Western esotericism

There is broad agreement among scholars as to which currents of thought can be placed within a category of "esotericism", ranging from ancient Gnosticism and Hermetism through to Rosicrucianism and the Kabbalah and on to more recent phenomenon such as the New Age movement. Nevertheless, "esotericism" itself remains a controversial term, with scholars specialising in the subject disagreeing as to how it can best be defined.

Plane (esotericism)

planes of existenceplane of existenceplane
Blavatsky, who in The Secret Doctrine and other writings propounded a complex cosmology consisting of seven planes and subplanes, based on a synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas. From theosophy the term made its way to later esoteric systems such as that of Alice Bailey, who was very influential in shaping the worldview of the New Age movement. The term is also found in some Eastern teachings that have some Western influence, such as the cosmology of Sri Aurobindo and some of the later Sant Mat, and also in some descriptions of Buddhist cosmology.

Spiritual evolution

Metaphysical cosmology. Esoteric cosmology. Evolution (philosophy). Hindu idealism. Ietsism. Involution (metaphysics). Plane (cosmology). Religious cosmology. The Celestine Prophecy.

List of occult terms

List of magical terms and traditions
Esoteric cosmology. Esotericism. Evocation. Exorcism. Fama Fraternitatis. Familiar spirit. Feng shui. Feri Tradition. Folk religion. Fortune-telling. Galdr. Gematria. Geomancy. Geomantic figures. Gnosis. Gnosis (chaos magic). Goetia. Gray magic. Greater and lesser magic. Grimoire. Hadit. Haitian Vodou. Haruspex. Hermeticism. Hexagram. Hex. Holy Guardian Angel. Homunculus. Hoodoo. Huna. Human sacrifice. I Ching. Initiation. Incantation. Invocation. Kabbalah. Kemetism. Kia (magic). Kumina. Kundalini energy. Law of contagion. Left-hand path and right-hand path. Legendary creature. Lesser ritual of the pentagram. List of occultists. List of occult symbols. List of occult writers. Literomancy.

Index of religion-related articles

Age - New moon - New Testament - Nicene Creed - Nirvana (concept) - Nirvana (Jainism) - Non-Abrahamic religion - Nontheistic religions - Nontrinitarianism - Norse mythology - Numinous - Number of the Beast (numerology) Oahspe - Occult - Old English Bible translations - Old Testament - Omen - Omnipotence - Omniscience - One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church - Opus Dei - Order of the Solar Temple - Organizational structure of Jehovah's Witnesses - Oriental Orthodoxy - Original sin - Orthodoxy - Orthodox Bahá'í Faith - Orthodox Christian Mission Center - Orthodox Judaism Paganism - Pali canon - Pali - Panentheism - Pange Lingua - Pantheism - Papal abdication -


As Theosophy entered the Völkisch movement of late 19th century Austria and Germany, it syncretised to form an eclectic occult movement known as Ariosophy. The most prominent Ariosophist, the Austrian Guido von List, was influenced by Theosophical ideas in creating his own occult system. In the United States during the 1930s, the I AM group was established by Guy Ballard and Edna Ballard; the group adopted the idea of the Ascended Masters from Theosophy. The idea of the Masters—and a belief in Morya and Kuthumi—have also been adopted into the belief system of the Church Universal and Triumphant. The Canadian mystic Manly P.


The Kabbalah Centre, which employs teachers from multiple religions, is a New Age movement that claims to popularize the kabbalah, part of the Jewish esoteric tradition. Jews in Islamic countries: * A. Khanbaghi. The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval and Early Modern Iran (IB Tauris, 2006). See also Torah database for links to more Judaism e-texts. ;Wikimedia Torah study projects Text study projects at Wikisource. In many instances, the Hebrew versions of these projects are more fully developed than the English. Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and Rabbinic literature. Mesorah. Targum. Jewish Biblical exegesis (also see Midrash below).


During the occult revival of the early 19th century, alchemy received new attention as an occult science. The esoteric or occultist school, which arose during the 19th century, held (and continues to hold) the view that the substances and operations mentioned in alchemical literature are to be interpreted in a spiritual sense, and it downplays the role of the alchemy as a practical tradition or protoscience.

