Esoteric, Occult, Transcendental
Sacred Texts Classics Contents Start Reading The Orphic Hymns are a set of pre-classical poetic compositions, attributed to the culture hero Orpheus, himself the subject of a renowned myth. In reality, these poems were probably composed by several different poets. Reminiscent of the Rig-Veda , the Orphic Hymns contain a rich set of clues about prehistoric European mythology.
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Mysticism ( pronunciation ) is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality , divinity , spiritual truth , or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on practices intended to nurture those experiences . Mysticism may be dualistic , maintaining a distinction between the self and the divine, or may be nondualistic . [ 1 ] Such pursuit has long been an integral part of the religious life of humanity. Within established religion it has been explicitly expressed within monasticism , where rules governing the everyday life of monks and nuns provide a framework conducive to the cultivation of mystical states of consciousness. [ citation needed ]
The term spirituality lacks a definitive definition, although social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for "the sacred ," where "the sacred" is broadly defined as that which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration. The use of the term "spirituality" has changed throughout the ages. In modern times spirituality is often separated from religion, and connotes a blend of humanistic psychology with mystical and esoteric traditions and eastern religions aimed at personal well-being and personal development.
Animism (from Latin animus, -i " soul , life ") [ 1 ] is the religious worldview that natural physical entities —including animals , plants , and often even inanimate objects or phenomena —possess a spiritual essence . [ 2 ] [ 3 ] Specifically, animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the religion of indigenous tribal peoples , [ 4 ] especially prior to the development and/or infiltration of civilization [ 5 ] and organized religion . [ 6 ] [ 7 ] Although each tribe is unique in its specific mythologies and rituals, "animism" often describes the most common, foundational thread of indigenous tribespeoples' spiritual or "supernatural" perspectives. Some members of the non-tribal world also consider themselves animists (such as author Daniel Quinn , sculptor Lawson Oyekan , and many Neopagans ) and not all peoples who describe themselves as tribal would describe themselves as animistic.
The earliest known depiction of a Siberian shaman, produced by the Dutch explorer Nicolaes Witsen , who authored an account of his travels among Samoyedic- and Tungusic-speaking peoples in 1692. Witsen labelled the illustration as a "Priest of the Devil" and gave this figure clawed feet to highlight what Witsen perceived as demonic qualities. [ 1 ] Shamanism ( pron.: / ˈ ʃ ɑː m ə n / SHAH -mən or / ˈ ʃ eɪ m ə n / SHAY -mən ) is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world. [ 2 ] A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits , who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual , and practices divination and healing . [ 3 ]
Magic is the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation , ceremony, ritual, the casting of spells or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature . [ 1 ] Magic has been practiced in many cultures, and utilizes ways of understanding, experiencing and influencing the world somewhat akin to those offered by religion , though it is sometimes regarded as more focused on achieving results than religious worship. [ 2 ] Magic is often viewed with suspicion by the wider community, and is commonly practiced in isolation and secrecy. [ 3 ] Modern Western magicians generally state magic's primary purpose to be personal spiritual growth . [ 4 ] Modern perspectives on the theory of magic broadly follow two major views. The first sees magic as a result of a universal sympathy within the universe, where if something is done here a result happens somewhere else.
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners' claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base metals into the noble metals gold or silver , as well as an elixir of life conferring youth and longevity. Western alchemy is recognized as a protoscience that contributed to the development of modern chemistry and medicine . Alchemists developed a framework of theory, terminology, experimental process and basic laboratory techniques that are still recognizable today. But alchemy differs from modern science in the inclusion of Hermetic principles and practices related to mythology , religion , and spirituality .
Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that was developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the Eastern region of the United States as a protest to the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church taught at Harvard Divinity School . Among the transcendentalists' core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual.
