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ASEM: Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism

ASEM is a scholarly non-profit organization that unites scholars of a humanitarian disposition in the countries of the former Soviet Union who engage in the academic study of esotericism and mysticism.

ASEM aims to unite the efforts of interested scholars to systematically study these promising phenomena, and aids in the creation of original methodologies and a corresponding descriptive language, in describing different worldviews on which esoteric and mystical movements are based, in the analysis of their symbols, categories, and social structures, in codification of the stages of development of these phenomena in history, and so on.

ASEM's priority aims are to determine the reason for a staunch prevalence of mystical and esoteric aspects in human culture in different states of its history and to determine the extent of their influence on contemporary culture. ASEM aspires to make connections with corresponding scholarly organizations in other regions of the world, scholarly projects, and joint publications.

The main form of ASEM activity for the realization of the abovementioned tasks is the holding of international scholarly conferences on the study of mysticism and esotericism, which allow for an interdisciplinary coverage of these phenomena, including, but not limited to, the historic, psychological, and philosophical approaches.

These conferences are "mobile," meaning that they are held in different cities in post-Soviet space to attract greater attention of the scholarly community to research in mysticism and esotericism. At the moment, five conferences have taken place, all under the general title "Mystical and Esoterical Movements in Theory and Practice" (for more information, see the "Conferences" section). ASEM publishes the collected materials of these conferences. ASEM also publishes its own online academic journal, Aliter, twice a year. Aliter articles are published in Russian and English.

All questions of organization are decided by the Board - the executive and coordinating organ of the ASEM, which defines the main directions of its activity.

ASEM invites scholars who study esotericism and mysticism to join its ranks.

To join the ASEM or for more information about its activity, please write to the secretary

Association Board:

Dr. Sergey V. Pakhomov (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Chairman

Dr. Dmitry Galtsin (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Dr. Evgenii Kuzmishin (Moscow, Russia)

Dr. Pavel Lenkov (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Alexandr Saplin (Tula, Russia)

Semen Petrukhin (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Yuliya Sergievskaya (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Secretary

Click HERE for ASEM's English language webpage; HERE for the Russian language Homepage.

AWE (Aesthetics of Western Esotericism)

Project AWE (Aesthetics of Western Esotericism) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Los Angeles comprised of an international team of scholars dedicated to exploring connections between Western esotericism and the arts. AWE’s mission is threefold: interpreting the past—contributing to the present—shaping the future. AWE interprets the past by producing quality research, (academic) publications, conference presentations, workshops, public and private speaking engagements, a blog, and guided museum tours, on how the beliefs, ideas and philosophies of esoteric undercurrents such as Magic, Alchemy and Kabbalah can help us fully appreciate the cultural icons of Western European heritage. AWE contributes to the present by organizing exhibitions and performances and promoting visual, literary and musical arts that introduce new dimensions of aesthetic experience. AWE shapes the future by inspiring and supporting talented young artists as they transition into adulthood. In doing so, AWE acts as a platform for interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities dialog that ascribes to the standards of academic institutions, while remaining accessible to the public. AWE welcomes collaborative opportunities and to date has created numerous successful joint programs with important cultural institutions in Greater Los Angeles area such as American Jewish University, Alliance Francaise de Los Angeles, Global Cinematography Institute, and the Los Angeles Scottish Rite.


Contact email:

CEEO-UNASUR: Center for the Study of Western Esotericism of
the Union of South American Nations

Since 2011 the Center for the Study of Western Esotericism of the Union of South American Nations (CEEO-UNASUR) has been an international network of South American scholars, whose main mission is to advance academic research and teaching in the field of Western Esotericism. The Center was created by its current Director, Dr. Juan Pablo Bubello, as a result of his doctoral research training and experience as a teacher and researcher at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Among the objectives and activities of the Center are:

  • continuation of teaching and research tasks that are being developed in the South American universities
  • publication of papers and books related to Western Esotericism
  • promotion of seminars, conferences, symposia and national and international meetings aimed at further opportunities for analysis of issues and problems related to the area
  • establishment of networks of academic exchange among scholars in and beyond South America
  • encouraging the development of original research from advanced students to give rise to new theses and PhDs related to Western Esotericism
  • dissemination activities in the mass media

Click HERE for full information about the CEEO-UNASUR, or email Dr. Juan Pablo Bubello 

CESNUR: The Center for Studies on New Religions

CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions (Via Confienza 19, 10121 Turin, Italy, phone 39-011-541950, E-mail:, was established in 1988 by a group of religious scholars from leading universities in Europe and the Americas. Its original aim was to offer a professional association to scholars specialized in religious minorities, new religious movements, contemporary esoteric, spiritual and gnostic schools, and the new religious consciousness in general. In the 1990s it became apparent that inaccurate information was being disseminated to the media and the public powers by activists associated with the international anti-cult movement. Some new religious movements also disseminated unreliable or partisan information. CESNUR became more pro-active and started supplying information on a regular basis, opening public centers and organising conferences and seminars for the general public in a variety of countries.

