Inner Traditions

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Ervin Laszlo notes: “What I appreciate about Inner Traditions is that it lives up to its name. It respects, indeed it lives, its ‘inner traditions,’ and by this I mean not only the traditions of the great wisdom cultures, but the traditions of the art of publishing. It is a rare pleasure today to find a publisher who has a moral and intellectual commitment to the message his books convey, and not just with how much they sell. This unique privilege is the reason why I in turn am committed to Inner Traditions and to Ehud Sperling, as my publishers, allies, and trusted friends.” [1]

History

"In September of 1970, twenty-year-old Ehud C. Sperling walked into his favorite bookstore in Greenwich Village, “Samuel Weiser's Inc., Specialist in the Occult, Orientalia, and Metaphysics.” He had become discouraged with his studies of physics and mathematics and later psychology and decided to leave college and pursue his interests in the occult, hermeticism, ancient Egypt, the mysteries of consciousness, and the spiritual traditions of the world...Ehud decided to ask the owner of the bookstore and publishing company, Donald Weiser, for a job. With Donald’s acceptance of Ehud as a staff member, the seeds of Inner Traditions were planted in the soil of book selling and publishing...

"While working at Weiser’s, Ehud became very interested in the works of French Hermeticist and Egyptologist R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz and his wife, Isha Schwaller de Lubicz... One day André VandenBroeck, at that time the only living student of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, walked in to the bookstore. André had come to the store to see whether Weiser’s would carry his newly printed Philosophical Geometry. André explained to Ehud how his book was an extension of the work he had done with Schwaller de Lubicz. Ehud in turn told André of his deep interest in Schwaller’s work, and a friendship between the two developed, which would later lead to Inner Traditions publishing the complete opus of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz...

"Another meeting at Weiser’s, this time with Robert Lawlor, brought this vision closer to reality. Robert came in to Weiser’s bookstore one morning to buy some books to take with him on his trip to India to help build Auroville, a community of devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Robert and Ehud exchanged recommended reading lists and discovered their mutual interest in Schwaller de Lubicz. This was a very monumentous meeting in the history of Inner Traditions. Robert had spent a number of years studying with André VandenBroeck, and both Robert and his wife, Deborah, had gone to France to study with Schwaller de Lubicz’s daughter, Lucy Lamy. These encounters in the bookstore were to have a significant impact on the development of Inner Traditions and its publishing program. Many years later when the publishing house was firmly established, Robert introduced Ehud to Lucy Lamy in the south of France, where she maintained her late father’s household, including his extensive library, homeopathic lab, and original manuscripts. This was the beginning of what 28 years later became full publication of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz’s opus, The Temple of Man, in 1998.

"In the fall of 1973 André VandenBroeck approached Ehud about a publisher friend of his that was establishing a company in New York. Maurice Girodias, the founder of Olympia Press ...was opening an office in New York and wanted help with the publication of the works of Sri Aurobindo. André asked Ehud to leave Weiser’s and join this publishing venture. Ehud agreed on the condition that they would also publish Schwaller de Lubicz and other important esoteric works.

"As it turned out, Maurice did not have the funds to publish Sri Aurobindo let alone Ehud and André’s mammoth Schwaller de Lubicz project. Maurice informed Ehud that it would be necessary for him to do popular mass-market paperbacks to help pay the way. The works of Schwaller de Lubicz would have to wait. Within a year, Ehud had published his first international bestseller, Pyramid Power, along with a number of other popular titles. He decided to leave Olympia Press and start his own publishing company, Inner Traditions.

"So in June of 1975, the offices of Inner Traditions opened at 377 Park Avenue South. Almost as soon as the offices were open, Ehud was approached by Bantam Books, Warner Books, Simon and Schuster, and other major New York publishing houses to do his publishing program with them. They had noticed his success with Pyramid Power and were looking for someone who could bring them into this field of publishing, which they knew nothing about.

"In 1976 Inner Traditions signed a copublishing agreement with Warner Books. Ehud now had the opportunity to work with a major New York publishing house and have his books reach a wide audience. Ehud started the Destiny imprint for these titles. The first of the Warner/Destiny Books came out in the summer of 1976. Pyramid Power was reissued under the Warner/Destiny imprint as was The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles.

The Science of Getting Rich


Pyramid Power

While Ehud was working at Weiser’s he had read Wattles’s book, published more than 100 years ago, and its message of creative thought as the key to financial success inspired him to start his own company without any financial resources being readily available. Inner Traditions continued to copublish with Warner Books for another six years, during which time Inner Traditions developed its own list of trade paperbacks and hard covers independent of Warner. By 1978 Warner/Destiny Books had millions of books in print in more than 30 countries...

"He published his first health book, The Art of Aromatherapy, in 1978. When Ehud introduced this title at a sales conference the sales reps laughed. Now you cannot walk into a spa or health facility anywhere in the world without finding aromatherapy treatments. In 1984 Ehud approached David Young, the head of Thorson's Publishers Group, the largest publishers of alternative health books in England, about starting a U.S. company. David (who is now the head of Hachette U.S.) and Ehud agreed to establish Thorson’s Publishers Inc. to publish health titles from Thorson’s U.K. as well as original works from U.S. authors. This was the beginning of what was to become a major emphasis for Inner Traditions’ publishing program and later the creation of the Healing Arts Press imprint...

