The State of the Occult: 2013 (Richard Smoley and Mitch Horowitz)
Reality Sandwich asked two of our leading occult scholars, Richard Smoley and Mitch Horowitz, to share their observations about the current state of mysticism in America, and where they see the field heading in the future.
Mitch Horowitz: One of my privileges as a publisher is to work on things that I personally want to read. And I have noticed over the past several years you've been producing an output of very high-quality articles and essays on occult and esoteric subjects, and I've found that you have the ability to move in and out of a subject with deftness and speed, while at the same time taking a panoramic look at it. So, I first wanted to ask you: Do you think terms such as occult or New Age have a place in the 21st century?
Richard Smoley: I certainly do. I think in fact a lot of what was considered New Age or occult has become so much a part of the mainstream that we don't recognize it as such anymore -- simple things like focusing on the present moment, mindfulness, awareness, focusing on the breath. These are becoming part of the mass culture, and you see people joking about them as if they're just part of the current scene now. But these were all really esoteric things not so long ago. Or, to take another example, the idea of changing reality by changing your mind -- that's a subject that's of interest to you because it's the subject of the new book you're working on.