René Guénon

Rene GuenonGuénonRené Guenon
Guénon soon discovered that the Esoteric Christian Martinist order, supervised by Papus, was irregular. He joined the Gnostic Church founded by Fabre des Essarts-Synesius. Under the name "Tau Palingenius" Guénon became the founder and main contributor of a periodical review, La Gnose ("Gnosis"), writing articles for it until 1922. From his incursions into the French occultist and pseudo-masonic orders, he despaired of the possibility of ever gathering these diverse and often ill-assorted doctrines into a "stable edifice".

Western culture

WesternWestern civilizationWest
Tendencies that have come to define modern Western societies include the concept of political pluralism, individualism, prominent subcultures or countercultures (such as New Age movements) and increasing cultural syncretism resulting from globalization and human migration. The West as a geographical area is unclear and undefined. More often a country's ideology is what will be used to categorize it as a Western society. There is some disagreement about what nations should or should not be included in the category and at what times. Many parts of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire are considered Western today but were considered Eastern in the past.

Éliphas Lévi

Eliphas LeviEliphas LéviAlphonse Louis Constant
He participated on the socialist Revue philosophique et religieuse, founded by his old friend Fauvety, wherein he propagated his "Kabbalistic" ideas, for the first time in public, in 1855-1856 (notably using his civil name). The debates in the Revue do not only show the tensions between the old "Romantic Socialism" of the Saint-Simonians and Fourierists, they also demonstrate how natural it was for a socialist writer to discuss topics like magic, the Kabbalah, or the occult sciences in a socialist journal. It has been shown that Constant developed his ideas about magic in a specific milieu that was marked by the confluence of socialist and magnetistic ideas.

Christian Kabbalah

CabbalaChristian KabbalistChristian Cabala
Hames called "the first Christian to acknowledge and appreciate kabbalah as a tool of conversion", though Llull was not a Kabbalist himself nor versed in Kabbalah. Later Christian Kabbalah is mostly based on Pico della Mirandola, Johann Reuchlin and Paolo Riccio. After the 18th century, Kabbalah became blended with European occultism, some of which had a religious basis; but the main interest in Christian Kabbalah was by then dead. A few attempts have been made to revive it in recent decades, particularly regarding the Neoplatonism of the first two chapters of the Gospel of John, but it has not entered into mainstream Christianity.

Franz Mesmer

Franz Anton MesmerMesmerAnton Mesmer
(In modern times New Age spiritualists have revived a similar idea.) Mesmer's theory attracted a wide following between about 1780 and 1850, and continued to have some influence until the end of the 19th century. In 1843 the Scottish doctor James Braid proposed the term "hypnosis" for a technique derived from animal magnetism; today the word "mesmerism" generally functions as a synonym of "hypnosis". Mesmer was born in the village of Iznang, on the shore of Lake Constance in Swabia, Germany, a son of master forester Anton Mesmer (1701—after 1747) and his wife, Maria/Ursula (née Michel; 1701—1770).

Antoine Faivre

I : Access to Western Esotericism, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1994, vol. II : Theosophy, Imagination, Tradition, Studies in Western Esotericism, Albany, State University of New York Press, 2000. L'ésotérisme, Paris, PUF, 1992, 3e éd., 2003.

Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

Goodrick-Clarke, NicholasGoodrick-ClarkeN. Goodrick-Clarke
In 2002, Goodrick-Clarke was appointed a Research Fellow in Western Esotericism at the University of Lampeter, and then in 2005 he was appointed to a personal chair in the department of History at Exeter University. As Professor of Western Esotericism and Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO), Goodrick-Clarke developed a successful distance-learning MA in Western Esotericism and successfully supervised a number of doctoral students. While at Exeter he wrote The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction, published in 2008.

Traditionalist School

TraditionalistTraditionalismTraditional School
"traditionalism"; like "esoterism" [...] has nothing pejorative about it in itself [...] If to recognize what is true and just is "nostalgia for the past," it is quite clearly a crime or a disgrace not to feel this nostalgia." Traditionalists insist on the necessity for affiliation to one of the "normal traditions", or great ancient religions of the world. The regular affiliation to the ordinary life of a believer is crucial, since this could give access to the esoterism of that given religious form. The ideas of the Traditionalist School are considered to begin with René Guénon.

