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The Esoterism of Dante

Author : Rene Guenon
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Especially since the Renaissance, some in Western Christendom have suspected that the deeper dimension of their tradition has somehow been lost, and have therefore sought to discover, or create, an 'esoteric' or 'initiatic' Christianity. In the middle of the nineteenth century two scholars, Gabriele Rossetti and Eugène Aroux, pointed to certain esoteric meanings in the work of Dante Alighieri, notably The Divine Comedy. Partly based on their scholarship, Guénon in 1925 published The Esoterism of Dante. From the theses of Rosetti and Aroux, Guénon retains only those elements that prove the existence of such hidden meanings; but he also makes clear that esoterism is not 'heresy' and that a doctrine reserved for an elite can be superimposed on the teaching given the faithful without standing in opposition to it. One of René Guénon's lifelong quests was to discover, or revive, the esoteric, initiatory dimension of the Christian tradition. In the present volume, along with its companion volume Insights into Christian Esoterism (which includes the separate study Saint Bernard), Guénon undertakes to establish that the three parts of The Divine Comedy represent the stages of initiatic realization, exploring the parallels between the symbolism of the Commedia and that of Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and Christian Hermeticism, and illustrating Dante's knowledge of traditional sciences unknown to the moderns: the sciences of numbers, of cosmic cycles, and of sacred astrology. In these works Guénon also touches on the all-important question of medieval esoterism and discusses the role of sacred languages and the principle of initiation in the Christian tradition, as well as such esoteric Christian themes and organizations as the Holy Grail, the Guardians of the Holy Land, the Sacred Heart, the Fedeli d'Amore and the 'Courts of Love', and the Secret Language of Dante. In addition to Dante, various other paths toward a possible Christian esoterism have been explored by many investigators-the legend of the Holy Grail, the Knights Templars, the tradition of Courtly Love, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and Christian Hermeticism-and Guénon deals with all of these in the present volume as well as his Insights into Christian Esoterism. In the latter, one chapter in particular, 'Christianity and Initiation', will be of special interest with regard to the history of the Traditionalist School. When first published as an article, it gave rise to some controversy because Guénon here reaffirmed his denial of the efficacy of the Christian sacraments as rites of initiation, a point of divergence between the teachings of Guénon and those of other key perennialist thinkers. Both The Esoterism of Dante and Insights into Christian Esoterism will be of inestimable value to all who are struggling to come to terms with the fullness of the Christian tradition.

Insights Into Christian Esoterism

Author : Rene Guenon
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One of René Guénon's lifelong quests was to discover, or revive, the esoteric, initiatory dimension of the Christian tradition. In the present volume, along with its companion volume The Esoterism of Dante, Guénon undertakes to establish that the three parts of The Divine Comedy represent the stages of initiatic realization, exploring the parallels between the symbolism of the Commedia and that of Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and Christian Hermeticism, and illustrating Dante's knowledge of traditional sciences unknown to the moderns: the sciences of numbers, of cosmic cycles, and of sacred astrology. In these works Guénon also touches on the all-important question of medieval esoterism and discusses the role of sacred languages and the principle of initiation in the Christian tradition, as well as such esoteric Christian themes and organizations as the Holy Grail, the Guardians of the Holy Land, the Sacred Heart, the Fedeli d'Amore and the 'Courts of Love', and the Secret Language of Dante. One chapter in the present volume, 'Christianity and Initiation', is of special interest with regard to the history of the Traditionalist School. When first published as an article, it gave rise to some controversy because Guénon here reaffirmed his denial of the efficacy of the Christian sacraments as rites of initiation, a point of divergence between the teachings of Guénon and those of other key perennialist thinkers. Both The Esoterism of Dante and Insights into Christian Esoterism will be of inestimable value to all who are struggling to come to terms with the fullness of the Christian tradition.

Studies in Freemasonry and the Compagnonnage

Author : René Guénon
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René Guénon (1886-1951) was one of the great luminaries of the twentieth century, whose critique of the modern world has stood fast against the shifting sands of intellectual fashion. His extensive writings, now finally available in English, are a providential treasure-trove for the modern seeker: while pointing ceaselessly to the perennial wisdom found in past cultures ranging from the Shamanistic to the Indian and Chinese, the Hellenic and Judaic, the Christian and Islamic, and including also Alchemy, Hermeticism, and other esoteric currents, they direct the reader also to the deepest level of religious praxis, emphasizing the need for affiliation with a revealed tradition even while acknowledging the final identity of all spiritual paths as they approach the summit of spiritual realization. Studies in Freemasonry and the Compagnonnage is both an attempt to rediscover the lost roots of Masonry and a fascinating look into the many controversies swirling around the subject of Masonry in serious intellectual circles during the first half of the twentieth century. It must also be classed, along with Symbols of Sacred Science, Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power, Traditional Forms and Cosmic Cycles, The Esoterism of Dante, Insights into Christian Esoterism and Insights into Islamic Esoterism and Taoism-not to mention related sections in many of his other books-as one of René Guénon's masterful excursions into esoteric myth, symbolism, and secret history. Freemasonry may indeed be, as Guénon ultimately concluded, a largely degenerated and thus no longer strictly 'operative' offshoot of a true initiatory lineage; yet its symbolism, like that of the original Rosicrucians, remains profound, traditional, and therefore ultimately legitimate. And given that the 'Spirit bloweth where it listeth', it is always possible that symbolism of this order may awaken in a receptive soul intimations of the Truth and the Way, which can be of inestimable of value in 'the path to the Path', the quest for a living initiatory spirituality.