Hermetic Qabalah

Hermetic Qabalah is a Western esoteric tradition involving mysticism and the occult. It is the underlying philosophy and framework for magical societies such as the Golden Dawn, Thelemic orders, mystical-religious societies such as the Builders of the Adytum and the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and is a precursor to the Neopagan, Wiccan and New Age movements. The Hermetic Qabalah is the basis for Qliphothic Qabala as studied by left hand path orders, such as the Typhonian Order.


Besides the teaching of the bodhisattva, Mahāyāna texts also contain expanded cosmologies and mythologies, with many more Buddhas and powerful bodhisattvas, as well as new spiritual practices and ideas. The modern Theravada school does not treat the Mahāyāna sūtras as authoritative or authentic teachings of the Buddha. Likewise, these texts were not recognized as authoritative by many early Buddhist schools and in some cases, communities such as the Mahāsāṃghika school split up due to this disagreement. Recent scholarship has discovered many early Mahāyāna texts which shed light into the development of Mahāyāna.


Some meditative traditions have been encouraged in Kabbalah, and some Jews have described Kabbalah as an inherently meditative field of study. Kabbalistic meditation often involves the mental visualization of the supernal realms. Aryeh Kaplan has argued that the ultimate purpose of Kabbalistic meditation is to understand and cleave to the Divine. Meditation has been of interest to a wide variety of modern Jews. In modern Jewish practice, one of the best known meditative practices is called "hitbodedut" (התבודדות, alternatively transliterated as "hisbodedus"), and is explained in Kabbalistic, Hasidic, and Mussar writings, especially the Hasidic method of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav.

Agni Yoga

Living Ethics
The Russian Orthodox Church criticises Agni Yoga as New Age: "The ideology of the New Age serves outstanding contemporary philosophers: Gregory Bateson, Ken Wilber, Paul Feyerabend. On a grand scale is the creation and support of international organizations, contained in the ideology of the New Age. In Russia and in Ukraine, the international movement "To Health via Culture", based on the teachings of Agni Yoga, operates and has a great publishing activity." The WOCH has its own publishing house ("To Health via Culture"), which has the right to publish the books with the International Standard Book Number (ISBN).


religiousreligionsreligious beliefs
In general the scientific method gains knowledge by testing hypotheses to develop theories through elucidation of facts or evaluation by experiments and thus only answers cosmological questions about the universe that can be observed and measured. It develops theories of the world which best fit physically observed evidence. All scientific knowledge is subject to later refinement, or even rejection, in the face of additional evidence.

Religious studies

religionstudy of religionRS
Common issues considered by the (Western) philosophy of religion are the existence of God, belief and rationality, cosmology, and logical inferences of logical consistency from sacred texts. Although philosophy has long been used in evaluation of religious claims (e.g. Augustine and Pelagius's debate concerning original sin), the rise of scholasticism in the 11th century, which represented "the search for order in intellectual life" (Russell, 170), more fully integrated the Western philosophical tradition (with the introduction of translations of Aristotle) in religious study. There is some amount of overlap between subcategories of religious studies and the discipline itself.

Jakob Böhme

Böhme's disciple and mentor, the Liegnitz physician Balthasar Walther, who had travelled to the Holy Land in search of magical, kabbalistic and alchemical wisdom, also introduced kabbalistic ideas into Böhme's thought. Böhme was also an important source of German Romantic philosophy, influencing Schelling in particular. In Richard Bucke's 1901 treatise Cosmic Consciousness, special attention was given to the profundity of Böhme's spiritual enlightenment, which seemed to reveal to Böhme an ultimate nondifference, or nonduality, between human beings and God. Jakob Böhme's writings also had some influence on the modern theosophical movement of the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky and W.Q.

Book of Dzyan

DzyanStanzas of Dzyan
Coleman himself, far from being an authority on occult material, was a clerk in the Quartermaster Department of the US Army. He was likely not an impartial judge, having written to Coues on July 8, 1890, "I emphatically denounced and ridiculed the theory of occultism, of elementary spirits, etc., before the Theosophical Society was organized [in 1875], and from that time to this I have strenuously opposed Theosophy all the time." Coleman promised to publish a book that would "prove" his charges against Blavatsky regarding the Book of Dzyan; this book and its proof never appeared.

