The Experiential/Phenomenological Approach of Mysticism M.Alan KazlevScience uses experiment and confirmation (or falsification). In esotericism however this is not easily possible. Sri Aurobindo may have experienced the Overmind (Noetic Reality), and Adi Da the Radiant Transcendental Being, and Max and Alma Theon explored the byways of the psychic planes, but it is not easy for the average person to attain such heights (understatement of the month). Of course, it is not easy to confirm or refute the existence of the Higgs Boson either, but assuming a suitably large particle accelerator can be built, it can be done, by physicists with the required training. Whereas the realisation of the Noetic Reality or of Shunyata or psychic planes can be done very cheaply (in terms of material cost) but only with great personal skill and very rare attainment (in terms of individual training and realisation). Once again, Physical Science and Esoteric Science are polar opposites and complementary (like Yin and Yang) A Universal Esoteric Science deals with experiences as authentic data (phenomenology, proposition 3 in the provisional list). But not all experiences, not all phenomena of consciousness, are accessible, as just explained. Pragmatic Esotericism (Spiritual Practice) takes experiences gained by those who have trailblazed before and above us, and uses them as guideposts on the spiritual path. Applying this to Esoteric Science, and not "just" Esoteric Practice, we should have the option to take these experiences and descriptions and use them to piece together an account of other planes of existence. There are a number of obviously overlapping sources of experiences (for example a single individual may present both a teaching and an autobiography). In the accounts of traditional (ancient or recent, include channelling) spiritual literature. This is often highly stylised and mythologised, and hence hard to decipher. e.g. the Vision of Ezekiel in the Bible, which some people like to interpret as a UFO. [e.g. link, link link]. Sometimes the symbolism may be so dense as to render the whole thing incomprehensible - e.g. the Sefer Zohar of Kabbalah - or tied in with folklore and myth - e.g. the Mahabarata. Or the narrative may be deliberately stylised or obtuse (Gnosticism, Blavatsky's Stanzas of Dyzan), or seek to conceal or confuse (Gurdjieff's Beelzebub's Tales). Often there is a quality of channelled material, and indeed many of these works are channelled (e.g. the prophets who heard voices etc). For these reasons, even though these accounts were all written by human beings (although the pious may interpret them as literal revelation by God/Deity in which the human author played no part other than to inscribe the words) they are not much, or any, use for formulating a Universal Esoteric Science Then there are teachers who are presenting their own vision of Reality. They may be intelligent and have read widely, hence they are not likely to be so limited to one tradition, although they may have a preference for a particular tradition. Examples might include Adi Da, Sri Aurobindo, Meher Baba, Rudolph Steiner, and many many others. However, the immediacy of the autobiographical account is lost, and the whole thing has a didactic tone. Sometimes this also moves into the field of channelling, which will often tend to deteriorate the quality of the material (the Alice Bailey material, turgid, verbose, and unreadable, essentially Theosophy with a Christian slant, is a good example here). Even so there are a few rare individuals like Edgar Cayce, Jane Roberts, and David Spangler that retain a sense of purity not found in most channelled material Of great value are the autobiographical accounts of both historical and recent mystics and psychonauts. Even with those who have drawn upon the traditional literature, which is very often (especially in Medieval material) all they know, and hence their experiences are coloured and biased by it, and the genuine insights have to be extracted, but at least they recorded their experiences faithfully. The Christian Mystical tradition is a good illustration of this. Even better are recent autobiographies like Swami Muktananda's Play of Consciousness; perhaps one of the best works of its kind, and one I found far more inspiring than Yogananda's cloying Autobiography of a Yogi. Hagiographies obviously are less useful, since there is the tendency to worship and hence gloss over things that the author did not like. Even so, in some cases the saint's words may be described and record his or her experiences. Also of use are the accounts of modern educated westerners, such as John Lilly's. Also of great use are modern individuals who may or may not come from a tradition, but are simply describing their experiences, without pompousness or unnecessary symbolism, and without any agenda other than: well, this is what happened to me. Even though their experience may be colored by the symbolism of their culture, background, or religious upbringing - e.g. a Hindu might have a vision of Krishna, a Christian of Christ, one can still take away the superficial form, and look at the quality of the experience in itself. In some cases the various descriptions referred to in some or all of the preceding categories may be collated by others, for example Aldous Huxley (The Perennial Philosophy) on mysticism, Masters and Huston's, or Stan Grof's account of psychedelic experiences, Jung's work on the Collective Unconscious, or Ken Wilber's mapping of states of consciousness. Such systematic coverage can be extremely useful, because the editor will have noticed certain common themes, and draw the reader's attention to them. Often both traditional and modern accounts are placed side by side, showing that these sort of experiences really are universal. Of course, you yourself, the reader, may also have experiences, these are just as valid as those in any of the above categories.