The best books for gaining a non-attached metaphysical perspective on the apocalypse

Who am I?

I started my career as a New York magazine editor and cynical journalist writing about art, celebrities, and show designers. Eventually I had an existential meltdown where I realized I was trapped in reductive materialism. I didn’t believe in a soul or a spirit or anything that wasn’t tangible. I decided to explore psychedelics and wrote my first book, Breaking Open the Head, after visiting indigenous cultures in Africa and South America where I took Iboga, ayahuasca, and mushrooms in initiation ceremonies. I learned we are facing an ecological and geo-political meta-crisis. I tried to find the roots of this, hoping to save humanity from extinction by unifying us around a mystical realization of oneness. 


I wrote...

2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl

By Daniel Pinchbeck,

Book cover of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl

What is my book about?

2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl is the acclaimed metaphysical epic that binds together the cosmological phenomena of our time, ranging from crop circles to quantum theory to the resurgence of psychedelic drugs, to support the contention of the Mayan calendar that the year 2012 portends a global shift—in consciousness, culture, and way of living—of unprecedented consequence.

The books I picked & why

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The Ever-Present Origin

By Jean Gebser, Noel Barstad (translator), Algis Mickunas (translator)

Book cover of The Ever-Present Origin

Why this book?

This is a book that can change your way of understanding your life and your world, profoundly and permanently! Gebser demonstrates that human consciousness has evolved through a series of stages, from the archaic or aboriginal, through the magic and mythical to the current mental-rational structure. Surveying areas ranging from science to art, Gebser proposes that our current meta-crisis is actually necessary to force a mutational break to the next structure of consciousness, the integral-aperspectival, where we will be able to shift between different realizations of time and space, as our world transforms around us. 

The Ever-Present Origin

By Jean Gebser, Noel Barstad (translator), Algis Mickunas (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ever-Present Origin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born in Posen in 1905, Jean Gebser came from an old Franconian family domiciled in Thuringia since 1236. A nephew of German chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, he was a descendant on his mother's side of Luther's friend Melanchthon. He was educated in Breslau, Konigsberg, Rossleben, and at the University of Berlin. In 1929 Gebser emigrated to Italy and subsequently lived in Spain where he was attached to the Ministry of Education of the Spanish Republic. From 1937-1939 he lived in Paris in the circle which included Picasso, Andre Malraux, Paul Eluard, and Louis Aragon. In 1939 he made his permanent home…


An Outline of Esoteric Science

By Rudolf Steiner,

Book cover of An Outline of Esoteric Science

Why this book?

Founder of Waldorf Schools and Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner was the greatest occult seer and philosopher of the modern age. His ideas about spirituality changed my world when I discovered him while researching my first book on psychedelic shamanism. In this book, he takes us through our cosmic history. He reveals that we currently possess four “bodies” (the physical, astral, etheric, and the I), and we are developing a fifth (the “spirit self”). He explores reincarnation, both of each of us individually and of the Earth as a whole. He explains that there are different super-sensible beings that work upon us all of the time, and that one of them, Ahirman, is destined to incarnate in this century. A fantastic inquiry into the deepest mysteries with practical advice for today. 

An Outline of Esoteric Science

By Rudolf Steiner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Outline of Esoteric Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in 1909 (CW 13)


"Esoteric science is the science of what takes place esoterically, in the sense that it is perceived not outside in nature but where one’s soul turns when it directs its inner being toward the spirit. Esoteric science is the opposite and counterpart of natural science." ―Rudolf Steiner


This masterwork of esotericism places humankind at the very heart of the vast, invisible processes of cosmic evolution. When we use the term “natural science,” don’t we mean that we are dealing with human knowledge of nature?


Steiner worked and reworked his Rosicrucian cosmology to make it increasingly…


Archetype of the Apocalypse: Divine Vengeance, Terrorism, and the End of the World

By Edward F. Edinger, George R. Elder (editor),

Book cover of Archetype of the Apocalypse: Divine Vengeance, Terrorism, and the End of the World

Why this book?

