AD 231 | Mitch Horowitz
“Cosmic Habit Force”

Mitch Horowitz is a historian of alternative spirituality and one of today’s most literate voices of esoterica, mysticism, and the occult.

Mitch illuminates outsider history, explains its relevance to contemporary life, and reveals the longstanding quest to bring empowerment and agency to the human condition.

He is widely credited with returning the term “New Age” to respectable use and is among the few occult writers whose work touches the bases of academic scholarship, national journalism, and subculture cred.

Mitch is a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library, lecturer-in-residence at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles, and the PEN Award-winning author of books including Occult America; One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life; and The Miracle Club.

He has discussed alternative spirituality on CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline NBC, Vox/Netflix’s Explained, VICE News, Kesha and the Creepies, and AMC Shudder’s Cursed Films, an official selection of SXSW. Mitch hosts and produces a feature documentary about the occult classic The Kybalion, shot on location in Egypt and releasing in early 2022.

Mitch has written on everything from the war on witches to the chequered career of professional skeptic James Randi for The New York Times, Boing Boing, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time, Politico, and a wide range of ‘zines and scholarly journals. He narrates audiobooks including Alcoholics Anonymous and Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People (the author of which handpicked him as the voice of Jones).

Mitch’s books have appeared in Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Korean, and Portuguese.

Mitch worked for many years in publishing, including as a vice president at Penguin Random House where he was editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin, an imprint dedicated to metaphysical topics.

His book Awakened Mind is one of the first works of New Thought translated and published in Arabic. Mitch received the Walden Award for Interfaith/Intercultural Understanding. The Chinese government has censored his work.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Explaining his new book Cosmic Habit Force
  • Exploring the psychology of mediocrity
  • Harnessing honest self-expression and creativity
  • Asking oneself with brutal honesty, “What do I really want from life?”
  • Breaking through social conditioning
  • The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim
  • Concentration producing force
  • Gaining perspective on personal “failures”
  • Taoism
  • Paradoxical events in one’s life
  • Mitch gives a personal example of how a perceived failure turned into a blessing in disguise
  • Rediscovering himself as a writer in his late 30s after working in publishing
  • Writing his first book, “Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation”
  • 2 famous definite chief aims from Octavia E. Butler and Bruce Lee
  • The power of focused aims
  • Healthily dealing with fear and trauma
  • The law of reciprocity 
  • The power of the mastermind

Books Referenced:
  • “Cosmic Habit Force” by Mitch Horowitz
  • “Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation” by Mitch Horowitz
  • “The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim” By Mitch Horowitz
  • “No Longer Human” by Junji Ito x Osamu Dazai
  • “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey
  • “Non-Violent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg
  • “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill

People Mentioned:
  • David Foster Wallace (Writer)
  • Jacob Needleman (Philosopher)
  • Barry Zito (Professional Baseball Player)
  • Neville Goddard (Writer)
  • Octavia E Butler (Writer)
  • Bruce Lee (Actor and Martial Artist)
  • Napolean Hill (Writer)
Mitch’s Twitter
Mitch’s Instagram

Posted 3.28.2022


"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self, and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists.

This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own minds. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside.

My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic.

When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”.

In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art."

- Yoshino