Inner Christianity is the first introduction to mystical and esoteric Christianity for the general reader. It speaks from a nonsectarian point of view, unearthing insights from the whole of the Christian tradition, orthodox and heretical, famous and obscure. The esoteric tradition has traditionally searched for meanings that would yield a deeper inner knowledge of the divine. While traditional Christianity draws a timeline from Adam's Fall to the Day of Judgment, the esoteric often sees time as folding in on itself, bringing every point to the here and now. While the Church fought bitterly over dogma, the esoteric borrowed freely from other traditions—Kabbalah, astrology, and alchemy—in their search for metaphors of inner truth.
Rather than basing his book around exponents of esoteric doctrine, scholar Richard Smoley concentrates on the questions that are of interest to every searching Christian. How can one attain direct spiritual experience? What does "the Fall" really tell us about coming to terms with the world we live in? Can we find salvation in everyday life? How can we ascend, spiritually, through the various levels of existence? What was Christ's true message to humankind? From the Gospel of Thomas to A Course in Miracles, from the Jesus Prayer to alchemy and Tarot, from Origen to Dante to Jung, Richard Smoley sheds the light of an alternative Christianity on these issues and more.
Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Gnosticism, The Knights Templar . . . Even before the success of The Da Vinci Code, many readers knew of these and other aspects of Western esoterica. But few understand their true meaning.
In The Inner West, more than twenty essays by seventeen leading authors shine a light on some of the most mysterious and closely held aspects of the Western tradition. Its authors bring to life the symbolist and occult philosophies that populate the history and beliefs of the Western way. These same philosophies-which include variants of Christian and Jewish mysticism, and the teachings of figures like Rudolf Steiner and G. I. Gurdjieff-can present a deep and different spiritual path for today's seekers.
Spiritual seekers have often looked to the East for inspiration and guidance. Yet increasing numbers of people are discovering that many helpful wisdom traditions have existed right here in the West. With the Kabbalah and Tarot cards more popular than ever, and alternative spirituality from Wicca to Sufism gaining a new audience, The Inner West is a timely book for this expanding audience