Sunday, March 12, 2017

Esotericism for Dummies

During my student years at Stockholm University in the 1970s I did a rather extensive study of the Kabbalah, resulting in a short thesis on the early Merkabah mysticism, presented at the History of Religion department. As an addition to my academic studies I also read every book I could find on the Kabbalah, written by various exponents of the Western Mystery Tradition, authors such as Dion Fortune, Gareth Knight, W.E. Butler, A.E.Waite a.o.

On July 29, 1975 I recorded a fascinating dream in my diary. I found myself in an antiquarian bookshop in Stockholm. Perusing the Esoterica shelves I noted a small volume with the title For One Penny Kabbalah. A sort of easy to understand primer or in todays language,  Kabbalah for Dummies. I bought the book of course. This dream reminds me of the difficulty in suggesting books on Esotericism for those who are not familiar with the subject. As I often  refer to the Esoteric Tradition and Esotericism on my blog, readers now and then ask for guidance in finding literature for beginners.

Unfortunately I must confess that I have not found any book I can, without reservations, recommend as a beginners guide to Esotericism. Much useful information can be found in the early Theosophical (Adyar) literature although somewhat outmoded and not always accurate in detail, as it was the first public attempt to explain esotericism. The many books written by Alice Bailey, amanuencis for the Tibetan adept D.K., are a treasure trove of esoteric information but most of them are too difficult for the beginner as they are written for the advanced student. The best introduction to esotericism so far published on this planet are the books by the Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency: The Philosopher´s Stone and Knowledge of Reality. They appeal primarily to scholars, intellectuals and philosophers. But there is still no introduction to esotericism especially aimed at the strictly empirical scientist who demand well documented empirical data supporting the esoteric worldview. There are indications that this will be the next project implemented by the planetary guardians.

If you are satisfied with the prevalent materialist, reductionist worldview or adhere to some orthodox theology, of whatever religion, stop reading here as esotericism will for you only be intrepreted as irrational fantasies or dangerous hereticism. Better then to return to the safe world of mainstream science and the secure embrace of your church. But for the critical but open minded seeker this very short Esotericism for Dummies, with some relevant quotes and literary references, may be of help in discovering the philosopher´s stone.

Because of personal experiences, years of study and investigation of UFO and paranormal phenomena or simply by gazing at the night sky pondering and contemplating the greatest enigma of them all – the existence of consciousness in the universe – you have been convinced that ”there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. As a corollary to this heureka moment you have also come to understand that we live in a multiverse of sentient beings and energies that humanity on this planet are not normally aware of.

If there is a multiverse inhabited by various sentient beings of different evolution and intelligence there must also be a science of the multiverse. Which implies that it is reasonable to assume the existence of "scientists" of the multiverse or custodians of knowledge so far not discovered by mainstream science. Now you have arrived at the fundamentals of The Esoteric Tradition or The Ancient Wisdom. Standing before the portal you may open the door to a new world. But tread lightly, with care and common sense, because this is dangerous territory where it is very easy to get lost.
A stumbling block is how to discover and define esotericism? Can any teachings be regarded as esotericism simply because the proponents of some author or mystery school use this term? Is the writings of Rudolf Steiner, Martinus, René Guenon, Krishnamurti, Elisabeth Clare Prophet, Helena Roerich a.o. to be regarded as esotericism? How do you know that what I define as esotericism is real knowledge of the multiverse? The simple answer is, you don´t, as you can´t verify the information given. You can only rely on your own knowledge, experience and common sense in answering this question.

For the open minded scholar studying esotericism the advice by Henry T. Laurency should be remembered to keep a psychological balance and intellectual integrity: “Even if by thorough study you are however much convinced that the hylozoic system agrees with reality, yet you must view it as a working hypothesis... This principled attitude is necessary to avoid all manifestations of dogmatism, fanaticism, and intolerance." (Henry T. Laurency, Knowledge of Life Four, 1995, online ed. p. 29-30). This is also the position recommended by the Tibetan, D.K., in the books written by Alice Bailey: "Our attitude should be that of reasonably enquiry and our interest that of the investigating philosopher, willing to accept a hypothesis on the basis of its possibility... Those open minded investigators who are willing to accept its fundamentals as a working hypothesis until these are demonstrated to be erroneous. They will be frankly agnostic..." (Alice Bailey, A Treatise on White Magic, 1971 (orig. 1934, pp 6, 32).

