), all spiritual paths have an esoteric aspect that focus on an interpersonal relationship with God, Spirit, the Divine, etc. Unfortunately the usage of the term "occult" has been bastardized over time and is now commonly referred to connotations of Devil-worship or malignant cults. But it is also a science -- … “Vivekan... anda” was the name he took upon initiation into the Order of Swamis; his birth name was Narendranath Datta. [...] Mysticism teaches the imminent availability of the divine power. The exoteric aspect is the more public persona of a spiritual practice: its community, rituals, and liturgic practices. The esoteric side of a religion regards the inner world, the more intimate and arcane elements. Kocku von Stuckrad is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Amsterdam, subdepartment ‘History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents’. as something which was distinct from Christianity, and which had formed a subculture that had been at odds with the Christian mainstream from at least the time of the Renaissance. The spreading of secret teachings and magic practices found enthusiastic adherents in the chaos of Germany during the interwar years. [121], Writers interested in occult themes have adopted three different strategies for dealing with the subject: those who are knowledgeable on the subject including attractive images of the occult and occultists in their work, those who disguise occultism within "a web of intertextuality", and those who oppose it and seek to deconstruct it. [114] Wicca also greatly influenced the development of Pagan neo-druidry and other forms of Celtic revivalism. The term “Western esotericism” covers a wide spectrum of neglected currents in Western cultural history. Esotericism has pervaded various forms of Western philosophy, religion, pseudoscience, art, literature, and music, continuing to affect intellectual ideas and popular culture. In turn, a "modernist occult" emerged that reflected varied ways in which esoteric thinkers came to terms with these developments. "Fraternitas Saturni" at Wouter Hanegraaff (ed). After World War II they reformed the Fraternitas Saturni. [Arthur Versluis;] Home. [98] In France, following the social upheaval of the 1789 Revolution, various figures emerged in this occultist milieu who were heavily influenced by traditional Catholicism, the most notable of whom were Eliphas Lévi (1810–1875) and Papus (1865–1916). In fact, these religions have various esoteric, initiatic orders which follow certain recipes to achieve liberation. Scholarly discourse about religion, on the other hand, is not emic but etic. Egil Asprem and Kennet Granholm (eds). [133] From 1986 to 1990 members of the Hermetic Academy participated in panels at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion under the rubric of the "Esotericism and Perennialism Group". [67], The origins of Western esotericism are in the Hellenistic Eastern Mediterranean, then part of the Roman Empire, during Late Antiquity, a period encompassing the first centuries of the Common Era. Esotericism refers to "hidden" knowledge available only to the advanced, privileged, or initiated, as opposed to exoteric knowledge, which is public. In other words, “esoteric communication,” or “esotericism,” is really just a fancy and euphemistic name for the practice of lying and deception. This could not be further from reality. "[30] According to this approach, "Western esotericism" is viewed as just one variant of a worldwide "esotericism" which can be found at the heart of all world religions and cultures, reflecting a hidden esoteric reality. And: Western esotericism, also called esotericism, esoterism, and sometimes the Western mystery tradition, is a term under which scholars have categorized a wide range of loosely related ideas and movements which have developed within Western society. Search for Library Items Search for Lists Search for Contacts Search for a Library. Authoring the influential Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888), she co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help. [25] Egil Asprem has endorsed this approach. As art it is based on sensitive, intuitive perception, open to inspiration. [96] Although most forms of Spiritualism had little theoretical depth, being largely practical affairs, full theological worldviews based on the movement would be articulated by Andrew Jackson Davis (1826–1910) and Allan Kardec (1804–1869). The term “esotericism” thus came int… Egil Asprem. [12] In the late seventeenth century, several European Christian thinkers presented the argument that one could categorise certain traditions of Western philosophy and thought together, thus establishing the category now labelled "Western esotericism". Esotericism, religion, and nature. And as true art it is a creative way of being, expressive of true universality. For the study of religion\s, it is therefore a stroke of luck that several leading scholars of so-called Western esotericism, includ- ing Wouter Hanegraaff, are active members