Esotericism is the holding of beliefs that are generally only held by a small group or of unusual interest. The term esoteric first appeared in English in 1701, when historian Thomas Stanley used the term to describe the school of Pythagoras. In many respects, Esotericism refers to secret knowledge held only by a few initiates of a society or group. Paper Masters can help you compose a custom written research paper on Esotericism.
Esotericism refers to many different beliefs and societies. Some examples of esoteric beliefs are:
Those beliefs that fall under Esotericism were given four essential and common characteristics by Antoine Faivre, a French scholar. Esotericism has a relationship between the visible and the invisible, the idea that nature is a living entity with its own life-force, the need for symbols and rituals to access spiritual knowledge, and the personal experiences of spiritual transmutation in order to gain the special knowledge within a culture.
The term "Western Esotericism" refers the spiritual traditions of the Western world, specifically but not exclusively such ideas as herbalism, meditation, alchemy, divination and astrology among other forms of ritualized magic. Emphasis in all of these traditions is placed on the rejection of blind faith and the gathering of spiritual knowledge. Western mystical traditions of Esotericism have a large reliance on initiation into the inner mysteries of the group.