The American witch panic of 1692

The American witch panic began in Salem, MA in 1692, over an exceptionally raw winter, after a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man executed by being crushed to death. Stacy Schiff is the author of the new book, The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem. Stacy won the Pulitzer Prize for her book Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov). The recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in New York City.

A Way to God

Matthew Fox is the author of the new book, A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey. Thomas Merton was an American Catholic writer and mystic, a poet, social activist, student of comparative religion, and a proponent of interfaith understanding. Merton’s marriage of mysticism and prophecy, contemplation and action closely paralleled that of Meister Eckhart, the thirteenth-century mystic. Fox creates a methodology for understanding the vast and deep contributions that Merton made to the history of spirituality. He is an internationally acclaimed theologian and spiritual maverick who has spent the past forty years revolutionizing Christian theology, taking on patriarchal religion, and advocating for a creation-centered spirituality of compassion, justice, and resacralizing of the earth.

The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic

Thomas Hatsis is the author of the new book The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic. Exploring the untold history of the witches’ ointment and medieval hallucinogen use, Thomas reveals how the Church transformed folk drug practices—specifically entheogenic ones—into satanic experiences. Thomas is a historian of witchcraft, magic, Western religions, contemporary psychedelia, entheogens, and medieval pharmacopeia.

Aya: A Shamanic Journey

Rak Razam is the author of Aya: A Shamanic Odyssey. Rak is a frequent lecturer on the shamanic revival sweeping the West, and is the co-director for the Aya: Awakenings film. He has been hosting dynamic speaking engagements, panel facilitation and lectures across Australia and North America for the past five years, weaving together the New Age, counterculture and progressive thought, and he has been called one of the leading spokespersons for the new paradigm. A prolific media maker and networker, he hosts the popular podcast show, “In a Perfect World.”

Buddha and the Quantum: Hearing the Voice of Every Cell

Samuel Avery is author of Buddha and the Quantum: Hearing the Voice of Every Cell. Sam holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in religion and he has taught university level courses. He has practiced meditation daily for forty-one years. Samuel has written a series of articles and books on the relationship of physics and consciousness to each other, including the books Transcendence of the Western Mind and The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness. Since 1973 he has lived with his wife on a small farm on the banks of the Nolin River in central Kentucky.

The 12-Step Buddhist

Darren Littlejohn is the author of The 12-Step Buddhist. Darren has the personal experience of living the life of a full-time addict. After taking the rough road of recovery, he went on to earn a BA in Psychology, and became a practitioner of Zen and several systems of Tibetan Buddhism, including Vajrayana (Tantra). Already practicing what he preaches, Darren has dedicated his life to speaking out to others who are seeking a way out of their destructive habits of addiction. He also corresponds with prisoners from the Liberation Prison Project, which brings Buddhist teachings to inmates nationally. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

What Paul Meant

Garry Wills is one of the most respected writers on religion today. He is the author of What Jesus Meant, Why I am a Catholic, Papal Sin, (which were New York Times bestseller) and won the Pulitzer prize for Lincoln at Gettysburg. He studied for the priesthood, took his doctorate in the classics, and taught Greek for many years at Johns Hopkins University. His most recent book, and topic of our conversation today, is What Paul Meant.