Talk:Western esotericism

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Insane new age crackpot talk[edit]

This is insane new age crackpot talk. The article is hopelesss; it yelds to nothing and speaks in the vacuum. It simply states there is a unified mystery tradition without giving ONE empirical evidence, either for the whole thing, or a single doctrine. User: at 19:03, 2 March 2006

I agree. I have done a great deal of research in this topic, and this page is basically worthless. User: 03:46, 10 May 2006
It need not be. If it is correctly sourced and catagorized with some qoutes it could become an interesting article. It does need much work. I will try to find some sources to add that do not infringe copywright. User:Frater Sepa 11:56, 18 June 2006
I wouldn't describe it as worthless, but it's very striking that no sources are cited, therefore it lacks credibility. --Sueyen 20:27, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree that it is not a neutral point of view or academic based article. I believe that all worthwhile owrk in finding sources and making a legitamate wikipedi-style artilce would best be spent added to It calls to mind the analogy by Wouter J. Hanegraaf that there's nothing wrong with badminton, but if you are playing tennis, you need to abide by the rules of tennis. In Wikipedia we are playing with the rules of tennis. Tennis rules promote academic criticism by setting ground rules, it does not foreclose the opportunity to indulge in badminton, which may or may not be more fulfilling and important. (You can practice/study/experience/pray however you will, but as far as making an article here, it's really should be tennis.)
lil' Minerval Kid —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:49, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
W.Esotericism is, by far, the best catch-all umbrella for all of the closely related and interconnected western esoteric traditions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Totalenlightenment (talkcontribs) 17:14, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

One should atleast include a referance to the term "junk-esotericism" since most of it is unserious, and often is about occult tradition, hallucinogenic use, and low morality, all of which have no support in original religion. The Bible has been tampered with, and historical evidence shows "Jesus", that is named IS in early scripture, to have nothing to do with the nicaea trinity, or a teaching of a second tree, that they become "God" by. Isa in The Quran, and probably a member of the Essenes community, who had hidden their scripture in a cave. Infact "God" is not even a revealed name, but rather a historical degradation of "Gotan". Which had no support for any such teaching. That rather stated that Gotan had no semigod, and no unities or trinities, or other trees. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 14 September 2016 (UTC)


The authors opinion at the end of the summary should be fixed. WP:NPOV User:^^James^^ 04:10, 17 May 2006 (edit) (undo) (thank)

Dragon Rouge consider themselves to be a Left Hand Path organization and as such share no common ground with the Western Mystery Tradition, for this reason link has been removed. Should one want to include Dragon Rouge they would also need to include the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set. User:Frater Sepa 17 June 2006 (edit) (undo) (thank)
Please show me a reference that shows that the whole concept of Left and Right Hand paths is NOT part of the WMT. WMT includes both the left and right hand paths of the western traditions, just as the eastern mysteries also include their left handed pratitioners. -999 (Talk) 16:22, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Strictly speaking the Western Mystery Tradition is the continuation of the Mystery Religions and in this context Satanism and the western Left Hand Path are too modern. It is widley known within the Occult community that LHP considers itself to be working at odds (see The Satanic Bible) with those who claim to comprise the Western Mystery Tradition (Rosicrucians, etc.) and while one could argue that Tantra has Mystical aims it is part of the Eastern Tradition. For reference please see M.P. Hall's "The Secret doctrine of all ages" (Chapters I,II and III). In response please show me a reference that the LHP considers *itself* part of the Mystery tradition. I have deleted the link, if one wishes to reinstall it then please also included links to the Cos and the Temple of Set.User:Frater Sepa 19:19, 17 June 2006

Frater Sepa, normally one waits for a response and consensus before changing the article once again. Since you are clearly also the anonymous user, you have exceeded three reverts by repeatedly taking out Dragon Rouge. I have no argument to include CoS or ToS. However, I suggest you self-revert your removal of Dragon Rouge, unless you want to be blocked for 24 hours for violating WP:3RR. Thank you. -999 (Talk) 17:43, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
I will gladly restore Dragon Rouge as well as include other LHP links but please show me how they are relevent to the WMT. User:Frater Sepa 19:50, 17 June 2006
At this point, you should restore the link and wait a few days for other editors to discuss. Lacking that, I will see you blocked for breaking WP:3RR. I know you are new here, so you don't know all the ins and outs of WP, but it is extremely bad form to repeatedly revert another editor. Don't be so impatient. The editors of this article may not be online right now. You don't have to solve it "right now" and when in doubt, material should be left in until discussion has completed and consensus has been determined. -999 (Talk) 17:53, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Per you request the link has been restored, however I would genuinly like to how how it is relevent to what is considered the WMT. in any case would this be a fitting time to re-write the historical overview? Thoughts on deleting the sections under the History heading and writing one complete historical overview? regarding the actual article itself thoughts on spliting it in two halfs to represent its historical (exoteric) concept and a philosophical overview to represent its doctrinal (Esoteric) concepts? User:Frater Sepa 19:58, 17 June 2006

