Get out there! Make magic! Tap into the cosmos! Check in with ancestors! Mind-body-spirit titles today are packed with active verbs. Authors of forthcoming books are cheerleaders and coaches for all readers are or could become. Titles still encourage meditation and exploring personal transformation, but in the first year when many new books being published were written after the pandemic, several call as much for moving outward as looking inward.
“We’re seeing a shift from titles that focus on internal soul-searching to ones geared toward external empowerment,” says Jill Alexander, executive editor for Fair Winds Press. “During the pandemic, people had time and space for self-reflection. I think people are now looking to convert that self-awareness into action and purpose. Thus, we’re seeing more interest in subjects such as manifestation and practices that help people optimize how they are living.” Among Fair Winds titles is yoga and meditation trainer Kelly Smith’s Mindful in Minutes: Over 100 Practices to Help Families Find Peace, Calm, and Connection (Sept.).
Inner Traditions acquisitions editor Jon Graham observes that while some people are returning to business as usual, “others seem to have taken the time offered by the pandemic to chart new paths.” Sometimes those new paths point back to the past, calling for “stronger ties with one’s ancestors,” he says. One example is Erika Bueanaflor’s Veneration Rites of Curanderismo: Invoking the Sacred Energy of Our Ancestors (Sept.). “While this was an emerging trend pre-Covid, it seems to have taken on greater intensity recently, and I wonder if the fact that we lost so many elders during this time might not be driving this increased interest,” Graham adds.
Indigenous Australian healer Paul Callaghan and Aboriginal elder Uncle Paul Gordon teamed to write The Dreaming Path: Indigenous Ideas to Help Us Change the World (HarperOne, Nov.), in which they suggest readers adopt an Aboriginal worldview—a sense of connection to the Earth and universe of the past, present, and future—to heal themselves and their communities. Author Robyn Moreno’s memoir-mixed-with-manifesto, Get Rooted: Reclaim Your Soul, Serenity, and Sisterhood Through the Healing Medicine of the Grandmothers (Hachette Go, out now) relates how she gave up a manic businesswoman’s life to reconnect to her Latinx heritage and become a shaman and life coach.
Keying off tradition
Watkins publisher Fiona Robertson says, “Readers are so interested in traditional ways and beliefs right now, I believe partly because they are fed up with the political leaders and exploitative elites and are keen on focusing on the wisdom of ordinary people.” They’re looking for books that “empower them to connect with their true values, stand in their own integrity and be authentic,” she adds, citing as an example Make Good Trouble (Mar. 2024), by Scottish psychic and anti-racism activist Briana Pegado. In the book, Pegado offers “a galvanizing guide to disruption and changing your life and community for the better,” Robertson says.
Diana Ventimiglia, executive editor at Sounds True, says she is certain things like the pandemic, inflation, and political and social upheaval “all shine a light on personal and societal wounds that need healing and offer an opportunity for all of us to go inward and seek out resources to help us do that.” Several of Sounds True’s upcoming titles address facing trouble close to home. For example, in Reverse Meditation: How to Use Your Pain and Most Difficult Emotions as the Doorway to Inner Freedom (out now), yoga teacher and spirituality author Andrew Holeck offers practices for getting into a meditative mindset in trying moments.
Transformation, healing, and growth are classic themes for mind-body-spirit titles. Many books draw wisdom and practices from world religions and philosophies such as Buddhism. In Impermanence in Plain English (Wisdom, Sept.), Bhante Gunaratana, a monk and the author of Mindfulness in Plain English, and his student Julia Harris say that recognizing the foundational Buddhist precept that all things will pass is key. And in Everyday Dharma: 8 Essential Practices for Finding Success and Joy in Everything You Do (Harper-
One, Aug.), Suneel Gupta, cofounder of the Gross National Happiness Center, teaches how to consult one’s inner wisdom and shine in their life and work.
