What is Esotericism? (definition, practice, history)

Esotericism is a fascinating subject.

More and more people are looking into the subject today, and the word is coming back into the mouths of influential people.

Understanding what esotericism is is a daunting task that would require hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of hours of work.

You won't necessarily have to make this effort: we've already done it for you.

In this article, we will first try to provide a definition of esotericism by focusing on its characteristics, what this idea really means and, finally, by comparing it to its opposite: exotericism.

Then, we seek to understand how to practice esotericism by focusing in particular on the need for an initiatory journey and continued study.

We will then see the history of esotericism by looking at the different forms that this way of thinking (some will even speak of a way of life) has taken across time and cultures.

To end this article in style, we take a look at some of the best-known, most powerful and most significant esoteric symbols.

In short, let's start right away with the definition of esotericism...

Contents :

Definition of esotericism

History of esotericism

How to practice esotericism?

Symbols of esotericism and hermeticism

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Definition of esotericism

We have all been confronted with esotericism in our lives.

Whether you have attended a tarot card reading (you will find some here, to clearly see what we are talking about), a paranormal phenomenon or simply whether you have visited a cathedral or a temple, we find it almost everywhere.

The basic approach for all those seeking to provide a definition to esotericism is to be interested in the hidden energies of our world and try to understand the mechanisms that operate behind them.

The starting point therefore comes down to recognizing that things are happening all around us to which we do not have direct access, that there are subtle energies of phenomenal diversity, and that these energies are constantly evolving according to chains complex actions.

Before we can find the true definition of esotericism, there are a few points on which we must agree in order to ensure that our reasoning starts from the same starting point.

Here are seven criteria that I have noted which, in my opinion, are shared by all those who are interested in esotericism:

  • There are similarities, analogies to be made between what happens in the universe, around man and inside him.
  • Nature, like the universe, is animated by spiritual forces.
  • It is possible to have experiences that are beyond human understanding and reason.
  • Translating knowledge in the form of rituals and symbols is a necessity if we want to transmit it on a large scale...
  • …but this is always accompanied by a distortion (even slight) of the original message.
  • Most traditions linked to esotericism have a common basis, and undoubtedly come from the same source.
  • The transmission of esoteric knowledge can only be done in a personal relationship from master to disciple.

If we share this vision of things, the different definitions of esotericism that we might find will all be coherent.

I will now give you an etymological analysis of the word esotericism, a definition (which is personal to us, you can of course form your own) then a comparison with its opposite: exotericism.

Open page of a dictionary containing definitions

Etymology of the word esotericism

“Esotericism” is a word originating from classical Greece.

It actually comes to us directly from the word “esoterikos”, itself coming from “esotero”, the comparative form of “eso” (trans.: within).

Concretely, this means that esotericism is “what is inside”, and therefore by extension) what is hidden inside the substance of things.

Plato, in his dialogues of the Alcibiades (dating from the 4th century BC), uses the expression “ta eso” which then means “things within”.

The first written appearance of the word "esotericos", however, is found two hundred years later by the Greek author Lucien de Samosata where it is used to describe a concept comparable to current esotericism.

The etymological analysis of the word therefore already allows us to provide a definition to esotericism: it is something which is interested in “what is inside”.

This is precisely the definition given by dictionaries, for example here on the site wiktionary.com.

This is completely correct… but insufficient for us.

We will therefore try to provide some clarification.

Lit candles giving a mysterious air to a dark room

Basic approach to the phenomenon

In reality, this definition of esotericism is very incomplete.

Limiting ourselves to describing the phenomenon as the study of hidden things is so approximate that it becomes false.

By definition, what is hidden is necessarily unknown and cannot be discovered because, being hidden, we are not even aware of its existence.

We should rather define esotericism as the study of hidden things, in the sense that they are still visible in certain forms.

Being interested in esotericism would therefore amount above all to seeking to penetrate certain hidden truths through “entry points” which are clearly visible to everyone (or at least to those who agree to see them).

In this sense, a biologist who seeks to understand the functioning of a cell by looking at it from the outside or an astrophysicist who analyzes the forces between planets by observing their movements would both be practitioners of esotericism?

Well yes, absolutely!

In reality, the “spiritualizing” vision we have of the phenomenon is very recent.