Rather than worry about how many demons can dance on the head of a pin,this article needs CLARITY, EXPLANATIONS, DEFINITIONS, better sourcing, and CONCISENESS. cbramble —The preceding signed but undated comment was added at 00:25:01, August 19, 2007 (UTC).
The whole concept of "left hand/right hand paths" (in the western world) are highly disputed. In my opinion it seems its mainly so called "lefthand path" organizations that is promoting this concept of "left hand & right hand paths". Bill Tues May 29, 2007


I am unsure whether or not the quotation i included infringes copywright as the article I lifted it from is in the public domain. any advice would be welcome. {Frater Sepa 21:02, 18 June 2006 (UTC)}


Freemasonry is not a religion, so I removed it from the "Non-Mystical Religion" list. User: 14:42, 15 December 2006

The Second World War[edit]

Re the following quote: "During the Second World War, occult luminaries in Britain, most notably Aleister Crowley and the Duke of Hamilton functioned as informal intermediaries between the warring governments of Britain and Hitler's Germany. Deputy fuhrer Rudolph Hess eventually made his famous escape to Scotland during the war, hoping to strike a peace bargain with Britain using the help of the Duke of Hamilton, an old occult lodge associate." Do we have a reliable cite for any of this? The first sentence appears especially fishy, as it sounds like self-aggrandizing claims, and I'm inclined to take it with a pretty big grain of salt. Didn't the British have professional diplomats for that sort of thing? As for Rudolf Hess and Duke Hamilton, the articles on them make it seem unlikely that they were Lodge brothers; it looks like they met at a diplomatic function during the Olympics, and Hamilton didn't remember Hess when he saw him three years later. Afalbrig 06:35, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

I have removed this, it's nonsense --Rodneyorpheus (talk) 05:40, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Small Addition[edit]

I made a small addition. "Martinism also arose as an esoteric doctrine. So as well with various Rosicrucian orders."

I added: "So as well with various Rosicrucian orders."

If any one has a better way of wording this please do so. I'm at a lost.


Bill May 30, 2007

Bill, I hope and believe that my little effort correctly expresses your intent. Because I'm uncertain of that, I didn't mark the edit as minor.

yoyo (talk) 13:10, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

date, origins[edit]

it is, of course true, that "at no stage prior to the 1880s were these doctrines ever synthesized into one whole." Well duh, neither were they after the 1880s. Or what do we argue happened around 1880? These traditions were always fragmented into numerous sects and cults. So what? Their antiquity is nevertheless established. By "antiquity" I mean Late Antiquity, when occultism bloomed, and every Roman citizen who wanted to be hip had to initiate himself to at least a couple of oriental mystery cults.

Thus, we can clearly trace the classical zodiac to the Roman empire period, entering Europe via Egypt, ultimately from Mesopotamia. The antiquity of horoscopy and magic are completely undisputed, nor is the link to the Renaissance revivals open to doubt. The Picatrix is the earliest Latin grimoire, written in the 13th century, clearly based on a 10th to 11th c. Arabic template. The Sefer Raziel HaMalakh (also 13th century) bears evidence of the seamless continuation of Greco-Roman occultism in early medieval Jewish occultism. These and the later medieval grimoires, as well as medieval Kabbalism, are without question derived from the various Hermetica and magic texts of Late Antiquity. There is, thus, an uninterrupted literary tradition connecting Roman antiquity with the Renaissance revival of occultism. Of course this doesn't mean that there is any "true" or "authentic" tradition. It is the very nature of occultist writing that it gets completely jumbled at every iteration. Of course occultism is "junk religion", but it is ancient junk religion, and the Renaissance revival was an authentic revival of the junk of Late Antiquity. --dab (𒁳) 12:07, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

