Liberation, Social Justice, and Esotericism

Can esotericism be political? While many practitioners strongly believe that the practical application of esoteric teachings can make human beings more moral, loving, and kind, it often appears as though there is no connection between Western esotericism and social justice. In fact, many esoteric teachers and philosophies have been associated with right wing, or even fascist personalities and philosophies.

In his book, The Inner Church is the Hope of the World: Western Esotericism as a Theology of Liberation, our guest Nicholas Laccetti examines the esoteric tradition in the light of liberation theology, which has a decidedly leftist/Marxist bent. He joined us for a discussion of the current state of esotericism and its association with certain factions of the alt right. 

We also discussed whether the perceived elitism of esotericism is compatible with social justice movements which typically support the idea of egalitarianism. Naturally, we had to ask about the archons (Gnostics can’t talk politics without ‘em) and the idea of a social qabala.

Regardless of your political persuasion, we hope that this show provokes thought and, possibly, action as you contemplate how a practice of inner development intersects with human history and social action.

The opinions expressed in this show do not necessarily reflect those of the Gnostic Wisdom Network, the Apostolic Johannite Church, or any other organization.

One thought on “Liberation, Social Justice, and Esotericism

  1. As always, a great episode. So many leads to follow!
    At 32:55, you are looking for people who have studied gender/genderqueer/transgender theories to theological and esoteric studies. I hope that will be me in the future. I am experiencing a deep Calling to explore and study this exact topic. I am a trans woman and a gnostic (raised Catholic), with an MA in History. In my experience (which is what it’s all about, isn’t it?), my transition has given my spiritual life a ‘turbo-boost,’ bringing me closer to God rather than alienating me as an abomination. As I transition, my studies of Christian theology and esoteric or occult topics has made me aware of many concepts of a union/marriage of masculine/feminine within the individual as a powerful and important undertaking. From alchemical androgynes and genderless angels to Genesis, the division of the genders seems to be a sort of Fall, a further division of the unity of the ‘Monad’ that has imprisoned humans in many ways. This, along with my actual experiences, have led me toward a more gender neutral/androgynous presentation (my gender marker has been changed on ID and SS, but not birth certificate). I constantly pray for guidance and the wisdom to discern. It’s very much a Your Will Not Mine thing.
    I am not alone in my interest/private study. I regularly communicate with a dear transgender friend who is ordained into an heretical/esoteric Christian order and pursuing an advanced degree in the field. We both feel that this is an angle worthy and timely to highlight and explore.
    When I commute to work, I sometimes tune into a local Catholic radio station. On several more than one occasion, I have heard them denigrate the ‘transgender ideology’ and label it an affront on not only God’s will, but human reason. If anything, it was my fervently and desperately trying to discern and follow God’s will that I made the very difficult decision to change my gender at 38 years old, risking alienation and violence from the world around me. It was a leap of faith to be sure. I never felt I was going against the way I was created, but *finally* taking the path I was meant to. Knowing that I am persona non grata in the ‘Universal’ church which I was raised in (though I have several disagreements with) feels a lot to me like an institution of Man cockblocking me when I’m trying to get to God (which is my drive).
    I am so glad I had exposure to Gnostic ideas beforehand on which to draw. Trans Christian online groups are full of poor smothered souls wrapping their souls in pretzels attempting to reconcile their lived reality with the religion they love.
    Blah Blah Blah I could ramble for hours.

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