Adventures in Modern Esoterica
In these wide-ranging essays, published by Yeti Books in 2010, Erik Davis explores the codes — spiritual, cultural, and embodied — that people use to escape the limitations of their lives and enrich their experience of the world. These include Asian religious traditions and West African trickster gods, Western occult and esoteric lore, postmodern theory and psychedelic science, as well as festival scenes such as Burning Man. Whether his subject is collage art or the “magickal realism” of H. P. Lovecraft, Davis writes with keen yet skeptical sympathy, intellectual subtlety and wit, and unbridled curiosity. The common thread running through these pieces is what Davis calls “modern esoterica,” which he describes as a no-man’s-land located somewhere between anthropology and mystical pulp, between the zendo and the metal club, between cultural criticism and extraordinary experience. Such an ambiguous and startling landscape demands that the intrepid adventurer shed any territorial claims and go nomad.
Selected Amazon review from D., February 6, 2013:
An odyssey into the subliminal spaces of human expression
Erik Davis is adept at balancing between full immersion and blind belief, experiencing a myriad of different out growths of cult and cultural with an enthusiasm that never endangers his critical eye. A participant observer par excellence, he brings us with on an odyssey into the subliminal spaces of human expression.
It’s rare to find a writer whose work serves as a memory of your own experiences and revelations, but Davis is one who you can return to and find he has already been to those fields you thought untouched. He leaves no obvious markers though, as his writing illuminates what he sees rather than seeking to subvert it into strange propaganda or a perverse party line.
Nomad Codes, hash marks tic’d subtly on the trail to lead the traveler on into the the weird world around them, and recommended without hesitation for all those eager to see into the future of our still living past.