Even if it is clear that esotericism encompasses a part of mystery, spirituality and magic, it is above all a way of thinking and analyzing the world which can be applied to a whole range of areas of life.

This definition of esotericism is undoubtedly a little more complete.

A man and a woman looking in opposite directions

The distinction between esotericism and exotericism

Another way of understanding the definition of esotericism consists of making a comparison with its opposite…

Understanding what exotericism is is rather simple, but here is a definition you can rely on.

Concretely, knowledge is knowledge, regardless of the form it takes.

The distinction between esotericism and exotericism lies above all in the form that the transmission of this knowledge takes.

Typically, esoteric knowledge will be transmitted between initiates (of a brotherhood, a society, a family) while exoteric knowledge is much more freely accessible because it is shared publicly.

We could say that this second type of transmission is better because it is more fair and “democratic”.

This is true, but not necessarily for all types of knowledge.

Certain knowledge could frighten individuals who are too weak-minded or easily influenced.

Others give access to important powers that should not be put into everyone's hands.

There are even some which, too dangerous for the authorities of this or that era, had to be transmitted “clandestinely”.

All of these types of knowledge should never be transmitted publicly; it is for the common good.

Thus, the definition of esotericism that we gave before takes on a new meaning...

If certain knowledge is hidden and must therefore be analyzed through the esoteric tradition, it is first to respond to a very practical need.

Astrology and esoteric work in progress

Evolution of the definition of esotericism today

We understand it well: esotericism is not a tradition in itself, but rather a way of understanding tradition.

This has always been true and still is true today.

However, in the collective imagination, the image of esotericism has gradually slipped towards something that it is not.

In recent years, negative connotations have been associated with the term (typically, the idea that esotericism is a form of witchcraft where the practitioner seeks to appropriate dark powers).

The New Age movement also did a lot of harm to the environment and clearly transformed the definition of esotericism.

With sometimes very borderline groups with excessive practices, the general population could only see this in a negative light.

Furthermore, the popularization linked to the hippie movement had the perverse effect of creating many scammers whose sole aim was to extract as much money as possible from other practitioners.

In order not to be associated with them, certain specialists (including us) have had to distance themselves from the hard core of esotericism and some of its most evanescent aspects.

So, to take our case, we have developed a collection of lucky charms linked to clairvoyance, yes, but which is based on solid and concrete elements, far from the too light verbiage of some.

A final point, and arguably the most dramatic, is the blatant distancing of the average individual from their roots and traditions.

Where once the knowledge of the ancients was known and accepted by all, certain evidence is today mocked by the majority while others have been completely forgotten.

Obviously, talking to someone about something (even if it is real and their own ancestors have believed in it for centuries) that they do not believe in places us directly in the “esotericism” box.

All this clearly does not help us to keep in mind the correct definition of esotericism.

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History of esotericism

Throughout history, several religions or spiritual currents have been able to emphasize hidden knowledge, and therefore esoteric in the literal sense of the term (even if they have not claimed to do so).

Here we will discover the history of esotericism through some of the most notable forms it has taken in history.

All the movements that we are going to see are, in our opinion, part of the great family of esotericism. To be correct, however, we must point out that there are still debates about some of them.

Some specialists will classify them in the “mysticism” category, others in the “hermeticism” category.

Ultimately, this all amounts to warring and interests us very little.

In short, from Antiquity to our current era, through the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment period…

From China to Germany, via India and ancient Greece…

Together we will explore the wonderful history of esotericism.

Young girl, perhaps a goddess, with a hood and a mysterious air

Mystery cults: the origins of the concept

Throughout antiquity, hundreds of secret cults took place to honor certain deities.

Only initiates (in Greek, we speak of mystae) could participate in ceremonies and rituals.

It is precisely from this confidential and therefore mysterious character that their name of mystery cults comes.

Often the worship of their gods consisted of the recitation of poems and mystical songs, the organization of large scenes where all the followers participated, processions, feasts and sometimes even orgies.

If you are interested in classical European culture (Greek and Roman in particular), you should love the lucky charms and symbols from classical antiquity that we have found for you.

In short, among the many mystery cults of the classical period, there is one in particular that the history of esotericism has retained: the cult of the Eleusinian mysteries.

