Resources

The internet falls within the domain of Hermes, the ancient god of the swift movement of thought and the passing of messages. But Hermes was also the patron of tricksters, fraudsters, and thieves. The  links collected here represent some of the best resources for the study of western esotericism available online, but beware of the Mercurial, ever-changing landscape of the web, and use with caution!

SHWEP welcomes suggestions for resources, and notifications of dead or altered links, via the contact page. This page will always be a work-in-progress, and we thank you in advance for your help in improving it!

Resource Categories

Alchemy

Azogue

Azogue is an online periodical devoted to historical research into alchemy. It comes from Spain, but you can find articles in many European languages.

The Newton Project

A super-classy online source for Newton’s works; you can search his notebooks and stuff like that. This is the sort of thing that makes the internet worthwhile.

Præludia Microcosmica

Mike Zuber works on early-modern alchemy, and this is his blog. Good quality stuff.

Ambix

The journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, Ambix has been the single greatest force for promoting the serious study of alchemy for many decades. An indespensible companion for the serious alchemy-head.

The Society for History of Alchemy and Chemistry

The SHAC has been going strong since 1935, back when no one thought doing history of chemistry was worthwhile, never mind alchemy. Much respect. They publish Ambix, the leading journal for the study of alchemy (okay, and chemistry as well).

AlchemEast

A project of unprecedented scope led by Matteo Martelli, combining the finest in lab-based research and historiography to broaden our understandings of hugely neglected areas in the history of alchemy. Their blurb is: Alchemy in the Making: From ancient Babylonia via Graeco-Roman Egypt into the Byzantine, Syriac and Arabic traditions (1500 BCE – 1000 AD). This is a hugely significant project, both from the purely historiographical point of view and from the point of view of modern funding in the humanities; it is rare that a funding body recognises the significance of research into esoteric subjects to this degree, and shows that there are sill gleams of light in the increasing darkness of the academy.

Antiquity

Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity

A ‘thematic network’ of the ESSWE, devoted to collecting useful information on all things esoteric from the earliest times until late antiquity (and beyond). This website is the first port of call for anyone looking for online resources useful to scholars of antique esotericism. Also posts relevant conferences, events, etc. Highly useful, a quality resource.

The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database

The primary aim of the Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database (CBd) is to bring the entire corpus of magical gems online in order to make them more accessible for both scholars and the public, and to facilitate their study through the potentials of a digital database.

Paleojudaica

A staggeringly-well-maintained blog on all things relating to ancient Judaism (understood broadly) by Professor James Davila of the University of St Andrews. By no means an ‘esoteric’ blog, but there’s a whole lotta ‘esoteric’ in garden-variety Judaism, so well worth keeping an eye on.

Ancient Texts Online

A good, quick resource if you want to check something in a classical text (useful for fact-checking the SHWEP, for example). Lots and lots of texts available, gathered from all over the internet.

Coptic Magical Papyri

The Coptic Magical Papyri: Vernacular Religion in Late Roman and Early Islamic Egypt is a five-year research project (2018-2023) based at the Chair of Egyptology of the Julius Maximilian University Würzburg. The aim is to put all known magical texts from Egypt online in a searchable database, and eventually intended to serve as the go-to resource for the corpus of magical texts known from Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic Egypt. We’ll be keeping a watchful eye on this project.

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

If you want to go way, way back into the roots of western esotericism, you actually need to leave the west behind. The CDLI is the best online source for cuneiform texts; an essential scholarly resource for all things Sumerian, Akkadian, and so forth.

International Society for Neoplatonic Studies

The ISNS website is actually full of useful stuff, as well as being the online presence of a cool organisation which does a yearly conference and puts out the International Journal of the Platonic Tradition. Clicking on ‘Scholars Directory’ will take you to a page with some very useful tools, including the Web Resources and Primary Texts sections. A must for researchers of an esoteric Platonist bent.

Ancient Curses

A useful resource for all of you who wake up in the morning thinking, ‘How did the Romans phrase their curses, anyway?’ Also very useful for scholars who study ancient magic.

