Middle Ages

medievalmediaevalmedieval Europe
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages (or medieval period) lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Mircea Eliade

Eliade, MirceaEliadeAllan
A doctor in the Kabbalah and future Romanian Orthodox cleric, Avramescu joined Eliade in editing the short-lived esoteric magazine Memra (the only one of its kind in Romania). Among the intellectuals who attended his lectures were Mihai Şora (whom he deemed his favorite student), Eugen Schileru and Miron Constantinescu—known later as, respectively, a philosopher, an art critic, and a sociologist and political figure of the communist regime. Mariana Klein, who became Șora's wife, was one of Eliade's female students, and later authored works on his scholarship.

Afterlife

life after deathhereafterafter death
Heaven, the heavens, seven heavens, pure lands, Tian, Jannah, Valhalla, or the Summerland, is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where beings such as gods, angels, jinn, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or live. According to the beliefs of some religions, heavenly beings can descend to earth or incarnate, and earthly beings can ascend to heaven in the afterlife, or in exceptional cases enter heaven alive.

Neoplatonism

NeoplatonicNeoplatonistNeo-Platonic
In the Middle Ages, neoplatonist ideas influenced Jewish thinkers, such as the Kabbalist Isaac the Blind, and the Jewish neoplatonic philosopher Solomon ibn Gabirol (Avicebron), who modified it in the light of their own monotheism. Neoplatonist ideas also influenced Islamic and Sufi thinkers such as al Farabi and Avicenna. The works of Pseudo-Dionysius were instrumental in the flowering of western medieval mysticism, most notably Meister Eckhart.

2012 phenomenon

December 21, 20122012 apocalypse2012
Many assertions about the year 2012 form part of Mayanism, a non-codified collection of New Age beliefs about ancient Maya wisdom and spirituality. The term is distinct from "Mayanist," used to refer to an academic scholar of the Maya. Archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni says that while the idea of "balancing the cosmos" was prominent in ancient Maya literature, the 2012 phenomenon did not draw from those traditions. Instead, it was bound up with American concepts such as the New Age movement, 2012 millenarianism, and the belief in secret knowledge from distant times and places.

Emanuel Swedenborg

SwedenborgEmmanuel SwedenborgSwedenborg's Angels
He also outlined his cosmology, which included the first presentation of his nebular hypothesis. (There is evidence that Swedenborg may have preceded Kant by as much as 20 years in the development of that hypothesis. ) In 1735, in Leipzig, he published a three-volume work, Opera philosophica et mineralis ("Philosophical and mineralogical works") in which he tried to conjoin philosophy and metallurgy. The work was mainly appreciated for its chapters on the analysis of the smelting of iron and copper, and it was the work that gave Swedenborg his international reputation.

David Spangler

Spangler has often been miscast as a new-age channeler due in part to the "transmissions" received while living at the intentional community at Findhorn, Scotland in the 1970s, which became the core of his first book Revelation: The Birth of a New Age. In hindsight it can be seen that Spangler's ideas were at that time transitional between the earlier theosophical esotericism represented by Alice Bailey and an emerging worldview that is more postmodern, less obscure, and less metaphysical than theosophy. Spangler himself reports that it took him some years to develop a language in which to communicate clearly the insights and experiences he had been having since childhood.

Julius Evola

EvolaUR GroupMen Among the Ruins
Evola wrote prodigiously on Eastern mysticism, Tantra, hermeticism, the myth of the Holy Grail and Western esotericism. German Egyptologist and esoteric scholar Florian Ebeling has noted that Evola's The Hermetic Tradition is viewed as an "extremely important work on Hermeticism" in the eyes of esotericists. Evola gave particular focus to Cesare della Riviera's text Il Mondo Magico degli Heroi, which he later republished in modern Italian. He held that Riviera's text was consonant with the goals of "high magic" – the reshaping of the earthly human into a transcendental 'god man'.

Animal magnetism

mesmerismmesmeristmagnetism
., metaphysical] Mesmerism of the Mesmerists … [allegedly] induced through the transmission of an occult influence from [the body of the operator to that of the subject,] Hypnotism, [by which] I mean a peculiar condition of the nervous system, into which it can be thrown by artificial contrivance … [a theoretical position that is entirely] consistent with generally admitted principles in physiological and psychological science [would] therefore [be most aptly] designated Rational Mesmerism.

Subtle body

subtle bodiesBody of LightYoga physiology
The later theosophical arrangement was taken up by Alice Bailey, and from there found its way into the New Age worldview and the human aura. Max Heindel divided the subtle body into the Vital Body made of Ether; the Desire body, related to the Astral plane; and the Mental body. Samael Aun Weor wrote extensively on the subtle bodies (Astral, Mental, and Causal), aligning them with the kabbalistic tree of life. Barbara Brennan's account of the subtle bodies in her books Hands of Light and Light Emerging refers to the subtle bodies as "layers" in the "Human Energy Field" or aura.

Catholic Church

Roman CatholicCatholicRoman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.

Tree of life

The Tree of Lifeholy treeLife
Jewish mysticism depicts the tree of life in the form of ten interconnected nodes, as the central symbol of the Kabbalah. It comprises the ten Sefirot powers in the divine realm. The panentheistic and anthropomorphic emphasis of this emanationist theology interpreted the Torah, Jewish observance, and the purpose of Creation as the symbolic esoteric drama of unification in the Sefirot, restoring harmony to Creation. From the time of the Renaissance onwards, Jewish Kabbalah became incorporated as an important tradition in non-Jewish Western culture, first through its adoption by Christian Kabbalah, and continuing in Western esotericism occult Hermetic Qabalah.