of our tribe, that is, that they are scho- lars of religion and that they cross-fertilize debates raging in the study of religion\s with this emerging field. [101] Subsequent leaders of the Society, namely Annie Besant (1847–1933) and Charles Webster Leadbeater (1854–1934) interpreted modern theosophy as a form of ecumenical esoteric Christianity, resulting in their proclamation of Indian Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986) as world messiah. [20] The emphasis on Western esotericism was nevertheless primarily devised[by whom?] [100] His Traditionalist ideas would have a strong influence on later esotericists like Julius Evola (1898–1974) and Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998). Keywords esotericism, empty signifi ers, Gnosticism, Ernesto Laclau, cultural studies In the last ten to fi fteen years academic research into esotericism has become an established fi eld in religious studies, and can point to some notable schol- arly fi ndings (Hanegraaff 2004; Neugebauer-Wölk 2006a, 2006c). The Twilight of Esoteric Wanders and Academic Ponders [70] In the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, a number of texts appeared which were attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, including the Corpus Hermeticum, Asclepius, and The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth. "Perennialism and iconoclasm. Robert Cochrane and the Gardnerian Craft: Feuds, Secrets, and Mysteries in Contemporary British Witchcraft Ethan Doyle White. Ouspensky (1878–1947). From behind the scenes, these teachings have guided and shaped civilization after civilization, leading to all the great advances in human endeavor, be they in the sciences, politics, the arts or religion." Esoteric ideas have meanwhile also exerted an influence in popular culture, appearing in art, literature, film, and music. [11], The concept of "Western esotericism" represents a modern scholarly construct rather than a pre-existing, self-defined tradition of thought. [71] Although it is still debated as to whether Hermetism was a purely literary phenomenon, or whether there were communities of practitioners who acted on these ideas, it has been established that these texts discuss the true nature of God, emphasising that humans must transcend rational thought and worldly desires in order to find salvation and be reborn into a spiritual body of immaterial light, thereby achieving spiritual unity with divinity. It can be a gift from God or it can come through the effort of the individual. The seventeenth century saw the development of initiatory societies professing esoteric knowledge such as Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, while the Age of Enlightenment of the eighteenth century led to the development of new forms of esoteric thought. [55] However, criticisms have also been expressed of Faivre's theory, pointing out its various weaknesses. Esotericism, as it is sometimes called, is also the art of working with those energies which emanate from the highest spiritual sources. "Imagination and Mediations": Faivre believed that all esotericists place great emphasis on both the human, "Experience of Transmutation": Faivre's fourth intrinsic characteristic of esotericism was the emphasis that esotericists place on fundamentally transforming themselves through their practice, for instance through the spiritual transformation that is alleged to accompany the attainment of, "Practice of Concordance": The first of Faivre's secondary characteristics of esotericism was the belief – held by many esotericists, such as those in the, "Transmission": Faivre's second secondary characteristic was the emphasis on the transmission of esoteric teachings and secrets from a master to their disciple, through a process of, This page was last edited on 3 January 2021, at 20:36. His work was built on by the German Johannes Reuchlin (1455–1522) who authored a prominent text on the subject, De Arte Cabbalistica. This term and its correlative exoteric were first applied in the ancient Greek mysteries to those who were initiated (eso, “within”) and to those who were not (exo, “outside”), respectively. "Correspondences": This is the idea that there are both real and symbolic correspondences existing between all things within the universe. [94] One of Mesmer's followers, the Marquis de Puységur, discovered that mesmeric treatment could induce a state of somnumbulic trance in which they claimed to enter visionary states and communicate with spirit beings. [72], A third form of esotericism in Late Antiquity was Neoplatonism, a school of thought influenced by the ideas of the philosopher Plato. [106], Emergent occult and esoteric systems found increasing popularity in the early 20th century, especially in Western Europe. Esotericism has more in common with Gnosticism, Theosophy, and Rosicrucianism than genuine biblical Christianity. Esotericism definition refers to the doctrines or practices of esoteric knowledge, or the quality or state of being obscure. Unfortunately, it is a practice that characterizes and provides the basis for all of the so-called “major world religions,” including Christianity. Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. [90], A real initiatory brotherhood was established in late 16th-century Scotland through the transformation of Medieval stonemason guilds to include non-craftsman: Freemasonry. In short, esotericism cuts through established boundaries of religion, science, art, and philosophy. knowledge which is available only to a narrow circle of “enlightened”, “initiated”, or specially educated people. [31] The most significant is that it rests upon the conviction that there really is a "universal, hidden, esoteric dimension of reality" that objectively exists. [108] After their rise to power, the Nazis persecuted occultists. Indian guru Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863. For the study of religion\s, it is therefore a stroke of luck that several leading scholars of so-called Western esotericism, includ- ing Wouter Hanegraaff, are active members of our tribe, that is, that they are scho- lars of religion and that they cross-fertilize debates raging in the study of religion… [99] Also significant was René Guénon (1886–1951), whose concern with tradition led him to develop an occult viewpoint termed Traditionalism; it espoused the idea of an original, universal tradition, and thus a rejection of modernity. [53] However, in 2013 the scholar Kennet Granholm stated only that Faivre's definition had been "the dominating paradigm for a long while" and that it "still exerts influence among scholars outside the study of Western esotericism". So, in many ways, there is nothing supernatural about it. The concept of the "esoteric" originated in the 2nd century[3] The idea of grouping a wide range of Western traditions and philosophies together under the category that is now termed esotericism developed in Europe during the late seventeenth century. [59], — Historian of religion Henrik Bogdan, 2007. Posts about Religious esotericism written by Eric Heubeck. One scholarly model adopts its definition of "esotericism" from certain esotericist schools of thought themselves, treating "esotericism" as a perennialist hidden, inner tradition. He has published widely on methodological and historical aspects of European history of religion from antiquity to the present, with particular focus on esotericism, astrology and philosophy of nature. [40] Esotericism is therefore understood as comprising those world views which eschew a belief in instrumental causality and instead adopt a belief that all parts of the universe are interrelated without a need for causal chains. This is not a commentary about the full chapter, but is related to Concerning the Practice of Concealing Esoteric Truths from The Masses: Esotericism Ancient and Modern. Awakening The Global Mind PDF Kindle He noted that, even if such a true and absolute nature of reality really existed, it would only be accessible through "esoteric" spiritual practices, and could not be discovered or measured by the "exoteric" tools of scientific and scholarly enquiry. A second perspective sees esotericism as a category that encompasses movements which embrace an "enchanted" world-view in the face of increasing disenchantment. In essence, all religion has two components within its make-up, regardless of denomination: the exoteric and esoteric. Instead, Paracelsus urged doctors to learn medicine through an observation of the natural world, although in later work he also began to focus on overtly religious questions. [39] Moreover, Hanegraaff noted that when scholars adopt this definition, it shows that they subscribe to the religious doctrines which are espoused by the very groups that they are studying. [93] Another major figure within the esoteric movement of this period was the German physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1814), who developed the theory of Animal Magnetism, which later came to be known more commonly as "Mesmerism". PSYCHONAUT PRESENTS #1 FOR SALE! [102] In England,[103] the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an initiatory order devoted to magic which based itself on an understanding of kabbalah, was founded in the latter years of the century. Through that, a life of conscience can blossom; rather than the other way around. Esotericism, as it is sometimes called, is also the art of working with those energies which emanate from the highest spiritual sources. [123] The work of Yates in particular, most notably her 1964 book Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, has been cited as "an important starting-point for modern scholarship on esotericism", succeeding "at one fell swoop in bringing scholarship onto a new track" by bringing wider awareness of the effect that esoteric ideas had on modern science. Golden Dawn formalities, but on one 's being be our perspective.94 for Schuon,,! Its two main components: mysticism and magic practices found enthusiastic adherents in field... 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