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An Exposition of the Ancient Wisdom from the Primordial Feminine Perspective

Although the Traditionalist school is often said to be a “perennial philosophy”, its members prefer the term sophia perennis (“perennial wisdom”).[4] According to Frithjof Schuon,

We prefer the term sophia to that of philosophia, for the simple reason that the second term is less direct and because it evokes in addition associations of ideas with a completely profane and all too often aberrant system of thought.[3]

The Traditionalist vision of a perennial wisdom is not based on mystical experiences, but on metaphysical intuitions.[5][6] It is “intuited directly through divine intellect.”[4] This divine intellect is different from reason, and makes it possible to discern “the sacred unity of reality that is attested in all authentic esoteric expressions of tradition”;[4] it is “the presence of divinity within each human waiting to be uncovered.”[4] According to Frithjof Schuon,

The key to the eternal sophia is pure intellection or in other words metaphysical discernment. To “discern” is to “separate”: to separate the Real and the illusory, the Absolute and the contingent, the Necessary and the possible, Atma and Maya. Accompanying discernment, by way of complement and operatively, is concentration, which unites: this means becoming fully aware — from the starting point of earthly and human Maya — of Atma, which is both absolute and infinite.[3]

Traditionalists discern a transcendent and an immanent dimension, namely the discernment of the Real or Absolute, c.q. that which is permanent; and the intentional “mystical concentration on the Real”.[7]

According to the Traditionalists, this truth has been lost in the modern world through the rise of novel secular philosophies stemming from the Enlightenment,[8] and modernity itself is considered as an “anomaly in the history of mankind.”[2] Traditionalists see their approach as a justifiable “nostalgia for the past”.[9][note 2] According to Frithjof Schuon,

… “traditionalism”; like “esoterism” […] has nothing pejorative about it in itself […] If to recognize what is true and just is “nostalgia for the past,” it is quite clearly a crime or a disgrace not to feel this nostalgia.[9]

Traditionalists insist on the necessity for affiliation to one of the “normal traditions”, or great ancient religions of the world.[note 3] The regular affiliation to the ordinary life of a believer is crucial, since this could give access to the esoterism of that given religious form.