I’ve just returned from the Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle. Seattle played itself quite nicely and came through with the requisite grey morning on Saturday and actual rain complete with thunder on Sunday. You could tell a lot of the crowd was local by the sighs of relief. There was even one dancer in the rain. And this is one of the many reasons why I love the Pacific Northwest.
Many thanks to conference organizers, Catamara Rosarium and William Kiesel and the whole EBC crew. They did a wonderful job of making the conference flow smoothly. Kudos also to Kate Merriwether-Lynch, who was volunteer coordinator and bookseller extraordinaire and Joshua Madara, who made sure the tech worked for everyone. And they both presented as well.
I went to every one of the presentations and enjoyed them all in different ways. In case you’re curious, here’s a link to the lineup. I met lots of wonderful, magical folks and enjoyed myself very much.
On Wednesday evening, I’ll be speaking with Karen Tate of the Voices of the Sacred Feminine podcast. Karen’s work is to bring Goddess to a wider, less esoteric audience.
Between the two appearances, I find myself pondering how esoteric Isis is? And how esoterically hidden or exoterically out of the closet do I want to be personally?
In the strict definition of esoteric—something that is understood or of interest only to a small group of people—yes, Isis is pretty esoteric. Those of you reading this blog are among the esoteric few. And it is certainly true that Isis has been vital to Western Esotericism from the beginning. Isis has served esotericism as the One Goddess Who is All Goddesses. Veiled, She has been the symbol of All Hidden Wisdom. She has been the Lady of Initiation and the Mother of Our Souls. (I trace all this in Isis Magic.)
On the other hand, most educated people, at least in the western world and I suspect much further, have at least heard of Isis. Whether via that old Isis TV show, a comic book, mythology study in school, or as a computer program, they’ve at least heard of Her. When I pay for something with a card with my name on it, clerks often ask me what my name means. When I explain it means “Gift of Isis,” they usually say something like, “Oh yeah, isn’t she that goddess who…?” So, exoteric?
In terms of my own esotericism/exotericism, I never speak about my spirituality except among those who already know. I don’t wear occult jewelry at work. I don’t trade Christmas for Yule; if I want Yule off, I take a vacation day and consider Christmas a bonus. Those with alternative spiritualities can still suffer some serious discrimination and that’s just not my fight (though I greatly admire those whose fight it is). Of course, if you put my name in a search engine, you’ll pretty quickly find me as author of Pagan books. Nonetheless, small-group esoteric is working for me. At least so far.
I don’t really have any exciting conclusions here, but I’d be interested in knowing your thoughts. Are you exoteric or esoteric? Do you find that people generally know Who Isis is or not?