Serge Hutin

Serge Hutin (1927–1997) was a French author of books on esoterica and the occult. He was born in France. Hutin was a writer of many books on the occult and esoteric, he wrote about Freemasonry, secret societies, Rosicrucianism, alchemy and astrology and many other occult topics. Hutin wrote about the Kabbalah and claimed that Isaac Newton was a Christian Kabbalist. Hutin is most well known in UFO circles for his ancient astronaut book called Alien Races and Fantastic Civilizations (1975) in which he claimed ancient civilizations across the earth were colonial outposts built by extraterrestrials.

Meditation

meditativemeditatemeditating
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.

Enlightenment (spiritual)

enlightenmentspiritual enlightenmentspiritual awakening
Western and Mediterranean culture has a rich tradition of esotericism and mysticism. The Perennial philosophy, basic to the New Age understanding of the world, regards those traditions as akin to Eastern religions which aim at awakening/ enlightenment and developing wisdom. The hypothesis that all mystical traditions share a "common core", is central to New Age, but contested by a diversity of scientists like Katz and Proudfoot. Judaism includes the mystical tradition of Kabbalah. Islam includes the mystical tradition of Sufism. In the Fourth Way teaching, enlightenment is the highest state of Man (humanity).

Stanislas de Guaita

Marquis Stanislas de GuaitaStanislaus de Guaita
Stanislas De Guaita (6 April 1861, Tarquimpol, Moselle – 19 December 1897, Tarquimpol) was a French poet based in Paris, an expert on esotericism and European mysticism, and an active member of the Rosicrucian Order. He was very celebrated and successful in his time. He had many disputes with other people who were involved with occultism and magic. Occultism and magic were part of his novels. De Guaita came from a noble Italian family who had relocated to France, and as such his title was 'Marquis', or Marquess. He was born in the castle of Alteville in the commune of Tarquimpol, Moselle, and went to school at the lyceum in Nancy, where he studied chemistry, metaphysics and Cabala.

Colin Wilson

Wilson, Colin[Colin] Wilson
By the late 1960s Wilson had become increasingly interested in metaphysical and occult themes. In 1971, he published The Occult: A History, featuring interpretations on Aleister Crowley, George Gurdjieff, Helena Blavatsky, Kabbalah, primitive magic, Franz Mesmer, Grigori Rasputin, Daniel Dunglas Home and Paracelsus, among others. He also wrote a markedly unsympathetic biography of Crowley, Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast, and has written biographies on other spiritual and psychological visionaries, including Gurdjieff, Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich, Rudolf Steiner, and P. D. Ouspensky.

Satanism

SatanicSatanistSatanists
A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism".

Religion

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.

Counterculture of the 1960s

counterculture1960s counterculturecountercultural
The emergence of an interest in expanded spiritual consciousness, yoga, occult practices and increased human potential helped to shift views on organized religion during the era. In 1957, 69% of US residents polled by Gallup said religion was increasing in influence. By the late 1960s, polls indicated less than 20% still held that belief. The "Generation Gap", or the inevitable perceived divide in worldview between the old and young, was perhaps never greater than during the counterculture era.

Pseudoscience

pseudoscientificpseudo-scientificpseudo-science
Distinguishing scientific facts and theories from pseudoscientific beliefs, such as those found in astrology, alchemy, alternative medicine, occult beliefs, religious beliefs and creation science, is part of science education and scientific literacy. Pseudoscience can be harmful. For example, pseudoscientific anti-vaccine activism and promotion of homeopathic remedies as alternative disease treatments can result in people forgoing important medical treatment with demonstrable health benefits. The word pseudoscience is derived from the Greek root pseudo meaning false and the English word science, from the Latin word scientia, meaning "knowledge".

The New Church (Swedenborgian)

SwedenborgianSwedenborgianismThe New Church
According to them, masquerading as a being of light is a demonic tactic; Swedenborg's allegorical, esoteric interpretations and paranormal encounters (bordering on the occult) contradict the scriptures and make his claims spurious. Swedenborg distributed his books to English bishops and nobility, who considered them well-written but of little value and advised against reading them. D. Michael Quinn suggests that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was influenced by Swedenborg's writings. Like Swedenborg, Mormons believe in eternal marriage. However, they require that the ritual be performed in a Mormon temple. Smith's concept of three heavens is similar to Swedenborg's view.

New Thought

New Thought Movementmind-cureHigher Thought
Atkinson was the editor of New Thought magazine and the author of more than 100 books on an assortment of religious, spiritual, and occult topics. The following year, Elizabeth Towne, the editor of The Nautilus, published Bruce MacLelland's book Prosperity Through Thought Force, in which he summarized the "Law of Attraction" as a New Thought principle, stating "You are what you think, not what you think you are." These magazines were used to reach a large audience then, as others are now. Nautilus magazine, for example, had 45,000 subscribers and a total circulation of 150,000.

Anthroposophy

anthroposophistanthroposophicalanthroposophic
Esotericism in Germany and Austria. Pneumatosophy. Psychosophy. Rudolf Steiner Archive (Steiner's works online). Steiner's complete works in German. Rudolf Steiner Handbook (PDF, 56 MB). Goetheanum. General Anthroposophical Society. Anthroposophical Society in America. Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. Anthroposophical Initiatives in India. Anthroposophical Society in Australia. Anthroposophical Society in New Zealand.

Freemasonry

FreemasonFreemasonsMasonic
Freemasonry has attracted criticism from theocratic states and organised religions for supposed competition with religion, or supposed heterodoxy within the fraternity itself and has long been the target of conspiracy theories, which assert Freemasonry to be an occult and evil power. Although members of various faiths cite objections, certain Christian denominations have had high-profile negative attitudes to Masonry, banning or discouraging their members from being Freemasons. The denomination with the longest history of objection to Freemasonry is the Catholic Church.