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Table Of Contents

Introduction
The Delimitation of a Field of Research
The Research Paradigms of Western Esotericism
Western Esotericism in Theory and Practice
Western Esoteric Currents
Concluding Remarks
Ritual as a Field of Research
Rites de Passage
Rites of Initiation
Secret Societies
Secrecy and Masonic Initiatory Societies
Masonic Initiatory Societies
Masonic Rituals of Initiation
Eighteenth-Century Masonic Terminology
Historical Background
Ancient and Medieval Sources
The “New Platonic Academy” of Florence
The Spread of Western Esotericism across Europe
The Esoteric Missions of Giordano Bruno and John Dee
Christian Rosenkreutz and the Rosicrucian Manifestos
The Craft Degrees of Freemasonry
The Emergence of Freemasonry
Early Freemasonry and Western Esotericism
The Pre-1730 Ritual Evidence
High or Additional Degrees of Freemasonry
Templar and Ecossais Rites
Egyptian Rites
“Esoteric” Freemasonry
True Mason, or Académie des Vrais Maçons
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
History
A Note on Sources
Description of the Neophyte Ritual
Analysis of the Neophyte Ritual
Gerald Gardner and the Birth of Wicca
The Crowley Connection
Gardner and the Witchcraft Rituals of Initiation
First Degree: Witch and Priestess/Priest
The First Degree Initiation
Second Degree: High Priestess/High Priest
Third Degree: High Priestess/High Priest
Conclusions
Appendix
Notes
References
Index
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Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation_Henrik Bogdan

Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation_Henrik Bogdan

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Published by jerome107
Historians of religions and anthropologists have written extensively on
the subject of rituals of initiation. The primary object of their research,
however, has been focused on non-Western rituals to such an extent that,
with a few notable exceptions, there hardly are any scholarly works dealing
in depth with Western rituals of initiation. There are a number of
reasons for this situation, but chief among them is the connection of
Western initiatory societies with Western esotericism—and the latter only
recently received a long overdue scholarly attention. As will presently be
discussed, scholars such as Antoine Faivre and Wouter J. Hanegraaff have
demonstrated how Western esotericism has developed from a subject
deemed unworthy of scholarly interest, to a fruitful and challenging field
of research that has received wide academic recognition.
The purpose of this study is twofold; first, on a more general level,
I wish to present the development of the phenomenon of, what I call,
“masonic rituals of initiation” from an historical perspective. By masonic
rituals of initiation I do not merely mean rituals of initiation of Freemasonry,
but also rituals deriving from Freemasonry, which have certain
structural components in common with the former. Second, I will analyze
the relationship between masonic rituals of initiation and Western
esotericism, and thus analyze how esotericism is transmitted through,
what I call, “Western esoteric rituals of initiation.” In this connection I
will address two basic questions: How is Western esotericism transmitted
through the Western esoteric rituals of initiation? And: What “types”
of esotericism are transmitted? The study thus consequently covers two
fields of research, rituals of initiation and Western esotericism.
Historians of religions and anthropologists have written extensively on
the subject of rituals of initiation. The primary object of their research,
however, has been focused on non-Western rituals to such an extent that,
with a few notable exceptions, there hardly are any scholarly works dealing
in depth with Western rituals of initiation. There are a number of
reasons for this situation, but chief among them is the connection of
Western initiatory societies with Western esotericism—and the latter only
recently received a long overdue scholarly attention. As will presently be
discussed, scholars such as Antoine Faivre and Wouter J. Hanegraaff have
demonstrated how Western esotericism has developed from a subject
deemed unworthy of scholarly interest, to a fruitful and challenging field
of research that has received wide academic recognition.
The purpose of this study is twofold; first, on a more general level,
I wish to present the development of the phenomenon of, what I call,
“masonic rituals of initiation” from an historical perspective. By masonic
rituals of initiation I do not merely mean rituals of initiation of Freemasonry,
but also rituals deriving from Freemasonry, which have certain
structural components in common with the former. Second, I will analyze
the relationship between masonic rituals of initiation and Western
esotericism, and thus analyze how esotericism is transmitted through,
what I call, “Western esoteric rituals of initiation.” In this connection I
will address two basic questions: How is Western esotericism transmitted
through the Western esoteric rituals of initiation? And: What “types”
of esotericism are transmitted? The study thus consequently covers two
fields of research, rituals of initiation and Western esotericism.

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Published by: jerome107 on Dec 26, 2011
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05/24/2013

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