The SHWEP Blog

The SHWEP blog is for all manner of things which crop up in the life of the scholar of western esotericism but don’t fit into our chronological framework: the Living Esoteric Cultures Series of interviews, reflections on the academic field of the study of western esotericism, accounts of past or upcoming events, other notifications, and perhaps even the odd blog post.


Emily Selove and Matt Melvin-Koushki on Two New Postgraduate Programmes in Magic

There are exciting things afoot in the study of magic and esotericism. Emily Selove of the University of Exeter and Matt Melvin-Koushki from the University of South Carolina tell us about two new graduate programmes in the study of magic and related subjects.

Rune Hjarnø on the Project of (Nordic) Animism, Part II

More Nordic animism, plus a dive into pop culture, where the Mighty Thor (Kirby version) rubs shoulders with ancient gods.

Rune Hjarnø on the Project of (Nordic) Animism, Part I

We speak with Dr Rune Hjarnø, a man interested in reigniting the spirit of animism within European cultures. Note that that's ‘reigniting’, not importing from ‘indigenous’ cultures. Come for the yule-goats, stay for the Q-shaman.

I was Interviewed on the Weird Christmas Podcast!

Mithras, sadly, ain't the reason for the season. And yet ....

The Fifth Annual Report of the SHWEP

We reflect on the past year of doing the podcast, and this time we don't bother predicting how at the end of this coming year we will definitely have finally covered Proclus, because it's just never true. We'll confidently promise Zosimus of Panopolis and Julian, but not Proclus.

Lucinda Martin on the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Past, Present, and Future

We are delighted to speak with Dr Lucinda Martin, Director of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica and Ritman Research Institute in Amsterdam, one of the world's great collections for the study of western esotericism. We discuss the history and current activities of this august institution, its recently having been awarded UNSECO status as a cultural treasure of the Netherlands, and more.

Cavan McLaughlin on Trans- States: Participant-Scholarship and the Boundaries of the Academy

We speak with Cavan McLaughlin, the guiding force behind a very interesting conference called Trans-States, which blurs the boundaries between the study of the esoteric and the esoteric itself. What happens when art, performance, ritual, magic(k), and a healthy does of humour meet in the crucible of the ‘academic conference’?

Esoteric Island Discs: Ben Chasny

Our castaway is Ben Chasny, guitarist and composer, whose long-time musical project Six Organs of Admittance is only the most well-known.

Fourth Annual Report of the SHWEP

We reflect on the year that was, with the usual divinatory prognostications for the year that will be, and wish our listeners a very esoteric 2022.

Esoteric Island Discs: Angela Voss

Our castaway is Angela Voss, researcher and lecturer on Renaissance astrology and Platonist esotericism, and performer and composer of early music.

Third Annual Report of the SHWEP

We reflect on a third year of doing the podcast, some of the things that went well, some unexpected setbacks, and prognosticate big changes to come ....

Rob Miller on the Esoteric and the New Tau Cross Album

We speak with Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller about the western esoteric influences on his music with Amebix and Tau Cross, and discuss the third Tau Cross album, Masters of Deception. It gets Gnostic.

Things called Hermes that are not Hermes

Exploring the Hermetic Tradition!

John Crowley on the Ægypt Cycle

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.

Crystal Addey on Platonism, Theurgy, and Ecology

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.

Laurence Caruana on Visionary Art and the Fall of Sophia

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.

I Was Interviewed by Freemasons!

Some freemasons from Pennsylvania got in touch and asked to interview me. It was interesting and fun.

Second Annual Report of the SHWEP

We reflect on a second year of doing the SHWEP, and make some predictions for the next year.

Randall Hall on the Theurgic Saxophone

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.