First of all I hope I picked the right folder for this. I’m not sure if I’ll be a one-off poster to this extent, I am a monthly financial supporter and I may only chime in once in a while if there’s something that I want to bring to this particular crowd.
I’m curious to find out whether anyone else here has considered exploring the Hermetic and western esoteric traditions toward similar ends that Sam et. al. are working with Buddhism?
Admittedly it’s a lot harder in some ways, ie. lot more dross to dig through, but for my own digging and research it seems like it also has a certain underlying boiler-plate which is of its own significant/unique value which is distinct in terms of activity from how Buddhist practices work. Maybe my best analogy - Buddhism seems to be about cooking down what you already have in a relatively safe and stable manner. Hermeticism, depending on the tradition, can be somewhat similar that but is typically more direct and at the extreme end is a fair amount like putting your nervous system through a chain of industrial processes or engineered crisis (ie. initiations and self-initiations) which yield results that are more pin-pointed or surgical. At its much safer end (and this is the way most modern esoteric orders work) specific tools are recommended that a person can explore, employ, etc. and in that sense they’re attempting to work directly with their own thought structures in ways that become habitual and which ultimately lay down a more coherent (or at least self-selected) set of premises at a subconscious level over time. The later is both higher risk and higher reward (especially in the aggressively initiatic scenario) and it may not be most people’s cup of tea but I’m really thinking people tend to chose one or the other based on a combination of personality factors and objectives. The end goals seem similar in a lot of ways, the primary difference being active vs. passive paths.
In the past ten or fifteen years the scholarship on western traditions has gotten a lot better as well as the works by prominent and active practitioners. From that perspective it could very well come out as yet another set of available tools with a bit more public accessibility.
Does anyone with some degree of knowledge in both domains have any thoughts on that? I think the biggest risk is that aggressive initiatic approaches can be a bit like handling a strong psychedelic substance or in another analogy need something akin to fire-arm handling etiquette. My guess is that it would be very risky to mainstream that sort of thing but I could see something like an applied Jungian psychology along with some adaptations of kabbalah, tarot, alchemy, etc. getting big - with the new age cooked out of it. I could be too far out on a limb here for most people to follow any of that as well and, if so, I’ll be glad to see if I can clarify some of it.