Wednesday, 20 July 2022

In Praise of the Esoteric

 There's a fair amount of Libra in my birth chart - Mercury and Venus are both there as is Neptune. Maybe that's why I usually try to look at both sides of a question. With that in mind this post is going to be about the importance of esoteric understanding if one wants to make real spiritual progress. It is neither sufficient nor necessary for salvation but it is very helpful and, though the intellectual mind is not the key to unlocking the door of spiritual truth, it can certainly guide the key to the lock.

Faith and knowledge are often separated and regarded as almost in opposition but I see them as twins with each one both complementing and deepening the other. Without faith knowledge is dry and spiritually sterile. Without knowledge faith can be impotent and immature and rooted in ignorance. Ignorance is never good. It will likely lead to error and then becomes faith in what is false. What use is that?

Esoteric teachings are simply a guide to the higher aspects of the human being, where we have come from, where we should be going and how we get there from here. Then they describe the spiritual structure of the universe. They are, properly considered, the knowledge aspect of religion and so are a form of spiritual science. Like material science they can be abused but in themselves they are good because they are founded on truth though I would add the strict proviso that any teaching calling itself esoteric needs to be subjected to the rigour of intuition, common sense and cast in the light of the reality of Christ. If it conflicts with the latter, it can be rejected.

There may have been a time when knowledge of the higher worlds was relatively unimportant for the work we need to do in this world to grow and develop spiritually but now human beings have evolved their minds and the mind needs to be catered for. It must have food. If it does not have real knowledge it will have false knowledge and it will act according to that in ways that would not have been possible before as it has more agency. Therefore, you could say that esoteric understanding has become more important. A developing mind has to have something to know. 

Moreover, there is a God-given impulse in the mind pushing it towards growth. We need to understand. We are in fact obliged to understand and esoteric teachings provide some form of understanding. They are not perfect because we are still very limited beings but we are growing towards the light and esoteric teachings can be a kind of fertiliser that help us to grow. As long, that is, as they are balanced by growth in the spiritual and moral sense. I refer back to the previous post.


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - a bold, but necessary, balancing post.

The 'esoteric' usually gets very broadly defined by traditional Christian churches; to the point that perspectives that seem ever more essential are ruled-out.

For example, the idea that we dwell in a living (animated) universe - where some plant-life, some mountains and rivers, the earth, the sun are all alive, conscious, purposive beings that interact with Men - is often regarded by Christians as heretical, if not demonic.

Yet this attitude plays-into and sustains the dead materialism of mainstream atheism, and therefore often weakens Christian faith by cutting us off from everything except other Men.

William Wildblood said...

A proper grasp of the esoteric can only deepen spiritual awareness and religious understanding. Even Jesus said we should be as wise as serpents.

Lady Mermaid said...

The modern Christian distrust for anything supernatural seems to have coincided w/ the rise of secular materialism. Medieval Christians certainly believed in a magical universe. Astrology and alchemy were taught as sciences. Christianity is at heart a magical religion.

What Scripture and the Church condemn is witchcraft or manipulating spirits to do your own will. In reality, the spirits control you. St. Joan of Arc was formally burned not for having visions but for accusations of contacting the dead. Fatalism was also condemned. Heavenly bodies may influence our thoughts, but we still have free will.

Modern Christians need to examine the difference between witchcraft which is never acceptable and esoteric knowledge which is a gift from God.

Here are some interesting articles on the subject from a historical and Catholic perspective.

21 July 2022 at 00:33

William Wildblood said...

" Christianity is at heart a magical religion.". That is absolutely true, Lady Mermaid. Anything that is so full of miracles, wonder-working saints and, most of all, the Resurrection is magical.

Christopher said...

A simple search of terms 'birth chart astrology' brought me to this webpage. It may not last long perhaps as I don't keep a subscription, yet they may keep it up as I imagine how low maintenance it may be to do so.

I'm noticing some occurrences of alignments in Mercury, Venus, Sun, and Uranus, Neptune. There are terms described as "dominant" and "house" used in this organization, colored however that may be by ancient obscurantism meets contemporary ironism.

William, what literature, old and new, would you recommend to get a grasp of these astrological occurrences? I think it awesome enough that Mercury, Venus, and Sun were present quite reliably during the interval of my mother's labor.