Fourth Annual Report of the SHWEP

Greetings, friends of the SHWEP! The time has come for the fourth instalment of our annual summing-up and looking-forward exercise, featuring the ever-risible ‘what we predicted at the end of last year’ section, where we are definitely not a betting favourite.

The Report comes a bit late this year, but for a good reason: this has been the second year when we have not had (much) gainful employment of any kind other than the SHWEP, and so, despite many commitments, we have been able to adhere to the one-episode-per-week goal with genuine accuracy, even (mostly) bringing our episodes each Wednesday, the day of Hermes. The lateness comes from the process of getting those last episodes in the 52 out, sorting out the next Esoteric Island Discs, and enjoying a bit of midwinter relaxation around the festival of the Natal Day of the Unconquered Sun.

2021 was a pretty good year for the SHWEP. With the introduction of the Oddcast last solstice we’ve been able to snap up good interviews when and as they rear their heads, which is great for the project as a whole, and also for those lovers of weso who are a little impatient to get onto material that’s closer to home chronologically. A lot of folks seem unaware that the Oddcast exists: in case you don’t know, you can find it on all the usual podcast apps and whatnot, but it’s a separate podcast from the main SHWEP. Try searching for ‘SHWEP Oddcast’ or ‘SHWEP Oddcast Episodes’, and it should turn up. Another cool new thing that happened this year was a number of collaborations with other podcast projects; I spoke with Ted Hand on his Tarot for the Soulless Materialist project (and learned a lot about the Tarot, among other things), with Clif Mark on his Good in Theory Podcast about the esoteric Plato, which was a blast, and with the guys at Æon Byte Gnostic Radio , which mostly consisted of my trying to figure out exactly what those guys mean by ‘Gnostic’ (a pedantic approach which will come as no surprise to regular SHWEP listeners).

As for the main chronology, we have covered a lot of crucial third-century material, including Plotinus, Manichæism, Porphyry, and a lot of cool loose stuff like the Sibylline Oracles, Mithraism, divine doubles, and more. In fact, we haven’t done that badly vis à vis the end-of year predictions from 2020, except that our promised piece of writing for repeat members has not materialised (yet. It’s ongoing, truly). Lovers of later western esotericism who maybe find all this Platonist vel sim. material a bit tiresome are about to freak out, because everyone can agree that Iamblichus is fascinating and deeply imbricated in the fabric of western esoteric discourse in the middle ages and beyond, and the Sage of Chalcis is rapidly approaching the SHWEP horizon.

2022 should get us – here we go, making predictions again – comfortably into the fifth century. In fact, the Proclus-prediction of two years ago looks like finally coming true! But on the way to Proclus we shall be encountering some fascinating folks, including but not limited to the Divine Iamblichus and late-antique theurgy, a range of magical Jews and esoteric Christians, monotheist astrologers, Zosimus of Panopolis, the Emperor Julian (or simply ‘the Emperor’, as those in the know call him, with no need for further elaboration), Sallustius, and other luminaries.

As always, huge thanks go out to our members, without whom &c. Truly, thank you people from the bottom of our esoteric heart.

Thanks, too, to our range of amazing specialists who devoted their time and expertise to the project this last year. There were some absolute gems among the interviews, and passion and love as well as solid scholarship were widely in evidence.

Lastly, it is my deepest privilege to thank my beloved wife, who makes a lot of sacrifices to keep this project going, and who provides immeasurable esoteric inspiration and challenge to keep my mind and heart at least semi-awake and in the game. Remember to remember.

With best wishes for an esoteric 2022,