This group worshiped the Hellenic goddesses of agriculture: Demeter and her daughter Persephone thanks to whom the people of Greece knew abundance.

Another well-known mystery cult was that of Isis.

Contrary to what we might think, it was not in Egypt that this cult developed the most but in Rome, towards the end of the 2nd century AD.

In particular, Plutarch's writings on this subject describe an esoteric type initiation rite as well as several other rituals.

It’s clear: esotericism is not a subject that dates back to yesterday!

Statues of busts of classical Greek authors in a museum

Pythagoras and Plato: two masters of esotericism

The great esoteric author HP Blavatsky tells us that Pythagoras was in his life initiated into some of these mystery cults. In particular, we find in his thought elements originating from Egyptian, Chaldean and Indian schools.

Secondly, Pythagoras himself created his own school based on the teachings he had then received.

Known for their contributions to mathematics and astronomy, the Pythagoreans were much more than just scientists.

In reality, they had everything of the secret society as we imagine it. Anecdote among many others, you should know that young initiates should remain silent... for six years in order to finally express themselves! (This pursued a goal of learning to listen, true listening.)

Clearly, we don't see this type of thing in our modern scientific institutions...

Another classical Greek author, Plato is also considered one of the greatest practitioners of esotericism of all time.

His philosophy is taught in all schools and we all hear his name during intellectual discussions... but what do we really know about his place in the history of esotericism?

Few people know this, but Plato references ancient esoteric traditions in many of his works. He sometimes cites his predecessor Pythagoras but also things like the Orphic mysteries.

According to some mystics, it is his work in esotericism which constitutes the most innovative part of his work.

We let everyone form their own opinion on the matter.

Coin with a Star of David engraved amid Jewish ceremonial candles

Kabbalah: esotericism in Judaism

Kabbalah (also known as Kabalah, Cabala or Qabala) is the part of the Jewish tradition devoted to the study of the essence of God.

In the history of esotericism, few movements have caused as much ink to flow as this one.

Historians of Judaism have identified numerous Jewish esoteric schools throughout time.

However, it was really in 13th century Spain that the term “Kabbalah” appeared to designate the work of a group of religious mystics.

The basis of their belief was actually quite simple.

In fact, Kabbalists are convinced that God expresses himself through symbols, a sort of occult code that can only be deciphered with a very precise reading grid.

They also believe that true knowledge of the world and understanding of the secrets of the divine can be obtained on earth through work of analysis and interpretation. According to them, all this would allow us to get closer to God and create an intimate relationship with him.

This is a characteristic specific to Kabbalah that we do not really find in the history of esotericism.

It is in fact the only major school of thought believing that all mysteries (of the world and of God) can be pierced by human intelligence and the human spirit.

Whether they are sacred texts, oral tradition or initiatory rites, the secrets of Kabbalah have been passed down step by step for centuries.

This is a tradition of undoubtedly great depth. You will have the opportunity to discover it in more detail through this collection dedicated to Judaism.

Practitioner of Sufi esotericism dancing while spinning around during a traditional dance

Sufism: esotericism in Islam

Sufism is the name by which Muslim mysticism is designated.

In reality, the Sufi school was founded at the same time as Islam in the 7th century in Arabia.

The particularity of Sufism compared to other branches of the Muslim religion is the greater emphasis placed on devotion, contemplation, learning and creativity.

Unlike many groups throughout the history of esotericism, Sufism is neither a sect nor a secret doctrine, but a full-fledged branch of Islam.

Its practitioners are known for having developed an exceptional inner dimension close in many respects to Eastern schools of meditation.

Technically, this way of understanding esotericism is less a belief system than a way of life.

The initiate will in fact follow a long journey aimed at making him gradually familiar with the teachings and truths professed by Sufism.

While most branches of Islam are quite strict and rigorous in terms of form, this one is extremely flexible, letting teachers teach in the way they want as long as the substance of the message is present.

This is not without meaning.

The expression of esoteric tradition should not be limited to a particular setting or culture, in which case it could quickly no longer be relevant.

The history of esotericism and Sufism shows us wonderfully that, yes, a reformulation of the doctrine is sometimes necessary if we want it to remain relevant.

