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Patrick Harpur


A short introduction

Patrick Harpur attended St Catharine's College, Cambridge, to read English. He is the author of many books, among which the first was the 'theological thriller' The Serpent's Circle (UK Macmillan, 1985; Coronet, 1986, and US St Martin's Press, 1985; Warner, 1986). His second book was a novel about an autistic child, The Rapture (Macmillan, 1986; Coronet, 1986). Mercurius; or, the Marriage of Heaven and Earth, a partly fictional account of the Great Work of alchemy, was published by Macmillan in 1990 and re-issued by The Squeeze Press in 2008. Patrick’s first attempt at complete non-fiction was Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld (UK Viking, 1995; Penguin, 1996 and US Penguin, 1995, 1996; re-issued by Pine Winds Press, Idyll Arbor, 2003), which attempted to make sense of visions and apparitions by recourse to Platonic philosophy, Jungian psychology, and the Romantic notion of imagination. The Philosophers' Secret Fire: A History of the Imagination (UK Penguin, 2002 and US Ivan R. Dee, 2003; re-issued by The Squeeze Press, 2009) outlined an esoteric Western way of seeing the world which has been largely neglected. In 2010, Rider published the rather ambitiously titled A Complete Guide to the Soul, which appeared a year later in the US as The Secret Tradition of the Soul (Evolver Editions, an imprint of North Atlantic Books). The Savoy Truffle (Skylight Press, 2013) is a highly autobiographical, blackish comedy set in the Home Counties of the 1960s. The Good People (Strange Attractor Press, 2017) is a modern fairytale and a sort of fictional companion-volume to Daimonic Reality. The Stormy Petrel (The Squeeze Press, 2017) is a novel based on the life and work of the Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard, whose writings have gripped Patrick for years. His four non-fiction books have been translated into Spanish and published by Ediciones Atalanta. Patrick’s writings have appeared in The Guardian, Fortean Times, Gnosis, Resurgence, the New Statesman and the Independent on Sunday. He is often invited to give talks in the UK, in Spain and in America; and he has taught post-graduate students at Schumacher College (Dartington).


Imagination as the ground of reality, with Patrick Harpur

In this wide-ranging interview, one of our favorite scholars, Patrick Harpur, discusses the fundamental role of the imagination in human history, the human mind, and reality at large. He also discusses the daimons, those elusive, contradictory figures who inhabit minds and the world, but who appear only to those with the eyes to see. Harpur’s extensive, extraordinary, life-transforming body of work is one of the most criminally underrated in modern scholarship.

Launching the Essentia Readings podcast, with Nadia Hassan

We are delighted to launch today the Essentia Readings podcast. In it, British-Lebanese artist Nadia Hassan reads a selection of the material published by Essentia Foundation, adding her own commentary and impressions. With this initiative, we hope to reach you with quality, enriching content not only during your reading time, but in other moments of your life as well.

Seeing things: The daimonic nature of reality

Are popular myths and tales merely an expression of naive superstition, or do they reflect—metaphorically or symbolically, as the case may be—something real about the underlying nature of reality? Author Patrick Harpur’s answer is as thoughtful as it is nuanced.

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