Traditional representation of the Sri Yantra, from Spirit and Flesh com – Sri Yantra. The various layers of the mantra represent the interaction of Shiva (upward triangles) and Shakti (downward triangles), as well as mantras, deities, worlds, and progressive meditation towards the Center, which represents the Absolute Reality. There are many beautiful versions of this popular mantra, both traditional and modern, as any google search will show.
The Esoteric perspective in this context means the “inner” (eso-), in the sense of the inner consciousness or gnostic, perspective, as opposed to the “outer” (exo-) or Exoteric, i.e. the outer or everyday consciousness. Esoteric and Exoteric are the two basic ways of looking at reality – the intuitive and the rational.
(I am of course naturally aware of the use of the term “esoteric” in the colloquial sense; e.g. “esoteric mathematics”, meaning dense, abstruse, extremely specialised and little-known. But I am here using the term is a more metaphysical sense of altered states of consciousness, and non-mundane realities. In this latter sense, even the “esoteric” aspects of science, etc are “exoteric”).
Esotericism therefore means pertaining to the esoteric dimension or sphere of insight. Here “esoteric” means inner and spiritual rather than outer and mundane, sacred rather than secular, subtle rather than gross, mysticism rather than conventional religion.
Three types of esotericism
Different esoteric worldviews
Esoteric and Exoteric
The Esoteric/Gnostic stages of Transformation
Towards a Foundation of a Universal Esoteric Science by M.Alan Kazlev, Arvan Harvat, and Steven Guth
A Certain Ethical Problem in Esotericism – by Robert Searle
Esoteric Secrecy by Robert Searle
Different people may arrive at an esoteric understanding in different ways; some through spontaenously awakening to gnostic (as happened to me at age 20) or other experiences, or through individual meditation, or initiation into an esoteric group, or personal metaphysical study, or grace of a genuine guru (or even of a fake or ambigious guru), or taking of psychedelic drugs (which I do not approve of, but anyway) or just a general broadening of the mental being, or in any other of numerous ways.
However it happens, and whatever the type of esotericism, the person has made a great step forward, in that they are no longer bound to the exoteric religious or secular belief-system, but now have a far greater understanding of things. They may still be bound to thoughtforms, but the thoughtforms are not as limited as those they held previously.
Child nodes: Alchemy | Astrology | Augoeides | Esoteric | Exoteric | Gnosticism | Hermeticism | Kabbalah | Neoplatonism | Planes of Existence | Subtle Body | Sufism (and Islamic Esotericism in general) | Tantra | Theosophy
Sibling nodes: East and West – materialism, metaphysics and religion | Gnosis | Metaphysics | Occultism | Towards a Foundation of a Universal Esoteric Science