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 154: Paul Pasquesi on Christian Asceticism in the Late-Antique Syriac World

Members only: Into Coptic Magic with Korshi Dosoo

Episode 153: Korshi Dosoo on Early Christian Magic

Episode 152: Prolegomena to Christian Magic

Episode 151: The Testament of Solomon and the Solomonic Tradition, Part II

Episode 150: The Testament of Solomon and the Solomonic Tradition, Part I

Episode 149: Exploring the Sefer ha-Razim

Members only: Beyond Curse-Tablets with Sarah Veale

Episode 148: Curses! Sarah Veale on Roman ‘Curse-Tablets’

Members only: Daniel Waller Bowls On

Episode 147: Daniel James Waller on the Jewish Incantation-Bowls

Episode 146: Gideon Bohak on Late-Antique Jewish Magic

Episode 145: Thinking through Monotheism, Henotheism, Polytheism, and Dualism in Late Antiquity

Episode 144: Politics and Religion in Late Antiquity, Part II: The Rise of Christianity and the Invention and Eclipse of ‘Paganism’

Episode 143: Politics and Religion in Late Antiquity, Part I: Geopolitics, Empire, and Rabbinic Judaism

Episode 142: Run the Numbers: The Theology of Arithmetic

Members only: Brian Alt on Iamblichus, Late-Antique Egypt, and Ritual

Episode 141: Brian Alt on Sacred Materials, Divine Names, and Subtle Physiology in Iamblichean Theurgy

Members only: Danielle Layne on Synthemata, Late-Platonist Ritual Praxis, and Weird Platonism

Members only: Gregory Shaw (Briefly) Divinises the Soul

Episode 140: Gregory Shaw on the Phenomenology of Iamblichean Theurgy

Members only: John Finamore Ascends to the Noetic Triad (While Still in the Body)

Episode 139: John Finamore on Iamblichean Theurgy in Theory and Practice

Episode 138: The Great Theurgy Debate: Porphyry’s Letter to Anebo, Iamblichus’ Response, and the Question(s) of Ritual

Members only: Storytime: Reading Eunapius of Sardis’ Lives of Philosophers and Sophists

Episode 137: The Esoteric Iamblichus

Episode 136: The ‘Greater Kinds’, Souls, and Kosmos: Iamblichus’ Philosophy, Part II

Episode 135: Esoteric Hermeneutics, Divine Hierarchy, and the Ineffable: The Philosophy of Iamblichus, Part I

Episode 134: Introducing Iamblichus of Chalcis

Episode 133: A Word to Conjure With: On ‘Theurgy’ in Late Antiquity and Beyond

Members only: The Theory of the Soul-Vehicle in Late-Antique Platonism and Islamicate Medical Sciences

Episode 132: Astral Accretions, Fate, and the Resurrection-Body: Other Subtle Bodies of Antiquity

Episode 131: Soul-Flight, Noetic Bodies, and Pneumatic Vehicles: Toward a History of the Platonist Subtle Body

Episode 130: Methodologies for Studying the Subtle Body

Episode 129: Nilüfer Akçay on Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs

Members only: Storytime: A cavern pleasant, though involv’d in night. Reading Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs, Part II

Members only: Storytime: A cavern pleasant, though involv’d in night. Reading Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs, Part I

Episode 128: Porphyry and the Barbarians: Ethnicity, Religious Practice, and Esoteric Interpretation

Episode 127: Dorian Greenbaum on Porphyry and Astrology

Members only: The Anonymous Commentary on the Parmenides, Porphyry, and the Sethian Gnostics

Members only: Noetic Triads and Lost Palimpsests: Introducing the Anonymous Commentary on the Parmenides

Episode 126: Porphyry’s Gods: The Metaphysics and Physics of Divinity

Episode 125: ‘Poet, Philosopher, Hierophant’: Introducing Porphyry of Tyre

Members only: Ivan Miroshnikov on the Gospel of Thomas, Part II

Members only: Ivan Miroshnikov on the Gospel of Thomas, Part I

Members only: Charles M. Stang Doubles Down

Episode 124: Charles M. Stang on the Divine Double in Late Antiquity

Members only: Jason BeDuhn Separates the Light from the Darkness

Episode 123: Jason BeDuhn on Mani and Manichæism

Members only: Into the Otherworld with Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Episode 122: Radcliffe G. Edmonds III on the ‘Mithrasliturgie’