Professor Massimo Introvigne, the managing director of CESNUR, started collecting books on minority religions and esoteric-gnostic schools in the 1970s. His collection now includes more than 60,000 volumes and complete or semi-complete runs of more than 200 journals and magazines. While remaining his personal property, it is housed by CESNUR and open to the public. A librarian and a research assistant work at the library in Turin, guiding visitors from all over the world, answering requests for information and updating files on hundreds of religious movements.

CESNUR's yearly annual conference is the largest world gathering of those active in the field of studies on new religions. Each conference normally features 50 to 150 papers and is hosted by a leading university, each year in a different country. In the Spring, special seminars are also organized every year on monographic topics.

CESNUR sponsors a wide range of publications, from the very scholarly to those intended for the general public. Its main project in Italian has been the monumental Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy (2001), which was the most reviewed non-fiction work in the Italian media in 2001, published in a second and a third edition in 2006 and 2011 and continuously updated in its Web version at (the encyclopedia’s own website, while is the website of CESNUR).

EANASE: East Asian Network for the Academic Study of Esotericism

The East Asian Network for the Academic Study of Esotericism (EANASE) is a group of scholarly researchers founded in 2020. It is an expansion of the Japanese Network for the Academic Study of Esotericism (JNASE) which was active from 2016 to 2020. This development reflects the growing number of research that has recently been conducted in the fields of occultism and esotericism in China, Taiwan and South Korea. As for the previous network, there are no restrictions as to the nationality or the discipline of the members. We welcome researchers from other countries of the world. “Academic” in the title does not necessarily presuppose an affiliation to an academic institution or the possession of an academic title, but it refers to the unbiased and non-sectarian stance of this network. We are open not only to so-called academicians but also to independent researchers or practitioners, who respect various approaches other than theirs and follow a fact-based methodology. “Esotericism” is concerned with different areas, reflecting the broad scope of this word. First, it includes the research of pre-modern esotericism in the West like hermeticism, alchemy or astrology. Second, modern esotericism in the West and its influences on contemporary spirituality. Third, modern Western Esotericism and its related spiritual movements in Japan and Asia, which would cover everything, from pre-WWII techniques like Reiki to the New Religious Movements. Fourth, pre-modern esoteric religious thoughts in Asia, such as Shintoism, Buddhism or Daoism. The main object of our group is to clarify how far the term “esotericism” could be applied to the Asian history of religions.


Avery Morrow (PhD Student, Brown University, US)
Chang Pang-Yen (PhD student, University of Oxford, UK)
Ioannis Gaitanidis (Assistant Professor, Chiba University, Japan)
Han Sang-yun (M.A student, Tohoku University, Japan)
Luis Fernando Bernardi Junqueira 林友樂 (PhD student, University College London / Wellcome Trust, UK)
Orion Klautau (Associate Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
Patricia Sophie Mayer (M.A. student, University of Vienna, Austria)
Wu Yu-chuan 巫毓荃 (Assistant Research Fellow, Institue of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan)


ENSIE: European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism

The European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE) was established in 2016 to bridge the gap between the study of Islamic esotericism and mysticism and the study of Western Esotericism. It is affiliated to the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE).

ENSIE's mission is to help scholars of Islamic esotericism and mysticism to benefit from the understandings and perspectives that have been achieved in the study of Western Esotericism, and to help scholars of Western Esotericism benefit from knowledge of Islamic esotericism. There are also benefits in areas where the distinction between “Islamic” and “Western” does not really make sense, for example in the medieval period, when Western esotericists drew heavily on Arab and Islamic sources, and in the modern period, when Western esotericists have again drawn on Islamic sources, and when Western esotericism has also been received in the Muslim world, especially in Turkey, but also elsewhere.

ENSIE runs a blog for announcements and discussions (, and arranges organizes conferences every year, either in conjunction with the ESSWE conference (if there is one) or independently. ENSIE also organises panels for ESSWE's biannual conferences. The ENSIE has a website at, where membership can be applied for.

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