Elvis Presley Was An Eccentric Spiritual Reader

It turns out that Elvis Presley’s reading list was quite eccentric, with titles pertaining to spiritual readings, Taoism, esoteric philosophies, and learning about the different values in different cultures. When Elvis died in his Graceland bathroom thirty years ago today, he is said to have been reading a book about the Holy Shroud of Turin – normally identified as A Scientific Search For The Face Of Jesus (1972) by Frank O. Adams, which argues that the Turin Shroud really is Our Lord’s Shroud. It has since become eagerly sought after by Elvis fans. Less impressive is the other book he was allegedly reading – Sex and Psychic Energy. Hmm, we better move quickly along.

These titles represent some of the books mentioned in his 1989 book If I Can Dream: Elvis’ Own Story (now out of print). We cannot be sure that Elvis Presley read all of these books, but they concerned subjects he was deeply interested in and felt were important to his daily life.

Elvis Presley’s Reading List
The Impersonal Life [written anonymously] is described as Elvis’ favorite book next to the Bible and the one whose “teaching, practice, and discipline transformed his life.” 

“To you who read, I speak. To you, who, through long years and much running to and fro, have been eagerly seeking, in books and teachings, in philosophy and religion, for you know not what-Truth, Happiness, Freedom, God. To you whose Soul is weary and discouraged and almost destitute of hope.”-So begins this short inspirational work. “Impersonal Life” is a classic of Christian literature, which aims to bring the reader closer to God.

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Elvis Presley's Esoteric/Spiritual Reading List
Elvis Presley’s Esoteric/Spiritual Reading List

Aquarian Gospel of Jesus The Christ by Levi H. Dowling

THE AQUARIAN GOSPEL OF JESUS THE CHRIST The Story of Jesus, the Man from Galilee, and How He Attained the Christ Consciousness Open to ALL. THE AQUARIAN GOSPEL OF JESUS THE CHRIST is a far-reaching work that brings to light the intimate details of Christ’s life upon which the New Testament gospels are silent, written from the original Akashic Records by a student who devoted forty years to prepare for the task. This unique book is practically a complete record of the words and works of the Man of Galilee, including his eighteen years of study and travels in the Orient. It covers his life from birth in Bethlehem to his ascension from the Mount of Olives. Of special interest and value are the full and intimate details concerning his life during the eighteen years spent in travel among the snow-bound monasteries of Tibet, the stately structures of Egypt, the mysterious temples of India, Persia, and Greece, a period when he walked and talked with monks, wise men, and seers throughout the Orient. Transcribed from the Book of God’s Remembrance Known as the Akashic Records Includes INDEX INTRODUCTION by Eva S. Dowling, A.Ph.D.

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

When Autobiography of a Yogi first appeared in 1946, it was acclaimed as a landmark work in its field. The New York Times hailed it as “a rare account”. Newsweek pronounced it “fascinating”. The San Francisco Chronicle declared, “Yogananda presents a convincing case for yoga, and those who ‘came to scoff’ may remain ‘to pray.” Today it is still one of the most widely read and respected books ever published on the wisdom of the East.

Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind by Richard Maurice Bucke

What is cosmic consciousness? The present volume is an attempt to answer this question; but notwithstanding it seems well to make a short prefatory statement in as plain language as possible so as to open the door, as it were, for the more elaborate exposition to be attempted in the body of the work. Cosmic consciousness, then, is a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man.

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Esoteric Healing by Alice A. Bailey

There are probably more individuals and groups of people in the world of every shade of belief and capacity, devoted to the idea of healing than to any other single human need. Yet healing is exact, and an exacting, science; and in modern society no physician or surgeon may practice the ancient profession of healing without the personal qualifications legally recognized by the State for the protection of the public.

No doubt prayer and invocation can be effective under certain circumstances, particularly when the one who serves is pure and harmless in motive, and has enough understanding to cooperate with the soul purposes of the individual, so permitting the healing energy of the soul to flow more freely and effectively through the personality or to proceed with the process of withdrawal if that is its immediate purpose.

First and Last Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti

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The Huna Code in Religions by Max Freedom Long

306 pages + 61-page Dictionary of Hawaiian Language bound at rear of book. “A report on the rediscovered Mystery Teachings underlying Christianity, Yoga and Buddhism.”

