Tag Archives: enlightenment

Esotericism and the Academy

Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture by Wouter J Hanegraaff, from Cambridge University Press, previously only available as a 2012 hardcover, is due to release as a paperback tomorrow, March 6th, 2014.

Wouter J Hanegraaff Esotericism and the Academy from Cambridge University Press

“Academics tend to look on ‘esoteric’, ‘occult’ or ‘magical’ beliefs with contempt, but are usually ignorant about the religious and philosophical traditions to which these terms refer, or their relevance to intellectual history. Wouter Hanegraaff tells the neglected story of how intellectuals since the Renaissance have tried to come to terms with a cluster of ‘pagan’ ideas from late antiquity that challenged the foundations of biblical religion and Greek rationality. Expelled from the academy on the basis of Protestant and Enlightenment polemics, these traditions have come to be perceived as the Other by which academics define their identity to the present day. Hanegraaff grounds his discussion in a meticulous study of primary and secondary sources, taking the reader on an exciting intellectual voyage from the fifteenth century to the present day and asking what implications the forgotten history of exclusion has for established textbook narratives of religion, philosophy and science.” [via]

Satanism and Witchcraft

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Satanism and Witchcraft: The Classic Study of Medieval Superstition by Jules Michelet.

Jules Michelet Satanism and Witchcraft

Michelet provided a seminal treatment of witchcraft, influential on readers such as Gerald Gardner who went on to organize neo-pagan religion and influence modern ideas of occultism. In Michelet’s view, medieval witches were adherents of indigenous, pre-Christian religion, and they expressed popular resistance against the oppressions of church and state. Heretics, witches and satanists all reflect a measure of virtuous anti-authoritarianism, containing the seeds of rational enlightenment.

Although Michelet was a credentialed historian capable of meticulous research, his Satanism and Witchcraft was written in broad, romanticizing strokes for a popular audience. Thus it is highly readable, but not all that reliable in its details as a work of positive history. It found its market well enough, and it has stayed perpetually in print. [via]

The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“After purification come contemplation and enlightenment, which are the special subjects of the second degree. Aforetime the candidate for the Mysteries, after protracted discipline and purification enabling his mind to acquire complete control over his passions and his lower physical nature, was advanced, as he may advance himself to-day, to the study of his more interior faculties, to understand the science of the human soul, and to trace these faculties in their development from their elementary stage until he realizes that they connect with, and terminate in, the Divine itself. The secrets of his mental nature and the principles of intellectual life became at this stage gradually unfolded to his view.” [via]

Spellcasting Summat


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“Begun in the Autumn of 1908, the Moon Wiring Club were a group of notable individuals and bored aristocrats who met twice monthly (often within the blank workshop) to discuss their shared interests of unusual electronics and nocturnal happenings within the occult sciences.

The founder members of this earliest incarnation of the Club included eminent scientist Almond Talbot, actress Pomona Fripps, and both Paris Green and Dr. Lettow-Vorbeck, who often displayed, and performed with musical apparatus from the Blank Workshop Laboratory for the benefit and enlightenment of their fellows.” [via]