Episode 121: Mithras and the Stars: Astral Elements in the Cult of Mithras

Episode 120: Mysteries of the Rock-Born God: The Roman Cult of Mithras

Episode 119: Jean-Marc Narbonne on Plotinus in Dialogue with the Gnostics

Members only: Dylan Burns Ascends to the Plēroma

Episode 118: Dylan Burns on Sethian Gnosticism

Members only: The Secret (Life) of the One

Episode 117: The Esoteric Plotinus, Part II: Unsaying the Real

Members only: Marilynn Lawrence Casts the Chart

Episode 116: Plotinus on Astrology with Marilynn Lawrence

Episode 115: The Esoteric Plotinus, Part I: Philosophic Silence and Esoteric Reading

Episode 114: Plotinus the Magician? Ritual Practice and Power in Platonism

Members only: Ascending Further with Mateusz Stróżyński

Episode 113: Mateusz Stróżyński on Spiritual Practices in Plotinus

Members only: The Secret Life of the Undescended Self

Episode 112: We are the One: Plotinus’ Participatory Metaphysics

Members only: Ammonius, Origen, and Plotinus: Exploring an Enigma

Members only: Was Plotinus a Platonist? Lineage, Identity, and Scholarship

Episode 111: ‘The Philosopher of our Time’: Introducing Plotinus

Episode 110: Matthew Neujahr on the Sibylline Oracles

Episode 109: Christian Bull on the Way of Hermes in Antiquity

Members only: Anna van den Kerchove Hermeticises Further

Episode 108: Anna van den Kerchove on the Hermetic Way in Antiquity

Members only: Litwa Expands on the Hermetic Reception

Episode 107: M. David Litwa on Deification in the Hermetica

Episode 106: Silent Encounters: The Esoteric in the Ancient Hermetica

Members only: Storytime: Reading the Corpus Hermeticum, Part III

Members only: Storytime: Reading the Corpus Hermeticum, Part II

Members only: Storytime: Reading the Corpus Hermeticum, Part I

Episode 105: Other Hermetic Worlds: The Asclepius and Korê Kosmou

Episode 104: Wouter Hanegraaff on the Poimandres

Episode 103: Corpus Hermeticum I, the Poimandres

Episode 102: Professor Christian Wildberg on Emending the Corpus Hermeticum

Members only: Philhellenism and the Egyptian Other: Wouter Hanegraaff on Reading the Hermetica

Episode 101: Brian Copenhaver on the Hermetica

Episode 100: Thrice-Greatest Hermes

Episode 99: Total War: Polemical Esotericism in the Contra Celsum

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

Members only: Claire Hall on Prophecy in Origen

Members only: Aron Reppmann on Origen: Castration, Rejection, and Redemption

Episode 97: Aron Reppmann Introduces Origen of Alexandria

Members only: Speaking the Silence: On Reading Apophatic Language

Episode 96: From Word to Silence: The Rise of the Apophatic in Late Antiquity

Episode 95: The Third Century and (the Long) Late Antiquity

Members only: An Antidote to Esotericism: Karen ní Mheallaigh on Lucian of Samosata

Episode 94: Becoming Gods: Divinisation and Angelomorphic Transformation in Clement

Episode 93: Henny Fiskå Hägg on Clement’s Apophatic Writing

Members only: Storytime: Exploring Book V of the Stromateis, Part II

Members only: Storytime: Exploring Book V of the Stromateis, Part I

Episode 92: Lifting the Veil: Esoteric Reading in Clement’s Stromateis

Episode 91: Mystagogic Patchwork: Esoteric Writing in Clement’s Stromateis

Members only: The Writings of Clement of Alexandria

Episode 90: The Orthodox Gnostic: Introducing Clement of Alexandria

Episode 89: The Astrology of Vettius Valens

Episode 88: Claudius Ptolemy and the Tetrabiblos

Episode 87: Numerical Mysteries: Nichomachus of Gerasa, Arithmology, and Second-Century Neopythagoreanism