@ dab: I support your call for clarification. If that is not forthcoming, excision were best!
Were "these doctrines ever synthesized into one whole"? You state that they weren't, but a negative is very hard to prove. Perhaps there is, to the best of our present knowledge, no published synthesis of "these doctrines". If so, would it be useful to state that? Or would it be more accurate (and useful) to cite a published claim that they weren't?
From my casual reading over the decades, I have the impression that several western mystical cults of the last 150 years have at least aspired to being the inheritors of all the ancient and mediaeval mystery religions and cults, and surely at least one - Crowley perhaps? - has claimed to be their direct lineal descendant! However, I can't cite a reference to support this impression.
From the standpoint of my present ignorance, to me it seems best to remove the offending clause after "generally considered the oldest". However, if you have something more concrete to replace it with, please do so.
PS: While your "ancient junk religion" analysis is very amusing, I think it's a pity you haven't offered a citation to support including it in the article! - yoyo (talk) 13:40, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Disambiguation of "Mysterium"[edit]

Resolved: Just a pointer to a relevant discussion elsewhere.

A discussion relevant to this page is at Talk:Mysterium (Scriabin)#Requested move. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 22:21, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

This entry is deleterious to the very mission of Wikipedia.[edit]

I have been a longtime consumer and sometimes editor to Wiki for years. Yet this article makes me sick to my stomach. As described below it is useless because it lacks any pretense of NPOV and is devoid of sources. This article is an abomination. It is doubly sad because so much good work has been done on the subject that has passed into the realm of public domain. I can only concur with comments below that this is devoid of credibility and to call it worthless is overly kind. If I had more experience in this sort of thing I would immediately call for it to be deleted as it is a large discredit to the Wikipedia Mission for the following reasons: 1.) It is completely unsourced and devoid of any instructional value 2.) It is filled with wild POV lability that makes it seem like a contentious discussion thread on a New Age message board. 3.) At no point is any evidence given for the existence of a "Western Mystery Tradition," as noted below. 4.) The idea that Aleister Crowley served as a back channel between Allied and Axis forces in WW2 is completely uncited, I assume because it is pure fantasy. 5.) It does a great disservice to the intellectual inheritance of any Western Esoteric traditions that have been abundantly well documented since late antiquity.

I am not an expert at Wikipedia but please someone who is put an end to this embarrassment of an article. ~~RedCasey —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:55, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

History of the term[edit]

When was the term "the Western Mystery Tradition" first used in a publication? A citation would be useful. Likewise for "Western occult tradition" and all the other variants. - yoyo (talk) 13:44, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism[edit]

The book is described in a Religion article [1] as "the state of the art in research on esotericism" and is available in full online for free[2], so it might be nice to use/include in the article. -- (talk) 01:44, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Feel free to use it as a reference while improving the article (which is still almost completely unreferenced). --217/83 19:27, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Inappropriate external links[edit]

I have moved the following links from the EL section because they are not appropriate. If these publications cannot be used for article sources then they're inappropriate ELs and if they can be used as sources, then let's use them that way and without listing their web sites.

Jojalozzo 19:58, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

It seems like a bad idea for Western esotericism studies to be on a separate page. zzz (talk) 18:17, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Why do you think that it is a bad idea ? Western esotericism and the academic study of Western esotericism are two distinct entities, and thus, in my opinion, they probably do warrant separate articles. They are certainly not synonyms. Midnightblueowl (talk) 22:18, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
It seems to imply that academic research, ie reliably-referenced peer-reviewed information, does not belong in this article - that is what I meant by "a bad idea". Which begs the question, what does belong in this article?
The other article is extremely short. I can't think of a single good reason why it exists.
The idea that the "academic study" of a subject and the subject itself are distinct entities, while arguably correct, does not in itself justify or explain the existence of the separate page. The same rationale could be equally well applied to any of the 1000's of other subjects that receive "academic study." It seems to be, at best, an arbitrary distinction, and an entirely unencyclopaedic one. zzz (talk) 00:14, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
I disagree with the premise that having two separate pages inherently implies that academic research does not belong in this article; indeed, it was I who introduced a section to this particular page containing information on the academic study of Western esotericism itself. My view is that this page must be built up using good, quality academic references from the likes of Hanegraaff and Faivre (you might be interested in taking a look at Aleister Crowley, a GA-quality article largely authored by myself, to see the sort of approach I adopt). However, I agree with you that the other article is (at present) incredibly short and not particularly well developed in any way, but I do believe that in time it can come to be expanded. To clarify, I am not completely and utterly opposed to your proposal of merging the two pages, as I think that you have articulated some valid reasons zzz, but I still generally think that two separate articles are warranted for two separate, albeit related, subjects. Perhaps we should bring in a third, independent opinion on this issue ? Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:10, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Actually, scrap that idea, I'm willing to support your proposed merger for now. While I would reiterate the idea that a page on the academic study of Western esotericism may well be warranted in future, at present that page is really rather dreadful and the subject is actually served far better by the section on the Western esotericism article itself. Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:42, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Great. The hatnote over the article really cast a pall over it- especially considering some of the comments on this talk page! It's not a long article yet, so I don't see the need to split it up, although I'm not inclined to disagree with your idea in principle. I have read the Crowley article, and it's for me at least one of the most valuable items in wikipedia, especially bearing in mind the huge mass of conflicting rumours- thanks, very much. zzz (talk) 18:16, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Opening sentence[edit]

