Approaching Esotericism and Mysticism: Cultural Influences

Maarit Leskelä-Kärki (Editor), Tiina Mahlamäki (Editor), Ruth Illman (Editor), Björn Dahla (Editor)

Research output: Book/Journal/ReportEdited Book/Edited JournalScientificpeer-review


The current volume of Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis is based on a symposium ‘Approaching Esotericism and Mysticism: Cultural Influences’ arranged in June 2019 by the Donner Institute together with the research project ‘Seekers of the New: Esotericism and the transformation of religiosity in the modernising Finland’ (University of Turku). The articles approach the traditions of Western esotericism and mysticism from multidisciplinary perspectives of cultural history, study of religion, art history, popular culture studies, and folkloristics. The aim is to analyse the diverse influences of esoteric ideas and practices and the various forms of mysticism in their cultural-historical surroundings. The articles focus on both individuals, groups and networks, and benefit from various archival source materials, as well as published texts such as journals, novels, and different genres of popular culture.

The articles demonstrate the multidisciplinary essence and the vitality of the study of esotericism and mysticism, with special attention given to art in its different forms and shapes. The esoteric and mystic are also interpreted as they are reflected in various art forms, and the influence of different esoteric thinkers – such as Emanuel Swedenborg, Aleister Crowley, G. I. Gurdjieff, and Rudolf Steiner – in the historical and contemporary art and popular culture are analysed.

The volume has been edited by Docent Maarit Leskelä-Kärki and Docent Tiina Mahlamäki (University of Turku) and MA Björn Dahla & Docent Ruth Illman (The Donner Institute).

Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeC2 Edited work

Publication series

NameScripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis
PublisherThe Donner Institute for research in Religious and Cultural History
ISSN (Print)0582-3226
ISSN (Electronic)2343-4937


  • Anthroposophy
  • Theosophy
  • esotericism
  • mysticism


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