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Institute for Hermetic Studies

For Scholars & Professionals

New and Emerging Religions

The Institute for Hermetic Studies believes in a free and open society where individuals are able to practice the philosophy or religion of their choice.  In an era of near constant change, it can be difficult for Educators, Mental Health Professionals, and Law Enforcement to deal with the many issues that are being constantly brought forth when ‘religious’, ‘spiritual’ ‘occult’, or ‘alternative’ beliefs and practices are brought into the mix.  If you are a professional in need of assistance in discerning the importance or meaning of ideas, symbols, or practices that may be related to New and Emerging Religions, the Institute can assist you in locating resources, as well as in providing expert consultation, and training.

    Commentaries:
    “I have long been impressed with Mr. Stavish’s expert scholarship and writing on occult traditions.  Mr. Stavish’s scholarship has been a valuable resource to me because he is able to discern the subtleties of the most complex esoteric traditions and folklores.  His scholarship is wide-ranging, discriminating as well as free of prejudice.  I recognize a sophisticated application of social science theories as well as originality of interpretation in his work.  His scrupulous academic research is blended with an eloquence of expression.  Together these qualities make him an excellent teacher.  Such combination is rare and valuable.  He is a fine scholar and teacher whose ethical standards are trustworthy and admirable.” 

    Loretta Orion, Ph.D., author of Never Again the Burning Times
    Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Hofstra University

    “Among social workers and law-enforcement officers there is an understandable lack of exact knowledge of the whole world of  “cults,” “occultism,” and “Satanism.”  No policeman or social worker has time to study these subjects intensively, nor, usually, the wide cultural, historical, and philosophical knowledge that enables one to discriminate between them.  In the academic world, however, there are now many experts and field researchers on what are generically called, “New Religious Movements,”  with whose work both Mr. Stavish and I are familiar. …

    This means that a clear distinction should be drawn between New Religious Movements that may seem weird and bizarre to mainstream Christians and non-religious people, and the rare cases of criminal and pathological behavior that have a religious aspect.  This distinction is by no means clear in the public mind, and it is also often difficult for social workers and law-enforcers to comprehend it….

    This is where the services of Mr. Stavish could be invaluable.  Because of his study and experience with New Religious Movements of many kinds, he is able to separate what is bizarre (but permissible in our society based on religious freedom) from what is actually criminal.  He can help to educate your staff in this - to many of them - weird field, and give them guidelines for evaluating cases that have a New Religious Movements aspect.  He has a definite gift for communicating complex and technical ideas in a clear everyday language:  He is not a Professor!”

    Joscelyn Godwin, Ph.D. author of The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, The Theosophical Enlightenment, Arktos, the Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival, etc.,
    Department of Music, Colgate University.

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