In Metaphysic, Path, and Lore, A Response to the Traditionalist/Perennialist School

Charles Upton

San Rafael, CA: Sophia Perennis, 2010.
308 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59731-096-3
Price: $17.95
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The Traditionalist or Perennialist School of metaphysics, esoterism, and comparative religion, ‘founded’ by René Guénon and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, and carried on by such figures as Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, and Martin Lings, produced a body doctrine of rare depth and comprehension, effectively re-introducing to the modern and postmodern West the perennial wisdom of the human race. For the past twenty years, the author has immersed himself in these teachings, and made his own modest contribution to them.

The three fundamental pillars of ‘classical’ Traditionalism/Perennialism are, (1) That God has sent more than one revelation to humanity, established more than one version of the Path by which the spiritual traveler may return to Him, each revelation being a providential branch of the great tree known as the Primordial Tradition; (2) That while certainly there is a Sophia Perennis, a unanimous and perennial wisdom given by God and transmitted from the dawn of humanity down to the present day, there cannot in our time be a Religio Perennis, a single universal doctrine and practice based on the Primordial Tradition; consequently the seeker must seek his vehicle among one of the living orthodox revealed traditions, not in some ‘revival’ of a universal faith, or the fragments of it, from ages dead and gone; (3) Given that the present cycle of manifestation is rapidly approaching dissolution, the seeker”s perennial duty to break identification with the system of collective egotism known as This World, and give his allegiance to God Alone, must now be seen in light of the fact that This World is about to end.

Some presently associated with the Traditionalist/Perennialist School, however, no longer hold to ‘classical Traditionalism/Perennialism’ as I have defined it. I have written this book partly to articulate some of the basic tenets of the first two generations of the Traditionalist School, so as to provide interested readers with a relatively stable point of reference that will hopefully allow them to see just how, and how much, that School has changed in the first years of the 21st century.

Table of Contents

Introductory Note


Trails Go Nowhere: Frithjof Schuon's Six Stations of Wisdom in Theory and Practice—What is a 'Traditionalist'?: Some Clarifications—Necessary Information: The Value and Danger of the Interfaith Movement in a Globalist World—On 'Neo-Perennialism': A Misapplication of the Transcendent Unity of Religions—Frithjof Schuon: Life and Teachings, by Jean-Baptiste Aymard and Patrick Laude: A Critical Appraisal


He Is That He Is—The Jñanic Aspect of Divine Love—Necessary Being—The Nature of Ontological Perspectives—The Fall of Lucifer: A Synthesis of Emanationist and Volitional Theodicy—On Humor—A Dialogue on Magic—Experience vs. Being in the Mystical Life: A Meditation on Psychedelics—Huston Smith, Yellowtail and Anne Catherine Emmerich on Psychedelics—A Three-Way Communication on Psychedelics and the Spiritual Path—Sufi Manifesto—The Shepherds, the Baptist and the Essenes: A Response to The Life of Christ and Biblical Revelations by Anne Catherine Emmerich—Mystery of Iniquity, Mystery of Mercy—Christ and Qur'an—The Riddle of the Cave—Six Gnomes—From Am I Born to Die, an Appalachian Songbook by Mason Brown and Chipper Thompson—Sin, Karma and Forgiveness—The Black Virgin—Four Answers on Chivalry—What is Leviathan?—Why—Homer, Poet of Maya—On Platonic Realism and the Invocation of the Name— of God: A Christmas Dream—TheJñanic Goal of Kundalini-Yoga—The Supreme Station—The Remnant—Maryam

APPENDIX: The Three Pillars of Classical Traditionalism / Perennialism

About the Author

Charles Upton, poet, author, and veteran of the counter-culture, developed an interest in metaphysics 'via mythopoeia' and, having survived the social upheavals of the Sixties, and the psychic allures of New Age occultism, awakened at the end of the Eighties to the esoteric teachings of the traditionalists, eventually becoming initiated into Sufism. His critique of New Age occultism and modernism is his best-known work and is published under the title, The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (2001). Sophia Perennis has published many other books by Charles Upton. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, in Lexington, Kentucky.