Non-Californians rarely refer to the Golden State as a sacred place or religious landscape. Yet, California fascinates, in part, due to its religious extravagance–think Jim Jones, Heavens Gate, the Crystal Cathedral, Harold Camping’s predicted end of the world, the Grateful Dead. Everything is here, and then some. This essay looks at California as an epicenter of religious expression and a global microcosm for hybrid religions, new religions, and experimental religious practices. The essay analyzes migration, the California/Mexico border, genders/sexualities, race/ethnicity, commercialization, embodiment/disembodiment, and the natural world as lenses on California’s religious landscape.

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