Mental plane

World of Thoughtdevachanic plane
The esoteric conception of the mental plane had to wait till the occult revival of the late 19th century, with the development of modern Theosophical, Hermetic, and Kabbalistic ideas that were to serve as the foundation for the current New Age movement. H. P. Blavatsky taught a cosmology and ontology consisting of seven principles and seven planes. In her writings she aimed at showing how different spiritual systems share a common source, and therefore refers to Vedantic, Buddhist, Samkhyan, Tantric, Neoplatonic, Ancient Egyptian, Kabbalistic, and Occult systems. She relates the mind with the principle of Manas, and also talks about a kosmic Manasic plane.

List of New Age topics

New Age communities. New Age Gaian. New Age travellers. New World Alliance. Rebirthing-breathwork. Sacred travel. Affirmations (New Age). Altered state of consciousness. Bhakti. Dhikr. Kundalini energy. Mandala. Meditation. Muraqaba. Prayer. Qi. Qigong. Tantra. Ambient music. Circle dance. Drum circle. Hare Krishna. Kirtan. Nambassa. New-age music. Grammy Award for Best New Age Album. Neoclassical new-age music. Qawwali. Sufi whirling. A Course in Miracles. Angels. Anthroposophy. Christian anarchism. Cosmic ordering. Dances of Universal Peace. Eckankar. Goddess movement. Ietsism. Jesus. Kabbalah. Living Enrichment Center. New religious movements. New Thought. Outline of spirituality.

Glossary of spirituality terms

New Age: Describes a broad movement of late twentieth century and contemporary Western culture characterised by an individual eclectic approach to spiritual exploration. It has some attributes of a new, emerging religion but is currently a loose network of spiritual seekers, teachers, healers and other participants. The name "New Age" also refers to the market segment in which goods and services are sold to people in the movement. Nirvana: In the Indian religions Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, nirvāna (from the Sanskrit निर्वाण, Pali: Nibbāna -- Chinese: 涅槃; Pinyin: niè pán), literally "extinction" and/or "extinguishing", is the culmination of the yogi's pursuit of liberation.

List of topics characterized as pseudoscience

List of topics characterised as pseudosciencea number of claimsalternative
An aura or human energy field is, according to New Age beliefs, a colored emanation said to enclose a human body or any animal or object. In some esoteric positions, the aura is described as a subtle body. Psychics and holistic medicine practitioners often claim to have the ability to see the size, color and type of vibration of an aura. In New Age alternative medicine, the human aura is seen as a hidden anatomy that affect the health of a client, and is often understood to comprise centers of vital force called chakra. Such claims are not supported by scientific evidence and are pseudoscience. When tested under controlled experiments, the ability to see auras has not been shown to exist.

New World Order (conspiracy theory)

New World OrderIlluminaticonspiracy
Paradoxically, since the first decade of the 21st century, New World Order conspiracism is increasingly being embraced and propagandized by New Age occultists, who are people bored by rationalism and drawn to stigmatized knowledge—such as alternative medicine, astrology, quantum mysticism, spiritualism, and theosophy.

Jack Parsons (rocket engineer)

Jack ParsonsJohn Whiteside ParsonsJohn "Jack" Whiteside Parsons
New Age. Quantum mysticism. Scientology and the occult. UFO religion.

Multiverse (religion)

multiverseother Universesuniverse
Ascended Master Teachings cosmology. Buddhist cosmology. Esoteric cosmology. Fine-tuned universe. Hindu cosmology. Hindu cycle of the universe. Plane (esotericism). Religious cosmology. The All.


All associate him with the planet Jupiter; as such, in new age angel lore he can be invoked for matters involving money, finance, law, politics, and religion. His sigil appears in Francis Barrett's The Magus, an early nineteenth century compendium of occult lore. It also appears in the 16th century treatise, The Complete Book of Magic Science. In the Japanese anime franchise Neon Genesis Evangelion, a giant monster of the same name, belonging to the race known as the angels, appears in the first two episodes of the anime series. * Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels (The Free Press / Macmillan, 1967) ISBN: 9780029070505

Outline of spirituality

List of spirituality-related topics
Sufi cosmology. Sufi Texts. Sufi whirling. Involution. Outline of religion. Synchronicity.