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The Visionary State

A Journey Through California's Spiritual Landscape

Erik Davis, Michael Rauner (Photographs by)


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With a rich cultural history and Hollywood stars publicly attesting to a wide range of faiths, it's no surprise that California's spiritual landscape is as diverse as its natural surroundings. The Visionary State weaves text and image into a compelling narrative of religion, architecture, and consciousness in California, from neopaganism to televangelism, UFO cults to austere Zen Buddhism. Acclaimed culture critic Erik Davis brings together the immigrant and homegrown religious influences that have been part of the region's character from its earliest days, drawing connections between seemingly unlike traditions and celebrating the diversity of California's spiritual composition. Michael Rauner's evocative photographs depict the sites and structures where these traditions have taken root and flourished. The Visionary State is a landmark look at what is likely the most varied locale for religious activity anywhere.

Chronicle Books, 9780811848350, 272pp.

Publication Date: June 22, 2006

About the Author

Erik Davis's books include Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information . Much of his work can be accessed at He lives in San Francisco.

Michael Rauner is a San Francisco based photographer and installation artist whose works reside in numerous collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.