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This is not necessarily the meaning of esotericism. Academic esotericism constitutes the modern academic disciplines - looked at in articles under the relevant headings.

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History Esotericism is not a single tradition but a vast array of often unrelated figures and movements. Nevertheless, the following may be helpful. The Roman Empire gave birth not only to Christianity but also to a group of mystery religions which emphasized initiation. Some see Christianity, with its ritual of baptism, as a mystery religion:. Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

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And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. After Christianity became the state religion of Rome, dissident Christian groups became persecuted as traitors to the state. Pagan groups came to be suppressed as well.

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The terms " Gnosticism " and " Gnosis " have been challenged as coherent categories, but refer to a family of ancient Jewish, Christian, and pagan religious movements which often claimed to possess secret teachings relating to the spirit world although in the Gnostic Tradition this "secret knowledge" was available to all , as opposed to the ordinary world which they tended to denigrate. Another important movement from the ancient world was Hermeticism , sometimes called Hermetism to distinguish it from post-Renaissance appropriations of it.

Separately, ancient Babylon provided the basis for Western astrology.. The dichotomy between the esoteric and exoteric also plays an important part in Islam, particularly the beliefs of the Ismaili Muslims. It is believed that spiritual salvation is attained by receiving the 'Nur' light of Allah through the esoteric, that is, spiritual search for enlightenment.

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Neither the exoteric nor the esoteric obliterates the other. The inner, spiritual life remains in harmony with the exoteric, and is a dimension of the faith that finds acceptance among many communities in both branches of Islam. During the Middle Ages such things as astrology, alchemy , and magic were not distinct from the standard subjects of the curriculum of an educated man. Charles W. Mary K. Greer: Tarot for Your Self. Pamela Eakins: Tarot of the Spirit. Robert O'Neill: Tarot Symbolism.

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Hugh J. John Dee: The Heiroglyphic Monad. Noel L. Friedrich W. Schelling: Werke, Die Weltalter.

Tarot Related Esoteric Studies Though many of these books do not deal with tarot itself, they illumine the western pattern of Platonic symbolism from which tarot as a system of divinization and oracle emerged. Subscribe to my Podcast. While Rommen sees style as a form of discourse that forces the subject to construct identity through the negotiation of the ethical consequences of performance and reception, his methodological reliance on reification in an attempt to define relations of power forces a premature foreclosure on other dimensions of meaning within the dialectic of musical performance and re- ception.

The focus on performance and reception, as a means of mapping and articulating the frames that govern the strategies and tactics of production and consumption, reduces the theological and narrative dimen- sions of religious musical practice to epiphenomenal moments of power ne- gotiation.

RORY M. Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation. One of the challenges of the newly emerging field of Western esoteric studies is the amorphous and elusive character of esotericism itself, especially when it comes to questions of historical continuity. A promising new attempt to locate the skeleton of the Western esoteric tra- dition is through the focus on ritual, specifically rituals of initiation.

Western Esotericism A Concise History SUNY Series in Western Esoteric Traditions

In Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation, Henrik Bogdan argues that in contrast to esoteric ideas, the structure of rituals of initiation in the West has remained virtually unchanged from the Craft Degrees of late seventeenth-century Scot- tish Freemasonry to the present-day Wiccan initiation rituals. The shared components of Western esoteric rituals of initiation, such as the ritual of question and answers, the swearing of secrecy, the performance of an ordeal through which the novice enters the inner secrets of the group, all practice those elements that Faivre had analyzed as patterns of thought.

For instance, all combine the notion that secrecy, a discursive constant in the his- tory of Western esotericism, is a matter of practice. Secrecy is thus related to an action rather than to ideas. Another example of the function of rites of initiation as embodiment and vehicle for transmission concerns the esoteric idea of trans- mutation. The first three chapters of Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation serve as introductions to, respectively, research on Western esotericism, rituals of ini- tiation, and the history of Western esotericism.

Though useful to the unini- tiated in these fields, these chapters might perhaps better have been cropped and disciplined into the service of the main argument of the book.

Chapters 4—7 are historical narratives. Although there is a disconnect between the theoretical and historical chapters, which renders the argument less force- ful than it could have been were theory and historical narrative more inte- grated, the book offers a very promising new take on the question of esoteri- cism and its historical continuity.