David N. Elkins, a clinical psychologist and university professor, maps the movement away from religion to spirituality over the past 30 years. The human potential phenomenon, New Age, and Jungian psychology have revved up peoples' interest in the soul as a doorway to the imaginal world. Various thinkers including Rudolph Otto, Mircea Eliade, William James, and Abraham Maslow have challenged seekers to take a much greater interest in the sacred as "the mysterious dimension of human experience."

Although many still find ample spiritual resources within the religious traditions, others have opted to take charge of their own spiritual development. Elkins covers eight alternative paths to the sacred: the feminine, the arts, the body, psychology, mythology, nature, relationships, and dark nights of the soul. The author concludes with a three-month pilot program for spiritual growth.