by William Bezanson
ABSTRACT: Esoteric Christianity refers to the study of occult or mystical esoteric knowledge related to the inner teachings of Christianity. It examines what Jesus the Christ really meant in his teachings. It has similar teachings to that of Rosicrucian orders. It can be especially interesting to disenchanted Christians who want to study beyond conventional religious topics.
Are you like me, raised as a Christian but later questioning the dogma of that religion and evolving into a skeptic, a seeker, or a freethinker? If so, this article might be of interest to you.
Even though I had been aware of the term “Esoteric Christianity”, I just recently realized how relevant it was for me. I had been a member of a Rosicrucian order (The Confraternity of the Rose Cross, www.crcsite.com) and a Christian (Anglican Church of Canada) for many years, but I had not even thought of exploring esoteric Christianity in a Rosicrucian sense. What I discovered was a delight!
A formal definition of esoteric Christianity, from the Wikipedia article on that topic, is “Esoteric Christianity refers to the study of the occult or [mystical] esoteric knowledge related to the inner teachings of Christianity. The term is generally associated with the Essenes and later the Rosicrucians. In esoteric Christianity, the religion of the Christ is taught as a mystery religion”.
Don’t be alarmed by the word “occult” in the above definition. It does not mean evil or devilish, as is commonly thought. It means hidden, or secret, or accessible only to the initiated.
What jumped out to me from the above definition was the reference to Rosicrucianism. On reading further in that article, and others, I found references to spirituality, seeing auras, intuition, astral projection, remote healing, reincarnation, psychokinesis, archetypal astrology, meditation, and numerous other topics. Those were all familiar concepts.
It was a thrill and a comfort to learn of the close relationship between esoteric Christianity and the mystical studies that I had already done with a Rosicrucian order. It may be that you also, dear reader, can find a similar attunement among two or more of your interests.
Continuing my association with the Christian religion provided a comfort of familiarity with an ancient religious tradition, beautiful ideals, and a sense of societal acceptance, even though with esoteric Christianity there were no direct links to a congregation of fellow worshipers. On the one hand, I was never really interested in worshipping a deity, but on the other hand, I did miss the spiritual companionship. The good news, though, is that the broad understanding of esoteric Christianity has resulted in many written articles (perhaps such as this current one) that are easily accessible to the general public. So discussion groups and related interactions provide a form of companionship and support.
Everyone who is a spiritual “seeker” or is curious about the Really Big Picture will likely benefit from researching and exploring the various teachings and information about esoteric Christianity.
For example, did you know that Jesus the Christ understood the validity of reincarnation? You won’t find such a teaching in the Bible or hear it from the pulpit, but you will find it in esoteric Christianity. Another example is that the various “miracles” attributed to Jesus were not miraculous at all, but were natural phenomena that can be performed by anyone who has undergone the proper training and development. (See, for example, in John 14:12, NRSV, where Jesus is reported to have said that by believing in him, i.e., by studying his esoteric teachings and modelling his esoteric example, all of us can “do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these”.) A final example has to do with the parables of Jesus. Rather than state his teaching points in plain, simple words, Jesus spoke in parables, much as modern poets and artistic folk use metaphors and myths, in order to appeal to their listeners’ inner mind and intuition so that a far more profound understanding would be achieved than otherwise.
A suggestion for how to proceed in your exploration of esoteric Christianity, if you are interested, is that you should read and meditate on any of the following materials:
I suggest starting with the first article, above. It is comprehensive and thorough.
You will likely find that any traditional Christian parish will not be able to support you in finding out any additional information about esoteric Christianity. This situation is due, of course, to that fact that the traditional churches do not want you to think for yourself, but to follow obediently the orthodox dogma that they teach. You will then have a choice to make, as I did, of either dropping your interest in both the church and esoteric Christianity, or of choosing one or the other.
Esoteric Christianity should be of great interest to many of the following people:
Welcome to a world of spiritual exploration! You will never look back.
William Bezanson has been a regular contributor to OMTimes. He is a retired electrical engineer who now writes on spirituality and world stewardship. His most recent book is I Believe: A Rosicrucian Looks at Christianity and Spirituality. He lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada. His website is www3.sympatico.ca/bezanson1 .