"Esotericon" was a convention for fans of the esoteric and occult. When I say "occult" I don't mean the usual connotations of satanic rituals, voodoo, spells and curses, or other lurid popular conceptions. Esotericon's "occultism" was better defined as the "Western esoteric culture" which had its origins in alternative religious traditions such as Christian Gnosticism or Jewish Kabbalah. Even so, in 1984 I was wary of this type of study, because I was still trying to reconcile my adopted Roman Catholic faith with the mystical world I experienced. Nevertheless, when my friends running the convention asked me to do the cover for their first program book, I designed this symbol-heavy panel for them.
The design was derived from Tarot cards, specifically the "Lovers," the "Star", and the "High Priestess." In the design, the High Priestess is lifting the veil from a doorway, revealing the Star and a paradise landscape to the white-clad Lovers, who are standing at the base of a
broad stairway. On the steps of the stairway are the four Tarot symbols, the Cup, Wand, Pentacle, and Sword. The wall behind the Priestess is decorated with the symbols for that card: pomegranates and palms.
The archway is flanked by the two pillars in the High Priestess card, the pillars of the Temple of Solomon, black Boaz with a B, and white Jachin with a J. In the border of the cover design are symbols of various occultist paths: the Masonic/Hermetic Eye in the Triangle, the Christian tongue of fire, the Jewish Solomon's Seal, and the Egyptian ankh, symbol of eternal life.
I was associated with Esotericon for years until it merged with another convention and became "Sacred Space." I worked with "Sacred Space" which later came under new management and was re-named "Ecumenicon." I did design work for a few Ecumenicons until work commitments and management changes made it too difficult for me to continue. I'm not much of an active esotericist these days, though that cultural world is still part of my inner life and artistic inspiration.
Cover for Esotericon 1984 is ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", fall 1983. Click on the image for a larger view.