The Apocalypse - an Editorial
by J. S. Kupperman
The Apocalypse! It’s the end of the world (as we know it)! The word conjures up images of the end of empires, the destruction of civilizations or worse. When the apocalypse comes, all is doomed. Or is it? As many of you likely know, it’s not. Maybe. The word “apocalypse” means something almost entirely different from what many people think it means. It certainly does not mean “end of the world.” Instead, the English word “apocalypse” is derived from the Greek ἀποκάλυψι, apocalypsis. This, in turn is based on ἀπό and καλύπτω, meaning “un-covering.”.
Revelation, to show what has been hidden, that is an apocalypse. No death, no destruction, no end of the world as we know it. Afterwards, you’ll feel fine. Maybe. Maybe not. While “apocalypse” does not, of itself, mean the end of the world, examples of revelations in religion and spirituality suggest there is danger involved. The Apocalypse of St. John is an excellent example, and possibly why, to the Western mind, “apocalypse” is linked with “destruction.” However, the root of “apocalypse” means to reveal, hence the alternate title of the Apocalypse of St. John, the Book of Revelation.
But the connection between apocalypse and destruction is still well earned. Even if an apocalyptic vision, in the strictest sense of the term, has nothing to do with the end of the world in a literal sense, its reception may well bring about its own destruction. Who can experience the revealing of divine reality without some part of their old world-view meeting its demise? The kind of revelation called apocalyptic is still Earth shattering, even if the Earth remains unchanged.
This issue of the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition offers two featured articles. The first of these, The Apocalypticism of Joachim of Fiore and the Western Mystery Tradition, by Dr. William Behun, explores various approaches to apocalyptic literature within the framework of Joachim of Fiore and applies them to the Western Mystery Tradition. In doing so, Dr. Behun advances perspectives on the subject that should prove important to anyone engaged in either the study or practice of the various WMT traditions. The second paper, In Search of the Illuminati: A Light Amidst Darkness by K. M. Hataley is not so much about an apocalypse, but is itself a revelation. This issue marks the first of a series on the Bavarian Illuminati, including not only elements of its history, but, for the first time, English translations of original Illuminati texts!
The subjects of the next two issues of the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition are Platonism and Eros. The first, assuming we survive the coming Mayan apocalypse, will focus on not only the Platonism of the Old Academy, but also Middle Platonism, Gnosticism, Hermetism, and Neoplatonism. There will be no limitation as to time period, so 2nd century CE Gnosticism is as valid as 19th century Neoplatonic-derived Hermetism. The Eros issue will examine the importance of the idea of Eros in the history, theories and praxes of the Western Mystery Traditions. As always, if you wish to contribute to the Journal, please visit the submissions section.