The SHWEP Blog
The SHWEP podcast is basically chronological, but there’s only so much chronology that anyone can take. This blog is for all manner of other things which crop up in the life of the scholar of western esotericism, but don’t fit into our chronological framework: interviews which fall outside the narrative of the podcast, reflections on the academic field of the study of western esotericism, accounts of of past or upcoming events, other notifications, and perhaps even the odd blog post.
July 30, 2020
Ægypt is one of the great occult novels (if we want to make ‘occult novel’ a thing). We are delighted to speak with its author, John Crowley (no relation) about his writing practice, western esotericism, and the question of what the heck happened at the end of the third book.
July 4, 2020
Crystal Addey is a scholar, philosopher, and woman of parts. Her work on ancient theurgy has broken new ground in recent years, and we see her continue to forge ahead in this interview, in which she asks whether the thought of the ancient Platonists can provide us with valuable insights in the face of environmental crisis. The answer is 'yes', of course, but the contours of that 'yes' will perhaps surprise many people who think they understand the history of western philosophy.
May 8, 2020
Emily Selove shares her current work on the fascinating Sirāj al-Dīn al-Sakkākī, well-known Arabic grammarian and little-known sorcerer. We discuss Sakkākī's extraordinary grimoire, the quest for the universal Perfect Man, a theory of language which might unite grammar and magic, and the identity of the mysterious ‘Peacock the Greek’.
April 22, 2020
Laurence Caruana is a painter, author, and speaker. His work draws deeply on the western esoteric traditions, particularly of late antiquity, and even more particularly on the central Sethian myth as found in the Apocryphon of John and other ‘Gnostic’ texts. We discuss modern artistic practice, the Fall of Sophia, and a host of other topics of interest to the modern visionary painter.
April 6, 2020
Firmicus Maternus, a fairly prominent fourth-century intellectual from Sicily, wrote two works which survive: one is our earliest-surviving manual of astrological practice in Latin, and it shows a full-blooded belief in astral determinism, and the second is a rabid Christian polemic against traditional religious practices. Discuss.
December 25, 2019
We speak with Amy Hale, anthropologist, folklorist, and writer of weird and wonderful pieces, on the life, art, and legacy of Ithell Colquhoun, one of the 20th century's most important (if widely overlooked) esoteric artists.
December 3, 2019
Some freemasons from Pennsylvania got in touch and asked to interview me. It was interesting and fun.
October 25, 2019
Allegra Baggio-Corradi of the Warburg Institute guides us through the life and thought of a leading figure of the forgotten esoteric Renaissance, the Paduan Niccolo Toméo.
October 12, 2019
We talk to saxophonist Randall Hall, whose work fuses the very, very modern and the authentically ancient in a quest for a ‘ritual-symbolic’, theurgic musical practice.
August 24, 2019
Things never stand still for very long in a young field like Western Esotericism Studies. In this interview we discuss the lively current debate over whether the term ‘western’ should be dropped altogether with a proponent of the ‘get rid of it’ position.
July 11, 2019
We reflect on the amazing seventh ESSWE conference, held 2-4 July 2019 in Amsterdam. Western esotericism is coming home!
May 28, 2019
The first in our Living Esoteric Culture series, looking at the ways in which the esoteric exists in culture, makes culture, sometimes enters into the popular or mainstream, and what happens along the way.
Light in Darkness: An Audio Tour of an Important New Exhibition on the Life and Thought of Jacob Böhme
May 16, 2019
An audio tour of the first major international exhibition devoted to the life and work of the great Christian esotericist Jacob Böhme.
November 12, 2018
We reflect on a year of doing this podcast, and on the year to come.
August 23, 2018
The future of the study of western esotericism will encompass all the western monotheist traditions. And the future is now!