Human Potential Movement

human potentialself-developmentgrowth movement
They themselves came to be called not only "New Age" but also "new religion". As Elizabeth Puttick writes in the Encyclopedia of New Religions: The human potential movement (HPM) originated in the 1960s as a counter-cultural rebellion against mainstream psychology and organised religion. It is not in itself a religion, new or otherwise, but a psychological philosophy and framework, including a set of values that have made it one of the most significant and influential forces in modern Western society. Abraham Maslow published his concept of a hierarchy of needs in a paper in 1943.


angelsAll Angelsangelic
Metatron is considered one of the highest of the angels in Merkabah and Kabbalist mysticism and often serves as a scribe; he is briefly mentioned in the Talmud and figures prominently in Merkabah mystical texts. Michael, who serves as a warrior and advocate for Israel, is looked upon particularly fondly. Gabriel is mentioned in the Book of Daniel and briefly in the Talmud, as well as in many Merkabah mystical texts. There is no evidence in Judaism for the worship of angels, but there is evidence for the invocation and sometimes even conjuration of angels. According to Kabbalah, there are four worlds and our world is the last world: the world of action (Assiyah).

Creation myth

creationcreation storycreation stories
Religious cosmology. World egg. Xirang. Creation myth - Encyclopedia Britannica. Japanese Creation Myth. Mayan Creation Myth. Egyptian Creation Myth. Norse Creation Myth. Indo-European Creation Myth.

Carl Jung

JungCarl Gustav JungC. G. Jung
His influence on popular psychology, the "psychologization of religion", spirituality and the New Age movement has been immense. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Jung as the 23rd most cited psychologist of the 20th century. * The Persona series of games is heavily based on his theories, as is the Nights into Dreams series of games. Xenogears for the original PlayStation and its associated works – including its re-imagination as the "Xenosaga" trilogy and a graphic novel published by the game's creator entitled "Perfect Works" — are centered around Jungian concepts. The Collected Works of C. G. Jung. Eds. Herbert Read, Michael Fordham, Gerhard Adler.

Age of Aquarius

Aquarian AgeAquariusAge-of-Aquarius
The variations of views among astrologers include: The expression Age of Aquarius in popular culture usually refers to the heyday of the hippie and New Age movements in the 1960s and 1970s. Although more rock than new-age in genre, the 1967 musical Hair, with its opening song "Aquarius" and the memorable line "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius", brought the Aquarian age concept to the attention of audiences worldwide. However, the song further defines this dawning of the age within the first lines: "When the Moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars".


core shamanismPower animalneo-shamanism
While Harner took inspiration from his study of animistic beliefs in many different cultures, his concept of power animals is much like the familiar spirits of European occultism, which aid the occultist in their metaphysical work. The use of this term has been incorporated into the New Age movement, where it is often mistaken for being the same as a totem in some indigenous cultures. The concept has also entered popular culture in various forms, such as in the 1999 film (and earlier novel) Fight Club, when the narrator attends a cancer support group. During a creative visualization exercise, he is told to see himself entering a cave where he will meet his power animal.


Jesus ChristChristJesus of Nazareth
The New Age movement entertains a wide variety of views on Jesus. Theosophists, from whom many New Age teachings originated, refer to Jesus as the Master Jesus, a spiritual reformer, and they believe that Christ, after various incarnations, occupied the body of Jesus. Scientologists recognize Jesus (along with other religious figures such as Zoroaster, Muhammad, and Buddha) as part of their "religious heritage". Atheists reject Jesus' divinity, but have differing views on Jesus' moral teachings. For example, Richard Dawkins has called him "a great moral teacher". Some of the earliest depictions of Jesus at the Dura-Europos church are firmly dated to before 256.


Esoteric Christianity accepts theurgy as a tradition that could greatly benefit a person. The main feat of Esoteric Christianity is to learn the mysteries of God (see Raziel) and to rise to higher consciousness in the understanding of God's relationship to individual consciousness. Theurgy, in the esoteric tradition, uses this knowledge to heighten one's own spiritual nature. In Esoteric Christianity, theurgy usually is the practice of trying to gain the knowledge and conversation of one's higher self, or Inner God, to teach one spiritual truths and wisdom from God that one couldn't learn from man (see alchemy, Kabbalah, and Theosophy).

Secret society

secret societiessecret organizationsecret
A secret society is a club or an organization whose activities, events, inner functioning, or membership are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence agencies or guerrilla warfare insurgencies, that hide their activities and memberships but maintain a public presence.


