About the SHWEP

The SHWEP is a free, (roughly) weekly podcast series exploring cutting-edge academic research in the study of Platonism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, the Kabbalah, alchemy, occultism, magic, and related currents of thought. These traditions, although largely rejected by the dominant modern empiricist world-view, are central to the history of western thought. The academic study of these often-obscure chapters in the history of ideas, under the general name of ‘western esotericism’, is bringing these currents of thought back into their rightful place as essential elements in the intellectual heritage of the western world.

This podcast documents the academic exploration of the neglected corners of western culture. The approach is roughly chronological, beginning with the earliest civilisations and moving forward in time until the present day, with the aim of leaving out nothing essential along the way. It will be a long and fascinating trip through the history of ideas, and one which is bound to challenge what you think you know about philosophy, science, religion, and western identities.

Your presenter

About Your Presenter

Earl Fontainelle is a researcher specialising in the religious and philosophic thought of late antiquity, but with an abiding and annoyingly-diffuse fascination with all manner of esoteric systems of thought. He lives on Dartmoor in the south-west of England with his family, and likes to make weird music, grow food, and drink coffee.

Special Thanks

The SHWEP would like to thank, in the first instance, all of the contributors who generously donate their time and expertise to this project.

Secondly, huge thanks to all our members, whose support makes this project sustainable. Special thanks to our group membership holders, the University of Exeter Centre for Magic and Esotericism.

The staff of the Warburg Institute Photographic Collection continue to show their renowned institutional generosity with images. The SHWEP would like to thank them for continuing the unique Warburg tradition of research into the visual arts which has contributed so much to the study of western esotericism. Otherwise-unattributed images on this website should be read as being ‘courtesy of the Warburg Institute’.

Special thanks are due to the ILK, to my dad, to Alan Lee, to Marko, Simon Blackbourn at Lumpy Lemon, and Eddie Nix at Driftless Books for essential supplies.

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