The Western Spiritual Traditions encompass a wide range of diverse approaches. Western Spiritual Traditions in general emphasize ethical and mental development, often employ the use of rituals and symbols.
There are also many modern Western spiritual traditions, such as Psychosynthesis by Roberto Assagioli, Analytic Psychology by Carl Jung, and Anthroposophy by Rudolph Steiner.
The term Western mystery tradition (also known as Western esoteric tradition and Western mystical tradition) refers to the collection of the mystical esoteric knowledge of the western world.
The Western mystery tradition traditionally started in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Rome and Israel, while it contains many characteristics from the Pagan people of Ancient Britain and Scandinavia, such as the Celts. Other places which contributed to the Western mystical tradition are the Babylon and Persia.
Ancient figures associated with the Western tradition include Plato, Pythagoras and other Greek philosophers, Hermes Trismegistus, Akhenaten and other pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.
Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece were the most known sources of what we currently call Western Mystery Tradition. Egypt was considered more advanced in mysticism, and thus many Ancient Greek philosophers travelled to Egypt in order to learn their traditions.
Some people believe that certain traditions may have been imported to Egypt from the "lost continent" of Atlantis.
The introduction of Christianity influenced the tradition deeply, but during the dark ages the ancient Western mystery tradition was heavily opposed by the Christian Church .
However, the Western tradition managed to remain alive in Medieval France, Medieval Britain, Medieval Germany and other places, mainly due to the work of many secretive esoteric orders such as the 17th century Rosicrucians. In the middle ages, although Christianity opposed occultism, many people remained interested in Astrology and some kings or queens had personal astrologers for advice.
After the 19th century the Western mystery tradition started becoming more and more famous among the general public who started again being interested in subjects such as witchcraft, ritual magic, mysticism, divination, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, occultism, spiritism and Astrology.The separation of church and state, the democracy and the advances in personal freedom of thought and speech apparently helped in this revival.
The preservation of the secret teachings of the Western mystery tradition was endangered again during the Second world war, due to the Nazi regime in Germany. The Nazi regime was strongly opposed to the mystical secret societies which acted as the guardians of the secret teachings.North America remained free, and the American orders helped to revive the mystical tradition in Europe after the Nazi's defeat by the Allied Forces.
Nowadays the Tradition is experiencing a profound revival in North America and Europe, while many Western mystical organisations have presence all over the world. Today the tradition is undergoing an import of Eastern ideas, mainly Taoism, Tantra, Buddhism, Hinduism and Yoga, which began mainly by the Theosophical Society of the 19th century and now is continued by many people with syncretic or eclectic backgrounds.
The main themes of the Western mystery tradition include:
• Alchemy and the Great Work
• Magic / Magick (and in particular ritual magic)
Teachings and practices relevant to the Western mystery tradition include:
• Astrology and other forms of Divination
• Magic and Theurgy
• Christian Mysticism and Gnosticism
• Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism