James Cowan (1942-2018) was author of a number of internationally acclaimed books, including The Painted Shore, A Troubadour’s Testament and Letters from A Wild State. In 1998 he was awarded the Australian Literature Society’s Gold Medal for his novel, A Mapmaker’s Dream. His work has been translated into twenty-seven languages.
A ten-year study of Indigenous cultures led him to work, research, and finally live among Aborigines in the Center, the Far North and the Kimberly region of Australia. This resulted in a series of books that explored Aboriginal themes: Mysteries of the Dreaming, Myths of Dreaming, Sacred Places, The Aboriginal Tradition, Two Men Dreaming and finally Messengers of the Gods. He has also worked with the Iban people of Borneo and the Miriam people of the Torres Strait.
Toward the end of his life, James Cowan drew inspiration from cultural perspectives lying at the heart of Early Christianity and ancient Greek thinking. Books such as Desert Father, Francis, and Fleeing Herod, explored the revolutionary nature of Christianity as a vehicle for transformation. His studies of the pre-Socratic philosophers allowed him to render a modern translation of Parmenides’ poem, The Way of Truth.
Myth, and the importance of sacred landscapes, lie at the heart of his work. He and Arthur Versluis explore these themes in a final work, Timelessness: Conversations on Life, Literature, Spirituality, and Culture (New Cultures Press, 2020).
Lee Irwin is a Professor in the Religious Studies Department at the College of Charleston where he teaches world religions with an emphasis on Native American traditions, western esotericism, hermeticism, contemporary spirituality, mystical cosmology, and transpersonal religious experience as related to dreams and visions. He is the Vice President of the Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE), a board member of the Sophia Institute, and a Guiding Voice for the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom. He has been a workshop leader and group facilitator for over twenty-five years, particularly in the areas of visionary cosmology and the development of the sacred human. He is the author of many books and articles, including The Dream Seekers; Visionary Worlds; Awakening to Spirit: On Life, Illumination, and Being; The Alchemy of Soul; Coming Down From Above: Prophecy, Resistance, and Renewal in Native American Religions; and Reincarnation in America: An Esoteric History.
Arthur Versluis, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Professor in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University, holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and has published numerous books and articles. Among his books are Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esotericism (Rowman Littlefield, 2007), The New Inquisitions: Heretic-hunting and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Totalitarianism (Oxford UP, 2006), Restoring Paradise: Esoteric Transmission through Literature and Art (SUNY: 2004); The Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance (Oxford UP: 2001); Wisdom’s Book: The Sophia Anthology, (Paragon House, 2000); Island Farm (MSU Press, 2000); Wisdom’s Children: A Christian Esoteric Tradition (SUNY: 1999); and American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions-(Oxford UP, 1993). His family has owned a commercial farm in West Michigan for several generations, and so he also published a book called Island Farm about the family farm, and about family farming in the modern era. Versluis was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Germany, and is the founding editor of Esoterica, as well as current editor of JSR: Journal for the Study of Radicalism. He is the founding President of the Association for the Study of Esotericism and a founding Director of Hieros