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The Esoteric Sweden

The seminar on “The Esoteric Sweden” highlighted the fascinating history and influence of esoteric intellectual currents in Sweden. From its inception in the 17th century to its impact on the intellectual and cultural circles of the 19th century.

During the latter part of the 19th century, so-called esoteric movements began to establish themselves in cultural and intellectual circles in Europe, notably in Sweden. These movements revolved around secretive teachings, rituals, and practices such as alchemy, astrology, occultism, and theosophy, where the belief in a corresponding cosmos, a living nature, and experiences of transmutation predominated. However, esotericism has a much deeper historical presence in Sweden. Despite the fact that these esoteric intellectual currents were long denounced as heresy by the church and therefore operated in secrecy, they had a significant influence on Swedish culture. During this seminar, we explored how esoteric ideas affected Swedish culture, with a historical context dating back to the 17th century and onward.


Kurt Almqvist

CEO, Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Welfare

Eva Haettner Aurelius

Professor of Literary Studies, Lund University

Per Faxneld

Associate Professor, Södertörn University

Niclas Franzén

Ph.D. Candidate, Linköping University

Magnus Florin


Olav Hammer

Ph.D. in Religious History, University of Southern Denmark

Karin Ström Lehander

Ph.D. Candidate in Art History, Åbo Akademi University

Elisabeth Mansén

Professor of Intellectual History, Stockholm University

Svante Nordin

Professor of Intellectual History, Lund University

Anna Nordlund

Associate Professor in Literary Studies

Simon Sorgenfrei

Professor of Religious Studies, Södertörn University

Per Stille

Associate Professor, Ph.D., Licentiate in Theology, Linnaeus University

Karen Swartz

Ph.D., Åbo Akademi University