Track: Mystical Spirituality as a Link between World Religions
Transcendence and Movement Towards Wholeness in Transpersonal Psychology and Western Esotericism
The field of transcendental psychology overlaps and intersects with the mystical and magical currents of the Western esoteric tradition in many important ways. The primary goal of many Western esoteric currents is transcendence of the personal through spiritual transformations of consciousness that move one towards universal wholeness. This controversial group of non-mainstream spiritual movements includes such currents as Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, alchemy, kabbalah, freemasonry, ceremonial magic, occultism, neo-paganism, the New Age, and entheogenic esotericism. For centuries, esoteric spiritual movements have been experimenting with consciousness-altering practices, developing conceptual frameworks to describe spiritual transformations, and creating elaborate symbolic maps of consciousness to assist future explorers. This presentation will examine central concepts and metaphors of transformation from key currents throughout the history of Western Esotericism and illustrate their significance to transpersonal psychology. It will also explore the implications of these ideas and practices for transpersonal psychology, including their potential use in psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Patrick Everitt is an independent researcher of psychedelics, esotericism, and philosophy. He has bachelor's degrees in philosophy and software engineering, and master's degrees in western esotericism and computer security. Currently his main research interests are (i) the history of the use of entheogens by western mystics, (ii) the ceremonial parameters conducive to producing beneficial spiritual transformations using psychedelics, and (iii) reports of contact with non-human intelligences occasioned by ritualistic psychedelic use. His master's thesis for the M.A. in Western Esotericism at the University of Amsterdam investigated the pioneering entheogenic use of peyote by the English occultist Aleister Crowley (1875 - 1947). It illustrated peyote's important role in Crowley's own work, and highlighted Crowley's important role in the development of the modern psychedelic movement. Patrick has presented at a number of academic conferences including the OPEN Foundation's Interdisciplinary Conference for Psychedelics Research, the Irish Network for the Study of Esotericism and Paganism, and Breaking Convention.