Esotericism is the science of the multiverse, the knowledge of reality offered mankind by individuals belonging to the next or fifth kingdom in nature, our future in evolution. It is not some vague form of mysticism but as exact as any academic discipline.
”It is necessary to assert with vigour that esoterics is a summary of the facts which mankind has received from the planetary hierarchy and which are beyond the range of what is possible for human beings to ascertain.” (Henry T. Laurency, Knowledge of Life Three, 17.1:4 online ed).
”Esotericism is not in any way of a mystical and vague nature. It is a science – essentially the science of the soul of all things – and has its own terminology, experiments, deductions and laws.” (Alice Bailey, Education in the New Age, p. 64)

Alice Bailey

Terminology is still a great problem in esotericism as anyone can acertain reading Theosophical classics as well as Alice Bailey. Much confusion exists as terms are used which are not clearly defined and with different meaning in various esoteric books. Bailey´s teacher D.K. often commented on this issue:  ”A new and deeper esoteric terminology is badly needed.” (Alice Bailey, Telepathy, p. 131). The Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency has made a commendable effort introducing a new and better terminology in his works. But he as well as Bailey still use the word planetary hierarchy as the name for the organization of adepts on earth guiding our evolution. Personally I prefer the term planetary guardians or the more iconoclastic Higher Intelligence Agency (HIA). Neither does the term master appeal to me as it immediately is associated with religion. Adept or teacher is preferable as most adepts are living in physical bodies on earth and appear very ”normal” in all respects.
"They will stand forth as living examples of goodwill, of true love, of intelligent applied wisdom, of high good nature and humour, and of normalcy. They may indeed be so normal that recognition of what they are may escape notice.. I would here remind you that many of the Masters are married and have raised families." (Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p. 699).

Esotericism is not to be confused with the mysticism of Swedenborg, Rudolf Steiner, Martinus, etc. who built their worldviews on the very unreliable astral clairvoyance instead of information from the planetary guardians. This common mistake among mystics was explained
 already in that pioneering book The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett:
” And, you have heard of and read about a good many Seers, in the past and present centuries, such as Swedenborg, Boehme, and others. Not one among the number but thoroughly honest, sincere, and as intelligent, as well educated; aye, even learned… Tell me, my friend, do you know of two that agree? And why, since truth is one, and that putting entirely the question of discrepancies in details aside — we do not find them agreeing even upon the most vital problems..." (Letter 48).
”Unless regularly initiated and trained — concerning the spiritual insight of things and the supposed revelations made unto man in all ages from Socrates down to Swedenborg and "Fern" — no self-tutored seer or clairaudient ever saw or heard quite correctly." (Letter 40).

The intellectual and cultural elite will probably not pay much attention to esotericism until we have a breakthrough in our knowledge of the multiverse. A revolutionary discovery is awaiting mankind that will force many advanced scientists and scholars to consider esotericism as a reasonable theory, paradigm or working hypothesis.  This paradigm shift will be ushered in by science. Perhaps this was one reason that the adept K.H. already in 1882 exclaimed ”Modern science is our best ally”. (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, letter 11, p.63)

A very fascinating and promising prophecy in esoteric literature is that within a hundred years we will be able to photograph and film phenomena of the etheric world and other parts of the multiverse. If this prophecy is correct that would be the definite end of materialism as a mainstream academic worldview.
”Our modern philosophers and scientists are not in a position to understand the importance of hylozoics as a working hypothesis. It is not intended for them. When research has advanced so far, however, that the existence of a particular physical etheric world has been recognized and the existence of an etheric envelope attached to the organism has been discovered, so many other discoveries and so many confirmations of the facts of esoterics will follow suit that many people will accept hylozoics as the best working hypothesis. We may expect a revolutionary discovery to be made around the year 2025.” (Henry T. Laurency, Knowledge of Life Two, 9.4:4 online ed.)
”In the coming centuries, man´s normal habitat will be the entire physical plane up to, though not including, the second subplane. The forth and third etheric levels will be as familiar to him as the usual physical landscape to which he is now accustomed… Men in their etheric bodies will be noted, and communicated with, and the devas and elementals of the ethers will be studied and recognized.” (Alice Bailey, A Treatise On Cosmic Fire, p. 474).

These discoveries will slowly change our entire culture. We will finally have scientific evidence that there is no death, only a change of form. A sort of re-enchantment of the world advocated by scientists and scholars (instead of disenchantment), to use the terminology of sociologist Max Weber. It will also be realized that the Esoteric Tradition or science of the multiverse is and have always been the, more or less hidden, third intellectual force or pillar in cultural history alongside religion and science.