who, like me, are more responsive to such.
  • The Pocket Thomas Merton: This compendium of some of the highlights of Merton’s vast body of work provided most of the passages that found their way into Fly Above the Storm (even though it was published after 2001, a fact I eluded by not mentioning the book by name). Truth was I didn’t open it until I was deep into writing FATS in 2012, and I was immediately sad that I had waited so long to get acquainted with this amazing modern Catholic mystic. Perfect tiny doses of insight you can carry in a purse or shirt pocket for immediate access when needed.
  • The Essential Kabbalah: the Heart of Jewish Mysticism by Daniel C. Matt: I had forgotten about this excellent compilation volume until just now, but it was an invaluable source for me back in the mid-00s when I was seeking to learn about Judaism’s contribution to the world’s metatheological heritage –which is actually quite large.
  • a5a6081aac48fea2e0cb54571b407ea0Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia by Rob Brezsny: I’ll admit, I picked this up recently after dabbling in it at a friend’s house years ago, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of it. But this is the kind of book where you can open to any random page and mine a precious gem, and each of the few times I’ve tried this lately, I have. I am familiar with Brezsny’s writing style from his Free Will Astrology column and his frequent Facebook posts, and he is truly a contemporary giant in this field and one of my favorite folks. I’d be remiss in leaving Pronoia off the list.
  • The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy: We don’t have a whole lot in common beyond this, but Tolstoy and I both became anarchists and pacifists as a result of exposure to Christ’s teachings. So I knew this title would be right up my alley when I was looking to learn more about Christian anarchism. It can get a little repetitive, but the piercing clarity of Tolstoy’s insights on non-resistance of evil makes it a very worthy read, and a deep challenge to the prevailing form of Christianity in all eras.
  • Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief by Andrew Newberg, Eugene D’aquili and Vince Rause: (JP’s pick) This has been a steady, silent influence on me for longer than most of these titles. In 2001, within a couple months after September 11, I was in a doctor’s waiting room and stumbled over an article about this in, of all places, Reader’s Digest. At that time, I had run the full cycle through the early fascination with Buddhism and Taoism in the early ’90s, the lateral drift in the mid to late ’90s stemming from the disappointment that my life didn’t completely change, and the inner upheaval of 9/11 bringing the search for meaning back to the forefront. My wife and I had been dabbling on the fringe of a typical laid back west coast-atmosphere church in San Luis Obispo, CA with an alt-rock worship service, both knowing we didn’t feel like Christians but that there was an energy there that we liked, and that for the first time a “Western” spiritual tradition was translating into an Eastern context and making some sense. After I read this book in early 2002, it all made sense. Their in-depth study of “the neurology of transcendence” comes to some incredible conclusions, such as this gem from their final chapter:

“The same brain that inclines us toward egotistic excess also provides the machinery with which the ego can be transcended. In these transcendent states, whatever their ultimate spiritual nature may be, suspicion and dissension disappear into the peace and love of an indescribable unity. The transforming power of these unitary states is what makes mysticism our most practical and effective hope for improving human behavior.”

This was the first time I had received external corroboration for the idea that all religions are true due to the truth being pre-verbal, and that metaphors are the way we convey this truth that we experience directly. To see this portrayed in the technical terms of neuroscience was challenging and a little scary (for as the back cover says, “Did God Create the Brain or Did the Brain Create God?”) Their answers, I recall, were the best validation possible, and set the table for everything that would follow.

  • Red Hot and Holy: A Heretic’s Love Story by Sera Beak: I am almost all the way through this now. In all honesty, Sera is much cooler than I am (and I mean that sincerely because it is true, based on the contents of her biography), and writes to an audience that is younger and hipper than myself. The fact that she does this with as much integrity and urgency as she does is reason enough for me to recommend this. Her impassioned pursuit of a life dedicated to the Divine Feminine also makes her a much-needed role model and spokeswoman for an aspect of mysticism neglected for far too long.

