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.
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.
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.
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.”