Mysterious Christian monk walking in a ruined monastery

Gnosis: esotericism in Christianity

Gnosticism was a second-century Christian religious movement asserting that salvation could be obtained through a special form of secret knowledge.

The fathers of the Church of the time (among whom we can cite Origen, Tertullian, Justin and even Eusebius of Caesarea) however all condemned the Gnostic teachings which they considered to be terrible heresies.

The movement was therefore relatively quickly aborted but, as we will see later, this did not prevent it from lastingly marking the history of esotericism...

In fact, we can understand why gnosis was considered heresy.

It is true that the messages it carries contrast with traditional catechism and even with certain passages of Scripture.

While the Catholic religion was at the height of its form in Europe, this type of esotericism was forgotten throughout the Middle Ages.

Please note, this does not mean that the Church of the time was devoid of mysticism and spirituality!

Many monks, during this period, produced exceptional writings, saints lived and were canonized, miracles were recognized by Rome...

No, it just means that, being of total moral authority, the clergy of the time had no trouble convincing the hearts of men who then rarely turned away from the Christian faith.

It was only during the Renaissance that Gnostic esotericism began to reappear in a somewhat different form...

Engraving showing the illuminati triangle with its "all-seeing eye"

Secret societies

More than a millennium after the first Gnostic mystics, the history of esotericism was to experience a major event: the appearance of the first modern secret societies.

Let us point it out directly: debates on the issue rage among specialists.

Some affirm that the esoteric traditions of various eras all follow each other more or less, that they share the same background... and perhaps even a common origin.

We don't completely agree.

From our point of view, the Enlightenment period very clearly marks a turning point in the history of esotericism.

Both the substance of certain messages and the way in which they were transmitted underwent major changes.

The most important upheaval was undoubtedly the increasingly social and political character of esoteric secret societies.

While the mystery cults of Antiquity only sought to develop the minds and spirituality of their members, societies like that of the Rosicrucians, the Freemasons or the Illuminati decided to influence the direction of the world.

If, like many of us, the subject interests you, you will find what you are looking for in these few esoteric books talking about secret societies recommended by the Babelio site.

From the end of the Renaissance to the modern era, these esoteric secret societies developed over several centuries, some gaining influence while others disappeared.

Historians specializing in esotericism generally believe that the movement reached its peak during the 16th and 17th centuries, mainly in Germany and in certain regions of France.

Buddhist monks meditating together, their faces calm and peaceful

Buddhism: certain branches oriented towards the mysteries

In essence, Buddhism is a form of esotericism.

Buddha himself is literally a man who experienced enlightenment (we can see this as access to truths hidden from most men) and then formed a group of disciples to whom he transmitted teaching in a master relationship. to student who spanned the rest of his life.

The secret and mysterious nature of knowledge, a long initiation, the transmission from master to initiate: the main characteristics of esotericism are clearly reflected there.

However, being an ancient religion with hundreds of millions of followers, Buddhism necessarily has several branches.

Some of them focus on a “practical” application of the Buddha’s teachings, through advice on the organization of society and others on human life.

In itself, this type of path is legitimate and probably suits many people very well.

However, there are others more focused on spirituality: these are the ones that the history of esotericism tells us about.

The most famous forms are Mantrayana, Vajrayana (very present in Tibet) and Tantra.

All these doctrines contain rituals, mantras, particular meditation and prayer techniques but which, all without exception, aim at the transmission of knowledge from the master (here called guru) to the student.

To learn more about Buddhism, take a look at the part of our site dedicated to this form of spirituality.

Practitioner of an esoteric martial art who trains on top of a mountain

Taoism: the teachings of Lao Tzu

Religion for some, philosophy for others, Taoism has been a movement present in China for more than 2,500 years. It is even said that some of his teachings are still several millennia old.

It is through great thinkers like Lao Tzu and Zhuangzi that we best know this oriental esoteric doctrine.

For most people, Taoism is just a body of knowledge accumulated by the Chinese over the years, containing information about health, energies, the world, etc.

This is not false but, as the history of esotericism teaches us, the majority opinion is incomplete here.

Of all forms of esotericism, it is undoubtedly Taoism which most clearly describes the final goal towards which it aims.

This goal is that of eternal life.