POETRY

  • Reading-is-sexy-hunk1Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: Similar to the Upanishads, this is the volume I would keep if I had to narrow my poetry repertoire down to a single source, and even that really boils down to “Song of the Open Road.” Sure, I’m a little typecast as the person who would fall in love with that, but in my mind, nothing has ever evoked the Savior-Friend-Guru avatar, without mentioning it in any way, quite like the last stanzas of “Open Road” did when I first read it in Ashland in 2004. And “Song of Myself?” That is not a poem about Walt Whitman.
  • The Book of Love, Rumi, “translated” by Coleman Barks: Together with The Essential Rumi and the Daniel Ladinsky volumes noted below, this was my segue into Sufi poetry, and even more than Whitman, kickstarted my efforts at writing poetry in 2004. Neither Barks nor Ladinsky are translators in the technical sense, as can be explained at Barks’ Wiki page. But I’m not one to let that bother me –if what I am reading is the manifestation of the influence of Rumi on a modern poet more than a word for word translation, that speaks all the more to his influence through the ages. Because a lot of these poems kick serious mystic ass.
  • The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, and Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from East and West, by Daniel Ladinsky: Same story here, except I think Ladinsky went even a little further and composed some original poetry in these volumes too. That disappointed me a little, especially in the compilation of what should be twelve diverse voices speaking metatheological Truth, and ends up all sounding a lot like the voice of Daniel Ladinsky. But again, it is a beautiful voice, and the influence is clear when traced back to the source material provided by other translators. This just speaks in a more modern tongue, and I have no problem with that –that’s what the Avant-God does!
  • topless-1Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God: Yet another discovery made in the Upper Room Coffee House (may it rest in peace) in Ashland. Rilke’s poem that begins with the line “Sometimes a man stands up during supper” has haunted me for years, as I noted here. Beware: there is that kind of power in these pages….
  • Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems, translated by Robert Bly and Jane Hirschfield: It is a telling shame that I have to go all the way down a pretty substantial list before noting a female author. That isn’t because I’ve ignored them either; historically, there just haven’t been that many voices of prominence. Mirabai (Meera) and Rabi’ah are notable exceptions from the Hindu and Sufi lineage respectively, and their poems stand among the best I’ve read.

OTHER NOTABLES

FICTION

  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

NON-FICTION

  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren

OTHER USEFUL READING LISTS

A Comprehensive List of Pantheist
& Spiritual Naturalist Books

Compiled by Poffo Ortiz

Astronomy:
• The Planets: A Journey Through the Solar System by G. Sparow
• Hubble: Imaging Space and Time by D. Devorkin


Biology:
• What is Life, Mind & Matter by E. Schrodinger
• The Human Age – The World Shaped by Us by D. Ackerman


Cosmology:
• The Hidden Reality by B. Greene
• The Dancing Wu Li Masters by G. Zukav
• The Whole Shebang by T. Ferris
• The Trouble with Physics by L. Smolin
• Cosmos by C. Sagan
• Einstein: His Life and Universe by W. Isaacson
• The Life of the Cosmos by L. Smolin
• Pale Blue Dot by C. Sagan


Evolution:
• The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by E. Kolbert
• The Vital Question: Energy Evolution & Origins Of Complex Life by N. Lane
• Lone Survivors: How came to be the only humans by G. Stringer
• On Human Nature by E.O. Wilson
• Evolution – A view from the 21st Century by J. Shapiro
• Evolution the Extended Synthesis ed. M. Pigliucci


Nature:
• On Golden Pond by D. Thoreau
• The Forest Unseen – A Years Watch in Nature by D. Haskell
• The Future of Life by E.O. Wilson
• The Amateur Naturalist by H. Mersmann
• 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by J. Randers
• The Great Work by T. Berry
• Planet Earth: As You’ve Never Seen It Before by A. Fothergill
• The curious Naturalist – National Geographic by Nat. Geo.
• The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books by J. Muir
• Love of Nature by D.T. Suzuki


