Blending the vernacular and esoteric

Narratives on ghosts and fate in early twentieth-century esoteric journals

  • Kaarina Koski University of Helsinki


Finnish spiritualist and theosophical journals of 1905–20 brought esoteric teachings and vernacular belief traditions into dialogue with each other. Theosophical journals, in particular, released interpretations of Finnish mythology and the national epic the Kalevala, connecting them with the Ancient Wisdom. Both spiritualist and theosophical journals published belief narratives, which ranged from traditional migratory legends taking place in rural environments to the personal histories of urban residents. In mainstream thinking of the modern era, belief traditions were valuable only as vanishing traces of the nation’s past. In esoteric journals, they proved the existence of a spiritual reality. The narratives could be published as such, but traditional interpretations, especially those involving Christian morals, could be revised and replaced with explicit esoteric interpretations.

Label for peer-reviewed scholarly publications
How to Cite
Koski, K. (2020). Blending the vernacular and esoteric: Narratives on ghosts and fate in early twentieth-century esoteric journals. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 29(1), 169–91.