Online Critical Pseudepigrapha

The mandate of the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha is to develop and publish electronic editions of the best critical texts of the “Old Testament” Pseudepigrapha and related literature. A great first stop if you want to get a rundown on an apocryphal text from a scholarly point-of-view, as well as being a great resource for in-depth research.

Encyclopedia of Plato

A rather wonderful resource for all things Platonistic; a browse here gives a good idea of the sheer extent of Plato’s influence, and there is a good coverage of later thinkers, like al-Farabi or Derrida, whom you might not normally think of in the context of Plato.

Astronomy/Astrology

The Hellenistic Astrology Website

A one-stop shop for all things Hellenistic-astrological. Set up with practitioners of astrology in mind, this website is nevertheless an unequalled resource for scholars interested in Hellenistic astrology.

Mathematics and Mathematical Astronomy

An amazing collection of useful texts in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit, and other languages – even English.

Esoteric Philosophy

International Society for Neoplatonic Studies

The ISNS website is actually full of useful stuff, as well as being the online presence of a cool organisation which does a yearly conference and puts out the International Journal of the Platonic Tradition. Clicking on ‘Scholars Directory’ will take you to a page with some very useful tools, including the Web Resources and Primary Texts sections. A must for researchers of an esoteric Platonist bent.

PhilPapers

If you are interested in esotericism, you are interested in philosophy (whether you know it or not). PhilPapers and PhilArchive is a pretty huge online collection of articles, books, etc. on the subject of philosophy writ broadly. Not everything is immediately downloadable, but you can import citations in many formats. Try search terms like ‘esoteric’ or ‘Pythagoras’ and you’ll find all manner of interesting stuff.

General

The Religious Studies Project

The Religious Studies Project (RSP) is an international collaborative enterprise producing weekly podcasts with leading scholars on the social-scientific study of religion. This is a huge endeavour, and there is much here to interest students of esotericism.

Good Blogs

Creative Reading

A blog by Professor Wouter Hanegraaff of the Universiteit van Amsterdam, nominally devoted to the art of reading books, but also full of fascinating reflections on esotericism, its study in academe, and the philosophical problems which arise at the juncture between the esoteric and the academic.

Paleojudaica

A staggeringly-well-maintained blog on all things relating to ancient Judaism (understood broadly) by Professor James Davila of the University of St Andrews. By no means an ‘esoteric’ blog, but there’s a whole lotta ‘esoteric’ in garden-variety Judaism, so well worth keeping an eye on.

Præludia Microcosmica

Mike Zuber works on early-modern alchemy, and this is his blog. Good quality stuff.

Albion Calling

Ethan Doyle White’s personal blog – devoted to interdisciplinary scholarship on religion, magic, and the preternatural. Interesting stuff from time to time, and a particularly nice interview series, which addresses both esoteric religions and the academic study thereof.

A Perfumed Skull

This is a cool blog on anthropology, Tibetan stuff, and (western) esotericism by Ben Joffe. Lots of interesting musings, and has the right idea in terms of having one foot in academe and one foot in the ‘real world’.

The University of Exeter Magic and Esotericism Group Blog

This is the ongoing blog and web-presence of a group of scholars at the University of Exeter doing cross-disciplinary work on magic and esotericism. Interesting things are often posted here, and we are watching developments with a keen eye.

Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge

Describing itself as a ‘global, interdisciplinary research center and information hub’, Counterpoint is an interesting and difficult-to-pidgeonhole project bringing in all manner of interesting perspectives on bioethics, religion, esoteric movements, the hegemonic and subversive interplays of knowledge, and much more. There is much here to interest researchers of esoteric currents, and particularly those interested in how such currents interact with cutting-edge theory in the academy. A particular strength of this project is its emphasis on engagement of scholarship and the world we live in, particularly in its aspect as unfolding environmental crisis.

Heterodoxology

The blog of Egil Asprem, currently Assistant Professor in History of Religions at Stockholm University. One of the best ongoing blogs about all things eso-academic. Wide-ranging, but with a special interest in modern occultism in its various forms.

