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date: 17 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The study of Western esotericism has come into its own in recent years. Because this tradition incubated a number of more recent movements—from Neopaganism to the New Age—contemporary studies of esotericism overlap studies of these related phenomena. This article articulates a concept of esotericism based on five characteristics: social formations, rituals, purported objectives, cognitive style, and relations to mainstream society. It then analyzes a number of groups and movements exhibiting these characteristics.

Keywords: Western esotericism, Neopaganism, New Age, social formations, rituals, purported objectives, cognitive types

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