Short Introduction to Esotericism

Esotericism (Greek ezotheo “interior”) is a set of teachings in regards to the legal guidelines of seen and invisible worlds. This time period additionally means a secret type of spiritual educating.

Esotericism means the totality of esoteric information and follow understood as a single entire, a single common Custom, in every single place and at all times similar regardless of the range of rites, doctrines, and so forth. which arises from the range of locations, epochs and cultures. This assumption is advocated by occultists (Papus) and traditionalists (Guénon).

Once we speak about esoteric doctrines, esoteric teachings and so forth, we imply doctrines and teachings that purpose to steer man to interior religious and metaphysical cognition. In line with esotericism, true information isn’t achieved by scientific analysis, however by interior enlightenment and introduction to secret doctrine.

Esoteric doctrines and teachings embrace a variety of disciplines and methods of thought resembling alchemy, anthroposophy, astrology, Kabbalah, mysticism, occultism, spiritism, theosophy, and different airtight traditions inside modern New Age doctrine.

The time period esotericism is derived from the Greek phrase ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos), denoting the exterior path to the inside or the inside basically. The time period, as a noun, first appeared in all probability in 1828 within the work Historie critique du gnosticisme et de son affect by the French writer Jacques Matter.

Within the broadest sense, esotericism encompasses a spread of religious theories and practices, from astrology, Kabbalah, tarot and different types of divination, magic, alchemy to the New Age, parapsychology, Freemasonry, spiritism, ufology, and yoga. In a narrower sense, esotericism could be described as studying of information hidden from the uninitiated or as an try and uncover common secrets and techniques and invisible relationships between stars, metals, and crops.

The beginnings of classical esoteric thought are linked to Alexandrian Hermeticism, that’s, to partially destroyed works written in Greek at the start of the Christian period. The content material of those writings is principally of astrological, cosmological, alchemical and theurgical character, and the Corpus Hermeticum stands out, written within the 2nd/3rd century.

Other than Alexandrian Hermeticism, the event of esotericism was additionally influenced by Neo-Pythagoreanism, Stoicism and Neo-Platonism by its important representatives Plotinus (205-27), Porphyry (273-305), Jamblichus and Proclus (412-485), and in later centuries by Kabbalah.

Christian thought was additionally influenced by esotericism as mirrored within the works of Clement of Alexandria (160-215) and Origen (185-254), and particularly the varied Gnostic beliefs whose important themes have been the apocalypse and the ascension of the soul to the heavenly realms.

Through the Center Ages, the principle impulses of esoteric thought got here to Europe by Islamic science and philosophy, particularly by the works, translations and interpretations of the classics of historic philosophy in Avicenna (980-1037) and Averroes (1126-1198).

Quite a few magical works seem throughout this era, resembling Picatrix, which was translated from Arabic. Within the twelfth century, alchemy appeared, hitherto unknown on European soil. Two works, translated from Arabic into Latin, Turba Philosophorum and Summa attributed to Geber (721-815), had an important affect on its improvement.

Astrology flourished within the Center Ages, and Kabbalah has been spreading amongst the Jews for the reason that Renaissance. As early because the twelfth century, Sefer Jecira was compiled in Provence, and after 1275, the fundamental guide of Kabbalah, Sefer ha Zohar, appeared in Spain, the compilation of which was likely compiled by Moses de Leon.

The Renaissance interval is characterised by a pointy unfold of esoteric thought and work prompted by the founding of the Platonic Academy in Florence, presided over by the Italian thinker Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), who translated the Corpus Hermeticum. On the identical time, Christian Kabbalah developed, the foundations of which have been constructed by the thinker Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494).

At the moment, Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples (c. 1455-1536) wrote about magic and Kabbalah (De magia naturali), Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522) (De Verbo mirifico and De arte cabbalistica), Agrippa (1486-1535) (De occulta philosophia) and Paracelsus (1493-1541) (Quantity paramirum, Philosophia Sagax). A outstanding consultant of Christian Kabbalah of the interval was Guillaume Postel (1510-1581), who revealed an annotated translation of the Zohar and the primary Latin translation of Sefer Jecire.

The primary secret societies, such because the Rosicrucians, have been based within the early seventeenth century, and Masons have been based in England within the 18th century. Theosophy has been creating for the reason that 18th century, crucial consultant of which is Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). In the midst of the nineteenth century, fashionable spiritism appeared, and occultism gained new momentum by the work of the French occultist Eliphass Lévi (1810-1875).

Since each phrases are by definition shut in content material, it’s tough to tell apart them. In a broader sense, each esotericism contains occultism, that’s, the notion of esotericism is extra complete in content material.

Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) believed that esotericism and occultism have been two branches of the identical tree, whereas others extra carefully distinguished esotericism as concept and occultism as follow, from which they deduced that esotericism was extra a system and beliefs, and occultism a sum of information. abilities and actions.

Though esotericism encompasses a variety of range, it’s potential to outline and form three classes:

Spiritual esotericism – encompasses conventional types of esotericism resembling Buddhism, Kabbalah and Sufism;

Occult esotericism – comprises shamanism, gnosticism, hermeticism, tantra and magical and alchemical Taoism;

Philosophical esotericism – refers to Neoplatonism, Theosophy and the New Age.

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