On Elvis’s bedside table in 1960 was The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and How to Live 365 Days a Year by Dr. John A. Schindler. He often read medical texts and was so well-versed in The Physician’s Desk Reference that he more than held his own when talking to medical professionals about prescription drugs.

Elvis Presley’s Book Collection

The king also had eclectic taste. Elvis Presley’s reading list purchases in 1963 include the following unique collection: Antique Guns, Eyewitness History of World War II, First 100 Days of the Kennedy Administration, Guns, Joke Dictionary, Jokes for the John, World Atlas, Our Fifty States, East of Eden, Strange People, and

The Impersonal Life by Anonymous

The Infinite Way by Joel S. Goldsmith

Isis Unveiled (2 Volume Set) by H.P. Blavatsky

Leaves of Morya’s Garden, Book 1: The Call 1924 by Agni Yoga Society 

Leaves of Morya’s Garden, Book 2: Illumination 1925 by Agni Yoga Society

Leaves of Morya’s Garden II (Illumination) is the second book from the Agni Yoga Series which is composed of fourteen books. In them is found a synthesis of ancient Eastern beliefs and modern Western thought and a bridge between the spiritual and the scientific.

Unlike previous yogas, Agni Yoga is a path not of physical disciplines, meditation, or asceticism—but of practice in daily life. It is the yoga of fiery energy, of consciousness, of responsible, directed thought. It teaches that the evolution of the planetary consciousness is a pressing necessity and that, through individual striving, it is an attainable aspiration for mankind. It affirms the existence of the Hierarchy of Light and the center of the Heart as the link with the Hierarchy and with the far-off worlds. Though not systematized in an ordinary sense, Agni Yoga is a Teaching that helps the discerning student to discover moral and spiritual guide-posts by which to learn to govern his or her life and thus contribute to the Common Good. For this reason Agni Yoga has been called a “living ethics.” 

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Elvis Presley's Esoteric/Spiritual Reading List
Elvis Presley’s Esoteric/Spiritual Reading List

Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East (6-Volume Set) by Baird T. Spalding

The Masters and the Path by C. W. Leadbeater

Meetings With Remarkable Men: All And Everything, 2nd Series by G.I. Gurdjieff

The Mystical Christ by Manly Palmer Hall 

Elvis Presley's Esoteric/Spiritual Reading List
Elvis Presley’s Esoteric/Spiritual Reading List

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Sacred Science of Numbers by Corinne Heline

The following lists a few other books Elvis was interested in, but all of them are out of print:

Cheiro’s Book of Numbers by Cheiro

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The Gospel According to Thomas by Raghavan Iyer

New Mansions for New Men by Dane Rudyar

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Published by Mind On Fire Books

I have always been attracted to the metaphysical; this blog and press is my exploration of the interjacent genres of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. ​

9 thoughts on “Elvis Presley Was An Eccentric Spiritual Reader

  1. In the 60s and 70s drugs were given liberally by doctors. Doctors didn’t know about lactose intolerance and wheat allergy and other conditions. Eating all that white bread and bacon didn’t help him. He needed a nutritionist and better doctor.


  2. Do u blame the man with his schedule ? No one else today could have made it. And 45 years later he’s more popular than ever But hard core drug addict? Walk a mile in his shoes.


  3. These new age account teachings have hat he seemed to enjoy seem to always lead to a dead end. It is the eternal carrot on the stick they these books from Blavatsky and Alice Bailey and others teach


  4. He sure did 40 ish:) If you get the chance to visit graceland: https://britonthemove.com/visit-graceland/ you’ll see the guns and all kinds of other stuff he collected – cars, police badges, TV’s, cameras – all kinds of odd stuff. When you visit graceland there is an entertainment complex on the other side. It’s essentially a museum. It will take you hours to get through the collection on display but it’s facinating:) Nikki


  5. I knew about his gun collection (I’ve seen it..) but never knew he was an avid reader. And, I did not know he read medical books and knew about percribed medicines. This makes me wonder how in the world he ended up in such a mess with the perscription meds if he knew so much. Nikki


    1. He studied it to get drugs to get high. 13 different drugs were in his system when he died. Sonny and Red West wrote a book about it right before Elvis died saying he used cocaine as well. He was a hard-core drug addict plain and simple. I love Elvis but truth is truth.


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