Concretely, it is a question of an “elixir of immortality” that it would be possible to create by applying (and therefore necessarily in-depth knowledge) the various ideas underlying this doctrine.

Among these, we can note the principle of yin-yang, the theory of the five elements, meditation and relaxation techniques, very specific ways of sleeping or eating, etc.

These elements being known to everyone, it is obvious that there are other secrets.

Not being initiated into this form of esotericism, we unfortunately do not know them.

We simply know that this famous elixir has both an external and an internal aspect, but nothing more...

Book and works by René Guénon on esotericism in old paper

The case of Renée Guénon

René Guénon (1886-1951) was a leading French metaphysician, writer and thinker.

Many believe that his thought is the basis of most modern schools of esotericism (those born from the beginning of the 20th century).

One thing is certain: his work has in any case greatly contributed to the development of metaphysics and will undoubtedly have left its mark on history.

René Guénon still remains a very influential author today, one to whom many people claim their affiliation.

His favorite themes were the bankruptcy and decadence of modern spirituality, symbolism, initiatory rites and societies, esotericism and more broadly the truths contained in the various traditions of the world.

Passing through Gnosticism, Spiritism and a whole bunch of other forms of esotericism to finally adopt the Sufi tradition, Guénon experienced an incredible number of different teachings during his life.

For many of us, he is and will remain one of the greatest esoteric authors of all time.

René Guenon is recognized by many for his exceptional work. This audio podcast dedicated to the author will tell you about it in more detail.

Young girl, perhaps a goddess, with a hood and a mysterious air

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How to practice esotericism?

It is clear: esotericism is an extremely complex and intellectually stimulating field of study.

Apprentices and students are invited to reconsider established opinions, things they thought were immutable and, ultimately, to question a whole bunch of things they took for granted.

Practicing esotericism therefore leads us to deconstruct certain thought models that we may have had and makes us reconsider a whole bunch of historical figures, movements, ideas (political, spiritual, etc.).

Diving into the unknown depths of esoteric practices therefore offers us a unique opportunity to gain new perspectives on our history, on our culture and on ourselves.

In short, practicing esotericism is an idea that appeals to many people, and that is understandable.

However, you need to keep some information in mind so as not to go in the wrong direction. Here we will give you the main ones so that you know concretely how to practice esotericism.

Young master transmitting knowledge to a student during an initiation

The need for initiation into esotericism

As we said earlier, practicing esotericism implies access to great secrets, and therefore to great powers.

This must not be accessible to individuals with bad intentions or who are simply unaware of what they have in their hands.

Thus, initiation into esotericism is an absolutely essential step.

On the one hand, this allows the novice to follow a long course during which he can train and prepare to receive hidden knowledge.

On the other hand, the master (the one who transmits) has enough time at his disposal to detect the depths of the soul of the one who listens to his teachings. He can thus rule out those for whom practicing esotericism is a bad idea.

This initiatory stage led to the creation of a whole bunch of organizations and secret societies whose doctrines and teachings are hidden from laymen.

We therefore understand that most of these groups do not necessarily seek (at least initially) to plot or rule the world.

On the contrary, this practice of secrecy stems from an educational desire to choose the most worthy students.

How could practicing esotericism have led to the abuses that we know of (malicious secret societies or those whose sole aim is economic cronyism)?

This question remains a mystery…

Large library specializing in esotericism, with classic architecture

Learn and practice

Esotericism is therefore generally associated with special forms of knowledge.

The way of acquiring this knowledge is very different from that of a “classic” study for which reference books and manuals exist.

So, you have to constantly search, educate yourself and venture onto new avenues.

Often, after initiation into early esotericism, the student finds himself freer in his quest for knowledge in the sense that he has a set of tools allowing him to interpret common knowledge (history, philosophy, linguistics, etc.) with a new eye.

In itself, when someone wonders how to practice esotericism, the answer is simple: you just have to be curious and constantly inquire.

It's not more complicated than that.

The different ways in which the fruits of this research are expressed will sometimes be very different.

While some will reach higher states of wisdom, practicing esotericism will allow others to experience “mystical awakenings”, a kind of enlightenment.

The achievements that the practitioner will make with their new knowledge will also differ.

There are some who will decide to become masters in their turn to allow other people to experience an initiation into esotericism.