Edinger was a student of Carl Jung’s and this book picks up from Jung’s essential essay, “God’s Answer to Job”. Jung realized that God was in a dialectical relationship with his “Chosen People,” and when Job maintained his faith despite being subject to unspeakable cruelties, this compelled God to incarnate as Christ. Following Jung, Edinger believes we are currently living through the archetype of the Apocalypse. The word means “revealing” or “uncovering.” Psychologically, the Apocalypse is the “Coming of the self” into conscious realization. It is a point of maturity where we have gained the self-knowledge needed to integrate, rather than project, the Shadow. This portends a collective incarnation of God into our human world.

Archetype of the Apocalypse: Divine Vengeance, Terrorism, and the End of the World

By Edward F. Edinger, George R. Elder (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Archetype of the Apocalypse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The collective belief in the End of the World, as described in the Biblical Book of Revelation, can be seen in public reaction to terrorist outrages such as those of Sept. 11, in the preoccupation with disasters, in the obsession with UFO's and the possibility of encountering extra-terrestrial life, and in the breakdown of social structures. Edinger argues that this very real psychological force is vitally important for our times, and he offers an alternative to catastrophe through understanding the meaning of these radiant scriptures.


Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga

By Julius Evola,

Book cover of Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga

Why this book?

An Italian aristocrat who led a magical order in the 1920s, Evola is a fascinating and controversial figure who has become influential in the New Right. Even though I am a Leftist, I find many of his ideas important and helpful—along with his fellow “traditionalists.” Rene Guenon and Fritjof Schuon. Evola believes we are in a period of accelerating decline known as the Kali Yuga, the age of iron and materialism, where the true spiritual knowledge has been almost entirely lost. He argues there is no way to stop the destruction of this civilization and it is best to focus on self-transformation through alchemical and magical practices. His books on Buddhism, eroticism, tantra, and alchemy are also fascinating! 

Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga

By Julius Evola,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Revolt Against the Modern World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No idea is as absurd as the idea of progress, which together with its corollary notion of the superiority of modern civilization, has created its own "positive" alibis by falsifying history, by insinuating harmful myths in people's minds, and by proclaiming itself sovereign at the crossroads of the plebeian ideology from which it originated. In order to understand both the spirit of Tradition and its antithesis, modern civilization, it is necessary to begin with the fundamental doctrine of the two natures. According to this doctrine there is a physical order of things and a metaphysical one; there is a mortal…


The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology

By José Argüelles,

Book cover of The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology

Why this book?

The Mayan Factor had a huge influence on me when I read it after reading Jose’s other amazing books, Earth Ascending and Time and the Technosphere. He makes the case that the classic Maya civilization of the Yucatan was related to a galactic civilization that travels across the universe as patterns of information transduced into DNA so they can incarnate at particular junctures to perform a cosmic ritual of “synchronization.” The Mayan calendar is an artifact of this “Galactic Maya” who wanted us to understand we were starting to enter a new dimensional portal with the end of the 5,125 year Long Count on December 21, 2012. While reading this book, I had a crazy experience of the Galactic Maya entering into me and looking out through my eyes at our turbulent reality. Jose argues that a new calendar could shift us from chaos to harmony. A fabulous visionary excursion!

The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology

By José Argüelles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mayan Factor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the extraordinary book that initiated the Harmonic Convergence in August 1987 and awakened the world to the Mayan Calendar. In it, Jose Arguelles revealed three revolutionary ideas: that a great moment of human transformation awaited us as we approached 2012: that there are galactic "seasons" and that the Maya accurately recorded them; and that each person had the capability to connect directly with the energy of a beam emanating from the galactic center that contains the power to awaken the higher mind.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in metaphysics, analytical psychology, and Mayan history and civilization?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about metaphysics, analytical psychology, and Mayan history and civilization.

Metaphysics Explore 58 books about metaphysics
Analytical Psychology Explore 10 books about analytical psychology
Mayan History And Civilization Explore 14 books about Mayan history and civilization

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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