I remember very well how in the first half of the 1990s, Antoine Faivre and I were talking about the necessity of getting Western esotericism recognized as a field of research, and of the absence at the time of all those things that belong to an established field, such as academic chairs, teaching programs, peer-reviewed journals, monograph series, scholarly organizations on a national and international level, interdisciplinary exchange with other disciplines, and so on and so forth. At the time, there was nothing, or almost nothing.
That was no more than 15 years ago. And now I suddenly found myself standing on a podium in Tuebingen looking at a crowded lecture room full of scholars, including many students and ph.d. students, from many countries, who all shared a real, serious and enthusiastic commitment to Western esotericism as a field of research, and for all or whom (at least, so I imagine) the question of its academic legitimacy is no longer an issue on which to waste one's time.
This is how far we have come in so short a period of time.
The presence of so many young people - students who had taken the trouble to travel all the way to an academic conference like this - was particularly inspiring: it means that Western esotericism is no longer a pursuit dominated by a relatively small circle of "usual suspects" belonging to the older and middle generations (although it was obviously fantastic that almost of them were there as well), but that it has taken root among those who will take the field into the future.
In short, it was a historical event indeed: the moment, as far as I'm concerned, when Western esotericism has definitively "come of age".