Insights Into Islamic Esoterism and Taoism

Author : Rene Guenon
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This small volume brings together a number of Guénon's early articles relating to Sufism (tasawwuf), or Islamic esoterism. A later article, 'Islamic Esoterism', has also been included, since it articulates so well the particularities of initiation in Islam by defining the fundamental elements of tasawwuf: shari'ah, tariqah, haqiqah. The first constitutes the necessary fundamental exoteric basis; the second, the Way and its means; the third, the goal or final result. In the other chapters, Guénon expresses with his usual synthetic clarity what tawhid and faqr are, and gives examples of traditional sciences, relating angelology to the Arabic alphabet, and chirology to the science of letters ('ilm al-huruf). A number of book and article reviews give further insights into Islamic cosmology. Some may feel that the essay 'Taoism and Confucianism' here included has little relevance to Sufism and Islam. However, such writers as Toshihiko Izutsu and Sachiko Murata have drawn many parallels between the two traditions. Confucianism, concentrating on social and interpersonal norms, functions as a kind of shari'ah in the context of Chinese religion, while Taoism, like Sufism, is precisely the esoteric Way.

The Esoteric Wagner

Author : Michael Besack
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Wagner's Ring is one of the most complex dramatic creations of modern times and its stage presentation requires impossible resources. It also demands an educated audience, without which there is not much justification for a performance. The tetralogy is full of difficult narratives and dialogues that make a prior, in depth reading of the libretto a must. It is not just a matter of figuring out the plot, as in other operas, but of exploring the many levels of meaning through which the Ring unfolds. In addition, the cycle incorporates esoteric themes that have seldom been discussed in connection with Wagner. This background is unknown territory to most people and it is unrealistic to expect sudden enlightenment from the Ring's libretto alone. Every classical journey deals with the promise of a homecoming and it is therefore not surprising that Wotan, the main protagonist in the Ring, eventually reemerges in the Land of the Grail, where he is converted into Titurel by Wagner's poetic imagination. Ernest Newman, Wagner's quintessential biographer, had already noted this odd development, but did not pause long enough to consider the startling implications. One should not look at Wagner in disconnected, narrow ways. The dismal level of today's intellectual discourse on Tragedy makes it impossible to do justice to the composer's apocalyptic vision. In that context, it is important to address the increasingly popular contention that Wagner was Hitler's spiritual father and that the Ring is a dangerous anti-Semitic fantasy. The Holocaust is indeed tragic, but its reduction to a moral failure on the part of Germanic culture understates the metahistorical significance of what actually happened.C.J. Jung once tried to tackle these issues directly in his study of the Wotan archetype (1936), but his analysis has since been buried under the weight of more detailed but less perceptive commentaries. A vigorous reassessment is long overdue.

Hidden Wisdom

Author : Richard Smoley
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A guide to the mystical teachings of the West explores the teachings of the Kabbalah, Gnosticism, Sufism, shamanism, Neopaganism, and mystical Christianity

Dictionary of Gnosis Western Esotericism A

Author : Wouter J. Hanegraaff
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Covers every aspect of pagan, Jewish, and Christian religious discourses and phenomena traditionally labeled gnosticism, hermeticism, astrology, magic, the "occult sciences," esoteric religion, and more. Contains articles about the life and work of all the major personalities in the history of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, discussing their ideas, significance, and historical influence.

The Alchemy of Paint

Author : Spike Bucklow
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A fascinating look at how pigments were created, used, and revered in the Middle Ages.

Journal of European Studies

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Traditionalism

Author : Kenneth Oldmeadow
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"This book explains why no one engaged in religious and cultural studies can afford to disregard the urgent message of the traditionalists who have reminded a forgetful world - in a manner which can be ignored but not refuted - of those principles which everywhere and always remain true. It also demonstrates why any reassessment of contemporary values - now increasingly called into question - must take into account the profound traditionalist critique of the modern Western worldview."--BOOK JACKET.

JSAI

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The Romanic Review

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Dictionary of Demons

Author : Fred Gettings
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Realms of the Unconscious

Author : Vasiliĭ Vasilʹevich Nalimov
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Mountain Path

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Forthcoming Books

Author : Rose Arny
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The Cryptography of Dante

Author : Walter Arensberg
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The Occult

Author : André Nataf
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Examines figures, movements, and concepts related to the occult, and discusses the occult in writings by such individuals as Shakespeare and Balzac

Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism

Author : Frithjof Schuon
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A near complete survey of Schuon's thought in the areas of cosmology and metaphysical principles.

Connotations

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