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WHAT is esotericism? Q&A

WHAT is esotericism? Q&A

OHMYGOSSIP – Esotericism refers to the doctrines or practices of esoteric knowledge, or the quality or state of being obscure. Esoteric knowledge is that which is specialized or advanced in nature, available only to a narrow circle of “enlightened,” “initiated,” or highly educated people. Typically, esoteric knowledge is contrasted with exoteric knowledge, which is well-known or public knowledge perceived as informally canonic in society at large. Items pertaining to esotericism may be known as esoterica.

Esotericism largely involves an element of initiation such as the requirement that one be tested before learning the higher truth. However, such knowledge may be kept secret not by the intention of its protectors, but by its very nature—for example, if it is accessible only to those with the proper intellectual background.

Some overlap may exist between esotericism and mysticism; but many mystical traditions do not attempt to introduce additional spiritual knowledge, but rather seek to focus the believer’s attention or prayers more strongly upon the object of devotion. A mystic is thus not necessarily an esotericist. A variety of past traditions could be classified as forms of “esotericism” due to their “inner” focus as well as their “selective” and “secretive” nature.

Esoteric is an adjective originating in Greece; it comes from the Greek ἐσωτερικός esôterikos, from esôtero, the comparative form of ἔσω esô: “within.” Esoteric refers to anything that is inner. Its antonym is exoteric, from the Greek ἐξωτερικός eksôterikos, from eksôtero, the comparative form of ἔξω eksô: “outside.” Plato, in his dialogue Alcibíades (circa 390 B.C.E.), uses the expression ta esô, meaning “the inner things,” and in his dialogue Theaetetus (circa 360 B.C.E.) he uses ta eksô, meaning “the outside things.” The probable first appearance of the Greek adjective esôterikos is in Lucian of Samosata’s “The Auction of Lives,” § 26 (also called “The Auction of the Philosophical Schools”), written around 166 C.E.

The term esoteric first appeared in English in the 1701 History of Philosophy by Thomas Stanley, in his description of the “Auditors of Pythagoras.” The Pythagoreans were divided into “exoteric,” which were under review, and “esoteric,” which had performed well enough to be admitted into the “inner” circle.

Esotericism is not a single tradition, but a vast array of often unrelated figures and movements. Nevertheless, the following examples provide an overview of some of the most prominent esoteric movements and figures throughout history:

In the ancient Graeco-Roman world, “Mystery religions,” or simply “Mysteries,” were belief systems in which full admission was restricted to those who had gone through certain secret initiation rites.” The term “Mystery” derives from Latin mysterium, from Greek musterion (usually as the plural musteria μυστήρια), in this context meaning “secret rite or doctrine.” An individual who followed such a Mystery was a mystes, “one who has been initiated,” from myein, “to close, shut,” perhaps a reference to secrecy or that only initiates were allowed to observe and participate in rituals.

The Mysteries were thus belief systems in which all religious functions were closed to the non-inducted and for which the inner-working of the religion were kept secret from the general public. Although there are no other formal qualifications, mystery religions were also characterized by their lack of an orthodoxy and scripture. Religions that were practiced in secret only in order to avoid religious persecution are not, by default, Mysteries.

The old meaning of “mystery” is also preserved in the expression “mystery play.” These stage performances of medieval Europe were known as such because the first groups to perform them were the craftsmen guilds, entry to which required an initiation and who zealously protected their trade secrets.

What is a esoteric person?
The term esoteric has been adopted in the spiritual community in a more philosophical sense, it is used to describe a practice or a person who seemingly has a deep knowledge of the universe and the lessons within it and actively works to connect with those things.

What is the meaning of esotericism?
Esotericism is the state or quality of being esoteric—obscure and only understood or intended to be understood by a small number of people with special (and perhaps secret) knowledge. Esotericism often involves knowledge that’s only intended to be revealed to people who have been initiated into a certain group.

What is esoteric example?
The definition of esoteric is something only understood by a chosen group. An example of esoteric is pa++ern, an embroidery language. Having to do with concepts that are highly theoretical and without obvious practical application; often with mystical or religious connotations.

Is esoteric a religion?
The term esoteric was coined in the 17th century and derives from the Greek ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos, “inner”). Esotericism as a universal, secret, inner tradition.

What does esoteric mean spiritually?
Esoteric, the quality of having an inner or secret meaning. 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.

What is an esoteric thinker?
What does esoteric mean? Esoteric most commonly means obscure and only understood or intended to be understood by a small number of people with special (and perhaps secret) knowledge. It’s often used to describe knowledge that’s only intended to be revealed to people who have been initiated into a certain group.

What are esoteric subjects?
An esoteric subject is a subject that is known to a select group of people rather than the population at large.

What is ceremonial magick?
The magic of Western Esotericism is known as ceremonial magick.

Ceremonial magic or ritual magic, also referred to as high magic and as learned magic in some cases, is a broad term used in the context of Hermeticism or Western esotericism to encompass a wide variety of long, elaborate, and complex rituals of magic.

It is named as such because the works included are characterized by ceremony and a myriad of necessary accessories to aid the practitioner. It can be seen as an extension of ritual magic, and in most cases synonymous with it.

How Ceremonial Magic differs from Witchcraft?
In many different ways. The first of which is that most practitioners of Witchcraft are not well versed in the Western Esoteric Tradition, and many have never heard of its existence.

Witchcraft doesn’t require a strong basis of philosophical and occult philosophy to preform either. Moreover, most Ceremonial Magicians have a degree of skepticism in their practice. Generally speaking, the Ceremonial Magician is more concerned in the pursuit of hidden knowledge and the scientific explanations for why things occur than those that practice Witchcraft. Many occultists attempt to explain magical phenomena as extensions of the power one’s mind on the perception of their physical reality. In other words, they believe it’s all in their heads, and that a little imagination can be a powerful instrument for changing one’s life.

What is Hermeticism?
Hermeticism is a religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus (Thrice Great). These writings have greatly influenced the Western Esoteric tradition and were considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation eras.

Hermes Trismegistus is thrice great because he is considered to be the founder of the three parts of wisdom: Alchemy, Astrology, and Magic. His contributions to Alchemy have turned into modern medicine, and astrology into modern astronomy. It could be argued that his magical teachings have a great influence on modern psychology as well.

Featured image: Pexels

This article is about spiritual community, magic, esotericism and mysticism

Synonyms for esotericism:
newness, weirdness, abnormality, bizarreness, eccentricity, exoticism, foreignness, novelty, oddity, unconventionality, esoterism, fantasticality, indescribability


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