Ps. If you wish to strike some sort of balance between the 2 versions of the 1st para, obviously I won't object. But I prefer mine. I don't like to bandy about words like 'spiritual' (uncited) or 'scientific rationality'.zzz (talk) 21:20, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

My concern with the change that you made there, zzz, was twofold. First, I really didn't care for the opening wording of "The precise definition of Western esotericism is an area of continual debate"; to me, that doesn't read as being particularly encyclopedic in tone, and I far preferred the general assertiveness of the previous opener, that "Western esotericism refers to a broad spectrum of spiritual traditions found in Western society." So in that respect, there was the issue of wording. My second issue was that of solely citing Versluis here. As I hope that the "Definition" section makes clear, there is still scholarly disagreement as to precisely what "Western esotericism" is and how it can be defined. My concern with using Versluis' definition is that it may differ from those provided by other scholars, such as Faivre, Hanegraaff, and Bogdan. Still, I am really more than happy to debate this and develop something stronger as a result of a collaborative effort. Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:54, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
I thought that the source seemed to be in general agreement with what was there. I honestly don't think that you can classify things like Qaballa, Tarot, astrology, as "spiritual traditions" (I would go with "esoteric school of thought" for Cabala, for example) - so I think it should not be asserted boldly in the lead. It is hard to say exactly what could be easily classified as spiritual traditions - some religions, possibly? It's not a precise term, but in the opening sentence of the lead it seems to masquerade as such. My version avoided controversial generalisations, by simply using words in their dictionary defintion, that are uncontroversially broadly descriptive of this particular subject (ie magic, mysticism). The citation was specifically so that I could quote the succinct (and uncontroversial) definition of 'gnosis' - I agree with the idea of using the word, but it's unhelpful unless a definition is provided (no one knows what 'gnosis' means.) The "area of continual debate" phrase I carried over from your version, mainly because I like the encyclopaedic tone. I wouldn't say it was an area of continual debate, necessarily, but there is some disagreement! zzz (talk) 23:40, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Transcendentalism and Neo-Vedanta[edit]

Transcendentalism and Neo-Vedanta seem to be missing at the History-section. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:24, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

