“If you would ask me what to study, I would say, yourselves; and when you well have studied them; and then would ask me what to study next, I would reply, yourselves.”
~ The Circle 7, chapter III, verse 14
When it comes to the subject of esoteric religion, many people have heard of it via literature, movies and/or television. However, very few people actually know what esotericism is. The reason for that is found within the very etymology of the word “esoteric”.
The term “esoteric” comes from the Greek language. The word most likely originates either from the comparative ἐσώτερος (esôteros), “inner”, or from the adjective ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos), “pertaining to the innermost,” both compounds of ἔσω (esô), meaning “within”, thus pertaining to mysticism. Mysticism is simply the system which one uses to acquire the knowledge of their higher self and lower self (as described in my book entitled What Is The Higher Self? ). This fact is expounded upon in the third chapter of the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America. In verses 21 and 22 of this chapter, it states:
“The only devil from which men must be redeemed is self, the lower self. If man would find his devil he must look within; his name is self. If man would find his savior he must look within; and when the demon self has been dethroned the savior, Love, will be exulted to the throne of power.”
In his dialogue entitled Alcibíades (circa 390 BC), Plato employs the phrase ta esô, which means “the inner things”. In the dialogue entitled Theaetetus (circa 360 BC), he employs the expression ta exô, which means “the outside things” (this is where you get the antonym “exoteric”). Most likely, the first appearance of the Greek adjective esôterikos was in Lucian of Samosata’s “The Auction of Lives”, § 26, written around AD 166.
The English word esoteric first appeared in the 1660 writing entitled History of Philosophy by Thomas Stanley, in his description of the “mystery-school” of Pythagoras. The Pythagoreans were separated into “exoteric” (under training), and “esoteric” (admitted into the “inner” circle). Of course, it was later explained, in the book Stolen Legacy by George G.M. James, that the Greeks obtained their philosophy from the mystery systems of ancient Kemet (Egypt). In fact, the very phrase “Know Thyself” comes from the proverbs of the Kemetic sage Ptahhotep (circa 2200 BCE). Our relation to ancient Kemet is explained in the Moorish Holy Koran chapter entitled “EGYPT, THE CAPITAL EMPIRE OF THE DOMINION OF AFRICA”.
All major religions have an esoteric side to them. For example: Cabbalism is the esoteric teachings in Judaism, Gnosticism is the esoteric teachings in Christianity and Sufism is the esoteric teachings in Islam. Even in the Moorish Science Temple of America, there are “public meetings” and “adept meetings” as mentioned in the additional by-laws for the MSTA. This is due to the fact that there is an Adept Chamber of the Moorish Science Temple of America (A.C. of the M.S.T. of A.). The etymology of the term adept comes from Latin word adeptus meaning “having reached, attained,” past participle of adipisci meaning “to come up with, arrive at,” figuratively “to attain to, acquire,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + apisci “grasp, attain,”. Adepts are those who have attained true understanding, which is the gnosis of the aught and the naught (i.e. the higher self and the lower self).
It is important to note that esoteric knowledge was never taught to the masses by our true and divine prophets. This knowledge was always taught to a select and worthy few (i.e. the initiated ones), in the form of sacred orders. Examples of these orders are the Essenes, Nazarenes, Nazarites, Zodokites, Magi, as well as various Sufi orders. Each order practiced strict disciplines (i.e. used the tools in the workshop of the mind) in order to build the Temple of Perfected Man. Man Know Thyself.