Charles Upton (poet)

Charles Upton (born December 13, 1948) is an American poet and esotericist.


Born in San Francisco, Charles Upton grew up in Marin County, California. He attended Catholic schools through high school. He attended UC Davis for four days.


In San Francisco, he met the poet Lew Welch, who became his mentor. Although much younger than most of the Beat poets, Upton's first two volumes of poetry were also published by City Lights. It was associated with many of the earlier Beat poets.

After his first two volumes of poems were published, Upton became involved with the Sanctuary Movement for Central American refugees. He produced and distributed a video, Through the Needle’s Eye, containing testimonies of refugees.

In the late 1980s he was briefly involved with the "magical populism" of the New Age peace movement. He studied group dreamwork and dream networking.

In 1988 he joined a traditional Sufi order. Under his wife's influence, Upton became interested in the metaphysics of the Traditionalist or Perennialist School (the followers of Rene Guenon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Frithjof Schuon). He continues to be partly identified with this school.

His papers are held at University of Connecticut.[1]


In 2013 Charles Upton conceived of The Covenants Initiative, based on the book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World by his colleague Dr. John Andrew Morrow. The Covenants Initiative urges Muslims to abide by the covenants concluded between Muhammad and the Christian communities of his time: In November, 2018, The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World was cited at length by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in their decision to acquit the Christian woman Asia Bibi on charges of blasphemy.

Marriage and familyEdit

He married Jennifer Doane.[2] After living in Marin County, California, they currently live in Lexington, Kentucky.[3]


  • Panic Grass (epic poem) City Lights Books, 1968; ASIN B001FSYIPE
  • Time Raid, (poems) Four Seasons Foundation, 1968; ASIN B0006BVUOS
  • Doorkeeper of the Heart, Versions of Rabi’a (poems), Threshold Books, 1988; Pir Press, 2004; ISBN 1-879708-20-5
  • Hammering Hot Iron: A Spiritual Critique of Bly’s Iron John (metaphysics and social criticism), Quest Books, 1993; Sophia Perennis 2005; ISBN 1-59731-043-3
  • The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (metaphysics and social criticism), Sophia Perennis, 2001; ISBN 0-900588-30-6
  • Legends of the End: Prophesies of the End Times, Antichrist, Apocalypse, and Messiah from Eight Religious Traditions, Sophia Perennis, 2005; ISBN 1-59731-025-5
  • Cracks in the Great Wall: UFOs and Traditional Metaphysics, Sophia Perennis, 2005; ISBN 1-59731-024-7
  • The Virtues of the Prophet: A Young Muslim's Guide to the Greater Jihad, the War Against the Passions, Sophia Perennis, 2006; ISBN 1-59731-051-4
  • Knowings, in the Arts of Metaphysics, Cosmology and the Spiritual Path, Sophia Perennis, 2008; ISBN 978-1-59731-074-1
  • Reflections of Tasawwuf: Essays, Poems and Narrative on Sufi Themes, Sophia Perennis, 2008; ISBN 978-1-59731-078-9
  • Who Is the Earth? How to See God in the Natural World, Sophia Perennis, 2008; ISBN 978-1-59731-079-6
  • Folk Metaphysics: Mystical Meanings in Traditional Folk Songs and Spirituals, Sophia Perennis, 2008 ISBN 978-1-59731-077-2
  • Shadow of the Rose: The Esoterism of the Romantic Tradition (with his wife Jennifer Doane Upton), Sophia Perennis, 2008; ISBN 978-1-59731-079-6
  • Findings in Metaphysic, Path and Lore, With a Response to the Traditionalist/Perennialist School, Sophia Perennis, 2010; ISBN 978-1-59731-096-3
  • The Science of the Greater Jihad: Essays in Principal Psychology, Sophia Perennis, 2011; ISBN 978-1-59731-128-1
  • The Wars of Love and Other Poems, with "A Reader's Guide to The Wars of Love" and "Lew Welch as Teacher", Sophia Perennis, 2011; ISBN 978-1-59731-125-0
  • Vectors of the Counter-Initiation: The Course and Destiny of Inverted Spirituality, Sophia Perennis, 2012; ISBN 978-1-59731-132-8
  • Day and Night on the Sufi Path, Sophia Perennis, 2015; ISBN 978-1-62138-135-8
  • The Words of God to Prophet Muhammad: Forty Sacred Sayings, 2015; ISBN 978-1-87103-190-4
  • What Poets Used to Know: Poetics, Mythopoesis, Metaphysics, Angelico Press/Sophia Perennis, 2016; ISBN 978-1-59731-171-7
  • Dugin against Dugin: A Traditionalist Critique of the Fourth Political Theory, Reviviscimus, 2018; ISBN 978-1-59731-219-6


  • Dark Way to Paradise: Dante's Inferno in Light of the Spiritual Path,Jennifer Doane Upton, Sophia Perennis, 2005; ISBN 978-1-59731-009-3
  • False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism and the Quest for a One-World Religion, Lee Penn, Sophia Perennis, 2005; ISBN 1-59731-000-X
  • The Ordeal of Mercy: Dante's Purgatorio in Light of the Spiritual Path, Jennifer Doane Upton, Angelico Press/Sophia Perennis, 2015; ISBN 978-1-62138-160-0


  • Mark in Time, Glide Publications, 1971; ISBN 0-912078-16-2
  • Excerpt from Panic Grass in City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (ed.), City Lights Books, 1995; ISBN 978-0-87286-311-8
  • Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain and Oceania, Andrew Harvey and Jay Ramsay (ed.), Tayen Lane Publications, 2016; ISNB (trade hardcover) 978-1-944505-22-0, ISBN (trade softcover)978-1-944505-37-0


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 24, 2010. Retrieved 2009-11-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit