Guidelines for Authors

Submission of Articles and Papers

The Esoteric Quarterly invites the submission of full-length articles and short papers, either single- or multiple authored. Articles and papers should be in electronic form, in a format compatible with Microsoft Word. A submission should be >attached to an email message addressed to the Editor-in-Chief. The author should also provide a brief bio of not more than fifty (50) words. The author’s identity will not be revealed to the reviewers, until a publication decision has been reached, but bios are incorporated into published articles.

Submitted articles and papers are evaluated by the Editorial Board, whose decisions on publication are final. Specialized articles may be referred to external referees, whose opinions will be incorporated into those of the Editorial Board. In most cases a publication decision is made within six weeks from the date of submission. Once an article is accepted for publication, it is returned to the author for revision or final editing, to address any substantive issues raised and/or to conform with formatting specifications. Final editing and formatting, including the sizing and placement of graphics and tables, are at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.

Authors’ attention is directed to the guidelines provided below. Failure to comply with these guidelines will delay the review process and may result in rejection of an article for publication. Questions may be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief.


Publication Policies

Articles are selected for publication in The Esoteric Quarterly because we believe they represent a sincere search for truth, support the service mission to which we aspire, and/or contribute to the expansion of human consciousness.

Publication of an article does not necessarily imply that the Editorial Board or The Esoteric Quarterly, Inc., agrees with the views expressed. Nor do we have the means to verify all facts stated in published articles.

We encourage critical thinking and analysis from a wide range of perspectives and traditions. We discourage dogmatism or any view that characterizes any tradition as having greater truth than a competing system. Neither will we allow our journal to be used as a platform for attacks on individuals, groups, institutions, or nations. This policy applies to articles and features as well as to letters to the editor. In turn, we understand that the author of an article may not necessarily agree with the views, attitudes, or values expressed by a referenced source. Indeed, serious scholarship sometimes requires reference to work that an author finds abhorrent. We will not reject an article for publication simply on the grounds that it contains a reference to an objectionable source.

An issue of concern in all online journals is potential volatility of content. Conceivably, articles could be modified after the publication date because authors changed their minds about what had been written. Accordingly, we wish to make our policy clear: We reserve the right to correct minor typographical errors, but we will not make any substantive alteration to an article after it "goes to press."


Preparation of Manuscripts

Articles and papers must be written in English. The Quarterly does not have capabilities for translation or extensive editing. Authors whose first language is not English are encouraged to make use of professional translation services before submission.

Full-length articles should normally be of no more than 8,000 words, including accompanying endnotes. We will, however, consider articles of up to 15,000 words if justified by the quality of the research. Articles exceeding this length should be presented in serial form for possible publication in multiple issues. Full-length articles are expected to place the author’s ideas in the context of the available literature and to cite appropriate references. Articles should be divided into sections. Full-length articles must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 180 words. The abstract should clearly identify the topic of study and the article's objectives and should summarize major conclusions. The first section should provide a general introduction to the topic and essential background material. The last, "conclusions," section should normally identify what has been learned, the relevance to larger issues, and recommendations for further work.

Short papers should be of no more than 2,000 words. High-quality student papers are particularly encouraged. Short papers may take the form of expository or descriptive essays, based primarily on the author’s own insights, with little or no outside research or referencing. While the structure can be less formal than that of full-length articles, the paper must be constructed in a clear and concise manner. Articles with a focus on the practical service applications of esoteric philosophy are especially welcome.

Economy of length is strongly encouraged in both full-length articles and short papers. Concise, succinct discussion is of the essence. A very good article or paper may be much shorter than the maximum permitted length. We reserve the right to request that any article or paper be condensed or shortened, regardless of its initial length.

All submissions must be of publication quality; rough drafts are not acceptable. For further guidance, please see Tips for Authors below. References must be formatted as endnotes using the citation format given below. Footnotes and inline references are not permitted.

Monochrome or color graphics—line diagrams, charts, photographs, etc.—may be included, but the maximum permissible length may be reduced to compensate for the space occupied. All graphics must be accompanied by an explanatory caption and must be referred to in the text; ornamental graphics are not accepted. Graphics must be in final, camera-ready form; no drafting services are available from the Quarterly.

All articles must be submitted in electronic form, in a format compatible with Microsoft Word. Tables or charts can be embedded in the text. All other graphics should be submitted in separate files, using a GIF, JPG, PNG or TIF format. Windows-compatible files of special fonts must be provided at the time an article is submitted for review.

The Esoteric Quarterly uses U.S. spelling and The Chicago Manual of Style as its standard for the final editing of articles for publication. Please finalize your manuscript according to the following guidelines in a file compatible with Microsoft Word.

To simplify the formatting process, please use the following conventions:

Author’s are free to use appropriate minimal formatting for headings and subheadings, and should indent direct quotes, to improve readability. But embedded headlines, dropped capitals, fancy fonts, background images, and other types of heavy formatting are unacceptable. Published articles are formatted according to the conventions of The Esoteric Quarterly.


Context and References

Credibility—particularly of a full-length article—is greatly enhanced by citing references to previous work in the field. Citing references demonstrates that the author is aware of existing work and has done his or her “homework.” The number of references is a matter for the author’s discretion; there is no particular merit in having page after page of endnotes, unless they add materially to the article’s value. On the other hand, reviewers react negatively when an author fails to acknowledge a large body of literature, or when readily available, quality sources are ignored in favor of shallow, ill-informed sources in the popular media. Sources like Wikipedia and The Discovery Channel are great places to begin research, but their limitations should be recognized, and greater depth of research is generally needed.

Direct quotes demonstrate contact with the literature and allow sources “to speak for themselves.” But they should support what an author has to say. They should not take the place of an author’s thesis; if your article is nothing but citations, what have you contributed?

Direct quotes should reproduce faithfully what the original source wrote. It is not acceptable to present what the source should have said, or (in the author’s opinion) intended to say. On the other hand, it is acceptable to replace archaic by modern spelling, or to use occasional bracketed substitutions, for example: “Plato turned to [Socrates] and posed the question . . . .”

All references, citations, and explanatory comments should take the form of endnotes. Footnotes are not permitted. Abbreviated references such as (TCF, 901) are not acceptable. Inline references may be used only for abbreviated scriptural references, for example: I am the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). References should be numbered : 1, 2, 3 . . . and indicated by a superscript in the text. Examples of acceptable endnote formats are:

1 Brian Swimme, The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos: Humanity and the New Story (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2001).
2 Alice A. Bailey, Glamour: A World Problem (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1950), 36-38.
3 Carl Andre and Martin Velasquez, “The Common Good,” Issues in Ethics 5, no. 2 (1992): 15-18.
4 Bailey, Glamour, 251.
5 Ibid., 1-6.
6 David Dakake, "The Myth of a Militant Islam," in Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition, ed. Joseph E.B. Lumbard, 3-38 (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2004).
7 Joseph Ratzinger, Feast of Faith (trans: G. Harrison), San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1981, 51-60.
8 See the definition in Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Online: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ churchianity/. Last accessed July 9, 2012.
9 Nestorianism is relevant to our theme only because it contributed to the debate over the hypostatic union.

For Internet references, please note that the full URL address is now the standard. The final “/” should be included, so long as it is recognized by the website in question. A problem with Internet references is the volatility of website content. If you are referencing general material on a website, no access date is needed. When you cite a specific text on a website, however, you need to include the most recent date of access, as in the example above.


Composition and Structure

Whether an article is accepted for publication depends not only on conformity with manuscript guidelines but also on how well it is written. A few individuals in the world can write the perfect article in one pass. The vast majority of authors go through multiple drafts, often more than one hundred, before they feel that the article is good enough to submit to The Esoteric Quarterly. The article you submit should be the very best you can do.

A good article combines two essential ingredients: a topic or idea of potential interest to readers, and careful crafting to make the article intelligible, informative, and a pleasure to read. The standards we set for publication try to blend these two requirements.

Finding an interesting topic is an intuitive, creative process, although it will be guided by the available literature. A good idea will be of less value if other authors have had the same idea, and it has already been discussed exhaustively—unless you have a novel slant on the topic. If the idea contradicts a large body of knowledge, the author would be expected to offer persuasive arguments why his or her views are superior to those previously expressed. A brand-new idea has intrinsic merit, but it must be plausible and appealing. Even if an idea is new, it should still be given context by relating it to existing knowledge.

The second step is to present the topic effectively. A well-written article is a pleasure to read. It is most important that the readers—and, before the article ever gets published, the reviewers—are able to follow the author’s train of thought and his or her conclusions.

To employ Theosophical terminology, a good article combines buddhi and manas. Buddhi (wisdom, intuition, insight) is the source of good ideas. Manas (mind, intellect, precision, clarity) is needed to turn those ideas into high-quality articles. Without buddhi, an article will be lifeless and sterile; without manas, its objectives are likely to be unclear and its logic difficult to follow.

The article should start by identifying its objectives and scope—what it will try to accomplish. The title does this very, very briefly; but more is needed. The best way to communicate the objectives and scope is to write a short summary or abstract. This is mandatory for full-length articles and is encouraged for short papers. Writing the summary forces an author to give focus to his or her ideas.

The body of the article, which can range in length from a half-page to many pages, should present the author’s ideas in the context of existing knowledge. Anything much longer than a page should be divided into sections, each with a heading. Structuring an article in this way forces the author to step back and ask: "What am I trying to say, and does it come across?" It also helps the reader to follow the author’s train of thought and digest the material.

Ideas must be presented in a logical sequence. “Transitions” are necessary to take the reader from one idea to another, to help the reader “change gears” when one idea gives way to the next. Otherwise the reader may think: “What does that have to do with what the author just said?” The author should communicate to the reader that he or she has finished discussing Topic A and is now starting on Topic B. Or, even better, tell the reader why Topic B flows from Topic A. If there is no connection, why are they both discussed in the same article?

The final paragraph or paragraphs should review what has been accomplished in relation to what the summary said it would do. Every article should have a strong concluding section. Ending with a quote is not recommended.


Writing Style and Tone

Many different writing styles are pleasing to read. Some authors prefer a matter-of-fact, “procedure-manual” style, while others use a style more reminiscent of “great literature.” But the style must be effective in communicating the author’s thesis. A “stream of consciousness” style may be fashionable in creative-writing circles, but it is inappropriate in The Esoteric Quarterly.

Literary tone is an element of composition. It refers to an author’s attitude toward his or her topic and toward the reader. Examples of tone are: serious, frivolous, detached, passionate, intimate, cynical, condescending, polemical, supportive and devout.

The Esoteric Quarterly does not wish to set overly restrictive rules governing literary or compositional tone, and it recognizes that the tone is likely to vary somewhat according to the topic and its context. Nevertheless, guidelines are appropriate for a scholarly journal dedicated to the study of esoteric philosophy and to raising human consciousness.

Authors are expected to adopt a sufficiently detached tone to identify weaknesses in opinions expressed in the literature and potential deficiencies in their own arguments. Yet authors should not be so detached as to lose contact with their topic or to come across as lacking in support for their own conclusions. Readers are unlikely to be convinced of the soundness of arguments if it appears that the author lacks conviction. Correspondingly, we discourage a literary tone of excessive humility or cultic devotion to a cause or its proponent(s).

Authors should feel free to point out weaknesses in statements and positions they believe are false or groundless. However, we expect authors to be generally supportive of esoteric teachings and to be respectful of contrasting views. A judgmental, polemical or condescending tone is unacceptable. Authors should also distinguish between someone’s views and that person’s dignity and sincerity. As noted, The Esoteric Quarterly cannot be allowed to become a platform for attacking individuals, groups, institutions or nations.

We expect authors to take their topics seriously. “Serious” does not mean “morose.” Occasional subtle humor may lift readers’ mood in what might otherwise be a dull, tedious article, and the best writers make use it without ever implying that their work should not be taken seriously. Finally, we will not publish an article written in a cynical tone. Cynicism has no place in an esoteric community committed to group consciousness, discipleship, and belief in the perfectibility of the human entity.


Gender-Inclusive Language

Unless the gender of the entity referenced is critical to the narrative, gender-neutral language should be employed. Often this can be achieved by use of plural statements, which automatically call for the plural pronoun, “we” or “they.” In the singular, “Colleague” can be used rather than “brother.” If the singular pronoun is inescapable, it should be expanded to "he or she" or “his or her.” Use of "they" or "their" as a singular pronoun is not an acceptable solution.

One of the challenges we face is citing quotations from authors who were writing at a time when gender-inclusive language was not in common usage. When using direct quotations, gender-biased language should not be amended as this would distort the integrity of the original text, which naturally reflects the historical and cultural milieu in which it was written.

Some suggestions for avoiding styles that are no longer acceptable are:



For further information on manuscript submission and author-related issues please contact the Editor-in-Chief at editor@esotericquarterly.com.