Image

The Warburg Institute Iconographic Database

This site is a work-in-progress, documenting the Warburg Institute’s amazing iconographic collection in digital form. While we highly recommend consulting the hallowed filing-cabinets at the Warburg for yourself, those who cannot get to London can benefit from this website. Treasures within!

Iconclass

This project describes itself as ‘a multilingual classification system for cultural content’, but that doesn’t do it justice. It is an international project aimed at creating a digital library of iconography, the dream of Aby Warburg coming to fruition! Anyone interested in alchemical, magical, or religious imagery, or graphic symbolism more generally, should explore this labyrinth.

Manar al-Athar

An open-access photo-archive centred on the Middle East, full of all kinds of wonders. Searchable.

Jewish Esotericism

Paleojudaica

A staggeringly-well-maintained blog on all things relating to ancient Judaism (understood broadly) by Professor James Davila of the University of St Andrews. By no means an ‘esoteric’ blog, but there’s a whole lotta ‘esoteric’ in garden-variety Judaism, so well worth keeping an eye on.

Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

If you need to check out a Qumran scroll in the comfort of your own home, this is the place to go.

4 Enoch

A huge and fascinating ‘online encyclopedia of second temple Judaism and Christian origins’ maintained by Gabriele Boccaccini. It takes a while to get to know your way around, but this site is a tremendous resource for hard-to-find stuff, and is particularly strong in the history-of-the-history; i.e., if you want to know how a given group of texts like the Old Testament Apocrypha came to be bundled together under that name, or the printed publication history of the first Book of Enoch, or the history of scholarship of this or that aspect of early Christian thought, this is the place.

Journals

Azogue

Azogue is an online periodical devoted to historical research into alchemy. It comes from Spain, but you can find articles in many European languages.

Ambix

The journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, Ambix has been the single greatest force for promoting the serious study of alchemy for many decades. An indespensible companion for the serious alchemy-head.

Nova Religio: Archæology and New Religious Movements

An amazing journal examining archaeology specifically through the lens of esotericism: the ways in which archaeological science is assimilated in the construction of ‘ancient wisdom’ discourses and related topics.  Fascinating reading for those interested in the construction of imagined lineages.

The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies

This is an interesting journal, ranging from the ancient to the modern. Probably of interest to literate neo-Pagans (or Heathens, or term-of-choice) as much as to scholars, but he offerings are to a high standard.

Abraxas

Running from 2009-2014, Abraxas was a visually-luscious journal devoted to living esoteric currents, with an emphasis on the way these intersect with artistic forms. If the dry, historicist approach emphasised on the SHWEP podcast gets you down from time to time, settle down with an issue of Abraxas and slake your thirst. Not a scholarly journal, but full of high-end material of use to scholars in many ways.

Aries

Aries is the first professional academic journal specifically devoted to Western Esotericism. Peer-reviewed and of a high standard. Highly recommended.

La Rosa di Paracelso

Journal of western esotericism based in Italy, but with articles in many languages.

Correspondences

Correspondences is a peer-reviewed online journal devoted to western esotericism. Freely available and highly recommended.

Esoterica

A peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to the transdisciplinary study of Western esotericism: Western esoteric traditions including alchemy, astrology, Gnosticism, gnosis, magic, mysticism, Rosicrucianism, and secret societies, and their ramifications in art history, history, literature, and politics.

Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies

A peer-reviewed publication devoted to the study of Gnostic religious currents from the ancient world to the modern, where ‘Gnostic’ is broadly conceived as a reference to special direct knowledge of the divine, which either transcends or transgresses conventional religious knowledge. It aims to publish academic papers on: the emergence of the Gnostic, in its many different historical and local cultural contexts; the Gnostic strands that persisted in the middle ages; and modern interpretations of Gnosticism – with the goal of establishing cross-cultural and trans-historical conversations, together with more localized historical analyses.

Just Plain Awesome

Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica

A.k.a. the Ritman library, the world’s only open library devoted to the western esoteric traditions taken broadly. The BPH houses priceless manuscripts as well as standard secondary sources in abundance. One-of-a-kind.