Previously, the Roman Catholic Church, and some other Christian organizations have expressed concerns and disapproval with respect to some eastern and New Age practices that include yoga and meditation. In 1989 and 2003, the Vatican issued two documents: Aspects of Christian meditation and "A Christian reflection on the New Age," that were mostly critical of eastern and New Age practices. The 2003 document was published as a 90-page handbook detailing the Vatican's position.

List of Jewish Kabbalists

Timeline List of Jewish KabbalistsJewish Kabbalists
Author of Reshit Chochmah Kabbalistic-Ethical work 1518–1592 Central European Kabbalist Rabbis: Italian Kabbalists: Sephardi-Mizrachi (Oriental) Kabbalah: Sabbatean mystical heresy (founders only): Eastern European Baal Shem/Nistarim and other mystical circles: Mitnagdic/Lithuanian Kabbalah: Kabbalistic notions pervade Hasidic thought, but it developed a new approach to Kabbalah, replacing esoteric theosophical focus with successive psychological internalisation. Therefore, only a minimal listing of Hasidic figures is given here; founding formative figures or commentators on esoteric Kabbalah texts/tradition.

Jewish mysticism

mysticalmysticismJewish mystics
The tradition of theurgic Practical Kabbalah in Judaism, censored and restricted by mainstream Jewish Kabbalists, has similarities with non-Jewish Hermetic Qabalah magical Western Esotericism. However, as understood by Jewish Kabbalists, it is censored and forgotten in contemporary times because without the requisite purity and holy motive, it would degenerate into impure and forbidden magic. Consequently, it has formed a minor tradition in Jewish mystical history. For a fuller list of Kabbalistic mystics and texts, see List of Jewish Kabbalists. This timeline shows general developments: he:מיסטיקה יהודית nl:Joodse mystiek Jewish mystical exegesis. Kabbalah: Primary texts.


The ZoharinterpretationBook of Radiance
Jews in non-Orthodox Jewish denominations accept the conclusions of historical academic studies on the Zohar and other kabbalistic texts. As such, most non-Orthodox Jews have long viewed the Zohar as pseudepigraphy and apocrypha. Nonetheless, many accepted that some of its contents had meaning for modern Judaism. Siddurim edited by non-Orthodox Jews often have excerpts from the Zohar and other kabbalistic works, e.g. Siddur Sim Shalom edited by Jules Harlow, even though the editors are not kabbalists.


Religious or mythological cosmology is a body of beliefs based on mythological, religious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology. Cosmology deals with the world as the totality of space, time and all phenomena. Historically, it has had quite a broad scope, and in many cases was founded in religion. In modern use metaphysical cosmology addresses questions about the Universe which are beyond the scope of science. It is distinguished from religious cosmology in that it approaches these questions using philosophical methods like dialectics.

Alice Bailey

Alice A. BaileyArcane Schoolesoteric astrology
In contrast to this, Daren Kemp in Handbook to the New Age sees critical differences between neopaganism and New Age movements and indicates that it is a mistake to conflate them. Author Catherine Wessinger wrote that Bailey was a liberated woman "...sixty years before it became popular" and that Bailey's books expressed a similar "millennial view" to the works of Annie Besant. Wessinger stated that they were "an important source of the contemporary New Age movement."


cultsreligious cultdestructive cult
In 2007 the religious scholar Elijah Siegler commented that, although no NRM had become the dominant faith in any country, many of the concepts which they had first introduced (often referred to as "New Age" ideas) have become part of worldwide mainstream culture. Sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920) found that cults based on charismatic leadership often follow the routinization of charisma. The concept of a "cult" as a sociological classification was introduced in 1932 by American sociologist Howard P. Becker as an expansion of German theologian Ernst Troeltsch's church–sect typology.

Pardes (Jewish exegesis)

The fourth level of exegesis, Sod-Secret, belongs to the esoteric "Nistar-Hidden" interpretations of Scripture found alternatively in Jewish mysticism-Kabbalah or in Jewish philosophy-Metaphysics. Religious adherents of Kabbalah and of Rationalism fought over their alternative claims to know the esoteric meaning. In Medieval Jewish Rationalism, the hidden truth within Scripture was human-centred Divine transcendence philosophical depths. In Kabbalistic mysticism, it was God's Persona-centred Divine immanence emanations.