Many decide to use their knowledge to be useful to the community and do good around them.

Sometimes also, practitioners of esoteric arts withdraw far from the turpitudes of the world, concentrating on the development of their inner world cut off from the rest of society.

Young woman among books that fly away in a magical and mysterious way

Different forms of esotericism

If you are looking for how to practice esotericism, you will quickly see that several paths are available to you.

We are not here to talk about each of them or to judge them. They all have their particularities, faces of shadows and others of light.

Moreover, each of them deserves an entire article dedicated to them because the subject is so dense and interesting.

The list (very clearly not exhaustive) therefore pursues two goals: to show you the richness of the world of esotericism, but also its diversity.

In short, here are some movements, branches, disciples that we can all connect to esotericism in one way or another:

  • Alchemy
  • Animism
  • Astrology
  • Shamanism and Druidism
  • Feng Shui
  • Lithotherapy and crystal therapy
  • Magic, black, white, gray or red
  • Runic magic
  • Magnetization
  • Some forms of meditation
  • reiki
  • Tantra
  • The tarot
  • Voodoo
  • Clairvoyance and divination in all its forms (cartomancy, palmistry, numerology, etc.)
  • Wicca
  • Yoga

Each of these disciplines will offer you an introduction to esotericism of varying length and depth, each with its own particularities.

If you are familiar with our site, you must know that we are interested in each of these themes.

We took out what seemed most interesting to us, in particular this collection devoted to witchcraft in all its forms and this one presenting certain Feng Shui tools.

Esoteric boutique offering several pendants made of crystals

How to find a good esoteric store

Recent years have seen tremendous development in the world of spirituality as a whole.

But how can practicing esotericism appeal so much?

The answer is simple: the lack of spiritual reference points.

Many references have been destroyed and people are left confused. Realizing that something is missing, they feel a feeling of emptiness inside without really knowing how to explain it.

They can seek to fill this spiritual void through religious or spiritual practices.

A path of initiation into esotericism appears to be one of these paths.

In short, more and more people are interested in the subject and, often having no background, can quickly find themselves lost.

In this great hodgepodge, some decide to make esotericism their profession.

Even though the honesty of most practitioners is beyond doubt, there are always dishonest people who seek to deceive apprentices and novices.

Concretely, situations vary so much from one case to another, we can only give you two simple tips here.

First, you must always maintain a critical mind and ask yourself whether what this or that esoteric shop is telling you is plausible. (This seems obvious, but too many people are fooled by lack of insight.)

Second, when looking for ways to practice esotericism, always be aware that nothing in life happens without effort.

Thus, “turnkey” solutions where you are promised to obtain wonders without providing any work are often deceptions.

We have told you this, but this element is really central: initiation into esotericism is long and requires a significant personal investment.

Keep these two tips in mind and you will normally have no problem identifying the good stores from the bad…

You're welcome, this is essential!

Indeed, how can you practice esotericism without appropriate advice and tools?

Esoteric book open in the middle of a “dreamlike” room and with blue light escaping from it

Symbols of esotericism and hermeticism

When we come across a symbol of esotericism, we must first rely on the knowledge of the ancients.

If we try to approach it in a purely materialistic way, or on the contrary purely intellectual, it is a safe bet that we do not understand its full meaning.

Certain messages carried by the symbol could then remain unknown to us... Which is a shame to say the least when we know the depth that some contain.

Understanding the hidden symbolism around us is a good way to learn more about our world, our society and our culture.

If such a stained glass window was placed in a cathedral, it is no coincidence, a face carved in a fountain will also carry meaning and the sacred texts of almost all religions require a minimum of knowledge of the allegories used.

Truly, not being interested in the great subject of the symbol in esotericism would be a serious error.

If we had to count everyone we know, this article would probably be the longest on the internet...

You just have to look at these different photos and images of esoteric symbols to realize the magnitude of the subject.

We will therefore limit ourselves to explaining some of the most widespread symbols linked to esotericism to, who knows, tickle your curiosity and make you want to discover more.

Tree of life growing from a glass ball floating in the middle of a forest

The tree of Life

As a symbol of esotericism, the tree of life is very clearly a dean.

The oldest known example was found in archaeological excavations in Turkey and dates back to… around 7000 BCE!

