This paper is the first draft of an introduction to the book I am currently working on, based on the research I am doing during my fellowship at the MWK. The book argues for the existence of a significant interplay between three distinct cultural and social phenomena in 19th and 20th -century Europe: nationalism, religious individualisation and Western esotericism. The examination and the interpretation of this interplay is based on the analysis of a number of case studies, taken from different periods and different countries. The present introduction has the purpose of introducing the main concepts and theoretical tools that the analysis will make use of. Due to space constraints, the present version does not discuss all the issues relevant for the project, but tackles only the most important ones. I will proceed first by introducing the three main concepts that feature as protagonists in this work, and I will then explore the way in which they can relate to each other. Finally, I will present the working hypothesis of the project and illustrate the way in which my work will proceed, i.e. through the analysis of a number of selected case studies. Due to space constraints, the present version does not discuss all the issues relevant for the project, but addresses only the most important ones.