If you want to learn more about the history of recent mystery traditions - or even if you belong to one yourself - you might be interested in a new evening class course starting next week.
The course, called Mystery Traditions from the 17th C. Onwards, is being run by lecturer in the occult Ken Rees at The Mary Ward Centre, in London, starting on 25 February. This is the description given:
The Mystery Traditions of Europe did not die out consequent upon the rise of Christianity from the 4th – 5th CE. centuries onwards. The need of many people to find solace in esoteric rather than exoteric institutions continued, often discretely and covertly. While we only have a broken chain of links from the classical Mediterranean schools to the present day, various orders and societies have carried secret knowledge forward including the Knights Templars, the medieval witch cult and the revived gnosis of the Albigensians.The classes are on Tuesdays from 8pm to 10pm, from.25 February to 1 April 2014 at The Mary Ward Centre, Queen Square, London WC1. The fees are £48, Cons. £18. For more information call 020 8671 6372, visit www.marywardcentre.ac.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To enrol call 020 7269 6000 quoting course no: 440.
The 17th and 18th centuries saw a re-invention of tradition. This creative activity expressed itself in a myriad of ways. Key representatives included Druidism (under the inspiration of a Celtic revival), the Rosicrucians and Freemasonry, while the Christian mystery tradition included the mystics Jakob Boehme and Emanuel Swedenborg. Similarly, the 19th century saw a revival of Renaissance magic best exemplified by the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
The 20th/21st centuries have seen the rise of eclectic New Age philosophies including the Arcane School of Alice Bailey, Neo-Platonic groups such as the Universal Order and, within the Christian tradition, the Anna Kingsford influenced Order of the Cross. A number of hermetic societies on both sides of the Atlantic now exist, often incorporating the phrase "golden dawn". While contemporary nature religion, such as the Wicca version of witchcraft, also embodies elements of mystery tradition as does neo-shamanism.
This course will explore some of the examples given above.
History of Magic in the Modern Age
Essays in Contemporary Paganism
The Book of English Magic
Grimoires: A History of Magic Books
Witchfather: The Life of Gerald Gardner