"When David Young decided to sell Thorson’s U.K. to HarperCollins in 1988, Inner Traditions took over all of the Thorson’s U.S. titles and together with its own Inner Traditions alternative health titles launched Healing Arts Press. Inner Traditions had already published many significant and innovative holistic and alternative health care titles, including Evening Primrose Oil and Multiple Sclerosis by Judy Graham. Under the Healing Arts Press imprint, Inner Traditions continues to publish groundbreaking works in alternative health, such as Biogenealogy, Medical Herbalism, The Acid–Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health, The Estrogen Alternative, and Gentle Birth Choices...

"In the late 1980s Ehud and Inner Traditions were asked to join in the founding of Social Ventures Network. The founding of this organization brought together like-minded entrepreneurs who had a commitment to business as a route to social responsibility...

"Inner Traditions was already actively involved in social responsibility and the Green Movement with the publication of books such as Genetically Engineered Food: Changing the Nature of Nature, with a preface by Ralph Nader, which exposes the dangers of this technology to our food supply. The book was sent to every member of the U.S. Congress as well as various state legislatures who were considering bans on genetically modified foods. Inner Traditions also explored the benefits of using hemp as a substitute for trees in making paper, building materials, and medicines. The publishing house imported hemp paper from China in an effort to realize its dream of printing on tree-free papers—a goal that still needs to be accomplished in the book-publishing industry. Ehud brought his friend and Inner Traditions author John Perkins into SVN, where he became an active member and eventually launched his international bestseller, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, from his contacts at SVN. John and Ehud had traveled on numerous occasions deep into the Amazon jungle to Shuar territory, where a series of books by John Perkins unfolded: The World Is As You Dream It, Shapeshifting, and Psychonavigation...

"Much of the shamanic activities in the Amazon centered around entheogens, and Inner Traditions became the leading publisher in the world in this subject area, with titles like Plants of the Gods by Richard Evans Schultes, the father of modern ethnobotany from Harvard, and his protégé Christian Ratsch, who published his Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants with Inner Traditions...

"Whether it is Robert Temple’s Sirius Mystery or Rupert Sheldrake’s The Rebirth of Nature, science and its understanding of the cosmos is a key avenue into our understanding of reality and consciousness. The recently published The Biology of Transcendence by Joseph Chiltton Pearce and Ervin Laszlo’s Science and the Akashic Field include cutting-edge science as it applies to a greater understanding of the meaning of life, connecting us back to our ancestors and their spiritual, sacred science...

"Later that year, Ehud made his first trip to South India. Prior to this trip he had spent all his time in India with Harish Johari in the north of the country, visiting sacred sites, sadhus, and babas. When he traveled to the south a series of extraordinary events led to a correspondence with, and marriage to, Vatsala Ramnath, who was then living in Madras. The story of their correspondence, engagement, and marriage was published as a book by Ten Speed Press entitled A Marriage Made in Heaven...

"After moving to the United States, Vatsala became an Inner Traditions author and has published a series of children’s books on Indian mythology, the most popular of which is How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head. Before moving to the United States, Ehud enrolled Vatsala in T. K. V. Desikachar’s Yoga Mandarim in Madras (Chennai). A few years later in 1999, Inner Traditions published Desikachar’s The Heart of Yoga...

"On Christmas day of 1998 the movie Patch Adams by Universal Studios, starring Robin Williams, was released. This movie, which broke all records for a Christmas opening, is based on the Inner Traditions nonfiction title Gesundheit by Patch Adams, M.D. It was the company’s first experience of the wave of interest a major motion picture can create for one of its titles.

"In the year 2000 Inner Traditions acquired Bear & Company, which was founded in 1980 by Matthew Fox in New Mexico. With the publishing program of Bear & Company now a part of the Inner Traditions family, our publishing endeavor was strengthened in the area of Native American culture, alternative Christianity, New Age, and healing arts.

"Bear & Company had published the groundbreaking Vibrational Medicine by Richard Gerber, M.D., as well as the works of Barbara Hand Clow, who ran the company with her husband, Gerry, for 20 years. Barbara’s recently published The Mayan Code, with Inner Traditions.. When Dan Brown was researching his bestselling The Da Vinci Code, he came across Bear & Company’s author Margaret Starbird and her Woman with the Alabaster Jar and Goddess in the Gospels. Dan Brown included a discussion of these books by the characters in The Da Vinci Code, and the books became bestsellers for Inner Traditions • Bear & Company.

"In June of 2005 Inner Traditions celebrated its 30th anniversary at Alex Grey’s Chapel of the Sacred Mirrors. Inner Traditions had published Alex Grey’s stunning Sacred Mirrors in 1990...

"Started back in 1975 in a small office in New York City, Inner Traditions • Bear & Company now has 11 imprints and, as of January 2009, more than 1,200 titles in print across a wide and eclectic range of subjects. The company is considered one of the largest and oldest publishing houses in the world devoted exclusively to the subjects of spirituality, esotericism, and alternative health and healing..." [1]

Contact

Web: http://www.innertraditions.com

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

References

  1. Inner Traditions About, organizational web page, accessed June 1, 2013.