We are therefore here facing one of the most respectable esoteric symbols, that is clear.

In fact, the tree of life is a universal symbol of strength and growth. This is undoubtedly explained because almost everywhere in the world, large and strong ones grow.

As the tree grows, it sinks its roots deep into the ground, ensuring its own stability but also that of the environment around it.

Thus, trees can withstand the harshest storms, hence their connection to strength.

The notion of growth comes from the exceptional capacity of the small delicate tree, similar to a fragile shoot, to develop to become a colossus with an enormous trunk.

Furthermore, as a symbol of esotericism, the tree of life carries a message of conquest and openness to the world.

It always grows upwards and outwards...

Ankh in carved wood from the mysteries of Egyptian esotericism

The ankh

The ankh is one of the most recognizable symbols of ancient Egypt.

Also known as the “cross of life” or “key of life,” this symbol carries a profound message.

Egyptian mythology sometimes presents it to us as a powerful magical tool capable of breathing life even into the dead.

The ankh is also very often found on tombs and in temples dedicated to the gods of the dead.

This is not surprising…

Indeed, the ancient Egyptians believed that our life on earth was just one stage on a greater journey. For them, the ankh symbolized this continuity of a journey which would continue into the afterlife.

When we know that ancient Egypt is considered by many to be the greatest source of all time for esotericism, we understand why so many people place a special place on the ankh.

Last clarification: this esoteric symbol was linked to the goddess Isis who, as we mentioned earlier, was already at the center of certain occult societies.

Canopy in a roof shaped like a square within a circle

The circle within the square

The symbol of the circle within the square, itself within a triangle, itself within a larger circle began to be used in the 17th century as an emblem of alchemy.

This practice largely consists of the search for the philosopher's stone.

In the collective imagination, this stone is supposed to change any metal into gold.

With the keys that you now have in your hands, you should normally suspect that this is a symbol, the image of a more abstract reality.

However, even if it is not a question of physical gold, what the philosopher's stone can bring us is not devoid of value...

The circle within the square also has a lot of meaning as a symbol of esotericism.

It is often said that, because they are infinite in their essence, circles represent the spiritual side of the world.

The square shows us matter through its four sides associated with the four physical elements that make up our world.

The esoteric meaning of this symbol is therefore that of a certain union between the spiritual and the material...

Interesting !

Little black cat with a piercing gaze thanks to its yellow eyes

Animals: owl, cat and crow

Human beings have always had a special relationship with certain animals. Obviously, over time, he was able to detect certain powers in them.

Talking about the place of animals in esotericism could undoubtedly be the work of a lifetime.

We don't have time to talk about it here but, who knows, maybe we'll touch on the subject one day.

In short, we will just talk about three of the animals most closely linked to esotericism.

The owl is sometimes seen as the eagle of the night.

A symbol of wisdom, intelligence and the paranormal in many cultures, this bird is often seen in the forest when strange things are happening there.

Some even think that they are “the animal magicians, the most accomplished mages in the sky domain”.

We like this description.

Black as the night, the raven has also unleashed passions in the world of esotericism.

Known to be very intelligent, its look symbolizes cunning while its plumage evokes death.

In some parts of the world, seeing a raven is considered an omen, a message that should not be ignored.

The case of cats is a bit special.

Sometimes adored and sometimes feared, this animal has in any case never left us indifferent, following man since he settled in villages.

The nocturnal nature probably did not help them to have a good reputation either, even going so far as to make them associated with witches.

To go further and discover a whole bunch of animals linked to esotericism, here is a forum on which many of them have been listed.

Three moons in the sky, a great symbol of esotericism and wicca

The triple moon

Last symbol but not least, the triple moon is the emblem of the Wicca movement, a form of esotericism which is based on pagan knowledge and a kind of modern witchcraft.

The triple moon symbol actually shows it to us in three forms: waxing, full and waning.

These three “phases” in fact each represent one of the three entities that form the main deity of Wicca known as the “triple goddess”.

The waxing moon represents maidenhood and is a symbol of purity and youth.

The full moon corresponds to the mother and therefore to fertility, protection and love.

The waning moon therefore symbolizes the eldest, the one who holds wisdom and experience.

When these three figures are put together, they carry the message of the eternal cycle of life.

author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.