Western esoteric healing II: A taxonomy of sources of therapeutic knowledge

Explore (NY). 2021 Mar-Apr;17(2):153-161. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2019.10.003. Epub 2019 Nov 9.


This article, the second in a two-part series, continues an exploration of Western esoteric healing, with special reference to its sources of therapeutic knowledge. First, the taxonomy introduced in the first paper is applied to a selection of representative esoteric healing systems, traditions, or organizations. These include respective groups whose therapeutic knowledge originates in and is transmitted via channeling, initiation, or empirical observation or validation, as well as groups whose knowledge comes through a combination of sources. Discussion is provided of Western esoteric traditions with substantial therapeutic and/or diagnostic teachings exemplifying these sources of knowledge. This entails a detailed unpacking of a wide range of medical and health-related information originating in historical and primary-source material on more than a dozen healing traditions. Recommendations are offered for follow-up investigation, including historical and social-historical, ethnographic, and medical and health-related research.

Keywords: Channeling; Esoteric; Healing; Initiation; Therapeutic knowledge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Medicine, Traditional*