Joe Perez Debuts New Blog, "Integral Spirituality in Real Life" Today
Industry: Book Promotion
Ken Wilber Once Called Perez "A Rip Roaring Wonder of a Writer"; Now, the Spirituality Wunderkind Who Took a Detour as a Fantasy Novelist Returns to Genre and Form
Seattle, WA (PRUnderground) April 20th, 2018
About 13 years ago, Ken Wilber, the psychological theorist and founder of Integral Theory, introduced the world to a new Latino gay first-time author and Harvard graduate who seemingly once flirted with the potential to become a giant in the field of spiritual writers.
Wilber wrote in a column on BeliefNet that he had read an exciting new book that could serve as an example of “Integral spirituality in real life”. He said, “Joe Perez’s book is perhaps the most astonishing, brilliant, and courageous look at the interface between individual belief and cultural values that has been written in our times.”
Perez’s book was later published through the Integral Books imprint of Shambhala Publications as Soulfully Gay. It received praise from noted gay authors, Christian contemplatives, and the usual review houses, and set the stage for Perez’s follow-up book, Rising Up: Reflections on Gay Culture, Politics, and Spirit.
Perez defied expectations that he would become either a spiritual teacher or a political commentator drawing upon integral methodologies for unusual insights. Just as Soulfully Gay saw publication in 2007, Perez’s T-cells collapsed and he suffered an opportunistic infection that forced him to cancel his publicity book tour.
And after that point, Perez did not immediately return to writing. Finally, nine years later, Tangent Publishers/Integral Publishers brought out Perez’s next book, and it was shockingly different from anything else he’d ever written.
Perez’s new book was comprised of a fantasy/horror novel starring a 5-year-old protagonist and half an epic poem exploring some of the most obscure dimensions of human psychology, post-symbiotic childhood consciousness. Too odd to be a commercial or critical success, the story of the lost Omphalos of Delphi nevertheless did find some admirers.
Toby Johnson, the author of The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell, said, “The Black Stone is a masterful and mind-bending act of world-creation—even universe and reality-creation. Perez’s tale of adventure moves the everyday world into a time-transcending parallel universe in which the archetypes of myth and the categories of mind and metaphor become the living actors in the action plot.”
Perhaps in a parallel universe the book was a smash, but in our universe, it raised an awful lot of eyebrows and saw many foreheads scratched. The Black Stone’s most problematic quality may not have been the quality of its writing, but the fact that it dared readers to put the eternal themes of spirituality and real religion into an unexpected and fantastic context.
Having gone far out on a limb for his last book, Perez has now at last returned to the field where he seems the most comfortable: writing about complex topics in spirituality by making them approachable and fascinating to audiences ranging from atheists to evangelicals.
Today, Joe Perez has come home to the territory of the weblog for his comeback endeavor. Called “Integral Spirituality in Real Life,” the new publication is free to the public at http://www.joe-perez.com. (Perez asks his most committed readers for support through a link to Patreon and he also offers writing coaching services.)
The site’s initial set of articles paint a portrait of a soul who is a confident teacher of core universal principles of the spirit, and he is no longer the open-minded seeker of his Soulfully Gay days. He also revisits the theme of bipolar disorder and its relationship to mysticism, especially communications with spiritual entities, angels, and God himself.
But the new site’s most startling revelation is a new series of posts called The Kalendar. What is it? Perez writes that it is “a new vision of sacred time loosely inspired by The Canon of Supreme Mystery by Yang Hsiung, the earliest attempt to synthesize all the strands of classic Chinese thought, and the Sabian Symbols of the noted 20th-century American clairvoyant Elsie Wheeler. In my reimagination of Master Yang’s esoteric divination text and the clairvoyant’s enigmatic oeuvre, I explore connections between change processes and the hidden patterns of language only made visible by taking a ‘meta’ view of the overlapping patterns in the phonosemantic iconism among many different languages.”
If The Kalendar’s mystical symbolism whets the reader’s appetite for more, there is plenty more to be found. The blog also includes a section for “Alchemical Art” that reimagines astrology with a new Zodiac, the Tarot with a new Tarot, Hebrew mysticism with a new Tree of Life (a central symbol of Kabbalah), a new Bagua (the most famous Asian spiritual symbol) called The Jiu Gua, the Tai Chi symbol is replaced with The Triune, and there are others including symbols for the Lingua-U, a new metalanguage for the world’s Sacred Word traditions. The central theme to emerge from the art is the need to reimagine the world’s spiritual heritage in new formats which are more closely overlapping with their hidden numerological, linguistic, and subtle energetic connections.
Since the site is new, it is not fair to give it a full review. Many of the promising new ideas are not yet developed and it is fair to wonder how so many different symbols, traditions, and ideas will all fit together, if they ever will.
The so-called Integral spirituality is really a sort of interfaith or interspiritual phenomenon which emphasizes the process of evolution in psychological, cultural and spiritual realities. It can be hard for the uninitiated to keep up with the terminology. Nevertheless, if you have a more intellectual bent than the typical spiritual seeker or New Age devotee, you would do well to consider a visit to “Integral Spirituality in Real Life.”
The gay writer who once seemed like a wunderkind gone off the reservation is now roaring back with a vengeance and a fascinating blog, and it looks like there’s more than enough novelty to satisfy any seeker’s curiosity.
About Writing Wolf LLC, Publicity Department
Joe Perez is a leading voice in the movement for an integrally informed world philosophy and spirituality. He is the blogger behind Integral Spirituality in Real Life and the author of three books including Soulfully Gay. He is also a career consultant, integral conversation facilitator, and a Whole Writing™ Coach. He is an Honors graduate of Harvard University in comparative religion and philosophy and holds a Certificate in Integral Leadership from Pacific Integral/LIOS.