On September 26, 2015, The Polish Journal of the Arts and Culture announced the publication of its latest issue (#13), dedicated to the subject “Esoteric Studies: Polish Contributions.” Put together by the Polish Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (Polskie Stowarzyszenie Badań nad Zachodnim Ezoteryzmem) affiliated with the Department of Comparative Studies of Civilizations at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, it is the first publication from Polish academic circles with such a diverse selection of articles on esotericism. The English-language issue touches on a variety of fascinating topics including Druidry, Enochian, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, Manicheism, Theosophy, and Spiritualism.
This special issue–overseen by guest editors Izabela Trzcińska, Agata Świerzowska, and Karolina M. Hess–is available online in open access. The table of contents (with links to the individual articles) is as follows:
- Title page
- Adam Anczyk, Mages of the Isles: Some Remarks on the Esoteric Inspirations in British Druidry
- Grażyna Bąkowska-Czerner, Elements of Gnostic Concepts in Depictions on Magical Gems
- Mariusz Dobkowski, The Substance of the Light According to the Coptic Manichaean Treatise Kephalaia
- Karolina Maria Hess, The Beginnings of Theosophy in Poland: From Early Visions to the Polish Theosophical Society
- Andrzej Kasperek, Prospects for Practicing the Sociology of Esotericism in Studies on the New Age
- Anna Mikołejko, The Approaches of 19th Century Polish Scholars Towards Spiritualism
- Piotr Mróz, Łukasz W. Śliwa, Literature of Exhaustion. Borges, Kabbalah and the Art of Divine Forgetting
- Rafał T. Prinke, Kamila Follprecht, John Dee and Edward Kelley in Cracow: Identifying the House of Enochian Revelations
- Monika Rzeczycka, Russian Esotericism in the Research Conducted by The Laboratory of Non-Dogmatic Spirituality
- Agata Świerzowska, Esoteric Influences in Wincenty Lutosławski’s Programme of National Improvement. Prolegomena
- Izabela Trzcińska, Polish Interpretations of the Theosophical Concept of Evolution
- The Polish Society for the Study of the Western Esotericism – Information
This issue represents the first of three planned publications from the Polish Society for the Study of Western Esotericism. Next is the forthcoming seventh issue of the University of Gdańsk’s journal Światło i Ciemność (Light and Darkness), which will be edited by Monika Rzeczycka and Izabela Trzcińska and deal with methodological studies and historical research in Polish esoteric studies. Rounding out these publications will be a volume on esotericism in Polish culture, Studia ezoteryczne: Wątki polskie [Esoteric Studies: Polish Themes], edited by Izabela Trzcińska, Agata Świerzowska i Karolina M. Hess.
From the introduction,
Esoteric beliefs and practices have always been an important component of Western culture. Although never formed the mainstream, they were a kind of creative margin with a sometimes astonishing power to influence. Therefore, the study of esotericism has a significant tradition in European academia […]. In Poland, although research in this area has been ongoing for many years, it has not hitherto been thought of as a distinct academic unit dealing with such specific issues, and so research has been somewhat disjointed. The first attempt to create a common academic forum in which academic cooperation and the exchange of experience within the study of esotericism would be possible was the establishment in December 2013 of the Polish Society for the Study of Western Esotericism affiliated with the Department of Comparative Studies of Civilizations at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. The Association brought together people representing various research centers in Poland as well as different areas of the humanities who, in their research, address the issues of esotericism on the basis of Western culture.