Philosophy:
• The Problems of Philosophy by B. Russell
• Why does the World Exist by J. Holt
• The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza by M. Stewart
• The Wisdom of Life & Counsels & Maxims by A. Schopenhauer
• Giordano Bruno: Philosopher & Heretic by I.D. Rowland
• Dialogues and Essays by Seneca
• Examined Life by N. Norzick
• The story of Philosophy by W. Durant
• Ethics by B. Spinoza
• Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by D. Dennett
• The Philosophy of Schopenhauer by B. Magee
• Basic Writings of Nietzsche by F. Nietzsche
• Discourses, Fragments, Handbook by Epictetus
• Essays and Aphorisms by A. Schopenhauer
• World As I See It by A. Einstein
• Ideas and Opinions by A. Einstein
• The Age of Reason by T. Paine
• Common Sense by T. Paine
• Rights of Man by T. Paine
• Beyond Good and Evil by F. Nietzsche
• On the Genealogy of Morality by F. Nietzsche
• The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts
• The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious by Carl Jung


Spirituality:
• The Book by A. Watts
• The Power of Now by E. Tolle
• Buddhism Without Beliefs by S. Bachelor
• How Long is Now by T. Freke
• Nature, Man and Woman by A. Watts
• The Seat of the Soul by G. Zukav
• Waking Up by S. Harris
• The Perennial Philosophy by A. Huxley
• The Future of Man by T. De Chardin
• The Mystery Experience by T. Freke
• The Phenomenon of Man by T. De Chardin
• The Hero with a Thousand Faces by J. Campbell
• Does it Matter by A. Watts
• Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology by D. Abram
• Meister Eckhart – The Essential Writings by M. Eckhart
• The Spell of the Sensuous by D. Abram
• Pathways to Bliss by J. Campbell
• Behold the Spirit – A Story in Necessity of Mystical by A. Watts
• Partnering with Nature: The Wild Path Reconnecting by C. MacGregor
• Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path by S. Ingerman
• The Sacred Depths of Nature by U. Goodenough
• Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist by S.A. Russell
• The End of Faith by S. Harris
• When God Is Gone.. Making a Religious Naturalist by C. Raymo
• The Book of One: The Spiritual Path of Advaita by D. Waite
• A New Earth – Awakening to your Life’s Purpose by E. Tolle
• The Heart of Buddha’s Teachings by T.N. Hanh
• The Way of Zen by A. Watts
• Become what you Are by A. Watts
• Alone with Others An Existential Aproach Buddhism by S. Batchelor
• What is Tao by A. Watts
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by S. Suzuki
• Nothing Special – Living Zen by C. Joko Beck
• Each Moment is the Universe by D. Katagiri
• The Essence of Vedanta by B. Hodgkkinson
• Bhaagavad Gita and its Message by S. Aurobindo
• Awakening to the Dream by L. Hartong
Universe and the Mind
• The Self-Actualizing Cosmos by E. Laszlo
• Dawn of the Akashic Age by E. Laszlo
• Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of Great Physicists by K. Wilber
• Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness by N. Humphrey
• Brain Wars by M. Beauregard
• The Self Illusion by B. Hood
• Mind and Cosmos by T. Nagel
• Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter by T. Deacon
• Web of Life: Scientific Understanding Living Systems by F. Capra
• The Ego Tunnel by T. Metzinger
• How the Mind Works by S. Pinker
• God Is Not Dead: What Quantum Physics Tells Us by A. Goswami
• Quantum Shift in the Global Brain by E. Laszlo
• The Cosmic Jackpot by P. Davies
• Quantum Enigma by B. Rosenblum
• Entangled Minds by D. Radin
• Transcending the Levels of Consciousness by D. Hawkins
• Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of Near Death Experience by P. Lommel
• The Spiritual Universe by F. Wolf
• The Self-Aware Universe by A. Goswami
• The Holographic Universe by M. Talbot
• Tao of Physics by F. Capra

“Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius
“The Meaning of Relativity” by Albert Einstein
\”On Certainty” by Ludwig Wittgenstein
“The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” by William Blake
“The Life of Reason” by George Santayana
“The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious” by Carl Jung
“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau
“Faust” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Love of Nature” by D.T. Suzuki
“Cause, Principle and Unity” by Giordano Bruno
“The Philosophy of History” by Hegel
“Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” by Richard Bach
“The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle
“A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle
“Science of Mind” by Ernest Holmes
“Conversations with God” by Donald Neale Walsch
“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
“The Prophet” by Kahil Kabran
“Change your thoughts change your life” by Wayne Dyer
“On Having No Head” by Douglas E. Harding
“Return To The Sacred” by Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
“Elements of Pantheism” by Paul Harrison
“Gaia:  A New Look at Life on Earth” by James Lovelock
“Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity” by Michael P. Levine

Poetry:
Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Rumi, Robinson Jeffers, William Wordsworth, John Muir

** Pantheist Experiences **

“Dark Green Religion Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future” by Bron Taylor. University of California Press, 2009. In this innovative and deeply felt work, Bron Taylor examines the evolution of “green religions” in North America and beyond: spiritual practices that hold nature as sacred and have in many cases replaced traditional religions.

“The Soul Unearthed, Celebrating Wildness & Personal Renewal Through Nature” edited by Cass Adams, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1996. Over 60 stories, poems, and essays examine how wilderness affects us spiritually. The anthology approaches wilderness as a place of worship.

“Cosmic Consciousness” by Richard M. Bucke, rev. ed. Dutton, 1959.
Interesting proposal that historical religious leaders, and certain individuals such as Whitman and Emerson, experienced “cosmic consciousness”, and that their teachings should be understood in that light.

“The Sacred Balance, Rediscovering Our Place in Nature” by David Suzuki with Amanda McConell. New York: Prometheus Books, 1998. An acclaimed geneticist artfully explains the diverse web of life, our kinship with other species, and declares “Nature is the ultimate source of our inspiration, of our sense of belonging, of our hope that life will survive long after we are gone. In order to realize this hope, we must learn to regard the planet as sacred.”

“A Walk Through Time, From Stardust to Us, The Evolution of Life on Earth” by Sidney Liebees, Elisabet Sahtouris, & Brian Swimme. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998. A richly illustrated account of evolution within the immensity of geologic time. Author Liebes asks “Is it possible that a sense of awe, wonder and humility, of origins, place, possibilities, and recovery of a belief in the sacredness of nature, can, and perhaps must, become operational imperatives in guiding humanity into the future?”

“This Sacred Earth, Religion, Nature, Environment” edited by Rodger Gottlieb, New York: Routledge, 1996. The 75 selections from historical and contemporary writers, naturalists, theologians, and others examine relations between ecology, religion, and society. The book is described as “an introduction to the theory and practice of religious environmentalism.”

“Earth Festivals” by Dolores LaChappelle, Finn Hill, Silverton, 1977.
A compilation of seasonal celebrations, especially for children, drawn from various cultures but primarily Amerindian.

“Earth Wisdom” by Dolores LaChappelle, Finn Hill, Silverton, 1977.
Fascinating appraisal of the failure of Civilization, with a solid analysis of the benefits of primal cultures and Paleolithic religious views.

“The Sacred Earth: Writers on Nature & Spirit”
Editor, Jason Gardener, Novato, California: New World Library, 1998.
A splendid collection of excerpts and quotations from more than 60 mostly contemporary writers which aims “to rediscover and reconnect our spirituality with the natural world.” With a forward by David Brower.

“Cosmic Humanism and World Unity” by Oliver L. Reiser.
A discussion of what the author calls “cosmic humanism” but defines as a pantheist theology, resting heavily upon a scientifically consistent view of the universe.

“The Beginning and the End, and Other Poems” by Robinson Jeffers, Random House, 1963. Poems by one of the few twentieth-century poets to celebrate the entire biotic community – yet, unlike the romantic poets, for Jeffers, Nature is the center of value, not merely an illustrious backdrop for sentimental Man. His earlier philosophy of “Inhumanism” later evolved into a scientific pantheism.

“The Earth Speaks” Edited by Steve Van Matre & Bill Weiler, 1983.
A collection of inspirational poems, essays, and drawings on the topics of “Earth Magic”, “Earth Wisdom”, and “Earth Spirit,” by well-known authors.

“Green Space, Green Time, The Way of Science” by Connie Barlow New York: Copernicus, 1997. The author describes how some of today’s leading scientists and philosophers are working to reunite knowledge of the world with a sense of the sacred. Barlow states “the ecoreligious revolution is unfolding along five distinct-but not mutually exclusive-paths.” These paths include the greening of traditional beliefs, retrieving ancient faiths, meditation, mysticism, and science. Science can “nurture reverence for the natural world…and promote beautiful acts of a decidedly green hue.”

“The Sacred Depths of Nature” by Ursula Goodenough, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. An articulate biology professor strives to “reconcile the modern scientific understanding of reality with our timeless spiritual yearnings for reverence and continuity.” The author examines evolution, emotions, sexuality, death and other topics through the lens of science and then focuses on religious emotions elicited by the findings of science. Goddenough describes herself as a “religious naturalist,” yet she observes that God may be apprehended “as a pantheistic-inherent in all things.”

“The Pantheist World View”, Universal Pantheist Society, Big Pine, 1979.
This booklet describes for the general reader the philosophy and, more importantly, the life-style of modern Pantheism.

** Pantheist Ethics & Lifestyle **

“The Little Green Book: A guide to Self-Reliant Living in the 80’s” by John Lobell, Shambhala Books, 1981. This book is a useful guide for consciously ordering your everyday life to minimize impact on the biosphere. Topics covered include food and diet, healing, education, housing, energy, gardening, consuming, and more.

“The Greening of Faith, God, the Environment, and the Good Life” edited by John E. Carrrol, University Press of New England, 1997. An anthology by writers of various faiths call on us “to awaken from our benumbed and bewitched state” which allows such rampant environmental degradation. “A profound sense of sacredness throughout nature” can help us recognize our responsibility to protect biodiversity.

“How to be a Survivor” by Paul Ehrlich & Richard Harriman, Ballantine, 1971.
A doomsday approach is scary and arguably not persuasive (and certainly not inspirational), but this book nonetheless describes the kind of changes of thinking and behavior which are necessary on the part of both individuals and society if we are to survive the ecological crisis.

“Diet for a Small Planet” 10th Anniversary edited by Frances Moore Lappe, Ballantine, 1981. The classic has been updated, containing the author’s prognosis of the world hunger situation and the continuing need for eating “lower on the food chain”; the recipes have been made easier, more varied, and tastier.

“The Integral Urban House” by Helga Olkowski, Sierra Club Books, 1979.
A description of how even urban living can be made compatible with ecological realities.

“The Rights of Nature, A History of Environmental Ethics” by Roderick Nash, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989. An overview of philosophical and religious beliefs regarding Nature. An informative chapter detailing “the greening of religion,” makes a specific reference to the Universal Pantheist Society.

“Voluntary Simplicity” by Duane Elgin, Bantam Books, 1982.
Explores the psychological, spiritual, and ecological arguments for a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity. Not a “how to” book; but a “why to.”

** Pantheist Philosophy **

“Accepting the Universe” by John Burroughs, Houghton Mifflin, 1920.
An excellent discussion by one of America’s foremost naturalists of the reality of Nature and man’s place in it; Burroughs forthrightly identifies Pantheism as the best solution to the problem of having a religion based on truth not superstition.

“The Riddle of the Universe” by Ernst Haeckel, (translated from the German by Joseph McCabe) Harper & Brothers, New York, 1900. A superb analysis by the scientist who coined the term “ecology”, who advocated modern Pantheism as a religious form consistent with science but rejecting the dualistic world-view which separates Deity from Nature.

“The Universe and Me” by D.H. Lawrence in Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D.H. Lawrence , Viking Press, 1964.
This is only a lengthy paragraph, but succinctly encompasses the meaning of modern Pantheism in poetic prose.

