Advertisement

Introduction

Chapter
  • 127 Downloads
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

Abstract

In the late nineteenth century a wave of interest in esoteric philosophy and practice, commonly referred to today as the “Occult Revival,” developed within Europe and the United States. The Occult Revival manifested as a variety of alternative spiritual movements, religious organizations, and esoteric societies, which offered methods for acquiring hidden knowledge and perceiving supernatural realms of existence. The leaders of the Occult Revival drew inspiration from old esoteric philosophies and traditions such as alchemy, Hermetic and Rosicrucian literature, spiritual Masonry, Kabbalah, ceremonial magic, astrology, and necromancy. To these esoteric traditions, the enthusiasts of the Occult Revival sometimes connected concepts such as “reincarnation” and “karma,” which were primarily drawn from Buddhist and Hindu traditions. These non-Abrahamic religious traditions had gained visibility in the United States and Europe as a result of increasing interactions with India and parts of Asia. Nineteenth-century occultists also looked to the arts, philosophy, literature, science, psychology, mathematics, history, archeology, and many other disciplines of knowledge as they formulated their worldviews. It was almost universally true that the cosmologies of the Occult Revival were syncretistic in nature. Skeptics viewed the teachings of the Occult Revival as newly constructed theologies, but many occultists countered this critique by asserting that they were in fact carrying on an ancient tradition of esoteric knowledge and magical practice that had been transmitted to the present from the beginning of time by a long line of mages, adepts, and seers.

Keywords

Spiritual Experience Spiritual Leader Symbolist Play Hindu Tradition Spiritual Consciousness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Richard Kaczynski, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley, revised and expanded edition (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2010), 296.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aleister Crowley, The Complete Astrological Writings (London: W. H. Allen, 1987), 90–91.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ronald Hutton, Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, paperback edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 227, 247.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Paul Heelas, “Introduction: On Differentiation and Dedifferentiation,” in Religion, Modernity, and Postmodernity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), 8.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    John Patrick Deveney, Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, ed. Wouter J. Hanegraaff (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 1077–1079.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Eliphas Lévi, Dogme et ritual de la haute magie, in Secrets de la magie, edited by Francis Lacassin (1856; reprint, Paris: Robert Laffont, 2000), 205–215.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Maria Carlson, “No Religion Higher Than Truth”: A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia, 1875–1922 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 29.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Antoine Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), 37.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    Arthur Versluis, The Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 4.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy, 2nd ed. (1889; reprint, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1995), http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/key/key-hp.htm.Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    Michèle M. Schlehofer, Allen M. Omoto, and Janice R. Adelman, “How do ‘Religion’ and ‘Spirituality’ Differ? Lay Definitions among Older Adults,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47 (2008): 412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 21.
    Eileen Barker, “New Religions and New Religiosity,” in New Religions and New Religiosity, ed. Eileen Barker (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 1998), 16 (emphasis in the original).Google Scholar
  13. 22.
    Michèle M. Schlehofer, Allen M. Omoto, and Janice R. Adelman, “How do ‘Religion’ and ‘Spirituality’ Differ? Lay Definitions among Older Adults” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47 (2008): 413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 23.
    Robert Lima, Stages of Evil: Occultism in Western Theatre and Drama (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005).Google Scholar
  15. 24.
    Daniel Gerould, “The Symbolist Legacy,” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 31 (January 2009): 81.Google Scholar
  16. 27.
    Frantisek Deak, Symbolist Theater: Formation of an Avant-Garde, PAJ Books Series (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 48.Google Scholar
  17. 29.
    Maurice Maeterlinck, “The Tragical in Everyday Life,” in Dramatic Theory and Criticism: Greeks to Grotowski, ed. Bernard F. Dukore (Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1974), 730.Google Scholar
  18. 30.
    Lance Gharavi, Western Esotericism in Russian Silver Age Drama: Aleksandr Blok’s The Rose and the Cross (Saint Paul, MN: New Grail, 2008), 4.Google Scholar
  19. 31.
    Daniel Gerould and Jadwiga Kosicka, “Drama of the Unseen—Turn-of-the-Century Paradigms for Occult Drama,” in The Occult in Language and Literature, edited by Hermine F. Riffaterre (New York: New York Literary Forum, 1980), 6.Google Scholar
  20. 32.
    See Deak, Symbolist Theater; Gharavi, Western Esotericism; and Gerould and Kosicka, “Drama of the Unseen.” See also Daniel Gerould, Doubles, Demons, and Dreamers: An International Collection of Symbolist Drama (New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1985);Google Scholar
  21. and Sadakichi Hartmann, Buddha, Confucius, Christ: Three Prophetic Plays (New York: Herder and Herder, 1971).Google Scholar
  22. 33.
    Ray Stannard Baker, “An Extraordinary Experiment in Brotherhood: The Theosophical Institution at Point Loma, California,” American Magazine 63 (January 1907): 235. Paul Kagan Utopian Communities Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.Google Scholar
  23. 35.
    Robb Creese, “Anthroposophical Performance,” Drama Review 22 (June 1978): 47–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 36.
    J. L. Bracelin, Gerald Gardner: Witch (London: Octagon Press, 1960), 186.Google Scholar
  25. 42.
    R. Andrew White, “Radiation and Transmission of Energy: From Stanislavsky to Michael Chekhov,” Performance and Spirituality 1 (2009): 23–46.Google Scholar
  26. 43.
    R. Andrew White. “Stanislavsky and Ramacharaka: The Influence of Yoga and Turn-of-the-Century Occultism on the System,” Theatre Survey 47 (May 2006): 73–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 44.
    Franc Chamberlain, Michael Chekhov (London: Routledge, 2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 45.
    Anita Hammer, Between Play and Prayer: The Variety of Theatricals in Spiritual Performance (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010).Google Scholar
  29. 47.
    Wouter J. Hanegraaff Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek, and Jean-Pierre Brach, ed., Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2005).Google Scholar
  30. 50.
    Victoria Nelson, The Secret Life of Puppets (Cambridge: Harvard, 2001), vii.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Edmund B. Lingan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations