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Podcast episode

Episode 88: Claudius Ptolemy and the Tetrabiblos

We discuss Claudius Ptolemy (no relation), synthesiser of Hellenistic astronomy/astrology to the mediæval world and beyond, and his two great works, the Almagest and the Tetrabiblos. Come for the naturalistic account of astral causation, stay for the planetary talismans.

Podcast episode

Episode 43: Christopher Gill on Stoicism

Strangely enough, one of the least 'esoteric' schools of antique philosophy, the Stoics, had a profound influence on a number of aspects of western esotericism. In this episode we learn the basics of what they were about from an expert.

Oddcast episode

Amy Hale on the Magical Life and Art of Ithell Colquhoun

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.

Podcast episode

Episode 98: The True Account: Celsus, Origen, and Ideological Esotericism in Late Antiquity

An almost-unknown Middle Platonist philosopher named Celsus wrote the first-known anti-Christian polemical pamphlet some time in the later second century. This is The True Account. It is esoteric.

Podcast episode

Episode 32: Maya Alapin on Mathematical Structures in Plato’s Republic

We return to the mathematical structures within the text of Plato’s masterwork, guided by a scholar who has looked deeply into the question. Maya Alapin discusses how harmonic theory, music, ratios and proportions intertwine with textual meaning in the Republic.

Podcast episode

Episode 89: The Astrology of Vettius Valens

We examine the life, work, and legacy of Vettius Valens, second-century Roman astrologer and author of the Anthologies, the most hard-core practical handbook of astrological practice which survives from antiquity.

Podcast episode

Episode 72: Hypochondria and Epiphany: The Strange Case of Ælius Aristides

We examine one of the strangest records of personal religious experience and divine epiphany from antiquity, the Hieroi Logoi of Ælius Aristides. Come for the incubation, dream-initiations, and miraculous powers, stay for the interminable descriptions of dyspepsia.

Podcast episode

Members only: Matthew Melvin-Koushki on ‘The West’

What do we mean by 'the west' when we talk about western esotericism? In this special episode we discuss what a cogent model of the west might look like, in terms of the history of ideas, and arrive at a radical reorientation (or rather reoccidentation).

Podcast episode

Episode 78: Inter philosophos occultorum curiosior: Numenius of Apamea

We investigate the esoteric practice of one of Middle Platonism's most enigmatic figures, the great Numenius of Apamea.

Podcast episode

Episode 123: Jason BeDuhn on Mani and Manichæism

We discuss one of the most anomalous, vexing, and fascinating religious movements in history, the first to span east and west, the elusive but crucial Manichæism, and its prophet, the great Apostle of Light, Mani. The eternal struggle between light and darkness is on, and minds will be blown.

Oddcast episode

Peter Grey on the Babalon and Antichrist Workings

We discuss the magickal activities of Jack Parsons, (Marjorie) Cameron, and L. Ron Hubbard in 1940's California with Peter Grey. Rockets fly, yachts set sail, and very, very strange things happen.

Podcast episode

Members only: Kocku von Stuckrad on Western Esotericism

Kocku von Stuckrad, Professor of Religious Studies at the Universiteit van Groningen, reflects on the methodological issues involved in the study of (what is called) western esotericism, and on the academic field devoted to it in the larger academic context.

Podcast episode

Episode 10: Prayer to the Gods of Night: The Near-Eastern Roots of Astrology

The earliest known science of astrology developed in Mesopotamia as one and the same science as the first known astronomy. We chart the earliest known texts and their development.

Podcast episode

Episode 84: Other Gospels and Alien Gods: Marcion of Sinope

We look at Marcion of Sinope, the final arch-heretic in our ‘unholy trinity’. Marcion compiled the first Christian textual canon – he wrote the first Bible – but this was not your grandma's Bible. Demiurgy, transcendence, and some interesting questions of textual hermeneutics abound.

Podcast episode

Episode 50: John J. Collins on Apocalyptic

In this episode Professor John J. Collins introduces a fascinating product of Second Temple Judaism, and a fertile vehicle for esoteric speculation beyond the bounds of Jewry – apocalyptic literature. All will be revealed!

Podcast episode

Episode 66: Astrology, Politics, and Platonism in the Early Empire: The Case of Thrasyllus

We look at the fascinating figure of Thrasyllus: astrologer, power-player in the imperial Roman court of Tiberius, philosopher … and editor of the works of Plato.

Podcast episode

Episode 75: The Chaldæan Oracles

We introduce one of the most extraordinary and influential texts of antiquity for the history of western esotericism: the Chaldæan Oracles. We discuss questions of authorship (Julian the Theurge, the Gods, or the Soul of Plato?) and the mythic metaphysics found in the text.

Oddcast episode

Emily Selove on the Magical Book of al-Sakkaki

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’.

Podcast episode

Episode 83: Geoffrey Smith on Valentinus and Valentinianism

Under the expert guidance of Geoffrey Smith, we explore the world-view of Valentinus – an elite intellectual Christian thinker of the second century – and his legacy – a reputation for the blackest heresy and a demiurgical Christian movement known nowadays as Valentinianism.

Oddcast episode

Marina Alexandrova Introduces Madame Blavatsky

We discuss the life and adventures of Yelena Petrovna Blavatskaya, co-founder of the Theosophical Society and one of the most (in)famous and influential spiritual thinkers of the modern age, whose life and thought changed the course of western esotericism (and western history) forever.