Esoteric Themes in David Icke’s Conspiracy Theories
Keywords:David Icke, Conspiracism, Esotericism, Gnosticism, Antoine Faivre
AbstractWhat do the lizard illuminati and esotericism have in common? At firstglance, perhaps, very little. The former belongs in the world of David Ickeand a myriad of other conspiracy theorists, whilst the other is a fluid termnormally used to designate a distinct way of thinking in a context confinedto early fifteenth-century Europe until the twentieth century. However, oncloser inspection and by using Antoine Faivre’s six-point typology ofesotericism (with the addition of a seventh criterion, gnosis), this articleplaces Icke’s seemingly strange and random discourse within an esotericframework. Despite the warning from Antoine Faivre twenty-five years agothat New Religious Movements (NRMs) do not sit well within his typology, Ilocate Icke’s conspiracy theories within the context of Esotericism becausewhen Faivre wrote Access to Western Esotericism (1994) both NRMs andthe New Age were not yet ‘seated at the table’ of the academic study ofreligion. Twenty-five years on they are firmly within the purview of religiousstudies scholarship. It is useful to view Icke as an esotericist rather thanmerely a conspiracy theorist as his beliefs so clearly reflect an individualinfluenced by New Age discourses. Through the application of Faivre’smethodology, Icke’s theories are re-contextualised and examined within anesoteric context, enabling them to take on a religious meaning rather thanjust a conspiracist one. Drawing on Joseph Dan’s approach to esotericismas a way of viewing the world, rather than a term prescribed and inscribedby history, I seek to bring both Faivre and his indicia into conversation withthe study of NRMs. Using Faivre’s six-point typology and his definition ofgnosis this article places Icke’s conspiracy-based discourses within anesoteric framework.
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