Thursday, June 11, 2009

Esoteric and Exoteric Spirituality

What is Esoteric Spirituality? The word esoteric comes from the Greek work esoterikos meaning inner or from within. Basically, esoteric has to do with information or knowledge that is understood by a select few individuals or group of people. Esoteric knowledge may consist of teachings and doctrines handed down from a teacher to the initiated. This knowledge may require an inner realization, either from insight, intuition or meditation/contemplation in order to understand it fully. Esoteric spirituality, in a nutshell, would consist of any religion or spirituality that centers on an awareness or knowledge that is obtained through intuition or meditation and shared with a select group of followers.

Throughout history, western esoteric spirituality has been connected with diverse movements such as the Orphic tradition, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the School of Pythagoras, Gnostic Christianity, neo-Platonism, the Hermetic Tradition, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Spiritualism, Theosophy and Occultism. There are many branches to the tree of esoteric spirituality and it encompasses many different topics such as: Alchemy, Astral Projection, Astrology, Clairvoyance, ESP, Hermeticism, Intuition, Kabbalah, Magic, Metaphysics, Mysticism, Numerology, Occult, Rosicrucianism, Tarot and the Western mystery tradition, just to name a few.

Esoteric Spirituality has to do with spiritual development from within. It’s greatest teachers, i.e., Pythagoras, Hermes, Plato, Plotinus, and including Jesus have taught that the soul can expand the boundaries of every day consciousness and experience higher levels of awareness all the way to cosmic consciousness. The essence of their teachings were esoteric and given to a select inner group of followers or disciples. Pythagoras had his inner group of followers called the mathematiikoi who were given the guarded secrets of the cult. Hermes’s esoteric teachings were only given to those who were initiated. Jesus taught his deepest truths to his disciples. Jesus said, Do not throw your pearls before swine. In other words, do not throw your pearls of wisdom to those who would not understand them and then trample them. This is the essence as to why esoteric teachings were only given to a select few. Certain information was only given to those who were ready to receive it. This is one of the main differences between esoteric spirituality and exoteric spirituality. Exoteric spirituality was meant for the public and is about the external teachings of spirituality. Esoteric spirituality is meant for the inner spiritual development of the soul.

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