RENSEP defines esoteric practices as being human activities aimed at bringing about and using a supposed hidden causality, force or entity, and whose effects should manifest themselves in the experience of the operator or in the outside world.

We distinguish various elements which fall under the scope of “esoteric practices”, which allow us to better apprehend the whys and wherefores:

  • The intellectual, philosophical or religious framework of the practice: theories and beliefs which describe the hidden causalities and realities;
  • The prerequisites that qualify a practitioner for the execution of the practice (often mentioned in the texts themselves);
  • The detailed execution of the practice (as described in the texts or taught orally);
  • The experience lived by the practitioner or as observed from the outside;
  • The anticipated result in the real world.

Defined in this way, esoteric practice can be considered to be a meta-category which covers elements of magic, sorcery, mysticism, spirituality, shamanism and “paranormal” powers.
It encompasses all of the practices which have the common denominator of using hidden causalities to obtain a result of some sort.

As such, “esoteric practice” may constitute a sufficiently complex object of study to be used as a vector for a new interdisciplinary methodology. This could eventually open up new avenues for research and make it possible to draw parallels between “practices” which until now have been considered incomparable.