David Spangler (1945) is an American spiritual philosopher and self-described "practical mystic." He helped transform the Findhorn Foundation in northern Scotland into a center of residential spiritual education and was a friend of William Irwin Thompson.
He is considered one of the founding figures of the modern New Age phenomenon, but early on he identified its shadow and rejected what he termed "its further outgrowth into a myriad of 'old age' pursuits (including spiritual pursuits) dressed in 'new age' garb". This devolution into commercially-driven fads, identity politics, mystical glamour, atavistic spiritualisms, and uncritical guru reverence was a main theme of his Reimagination of the World, co-authored with fellow-traveler and cultural historian William Irwin Thompson.
Spangler has often been miscast as a new-age channeler due in part to the "transmissions" received while living at the intentional community at Findhorn, Scotland in the 1970s, which became the core of his first book Revelation: The Birth of a New Age. In hindsight it can be seen that Spangler's ideas were at that time transitional between the earlier theosophical esotericism represented by Alice Bailey and an emerging worldview that is more postmodern, less obscure, and less metaphysical than theosophy. Spangler himself reports that it took him some years to develop a language in which to communicate clearly the insights and experiences he had been having since childhood.
In recent years he has emphasized a practical or incarnational spirituality in which our everyday lives—our physical, embodied, sometimes resplendent and sometimes shabby persons—can be experienced as spiritual or sacred, as opposed to a spirituality concerned solely with the transpersonal and transcendent. Spangler defines Incarnational Spirituality most simply as the exploration and celebration of the individual and his or her unique spiritual and creative capacities. The practice of Incarnational Spirituality is one of honoring the sacredness and sovereignty of each of us and practicing our powers of blessing, manifestation, collaboration, and loving engagement with life. It is not a religious practice, but an understanding of how we connect to this world and how we may grow and develop and shape ourselves and our world by our intention, presence, participation and service.
In 2010 his memoir Apprenticed to Spirit was published by Riverhead Books, describing his early years, his spiritual training, his association with Findhorn, Lindisfarne, and the New Age Movement, and his subsequent work with the Lorian Association and the development of Incarnational Spirituality.
Spangler is currently the Director of the Lorian Center for Incarnational Spirituality and a Director of the Lorian Association. Through Lorian, he publishes a free monthly essay, David's Desk, and a subscription-only quarterly esoteric journal, Views from the Borderland.
Older Lorian site: https://web.archive.org/web/20180120004959/https://lorian.org/world-work/what-is-incarnational-spirituality/