The Podcast

The main SHWEP podcast is a roughly-chronological historical narrative: it starts way-back-when and moves forward from there. However, Episodes 0-4 are introductory materials. If you are a newcomer to the podcast, Episode Zero introduces the concept behind it. If you are a newcomer to the history of western esotericism, check out Episodes OneTwo and Three, which provide a lot of useful background. If you want to skip the intro and start exploring the nitty-gritty of the history of western esotericism, start with Episode Four and go from there.

If you want to explore further, be sure to check out the SHWEP Oddcast, which features interviews with specialists that have not yet been integrated into the main SHWEP chronology.

Free and members-only | Members-only | Title list

Episode 189: Danielle Layne on Proclus’ Religious Life and Thought

We are delighted to discuss what you might call Proclean spirituality with Danielle Layne. Platonic prayer as a way of living, the erotic quest for the Good, and the ever-elusive Platonic Dyad feature in a wide-ranging conversation combining proper philosophical-historical rigour with the true love of wisdom.

Episode 188: Graeme Miles on Proclus the Commentator

We discuss Proclus' titanic labours in the field of commentary – on many Platonic dialogues, but also on the Chaldæan Oracles, the Homeric poems, and a number of other texts – with Graeme Miles, an acute reader of Platonist philosophy and part of the team translating Proclus' Republic commentary into English. Come for Platonic commentary as spiritual practice, stay for the kosmic-astrological reading of the Myth of Er.

Episode 187: The Esoteric Proclus, Part II: Esoteric Exegesis and the Occult Ontology of Language

We enter the interconnected webwork of a reality where signs are things, things are signs, and everything means everything, but appropriately. Come for the visionary semiotics, stay for the occult sigils.

Members only: Edward Butler on Proclus, Part II: On (the Metaphysics of) Polytheism and Monotheism

We discuss further with Dr Butler, looking at polytheism, monotheism, and some of the metaphysics underlying both options.

Members only: Edward Butler on Proclus, Part I: ‘Henadology’

We discuss the One and the Henads in Proclus with Edward Butler. Henology meets henadology on a metaphysical terrain where gods are the primary unities.

Episode 186: The Esoteric Proclus, Part I: The Life and Thought of an Esoteric Sage

We look further into Proclus' esoteric doings, as a sage whose privileged status is marked by inspirations and epiphanies, omens and miracles. We then attempt a (shamefully oversimplified) summary of some important aspects of his (meta)physics.

Members only: Dylan Burns with the Noetic Fire: On Proclus and Christianity

We let the tape run and explore some further aspects of the life and work of the great Proclus with Dylan Burns, looking in particular at his relationship to Christianity. Come for the scholarly debate, stay for the sacrificed piglet.

Episode 185: Dylan Burns on Proclus the Successor

We welcome Dylan Burns back to the podcast to discuss the life, works, and philosophy of Proclus the Successor. ‘All in all, but appropriately to each’

Members only: Storytime: Reading Hierocles on the Golden Verses, Part II

We continue our read-through of Hierocles' Commentary, focusing in detail on the treasure-trove that is Chapter XXVI. The telestic was never so initiatory (or is it civic?)!

Members only: Storytime: Reading Hierocles on the Golden Verses, Part I

In part I of our Hierocles Storytime, we delve into the text of Hierocles' Commentary, discussing the question of Christianity, the noetic tetrad, and possible avenues of the esoteric in Hierocles' work.

Episode 184: Hierocles of Alexandria and the Pythagorean Golden Verses

We discuss Hierocles of Alexandria, student of Plutarch of Athens made good. He wrote an esoteric commentary on the poem known as the Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans. The poem is full of good advice and the Commentary tells us a lot about the nature and purification of the luminous subtle body.

Episode 183: The Great God Pan Lives: Introducing the Athenian Academy

We turn to the final flowering of polytheist Platonist philosophy, centred on Athens (and Alexandria). We review some useful historical data, discuss the history of ‘the Academy’ as a notional ‘school’ in antiquity, and introduce Plutarch of Athens and Syrianus, teachers of the great Proclus.

Members only: Ↄ. Martiana Rises to the Occasion

We let the tape roll, and engage Ↄ. Martiana in further reflections on Capella, along with guest-appearances from some other (even crazier) late-antique Latin writers. Also, we deconstruct the whole idea of late antiquity.

Episode 182: Ↄ. Martiana on Martianus Capella and the Marriage of Philology and Mercury

We discuss Martianus Capella and his extraordinary and vexing philological ascent-account, the Marriage of Philology and Mercury. Ↄ. Martiana guides us through a geocentric kosmos where liberal arts are planetary spheres, gods are physical elements, the planets are daimones, but absolutely nothing is as it seems.

Members only: Storytime: Reading Macrobius’ Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, Part II

We continue our read-through of Macrobius through a major section on arithmology, a palate-cleansing taxonomy of the virtues, and a detail-rich discussion of the descent of the soul, her acquisition of planetary subtle bodies, and a host of astrological lore both eschatological and indeed psychological.

Members only: Storytime: Reading Macrobius’ Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, Part I

We begin to read through Macrobius' Commentary with an eye for the esoteric. A whole world of literary/discursive theory opens before our eyes, wherein fictions hide the truth, the truth may be ineffable, and dreams are a weird kind of esoteric text. So what does that make a fictional dream which tells the genuine truth?

Episode 181: Macrobius and the Commentary on Scipio’s Dream

We explore the rich seam of late-antique esoteric lore that is Macrobius' Commentary on the Dream of Scipio. We discuss who Macrobius was, what he wrote, what he wrote about, and introduce who read him later on. He emerges as a crucial transmitter of astrologised, arithmologically-informed Platonism to the Latin west in the middle ages.

Members only: Mateusz Stróżyński on Spiritual Practices in Augustine

We continue our discussion of Augustine, turning to Prof Stróżyński's fruitful approach to spiritual practices as recorded (but often ignored) in the texts of Plotinus and Augustine. It emerges that there is a quiet but insistent thread of divinisation ‘hiding’ in the text of the Confessions, and that the human self may be, in a sense, god.

Members only: Mateusz Stróżyński on Augustine and Platonism

We are delighted to welcome Prof Stróżyński back to the podcast to deepen our understanding of Augustine's engagement with Platonist philosophy. The saint emerges as, in some ways, a model Plotinian thinker, in other ways something totally different from that, and, above all, as a philosophic thinker struggling with the reality of daily life in the collapsing western Roman empire.

Episode 180: Augustine of Hippo: Saint of the Exoteric

We discuss Augustine the anti-esotericist, who denies that Christianity has any esoteric dimensions. He employs the esoteric to do so. Can you trust a guy who does that?

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