“The Death of Pan,” by D.H. Lawrence, Ibid.
This essay describes the religious problem of modern America and Europe as being the feeling that Pan is dead; Lawrence advocates a return to Pantheism.

“If You Don’t Mind My Saying So” by Joseph Wood Krutch, in American Scholar Spring, 1970. A well-known essayist and naturalist writes on “Trust in Wildness” as the faith needed in the twentieth century, and expressly recognizes this as a form of Pantheism; but carefully distinguishes it from the Romantic fallacies of the 18th and 19th centuries.

“God & Belief: The Pantheist Alternative” by Irv Thomas, Universal Pantheist Society, 1986. This booklet describes the often-neglected pantheist alternative to both atheism and theism, with special attention to the problems of both the nihilism of atheism and the fallacy of an anthropomorphic masculine deity.

“An Ecological and Evolutionary Ethic” by Daniel G. Kozlovsky, Prentice Hall, 1974. Provocative application of ecological science and philosophy to the problems of ethics and spirituality in a series of brief, one-or two page capsule essays.

“Environmental Philosophy from Animal Rights to Radical Ecology” by Michael E. Zimmerman, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1998.
A rich collection, edited by leading environmental philosophers, includes sections on environmental ethics, deep ecology, ecofeminism, and political ecology.

“The Lost Gospel of the Earth” by Tom Hayden, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996. A longtime activist, environmentalist, and politician argues that the displacement of tribal religions by monotheism contributed to the environmental crisis. Hayden explores ways people can again live in kinship with a sacred natural world.

“Deep Ecology: Living as If Nature Mattered” by Bill Devall and George Sessions, Peregrine Smith, 1985.
An exhaustive description of the various ideas and people who best posit the idea that more than mere environmentalism, what humankind needs is a radical re-thinking of Man – Nature relationships.

“The Universe is a Green Dragon” by Briane Swimme, Bear & Co., Santa Fe, 1985. A parable explaining the ‘New cosmic creation story’ – a poetic celebration of basic scientific and spiritual principles. Useful for introducing non-Pantheists to a new world view compatible with that of modern Pantheism.

“Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn
A parable wherein a captive lowland gorilla explains the lie that has held people of our culture captive. The lie is what Pantheists know as anthropocentrism. The solution begins with understanding why our culture has fallen into that lie.

** Pantheist History **

“Pantheism: Its Story and Significance” by James Picton, Constable, 1905
Rather old-fashioned account of the history of Pantheism; nonetheless valuable for its description of the variety of sources contributing to a Pantheist world-view. UPS publishes Picton’s chart on the Evolution of Religions, showing Pantheism as the ultimate and enlightened completion of what began as mere animism.

“General Sketch of the History of Pantheism” by Constance Plumptre, 1878.
Another old-fashioned work, valuable only for its historical perspective.

“Ethics” by Benedict de Spinoza, E.P. Dutton, 1910.
Formidible reading; but no list of Pantheist thought can be complete without the leading publication by the founder of western Pantheism.

“The Idea of Wilderness from Prehistory to the Age of Ecology” by Max Oelschlaeger, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.
A sweeping scholarly account of our relationship with Nature which includes many direct and indirect references to pantheism, particularly in the examination of Paleolithic religion and in the discussion of Muir and Jeffers.

“Pantheism and the Value of Life” by William Urquhart, Epworth Press, 1919.
Another thick old book, useful to gain a view of Pantheism as deeply imbedded in western philosophy.

“Pantheism: Its Story and Significance” by James Picton, Constable, 1905
Rather old-fashioned account of the history of Pantheism; nonetheless valuable for its description of the variety of sources contributing to a Pantheist world-view. UPS publishes Picton’s chart on the Evolution of Religions, showing Pantheism as the ultimate and enlightened completion of what began as mere animism.

