Notes on the history of the western esoteric tradition


Paper presented at the University of Indianapolis Phoenix Rising Conference: Death and Renaissance in Philosophy, Art, and Literature, November 7th 2009

My name is Iordanis Poulkouras, and my presence here is mainly related to my capacity as editorial consultant of AVATON publishing house, rather than my status as an author.

Over the course of many years, the viewpoint of our periodical has remained both consistent, as well as unique to the Greek market.. The study of Esoteric Traditions should and must  also pass through the filter of organized academic research, as has been the case for many years in numerous European countries and the U.S. It is a great pleasure to actively participate here in this first  attempt by Ms Chaitow to introduce these studies to Greece, honored by the presence of professors, postgraduate students, researchers and authors from the entire world; all under the hospitable aegis  of the University of Indianapolis, which has been supportive of this effort  from the very beginning.

It is significant that we are in Greece and more so, in Athens, since it is an oft-quoted fact that Philosophy was born here.

This is where legends have been narrated, histories recorded and it is here that the boundaries of two worlds have been laid; namely the world of gods and that of humans, while in between these two separate worlds, lies that of heroes.

The latter is a world of initiatory concepts, where the hero often goes about his everyday life in a simple or careless manner; like for instance Hercules, who, through his trials, nevertheless succeeds in  lifting on his shoulders not only his companions but his entire race, taking them a step forward, thus conquering yet another stretch of the unknown and forbidden, to their own benefit.

Hercules not only came out alive from Hades, but also freed Theseus who was entrapped there.

The ultimate  moment in the lives  of the heroes found in the Western Tradition occurs when they descend to Hades – to their Tomb – alive,  only to emerge triumphant, more alive and enriched by the knowledge and the memory of their journey that they kept alive in both worlds.

Our focus is the Tomb and the Theatre, and as you know, we Greeks are well-known as story-tellers among other things, and I am no different.

So, by narrating stories, I will try to very concisely look through the earliest mysteries from the beginning of mankind, to find the origin of the  symbolism related to our topic, and to outline some characteristic examples that have been passed down to us.

The Tomb and the Theatre!

Anyone who has attended religious and traditional rituals or initiatory ceremonies of any origin or tradition cannot have failed to notice these two elements.

There is always a theatrical procedure in which certain individuals would somehow enact a role, and there is always a passage through the absolute darkness of the tomb, the cavern, and the triumphant return.


Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol

Προδημοσίευση αποσπάσματος απο το

To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.
—The Secret Teachings of All Ages


In 1991, a document was locked in the safe of the director of the CIA. The document is still there today. Its cryptic text includes references to an ancient portal and an unknown location underground. The document also contains the phrase “It’s buried out there somewhere.”

All organizations in this novel exist, including the Freemasons, the Invisible College, the Office of Security, the SMSC, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real.

House of the Temple
8:33 P.M.

The secret is how to die.
Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.
The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine.

Drink it, he told himself. You have nothing to fear.

As was tradition, he had begun this journey adorned in the ritualistic garb of a medieval heretic being led to the gallows, his loose-fitting shirt gaping open to reveal his pale chest, his left pant leg rolled up to the knee, and his right sleeve rolled up to the elbow. Around his neck hung a heavy rope noose—a “cable-tow” as the brethren called it. Tonight, however, like the brethren bearing witness, he was dressed as a master.

«Ο λόγος, κατά την άποψή μας, για την αδυναμία του ανθρώπου να αισθάνεται άνετα με τις περίεργες έννοιες της κβαντομηχανικής αλλά και άλλων απόψεων της σύγχρονης φυσικής, (όπως π.χ. οι 26 διαστάσεις της θεωρίας των υπερχορδών), είναι βιολογικός-ψυχολογικός: ποτέ στο παρελθόν κατά την διάρκεια της εξέλιξής μας δεν ήταν απαραίτητο ή χρήσιμο να κατανοούμε έννοιες όπως η επαλληλία καταστάσεων ή να σκεφτούμε σε παραπάνω από τέσσερις διαστάσεις (τρεις χώρου και μιας χρόνου). Η μη-διαισθητικότητα της κβαντικής μηχανικής δεν την κάνει ωστόσο λιγότερο ακριβή και έτσι αναγκαζόμαστε να την χρησιμοποιούμε όταν η φύση το απαιτεί, δηλαδή στα ατομικά και υποατομικά φαινόμενα αλλά καθώς φαίνεται, και στα φαινόμενα του εγκεφάλου.»

Δρ Δημήτρης Νανόπουλος,
Ομιλία στην Ακαδημία Αθηνών.

Στο προηγούμενο τεύχος του ΑΒΑΤΟΝ, προσπαθήσαμε να κάνουμε μια εισαγωγή στην Νέα Αλχημεία, τη σπουδαία αυτή σύγχρονη πνευματική τάση, που συνδυάζει τα εκπληκτικά επιτεύγματα των θετικών επιστημών, ιδιαίτερα την Κβαντικής Φυσικής, της Βιολογίας και της Νευροφυσιολογίας, με τις αρχαίες «μυστικές» παρακαταθήκες μας. (περισσότερα…)