When Things Don’t Go Your Way: Zen Wisdom for Difficult Times (Penguin Life, Jan. 2024), by Korean Zen Buddhist teacher Haemin Sunim, aims to help readers “navigate life’s challenges with resilience and grace,” according to the publisher. And author Anne C. Klein, a lama and a former chair of the religion department at Rice University, explores in Being Human and A Buddha Too: Longchenpa’s Sevenfold Mind Training for a Sunlit Sky (Wisdom, Aug.) how readers can resolve their “most challenging questions about what awakening involves and how it relates to the truth of our human situation right now,” according to the publisher.
Another path to personal confidence and happiness lies in the Torah, according to spiritual teacher Moshe Gersht. He mined the Hebrew Bible and Jewish mysticism traditions for his guidebook The Three Conditions: How Intention, Joy, and Certainty Will Supercharge Your Life (Sounds True, Nov.). Mark Tuitert, an Olympic speed-skating gold medalist, entrepreneur, and speaker, draws wisdom from ancient Roman philosophy for The Stoic Mindset: Living the 10 Principles of Stoicism (St. Martin’s Essentials, Apr. 2024), including, “Judge less and you’ll understand more.”
Taiwanese American occultist and Buddhist Benebell Wen’s forthcoming I Ching, the Oracle: A Practical Guide to the Book of Changes (North Atlantic, Sept.) is a new English translation and critical analysis that restores the book’s shamanic origins.
Many secular spins on spiritual practices borrow the concepts of mindfulness and meditation without digging into the precepts behind them. “We are seeing a lot of readers questioning the faith they grew up in and looking to renegotiate their belief systems,” says St. Martin’s Essentials v-p editorial director Joel Fotinos. “Our titles connect spiritual teachings with concrete issues to bring spiritual concepts back down to earth in authentic ways.”
St. Martin’s Essentials is extending the reach of Julia Cameron, whose groundbreaking 30-year-old book The Artist’s Way has sold more than five million copies, according to the publisher. Her forthcoming book Living the Artist’s Way: An Intuitive Path to Greater Creativity (Jan. 2024) teaches readers “how to ask for guidance from a higher power within themselves, and trust the answers they receive,” Fotinos says. In September, the house is also publishing Secrets of the I Ching: Ancient Wisdom and New Science by doctors David S. Lee and Joseph K. Kim, who delve into the 3,000-year-old collection of symbols and introduce the wisdom that underlies Eastern thought.
Mix-and-match wisdom titles
In How to Train a Happy Mind: A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment (Watkins, Dec.), author Scott Snibbe introduces analytical meditation that bridges lessons from Tibetan Buddhist masters with modern science and psychology. Three Minutes a Day: A Fourteen-Week Course to Learn Meditation and Transform Your Life (New World Library, Aug.) by the “Buddhist businessman,” scientist and biotech entrepreneur Richard Dixey, also fuses Eastern wisdom with science to offer quick techniques to reach clarity, calm, insight, and a more balanced life. Author Katie Silcox, who focuses on “the convergence of ancient holistic medicine, modern science, and heart-centered spirituality,” offers Glow-Worthy: Practices for Awakening Your Inner Light and Loving Yourself as You Are—Broken, Beautiful and Sacred (BenBella, Oct.).
“Readers are looking for easy, creative ways to slow down, unplug, and connect with the natural world,” says Michael Aulisio, v-p and publisher for Harper Celebrate. He cites the photo-illustrated title Turn to the Sun: Your Guide to Release Stress and Cultivate Better Health Through Nature, by nature-centered wellness advocate Brittany Gown, for its “doable exercises, affirmations, and meditations.” Another illustrated gift book, Today I Noticed by Willow Older and Deborah Huber (Blue Star, Oct.), prompts folks to look beyond themselves to find inspiration in daily mindfulness practice.
Tuning into the seasons can offer inspiration and beauty and prompt readers’ imaginations, according to A Year in Practice: Seasonal Rituals and Prompts to Awaken Cycles of Creative Expression (Sounds True, Dec.) by poet and educator Jacqueline Suskin, while The Encyclopedia of Birthdays by Theresa Cheung (Thunder Bay, Sept.) shows readers how to find their best selves through “a unique combination of astrology, numerology, tarot, color theory, and psychology,” according to the publisher.