The occult (from the Latin word occultus "clandestine, hidden, secret") is "knowledge of the hidden". [ 1 ] In common English usage, occult refers to "knowledge of the paranormal ", as opposed to "knowledge of the measurable ", [ 2 ] [ 3 ] usually referred to as science . The term is sometimes taken to mean knowledge that "is meant only for certain people" or that "must be kept hidden", but for most practicing occultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends beyond pure reason and the physical sciences. [ 4 ] The terms esoteric and arcane have very similar meanings, and the three terms are interchangeable. [ 5 ] [ 6 ] It also describes a number of magical organizations or orders, the teachings and practices taught by them, and to a large body of current and historical literature and spiritual philosophy related to this subject. [ edit ] Occultism
Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, [ 1 ] that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. [ 2 ] The term derives from the Greek ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos) , a compound of ἔσω (esô) : " within ", thus "pertaining to the more inward", mystic. Its antonym is " exoteric ". The term can also refer to the academic study of esoteric religious movements and philosophies, or more generally of alternative or marginalized religious movements or philosophies whose proponents distinguish their beliefs, practices, and experiences from mainstream institutionalized traditions. [ 3 ]
The Art of Memory or Ars Memoriae ("art of memory" in Latin) is a general term used to designate a loosely associated group of mnemonic principles and techniques used to organize memory impressions, improve recall, and assist in the combination and 'invention' of ideas. An alternative and frequently used term is "Ars Memorativa" which is also often translated as "art of memory" although its more literal meaning is "Memorative Art". It is sometimes referred to as mnemotechnics . [ 1 ] It is an 'art' in the Aristotelian sense, which is to say a method or set of prescriptions that adds order and discipline to the pragmatic, natural activities of human beings. [ 2 ] It has existed as a recognized group of principles and techniques since at least as early as the middle of the first millennium BCE , [ 3 ] and was usually associated with training in rhetoric or logic , but variants of the art were employed in other contexts, particularly the religious and the magical.
By 1853, when the popular song Spirit Rappings was published, Spiritualism was an object of intense curiosity. Spiritualism is a belief system or religion , postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. Anyone may receive spirit messages, but formal communication sessions ( séances ) are held by " mediums ," who can then provide information about the afterlife . [ 1 ] Spiritualism developed and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, especially in English-language countries . [ 2 ] [ 3 ] By 1897, it was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe , [ 4 ] mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes , while the corresponding movement in continental Europe and Latin America is known as Spiritism .
Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness , either to realize some benefit [ 1 ] or as an end in itself. [ 2 ] The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports ) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy (chi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion, [ 3 ] love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration [ 4 ] single-pointed analysis, [ 5 ] meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation can help clear the mind and ease many health issues, such as high blood pressure, [ 6 ] depression, and anxiety to name a few (Yoga Journal).
Tibetan Buddhism [ 1 ] is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet , Mongolia , Tuva , Bhutan , Kalmykia and certain regions of the Himalayas , including northern Nepal , and India (particularly in Arunachal Pradesh , Ladakh , Dharamsala , Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh , and Sikkim ). It is the state religion of Bhutan . [ 2 ] It is also practiced in Mongolia and parts of Russia ( Kalmykia , Buryatia , and Tuva ) and Northeast China . Texts recognized as scripture and commentary are contained in the Tibetan Buddhist canon , such that Tibetan is a spiritual language of these areas. A Tibetan diaspora has spread Tibetan Buddhism to many Western countries , where the tradition has gained popularity. [ 3 ] Among its prominent exponents is the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.
The center image of the Garbhakosa Mandala , featuring the Five Wisdom Buddhas and attendant bodhisattvas. Shingon Buddhism ( 真言宗 , Shingon-shū ? ) is one of the mainstream major schools of Japanese Buddhism and one of the few surviving Esoteric Buddhist lineages that started in the 3rd to 4th century AD that originally spread from India to China through traveling monks such as Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra . The esoteric teachings would later flourish in Japan under the auspices of a Buddhist monk named Kūkai (空海), who traveled to Tang Dynasty China to acquire and request transmission of the esoteric teachings.