The Podcast

SHWEP 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.

SHWEP is an experiment in community-supported scholarship. Join now for less than one pound per week to get access to special member-only podcast episodes, take part in online discussions about each episode and help ensure the future of this unique listener-supported project

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The Darkness of God before the creation (detail, Fludd, Utriusque cosmi historia ... 1617-21). A picture's worth a thousand words? Or maybe a picture demands we keep silent in the face of the nothingness of the divine reality ....

Members only: Speaking the Silence: On Reading Apophatic Language

We explore the difficulties inherent in interpreting apophatic language if we take it really seriously. Expect roughly half an hour of complete silence.

Members only: The Writings of Clement of Alexandria

The surviving oeuvre of Clement of Alexandria hides some complicated textual issues. In this episode, not for the fainthearted, we discuss the various lost works, fragments, and alleged forgeries.

Members only: Geoffrey Smith Valentinicates Further

In a further conversation with Geoffrey Smith we try to imagine what Valentinus' circle at Rome might have looked like, we discuss the esoteric in early Christianity, and we delve into the further horizons of future research on Valentinianism.

Members only: Michael Williams on Early Christian Heterodoxies

We put a number of impossible-to-answer questions about ancient demiurgic traditions in proto-Christianity to Professor Williams, and receive some fascinating answers.

Members only: Korshi Dosoo Papyrologises Magically

We let the tape roll and get deeper into the world of ancient magic in Egypt. How secret was this stuff? And what really went on when you invoked a god to visible appearance? κρύβε!

Members only: Storytime: The Tale of Cupid and Psyche

At the heart of Apuleius' occult novel, the Metamorphoses, is one of the most influential esoteric allegories of the western tradition, the Tale of Cupid and Psyche. Join us in the wonderful literary place where fairy-tales meet metaphysical allegory.

Members only: Daniel Harris-McCoy Lives the Dream

Further discussion of Artemidorus and his dream-divination in context and in practice. We talk about Artemidorus' relationship to other forms of divination, the political implications of dreams, and much more.

Members only: Græme Miles Apollonicates Further

Apollonius of Tyana and his biographer raise fascinating questions of interpretation, both historical and esoteric. In this extended interview we explore the layered byways of interpreting the Sage of Tyana and of interpretation in Philostratus.

Members only: Beyond the ‘Underworld’ with Dylan Burns

We continue our conversation with Dylan Burns, exploring the contours of Platonist esotericism from a number of different angles.

Members only: John Dillon Platonizes Further

We continue our conversation with Professor Dillon, exploring the contours of the Middle Platonist traditions in more detail, not excluding its esoteric 'underworld'.

Members only: Frances Flannery Dreams On

Frances Flannery explores the problems of interpreting ancient accounts of visionary dreams. A wide-ranging interview featuring the first Book of Enoch, imaginal trees, and the platypus.

Members only: Matthew Neujahr on Near-Eastern Roots of Apocalyptic

We explore the fascinating parallels between Near Eastern visionary materials and the Jewish apocalyptic texts of the Second Temple. Matthew Neujahr is our guide through the shifting sands of some seriously esoteric texts, as we sift what can be proven from the speculative material.

Members only: Joel Kalvesmaki Expands Arithmetically

We continue our conversation with Joel Kalvesmaki on all manner of subjects numerical, psephical, arithmological, metaphysical, Christological, monadical, and even heretical.

Members only: Christopher Gill Gets Stoical

In this special episode we discuss the Stoic idea of fate in its several dimensions, and the Stoicism Today project, bringing practical Stoicism back in the twenty-first century.

Members only: Chris Brennan Gets Fatal(istic)

'Fix'd fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost.'

Members only: Peter Adamson On Plato and Beyond

Professor Adamson enters the speculative realm at the edges of Platonic interpretation, addressing issues ranging from the rise of the ineffable in late antique Platonism to the status of the giraffe in Plato's thought.

Members only: Adam Tetlow on Mathematics Useful for Understanding Plato

In a conversation ranging from neolithic Scotland to avant-garde Europe in the 1920s, with many stops along the way , geometer and philosopher Adam Tetlow discusses some of the crucial, and oft-ignored, arithmetical and geometrical concepts from Plato’s dialogues.

Members only: Further Travels in Atlantis with Christopher Gill

In this extended interview, Professor Gill takes us further into the imagined territory of Plato's Atlantis, noting possible historical influences and discussing attempts down the ages to interpret the strange story.

Members only: Daniel Ogden on Three Ancient Mages

Professor Ogden gets personal, discussing three wonder-working mages of antiquity whose legacy has reverberated down the ages: Apollonius of Tyana, Jesus of Nazareth, and Alexander of Abonuteichos. Come for the itinerant holy men, stay for the talking snake-god.

Members only: Robert Bolton on the (Immaterial, Immortal) Soul

The idea of a soul, a unified centre of consciousness, arises at a specific time and in specific places which we can locate historically. But what if this was not an invention, but a discovery of what had always been there? Dr Robert Bolton discussed the a priori reasons which might lead one to know that the soul is real.