Richard Smoley is editor of Quest: The Journal of the Theosophical Society in America. He is also former editor of Gnosis Magazine. His books include Hidden Wisdom: The Guide to the Western Inner Traditions, Inner Christianity: The Guide to the Esoteric Tradition, Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism, The Essential Nostradamus, Conscious Love: Insights from Mystical Christianity, The Dice Game of Shiva: How Consciousness Creates the Universe, The Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History, The Deal: A Guide to Radical and Complete Forgiveness, and How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying About God and the Bible.
Here he describes the various influences on esotericism including shamanism, ancient Egyptian culture, and the Greek mystery traditions. He notes that there has always been commerce, and thus the exchange of ideas, between eastern and western civilizations. He explains the difference between exoteric and esoteric religion, and describes the concept of initiation. He also points out how, in different historical periods, esoteric culture has been suppressed and even persecuted – first by the Catholic Church and later by the rise of scientific culture. Today, while disreputable, esoteric culture is also very popular.
(Recorded on August 6, 2016)
Published on October 30, 2016