Stars, goddesses, and angels
Hilary Vandebroek, acquiring editor for Fair Winds Press, points to two titles that teach people how “the energies of the cosmos affect you” and “how to tap into them to fuel growth and maintain balance.” Stephanie Campos, an astrologer and witch, aims to help readers make the best of every month with Seasons of the Zodiac: Love, Magick, and Manifestation Throughout the Astrological Year (Oct.). And tarot expert Kerry Ward melds three systems of discernment and divination practices in her book, Power, Purpose, Practice: Finding Your True Self Through Astrology, Numerology, and Tarot (Sept.).
The Retrograde Guidebook: An All-in-One Astrology Guide to the Cycles of Planetary Retrograde and How They Affect Your Emotions, Decisions, and Relationships by Jennifer Billock (Ulysses, Dec.) explains what retrograde means astrologically, how it can affect one’s life, and ways to maximize astrological insights “so the planets work on your behalf to improve your life,” according to the publisher.
Channeler Paul Selig writes that readers can find “renewal and rebirth, shedding cynicism and conceit in favor of authentic, life-changing innocence,” by heeding “The Guides”—the otherworldly beings he says gave him the words for his The Book of Innocence: A Channeled Text (St. Martin’s Essentials, Sept.). Angel Abundance: Revelations on True Wealth from the 12 Archangels by Belinda J. Womack (Inner Traditions, out now) seeks to help readers “make room for the vast flow of creative genius and abundance coming from the Universe through the divine feminine,” according to the publisher.
Yoga and meditation teacher Mara Branscombe’s Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen: Access Your Power and Creativity through Sacred Female Archetypes (Findhorn, July) focuses on those four archetypes and three more—maiden, mother, and mystic—in creative practices, poems, guided visualizations, and other mind-body rituals in an effort to help readers reveal their “vital spark,” according to the publisher.
Llewellyn offers a trio of titles by and (mostly) for women. According to the publisher, Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self (out now) by tantric educator Rhoda Jordan Shapiro features practices, affirmations, and more to bolster every aspect of life—even for those who don’t have a womb. The Answer Within: How to Access Your Spirit Guides for Alignment and Abundance (out now) by Erin Newman, a retreat leader who chiefly works with businesswomen, offers dozens of exercises geared toward helping readers find their “unique answers to life’s essential questions and bring the magical back into the practical.” The Goddess Discovered: Exploring the Divine Feminine Around the World (Dec.) by Shelley A. Kaehr, who practices a combination of energy work and hypnosis, is a compendium of goddesses whom the author says can help people uncover their past lives and unleash their ancestral energy.
In spiritual memoirs, life stories are embedded with lessons for readers unearthed in the author’s experiences. Life coach and entrepreneur Chloe Panta tells how she harnessed the law of attraction and a mindset of abundance to rise from childhood poverty to a successful career in her forthcoming book, Untapped Magic: Manifestation Methods for Living a Limitless Life (New World Library, Feb. 2024). The God of Wild Places: Rediscovering the Divine in the Untamed Outdoors by Tony Jones (Apr. 2024) is “a story of pain and heartache, blood and guts, redemption and hope, of mindful immersion into the great outdoors,” says Richard Brown, senior executive editor at Rowman & Littlefield. And in Take Back the Magic: Conversations with the Unseen World (Running Press, Sept.), spiritual teacher Perdita Finn aims to guide readers in connecting with the dead and describes how she came to heal from her relationship with her bitter, patriarchal father long after his death.
Read more from our Mind, Body, Spirit feature:
Witchcraft Comes Home
Editors’ Tidbits of Wisdom from Upcoming Titles.
Cards, Crystals, and More
Spirit Shoppers See Magic in Tarot, Gems, and Plants.