Digital StillCamera

“Pantheism and the Value of Life” by William Urquhart, Epworth Press, 1919.
Another thick old book, useful to gain a view of Pantheism as deeply imbedded in western philosophy.

** Pantheist Ethics **

“A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold.
Written in the 1940’s, a classic by one of the first persons to write popularly on the ecological perspective. His essay on “The Land Ethic” provides the foundation for most modern environmental philosophy.

“The Invisible Pyramid” by Loren Eisely, Scribners & Sons, 1970.
Poetic, magical prose showing what man has lost by forgetting natural values.

“Between Animal and Man” by Michael W. Fox.
A veterinarian and humane society activist, Dr.Fox describes the scientific and philosophical reasons of why man needs to have a better relationship with other animals.

“Exploring New Ethics for Survival” by Garrett Hardin, Viking Press, 1972.
A disturbing, thought-provoking book; often funny yet scary; you may not agree with everything Hardin says but you cannot ignore his facts.

“Replenish the Earth” by G. Tyler Miller, Wadsworth, 1972.
Describes several alternative approaches to an environmental ethic; Miller points out the derivation of environmental ethics is not as important as getting on with the business of actually developing that ethic.

** Pantheist Worship **

“The Place No One Knew” edited by David Brower, Sierra Club, 1963.
Eliot Porter photography combined with quotations about the value of wilderness: see especially the second part of the book, “The Idea”.

“The Desert Year” by Joseph Wood Krutch, William Morrow & Co, 1952.
Essays about the desert illustrate the meaning a Pantheist derives from nature.

“Baja California & The Geography of Hope” by Joseph Wood Krutch, Sierra Club, 1967. More Eliot Porter photographs, with excerpts from Krutch’s many books, offering perhaps the best anthology of Krutch’s pantheistic religious views on the meaning of man and nature.

“Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey, Ballantine Books, 1968.
A modern classic; Abbey describes himself as “not an atheist but an eartheist.”

“John of the Mountains” edited by Linnie Marsh Wolfe, Houghton Mifflin, 1966. All of John Muir’s writings are infused with Pantheism; this collection from his journals represent his most “religious” writing.

“Temple Wilderness, A Collection of Thoughts and Images On Our Spiritual Bond with the Earth” edited by Tom Petrie, Willow Creek Press, 1996.
Nature photography and quotations of past and present writers, poets, theologians, and others from around the world. The compilation contains a number of pantheistic passages and strives for “a higher understanding of the spiritual connection between humankind and the Earth.”

“Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth” by James Lovelock, Oxford Univ. Press, 1979. This increasingly influential book advocates a view of the Earth as a single, self-regulating organism, with the non-living environment being described as intimately related to and even regulated by the living biosphere.

** Comparative Religion **

“Religion Without Revelation” by Julian Huxley, New American Library, 1957. The author, usually thought of as an atheist, affirms that religion is necessary to mankind, but that it need not be based upon superstition but upon intelligence and can be made compatible with the scientific method.

“Original Blessing” by Matthew Fox, Inst. for Creation Spirituality, 1984.
This ex-Dominican theologian argues for a Christian spirituality which celebrates passion, playfulness, and ourselves as part of the earth process. He contrasts this “Creation spirituality” with the historically predominant “Fall/Redemption spirituality.”

“The Upanishads: The Breath of the Eternal” edited by Swami Prabhavananda & Frederick Manchester, New American Library, 1957. The original texts of Hinduism translated from the Sanskrit, meditate on the unity of self and the All.

“Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tzu, translated by R.B. Blakney, New American Library, 1955. The basic text of Taoism, filled with wisdom of the awareness of the Universe of the ancient Chinese.

“The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess” by Starhawk, Harper & Row, 1979. A book about Wicca, or Witchcraft ( not Satanism), the pre-Christian form of paganism practiced by agricultural people of Europe, currently regaining popularity especially in feminist circles.

“The Book of the Vision Quest” by Steven Foster, Island Press, 1980.
Not merely insights, but “personal transformation” to be achieved in the Wilderness, derived from the fundamentals of Amerindian religion.

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