A guide to presidential candidate Marianne Williamson's books, from mild to wild
Marianne Williamson has emerged as a meme queen since debuting on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate stage last month, offering unusual phrasings, unique points of focus, and more…spiritually influenced policy ideas. (For instance, after the most recent debates she used the words “wonkiness” and “dark psychic force” in the same tweet.) And on Tuesday night, yet again, she made the most of her limited screen-time during night 1 of round 2 of the debates.
But while her fellow candidates’ titles range from mayor to congressman to governor, Williamson has been introduced, merely, as “author.” Indeed, Williamson boasts a large, best-selling bibliography — and yes, many of her books skew on the more, ahem, peculiar side. EW has assembled a guide to all of Williamson’s books, from the expected treatises on the future of America to her manual on how to spiritually lose weight, ranked from most mild to most wild.
A Politics of Love and Healing the Soul of America
Although A Politics of Love is an April 2019 release while Healing the Soul of America was just reprinted in a twentieth-anniversary edition, the two similarly deal closely with America in the here and now. Politics is worried about the divisive nature of the American political landscape and calls for the American people to act out of “love.” Healing preaches that Americans move past the dark history of our country and try to treat others with compassion. In other words: Here are the books that one might expect from a presidential candidate, just a bit more driven by feelings than policy.
The Gift of Change, Everyday Grace, and A Return to Love
A Return to Love is Williamson’s biggest hit. Written in 1992, it’s essentially a spiritual guide on how to get more in touch with oneself and their higher being. When it hit best-seller status, Williamson landed an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The Gift of Change and Everyday Grace are in the same vein, pushing readers to become more spiritual which will, in turn (according to Williamson), lead to miracles. Call these the most on-brand of the bunch.
A Year of Miracles and Illuminata
Both A Year of Miracles and Illuminata are collections of prayers and meditations to help the reader through times of trouble. Year commits the reader to a full 365 prayers and musings such as “There can be no darkness where I provide the light,” while Illuminata promises help for whatever situations life may throw at you.
Tears to Triumph
Here’s where things start to get a bit dicey. This 2017 release revolves around the idea of repression, though not in those words. Williamson claims that by refusing to confront pain, people are hurting themselves and exacerbating their anxiety and depression. Learning to stop avoiding pain, according to the book, is key to a better spiritual life and to heal. She makes some valid points about repression, but ignores how medication can treat mental illnesses, anxiety, and depression altogether. (It’s not a part of Williamson’s “spiritual” plan.) This doesn’t bode well, especially along with claims that she told HIV-positive men that they could cure themselves with prayer rather than medication (Williamson herself has denied saying this).
The Law of Divine Compensation
The basic principle of The Law of Divine Compensation is that thinking good thoughts leads to the possibilities of good things. It’s in line with the current trend of “manifesting” what you want. Williamson describes her “law” like gravity: Whether we believe it or not, the law is true. Apparently, we’re able to block or summon miracles based on our thoughts. If this doesn’t make sense to you, maybe the book will offer more clarification…maybe.
A Woman’s Worth
With a cover like that, you might be a little shocked to learn that this book was published in 2013 and not, well, decades ago. Although dubbed a feminist manifesto about living as a woman in a patriarchal society, Williamson has been criticized here for perpetuating stereotypes about men and women, masculinity and femininity, making this one of Williamson’s more controversial works.
On the surface, this seems like your average collection of musings about love and relationships. However, things take a turn for the weird at the start of every chapter. There’s a conversation between a fictional man and a mermaid sprinkled throughout, as is some ongoing metaphor involving an angel, aliens, and a spaceship.
A Course in Weight Loss
It would be difficult not to rank A Course in Weight Loss as the wildest of Williamson’s works. After all, at the foundation of this book is the idea that the reason people need to lose weight is because they have forgotten their “divine perfection.” If this doesn’t set off alarms in your mind, maybe this quote from the book’s synopsis will: “As your mind reclaims its spiritual intelligence, your body will reclaim its natural intelligence as well.” Besides implying that being overweight is spiritually unintelligent (yikes), this book also puts a greater emphasis on mindset than on healthy eating or exercise. It also includes guiding principles such as: “The cause of your excess weight is fear, which is a place in your mind where love is blocked.”