Praise for Into the Mystic
"I have rarely read a book about the occult and modern culture with so many original insights. Christopher Hill zigs when others zag. He is always on target with something remarkable and fresh to say about rock and mysticism, a topic you only thought you knew.”
--Mitch Horowitz PEN Award-winning author of Occult America and One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Shaped Modern Life
“What would a history look like that took the rhythms, beats, dances, and trance states of blues, gospel and rock n’ roll as seriously as it took elections, wars, and arrogant men? It would be a poetic history of numinous desire, ecstatic release, and freedom. It would intuit and then trace an African-American-British visionary tradition aching as much with the absurd sufferings of American chattel slavery and the psychedelic trips of the counterculture as the mythical channelings of William Blake (or Van Morrison) and the surreal imagination of Lewis Carroll. It would not look away from either the utopian hopes or the horrible failures and fundamentalist backlashes. It would look like this weird and wonderful book.”
Jeffrey J. Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion, Rice University;
author of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion;
"Like a third eye opening, Into the Mystic illuminates the spiritual awakening that gave popular music its messianic fervor in the renaissance era that heralded the 1960s. The scope of Christopher Hill's inquiry refracts like a psychedelic prism, with a sense of wonder at the tale unfolding, and an appreciation of why it continues to fascinate and resonate within our highest consciousness.”
Lenny Kaye, musician and writer
"An erudite, eloquent, and potent love song to the liberating spirit of 1960s rock music… Informed by an extensive knowledge and understanding of culture and history and carried by eloquent, even poetic writing, this book offers us a brilliant meditation on the central role of visionary art in the timeless and now more-urgent-than-ever promise of an all-encompassing liberation of soul and society."
Stephen Gray, author of Cannabis and Spirituality and organizer of the Spirit Plant Medicine Conference
"The book will make lovers of ‘60s rock want to run to their record players to hear these albums again with fresh ears. "
Sarah White Forward Reviews
"Wow, what a great book. It reads like a high-level, romantic and lyrically-written primer on all the varying forces that have shaped human history (migration, westward expansion and the search for paradise; imperialism, colonialism, and fights for freedom; the horrors of slavery and the communities and music that came of it; wars, assassinations, and the periods of confused, frightened rigidity in between; religion, myths and folklore) and therefore shaped the human desire for the ecstatic, the momentary freedom of song and dance, the glimpse of the great beyond…This book is brilliant." 4 out of 5 stars
Beth Borman NetGalley/Goodreads
"Hill, contributing editor of Deep Roots magazine, uses his expertise in music to explore and explain the essence of the musical style and lyrics of 1960s rock-and-roll music. The thoroughly researched book includes an overview of the history of ’60s music and offers explanations of its spiritual connections. …fans of classic rock will be particularly ecstatic about the many enlightening (and unexpected) spiritual facts to be found here."
"I’ve thought, and told others that Christopher Hill is, on any given day, the finest music writer in this country, and one of the best in the world. With Into the Mystic: The Visionary and Ecstatic Roots of 1960s Rock and Roll I rest my case."
David McGee, editor, Deep Roots Magazine