Magic

Societas Magica

The Societas Magica is an organisation devoted to bringing together scholars working on magic, both magic as practiced by mages of various sorts, and magic as a polemical category used by its enemies. They sponsor sessions at congresses (and offer travel bursaries to said conferences in some cases), and generally act as a hub for scholars working on magic.

Coptic Magical Papyri

The Coptic Magical Papyri: Vernacular Religion in Late Roman and Early Islamic Egypt is a five-year research project (2018-2023) based at the Chair of Egyptology of the Julius Maximilian University Würzburg. The aim is to put all known magical texts from Egypt online in a searchable database, and eventually intended to serve as the go-to resource for the corpus of magical texts known from Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic Egypt. We’ll be keeping a watchful eye on this project.

The University of Exeter Magic and Esotericism Group Blog

This is the ongoing blog and web-presence of a group of scholars at the University of Exeter doing cross-disciplinary work on magic and esotericism. Interesting things are often posted here, and we are watching developments with a keen eye.

Mediæval Christendom

Liber de Causis

An online Latin text of one of Aristotle’s greatest works, only it isn’t by Aristotle, but by an Arab author drawing on Proclus’ Elements of Theology. An important source for later medieval Platonism hiding within church-sanctioned Aristoteleanism in the Scholastic period.

Modern Esotericism

Traditionalists

A blog centred on the study of Traditionalism, an important current of modern esotericism springing from the work of René Guénon and ramifying in all sorts of unlikely places in modern literature, religion, and even politics. Moderated by Mark Sedgwick, who is also a board member of the ENSIE.

The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture

These folks are a very interesting organisation doing good work. Of interest to all those studying movements like (neo-)paganisms, but also hosting lively debates and cool conferences documenting the intersections between the living environment, humans, and our cultural artifacts.

ContERN

The Contemporary Esotericism Research Network is an ESSWE thematic network devoted to the study of western esotericism  in the contemporary world. They have a youtube channel with some cool talks.

The International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals

The IAPSOP is a US-based private organization focused on the digital preservation of Spiritualist and occult periodicals published between the Congress of Vienna and the start of the Second World War. It is a fascinating resource; beware of getting lost in the digital pages!

Organizations

Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity

A ‘thematic network’ of the ESSWE, devoted to collecting useful information on all things esoteric from the earliest times until late antiquity (and beyond). This website is the first port of call for anyone looking for online resources useful to scholars of antique esotericism. Also posts relevant conferences, events, etc. Highly useful, a quality resource.

The European Network for Islamic Esotericism

ENSIE is a thematic network, a part of the ESSWE dealing specifically with Islamic Esotericism. A lot of exciting new work is emerging from this part of the field, and we should keep a close eye on the ENSIE.

Irish Network for the Study of Esotericism and Paganism

INSEP is a regional network of the ESSWE. It is a multidisciplinary research network for academics working on any aspect of Esotericism (historical or contemporary) or Contemporary Paganism that relates to the Irish context. Its mission is to provide a forum for networking among scholars based in Ireland and those based abroad who have research interests in these subject areas as they relate to Ireland.

The Central and Eastern European Network for the Study of Western Esotericism

CEENASWE is a regional network of the ESSWE, covering Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, the countries of ex-Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania and Greece. Expect a lot of really interesting work to come out of this region in the near future.

The Society for History of Alchemy and Chemistry

The SHAC has been going strong since 1935, back when no one thought doing history of chemistry was worthwhile, never mind alchemy. Much respect. They publish Ambix, the leading journal for the study of alchemy (okay, and chemistry as well).

The University of Exeter Magic and Esotericism Group Blog

This is the ongoing blog and web-presence of a group of scholars at the University of Exeter doing cross-disciplinary work on magic and esotericism. Interesting things are often posted here, and we are watching developments with a keen eye.

International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion

Cognitive Science of Religion is a great place, where lab-based and other ‘hard-science’ approaches to human consciousness meet with the esoteric in is experiential manifestations. The IACSR publishes the Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, which deals with this interesting field. Those interested in ‘esoteric experience’ will want to keep an eye on this site and the journal.