It's important that we follow the sources on this one. We must bear in mind that there are quite literally hundreds, if not thousands, of esoteric groups and movements which have existed throughout history, many of them having Wikipedia articles devoted to them. It would be simply impractical to make mention of every single one of them here at the Western esotericism page; were we to do so then it would become little more than a very long list. Thus, in order to decide which esoteric groups to mention and which not to, we should follow the example of the key texts on the subject of esotericism (i.e. Faivre, Hanegraaff, Von Stuckrad). I'm not sure if either Transcendentalism or Neo-Vedanta are discussed in those tomes; indeed, I'm not entirely sure if Neo-Vedanda has ever been classed as a Western esoteric movement given its status as a Hindu revivalist phenomenon, but undoubtedly we should be looking at those key sources first. Midnightblueowl (talk) 23:10, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't agree here with you. Look at the popularity of Yoga; no western Yoga without Vivekananda. Since the conquest of India by the British, there's been a western interest in Indian religions. Vivekananda and the like, in turn, were influenced by western apologists. I think that the article is missing this interplay now, which is a pity. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:25, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
And: Hanegraaff does discuss Vivekananda, together with Transcendentalism. New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (1998), p.461. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:30, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
Of course, there have been Hindu (and Buddhist and Taoist) influences on various Western esoteric currents, most notably Theosophy and the New Age movement, and this article already makes that quite clear in the "Definition" section. This is, however, something quite distinct from having a whole paragraph on Neo-Vedanta and Swami Vivekananda in the article, particularly given that there is no academic references presented testifying to the claim that Neo-Vedanta is a form of Western esotericism or that Vivekananda was a Western esotericist. The fact that the main academic overviews on Western esotericism don't discuss this issue really leads me to the opinion that this is not an appropriate addition. (The Hanegraaff book that you refer to is a historical analysis of the New Age movement, and hence mentions Vivekananda in that context. The book is not a wider overview of Western esotericism, which he has provided elsewhere, and which does not mention Vivekananda or Neo-Vedanta, thus suggesting that they are not of particular importance to the subject matter). Personally, I'd like to see the case proved here on the talk page before incorporating such material into the article, where it has the potential to provide a misleading depiction of what esotericism is by branching out and incorporating other elements of 'alternative spirituality'. This might be a situation to take to RfC? Midnightblueowl (talk) 22:33, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
My, no. You're the specialist. Just some mention of the mutual influence. Take note of De Michelis's A HIstory of Yoga, claiming that the subject has been negated. If she's right, then no wonder you won't find many in the places you're looking. But just take a look into a New Age store, with shelves full of Hindu-related stuff, like all those neo-Advaita teachers, and flyers for Yoga-classes and meditation-retreats; they're there, overwhelmingly, and they influenced the western scene - just like this neo-Hinduism was influenced by western esotericism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:39, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think Vivekananda could have never stepped on US soil and Paramahansa Yogananda would have quite successfully implanted a lasting Yoga tradition in North America. It would have been later.Moabalan (talk) 20:13, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Merger: Esotericism into Western esotericism[edit]

I've merged Esotericism into Western esotericism per Talk:Esotericism#Merger proposal: Western esotericism into Esotericism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:20, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

Medieaval mysticism and neoplatonism[edit]

@Midnightblueowl: shouldn't there be some mention of the influence of neoplatonism on medieaval mystics like Eckhart? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:18, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Lead rewrite[edit]

@Dan Harkless: concrete suggestions? I think the lead is fine. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:35, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

It seems like a very mechanical summarization of the major sections of the article, rather than something written to be informative to the average reader who is naive about the topic. I think most would find the lead an impenetrable wall of text. "Contains too much 'meta' info and history unnecessary for non-experts to understand the basic concept — should be made more concise" is fairly clear, I think, but to name a few examples:
Does it really belong in the lead that the third view of Western esotericism is "propounded by Wouter Hanegraaff"? Is any non-expert going to know who that is, and if not, is it essential for them to be introduced to him at this point? The timeline also seems more detailed than it needs to be outside of the intro to a History section. And I would remove the first sentence of the last paragraph, along with "only" in the second sentence; everything was without academic study at one point or another. Feel free to ignore my opinion and remove {{Lead rewrite}} if everyone thinks I'm off-base, but I really think the average reader of Wikipedia would find the lead of "Western esotericism" a little too, well, esoteric. --Dan Harkless (talk) 06:50, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
I've trimmed out the reference to Wouter Hanegraaff, as you suggest. I've taken the liberty of removing the tag at the top of the article as a result; if you feel that it is still too unclear, then feel free to restore it. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:27, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
I never said the lead was unclear. I said it goes into unnecessary levels of detail for a lead, which is pretty much the opposite problem. The edit you made was just one example; I still think the lead definitely falls into the "intimidating, difficult to read, and may cause the reader to lose interest halfway" category. But I don't feel so strongly about this that I'm going to restore the {{lead rewrite}} tag. Hopefully this section will be left on the talk page for awhile, though, and someone will feel like taking on the task of making the lead more concise overall. --Dan Harkless (talk) 14:56, 28 May 2017 (UTC)


Its amazing the amount of BS used to state that there is no clear definition, yet in Wiktionary they had no problem in defining it in two sentences. If I search an article in an encyclopedia, the first thing would be to state a definition. Amazingly, this word seems to have been used for centuries according to all that text, without knowing what it means. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

You must have some esoteric knowledge; there is no page at Wiktionary on "western esotericsm." Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:09, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

I must agree! I also came to this talk page to argue that while reading the article for five minutes, I have not been any wiser of what 'Western esotericism' is. This article really should be fixed. (talk) 10:41, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

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