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Author: William Redwood

This chapter summarises the darkest and deepest parts of the author’s PhD research into contemporary esoteric cosmology. Although this universe owes much to Christianity, it draws heavily on youth subcultures, Romanticism, popular science and various literary and cinematic genres. The result is a quite unique spiritual topography. A map of such a landscape will be sketched, both this-worldly and other-worldly, and particular attention will be paid to a lower, demonic dimension, which is crucial to all esoteric practices, but especially the darker ones. The argument then moves beyond the descriptive level and works to establish the following points. First, on the level of religious theory, despite its monstrous dimension’s infernal origins in Christian constructs of hell, esotericism actually gives us an example of a ‘cosmorphological’ rather than ‘world religion’ type. However, the lower realms we are presented with are also unlike traditional underworlds in several important respects. Second, on a more general theoretical level, this analysis of the monstrous shows that structuralism can still be surprisingly useful, even while we have to work our way beyond it. Third, on a practical level, the stigmatisation of the occult community can be at least partially explained if the monstrous aspects of its cosmology and aesthetics are examined and read properly - we can see monstrous identities which critics have tended to misunderstand. Finally, after such an analysis, Western esotericism can be seen for what it is - a predictable product of contemporary culture.

In: Monstrous manifestations: Realities and the Imaginings of the Monster
Author: Kennet Granholm

, heathenism, Black Metal, Neofolk, contemporary esotericism, religion and popular music 1) The title quote is from the song “Storming Through/Red Clouds and Holocaust- winds” from Norwegian Black Metal band Immortal’s 1993 album Pure Holocaust. I would like to thank Dr. Marcus Moberg, Åbo Akademi University

In: Numen
Author: Philip Deslippe

right is doing in the present volume Contemporary Esotericism . While edited volumes often run the risk of becoming textual curiosity cabinets with little holding the chapters together beyond the binding, several clear themes and a strong sense of purpose run through the twenty chapters of

In: Aries
The Historical, Sociological, and Discursive Contexts of Contemporary Esoteric Magic
Author: Kennet Granholm
In Dark Enlightenment Kennet Granholm explores the historical, sociological, and discursive contexts of contemporary esoteric magic. The book is focused on the Sweden-originated Left-Hand Path magic order Dragon Rouge in particular, but through a detailed contextualizing examination of this case study it offers a broader visage of contemporary esotericism in general. The author takes cue from both the historiography of Western esotericism and the sociological study of new religions and religious change, aiming to provide a transdisciplinary framework for a comprehensive study of esotericism in late modernity.
Brill's Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy E-Books Online, Collection 2014 is the electronic version of the book publication program of Brill in the field of Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy in 2014.

Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Christianity, History of Religion, Religion & Society, Missionary Studies

This E-Book Collection is part of Brill's Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy E-Books Online Collection.

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Religion 30 ( 3 ): 367 – 382 . Asprem E. and K. Granholm 2013a . “ Constructing Esotericisms: Sociological, Historical, and Critical Approaches to the Invention of Tradition .” In E. Asprem and K. Granholm (eds), Contemporary Esotericism , Sheffield : Equinox Publishing , 25 – 48 . Asprem E

In: Handbook of Conspiracy Theory and Contemporary Religion
Editors: Jim R. Lewis and Olav Hammer
There has been a significant but little-noticed aspect of the interface between science and religion, namely the widespread tendency of religions to appeal to science in support of their truth claims. Though the appeal to science is most evident in more recent religions like Christian Science and Scientology, no major faith tradition is exempt from this pattern. Members of almost every religion desire to see their ‘truths’ supported by the authority of science – especially in the midst of the present historical period, when all of the comforting old certainties seem problematic and threatened. The present collection examines this pattern in a wide variety of different religions and spiritual movements, and demonstrates the many different ways in which religions appeal to the authority of science. The result is a wide-ranging and uniquely compelling study of how religions adapt their message to one of the major challenges presented by the contemporary world.
Scientific Naturalism and Esoteric Discourse 1900 - 1939
Author: Egil Asprem
The Problem of Disenchantment offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the intellectual history of science, religion, and “the occult” in the early 20th century. By developing a new approach to Max Weber’s famous idea of a “disenchantment of the world”, and drawing on an impressively diverse set of sources, Egil Asprem opens up a broad field of inquiry that connects the histories of science, religion, philosophy, and Western esotericism.

Parapsychology, occultism, and the modern natural sciences are usually viewed as distinct cultural phenomena with highly variable intellectual credentials. In spite of this view, Asprem demonstrates that all three have met with similar intellectual problems related to the intelligibility of nature, the relation of facts to values, and the dynamic of immanence and transcendence, and solved them in comparable terms.


George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1866-1949) plays a special role among the key figures of contemporary esotericism. While he always refused to be identified as “a master”, and did not particularly like the word “esotericism” either, Gurdjieff was uniquely infiuential not only on subsequent Western esotericism, but on literature, architecture, music and the arts in general as well. It is true, on the other hand, that followers, schools and independent disciples each interpreted Gurdjieff's teachings in very different ways. The article discusses Gurdjieff's infiuence on a lesser known, but quite important esoteric author, the Colombian master Samael Aun Weor (1917-1997), who established a “Gnostic Movement” which today is present in a number of different countries and has several thousands of followers. Neither Gurdjieff nor Weor left behind a single group or movement. Instead, their followers split up into a dozen different organizations, as also happened with the followers of other masters within the framework of Western esotericism, where a characteristic “genealogical hypertrophy” often leads to endless claims of legitimacy and schisms. Both Gurdjieff and Weor may also be studied in terms of the “charisma of the book”, a category Jane Williams-Hogan introduced with reference to Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), i.e. their books generated a plethora of organized movements even beyond the presumed intentions of their authors. What is perhaps new in this article is that it discusses Gurdjieff's profound infiuence on Weor. This infiuence is rarely acknowledged, and in fact the crucial element of Weor's system, i.e. sexual magic, is not a central feature in most of the movements claiming Gurdjieff's heritage. Yet, a doctrine of sexuality as a pre-eminent kind of relation with the sacred, and as a means of achieving higher states of consciousness, is far from absent in Gurdjieff's writings. In fact, several of Weor's ideas about the use and manipulation of sexual energies appear to be taken literally from Gurdjieff. A study of Weor thus may be especially significant in order to address an aspect of Gurdjieff which was never adequately discussed in the large international corpus of publications about his teachings.

In: Aries

/eurolang/activities// Contemporary Esotericism (org.: Department of History of Religions, Stock- holm University). Stockholm, Sweden. –.. Keynote speakers: Wouter J. Hanegraaff (Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, University of Amsterdam), Christopher Partridge (Religious Studies, Lancaster

In: Aries