The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture

These folks are a very interesting organisation doing good work. Of interest to all those studying movements like (neo-)paganisms, but also hosting lively debates and cool conferences documenting the intersections between the living environment, humans, and our cultural artifacts.

Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge

Describing itself as a ‘global, interdisciplinary research center and information hub’, Counterpoint is an interesting and difficult-to-pidgeonhole project bringing in all manner of interesting perspectives on bioethics, religion, esoteric movements, the hegemonic and subversive interplays of knowledge, and much more. There is much here to interest researchers of esoteric currents, and particularly those interested in how such currents interact with cutting-edge theory in the academy. A particular strength of this project is its emphasis on engagement of scholarship and the world we live in, particularly in its aspect as unfolding environmental crisis.

The International Society for Heresy Studies

An international platform for scholarly work on the inclusion/exclusion dynamic, by no means confined to the religious sphere. There folks organise interesting conferences and the essays on their site are worth a read. Lots here relevant to the study of western esotericism, particularly as regards its supposed ‘outsider’ status.

The Prometheus Trust

The Prometheus Trust is an interesting project, having one foot within western esotericism, but definitely of interest to scholars who study it from an outsider perspective as well. They are devoted to the Platonist tradition as a living philosophic path, and host annual conferences where you can meet some of the top names in Platonist scholarship alongside a fascinating array of non-professional thinkers. They publish the Purple Books, a series of important reprints which include the entire works of Thomas Taylor.

European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism

The website for the ESSWE, one of the most active scholarly organisations for the study of western esotericism. If you are an active scholar in this field, consider becoming a member of the ESSWE. Their conferences are second-to-none.

ContERN

The Contemporary Esotericism Research Network is an ESSWE thematic network devoted to the study of western esotericism  in the contemporary world. They have a youtube channel with some cool talks.

Association for the Study of Esotericism

The ASE is an academic organisation devoted to the study of esotericism, based in the USA but international in its scope. They run conferences every two years, in alternating years to the ESSWE conferences, so between the two organisations the keen scholar of esotericism can have one excellent summer conference per year.

Research Projects

Occult Minds Project

The brainchild of Dr Egil Asprem of the University of Stockholm, Occult Minds documents his work in bringing the cognitive science of religion to bear on the study of esotericism. In addition to information about the project,  also features a research blog, and useful links to journals, scholarly societies, and websites of interest.

AlchemEast

A project of unprecedented scope led by Matteo Martelli, combining the finest in lab-based research and historiography to broaden our understandings of hugely neglected areas in the history of alchemy. Their blurb is: Alchemy in the Making: From ancient Babylonia via Graeco-Roman Egypt into the Byzantine, Syriac and Arabic traditions (1500 BCE – 1000 AD). This is a hugely significant project, both from the purely historiographical point of view and from the point of view of modern funding in the humanities; it is rare that a funding body recognises the significance of research into esoteric subjects to this degree, and shows that there are sill gleams of light in the increasing darkness of the academy.

The Early Modern Period

The Newton Project

A super-classy online source for Newton’s works; you can search his notebooks and stuff like that. This is the sort of thing that makes the internet worthwhile.

Jacob Böhme Resources

This site seems to be the best starting-point for web-based resources on Böhme. Jacob Böhme is one of the all-time titans of western esotericism, but his works have, incredibly, still not been critically edited! Get to work, kids.

Præludia Microcosmica

Mike Zuber works on early-modern alchemy, and this is his blog. Good quality stuff.

Jacob Boehme Online

Humorous but serious site devoted to Böhme, featuring loads of scans of visual art inspired by the Teutonic Philosopher, making it a must for enthusiasts of the great cobbler of Görlitz. Sections on different followers of Böhme are a great starting-point for further research. Recommended, though the views expressed on the site should probably be approached as ‘editorials’, rather than as measured historical interpretation.

The Renaissance

Works of Marsilio Ficino online

Under the ægis of the Instituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento; Ficino’s works in an easy-to-access format.

The Brown University Pico Project

A good online collection of resources, projects, and primary texts of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. The website has English, Italian, and Latin options. Quam ob rem altissimos honores ei adhibimus!