11 May Episode 29: American Metaphysical Religion with Ronnie Pontiac
Ronnie Pontiac is an accomplished artist, musician, filmmaker and esoteric scholar. I would describe him as a 21st-Century renaissance man, not just because of his diverse talents and interests but because of his significant role in the re-birth of the mysteries and esoteric wisdom in popular culture.
If you listened to my interview with Tamra Lucid, then you already know a lot of Ronnie’s story from her beautiful memoir Making the Ordinary Extraordinary: My Seven Years in Occult Los Angeles with Manly Palmer Hall. It starts in the early 1980’s when Ronnie and Tamra fell in love and became mentored by the legendary esoteric scholar, Manly P. Hall.
At this time, Manly P. Hall was an elderly man with many people vying for his attention, hoping to become his apprentice or protégé. But he passed over everyone and took an unexpected interest in Ronnie Pontiac, an angst-ridden young man whose mind was shadowed by nihilism. But Mr. Hall saw Ronnie’s potential and cultivated the deep mind of a future scholar.
The blessing of having such a tremendous mentor wasn’t lost on Ronnie. And after many decades of research, he’s just recently published his magnum opus American Metaphysical Religion: Esoteric & Mystical Traditions of the New World.
American metaphysical religion is explored as a diverse ecology of ideas and traditions that have blended into something unique. Some of it is recognizable in the mythos of the American Dream. You see glimpses in the philosophy of American exceptionalism. And in the nearly maniacal optimism of the American spirit.
But there’s more to American Metaphysical Religion and this book expands in every direction, becoming a kaleidoscopic genealogy of mysteries and magic.
This book traces 500 years of lineages working their way into the roots of American spirituality. The unique syncretism of Indigenous, European, African and Asian influences has been the subject of many studies on art and music. But this dilates upon the reality that art and music are the flowers that blossom from a deeper network of spiritual roots.
In the melting pot of America, a unique metaphysical religion has developed beneath all the dominant narratives and dogmas that have tried to suppress it.
In this interview with Ronnie, he describes how “American metaphysical religion” is an academic term that is trying to point at something ineffable, mysterious and omnipresent that underlies official science and religion.
Ronnie is a quiet and thoughtful person to speak with. And our conversation unfolded for over 2 hours, where we discussed…
- His upbringing as an atheist and how this shaped his initiation into spiritual awareness.
- How Jesus became a shamanic deity in the New World.
- How the American attitude of cool has its origins in Yoruban tradition. Being cool is a Yoruban spirit of royalty that found tremendous life in the New World.
- Ghosts and mediumship, including how long scientists have been interested in contacting the afterlife by means of technology. And how Thomas Edison’s unrealized invention of the Spirit Phone has found new life in an invention called the Soulphone ™
- How new religious movements are born through memes.
- The miraculous revival of the cult of Sekhmet, an ancient Egyptian goddess whose feline spirit represents a fierce aspect of the divine feminine to bring balance to this chaotic age.
- The cult of psychedelic salvation, the pros and cons of all the healing rhetoric that has made psychedelic drugs into an industry.
If you’d like to learn more, buy a copy of American Metaphysical Religion: Esoteric & Mystical Traditions of the New World today!