Episode 86: Matteo Martelli on the Pseudo-Democritus

Episode 85: Introducing Alchemy with Lawrence Principe

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

Members only: Geoffrey Smith Valentinicates Further

Episode 83: Geoffrey Smith on Valentinus and Valentinianism

Episode 82: I Got Soul, And I’m Super Bad: Basilides of Alexandria

Members only: The Ascension of Isaiah and the Second-Century Christian Esoteric

Episode 81: Warfaring Strangers: Prolegomena to Second-Century Christianity

Members only: Michael Williams on Early Christian Heterodoxies

Episode 80: Michael Williams on the Trouble with ‘Gnosticism’

Episode 79: Alone with the Alone: Numenius’ Metaphysics

Episode 78: Inter philosophos occultorum curiosior: Numenius of Apamea

Members only: Korshi Dosoo Papyrologises Magically

Episode 77: Korshi Dosoo on the Papyri Græcæ Magicæ and Western Esotericism

Members only: Sarah Iles Johnston on Hekatē

Episode 76: The Chaldæan Oracles and Theurgy

Episode 75: The Chaldæan Oracles

Episode 74: I’m Not Sorry: The Apology of Apuleius

Members only: Storytime: The Tale of Cupid and Psyche

Episode 73: Ineffable Initiations and Golden Asses: Apuleius of Madauros and the Metamorphoses

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

Members only: Daniel Harris-McCoy Lives the Dream

Episode 71: Daniel Harris-McCoy on the Oneirocritica of Artemidorus

Episode 70: Gil Renberg on Incubation

Episode 69: Plutarch’s Myths of Cosmic Ascent

Episode 68: Plutarch’s On Isis and Osiris

Episode 67: An Erudite Esotericist: Introducing Plutarch of Chæronea

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

Members only: Græme Miles Apollonicates Further

Episode 65: Graeme Miles on Apollonius of Tyana

Members only: The Esoteric New Testament, Part III: John and Apocalypse

Members only: The Esoteric New Testament, Part II: Paul and the ‘Mysteries’

Members only: The Esoteric New Testament, Part I: The Gospel of Mark

Episode 64: The Enigma of Early Christianity

Members only: Beyond the ‘Underworld’ with Dylan Burns

Episode 63: Dylan Burns on the ‘Underworld of Platonism’

Members only: John Dillon Platonizes Further

Episode 62: John Dillon on Middle Platonism

Episode 61: The Esoteric and the State in Ancient Rome, Part 2: The State and the Stars

Episode 60: The Esoteric and the State in Ancient Rome, Part 1: Late Republican Esotericism

Episode 59: Introducing Rome

Episode 58: Justin Rogers on Philo in Early Christianity

Episode 57: The Esoteric Philo

Episode 56: The First Western Esotericist: Philo of Alexandria

Episode 55: Naomi Janowitz on Jewish Magic and ‘The Jewish Magi’ in Antiquity

Members only: Frances Flannery Dreams On

Episode 54: Frances Flannery on Jewish Dreams in Antiquity

Episode 53: Palaces of Heavenly Wisdom: The Hekhalot and Merkavah Traditions

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

Episode 52: Enoch, Apocalyptic, and Abrahamic Faith

Episode 51: Enoch and the Book of Watchers

Episode 50: John J. Collins on Apocalyptic

Episode 49: The Long Secret History of the Jews Part II: Second-Temple Judaism

Episode 48: Pythagoras Revived: An Anatomy of Neopythagoreanism

Members only: Joel Kalvesmaki Expands Arithmetically

Episode 47: The Numbers Don’t Lie: Joel Kalvesmaki on ‘Pythagorean’ Number

Episode 46: After Pythagoras

Episode 45: Stoic Physics and Esoteric Metaphysics

Episode 44: Esoteric Hermeneutics in Stoicism

Members only: Christopher Gill Gets Stoical

Episode 43: Christopher Gill on Stoicism

Members only: Chris Brennan Gets Fatal(istic)

Episode 42: Chris Brennan on Hellenistic Astrology

Episode 41: Fate and Foreknowledge: Toward Hellenistic Astrology

Episode 40: Wheels Within Wheels: Toward Western Esoteric Cosmology

Episode 39: The Esoteric Aristotle, Part 2

Episode 38: The Esoteric Aristotle, Part I

Members only: Peter Adamson On Plato and Beyond

Episode 37: Peter Adamson on Plato

Members only: Plato’s Cratylus: Esoteric Etymology and the Language of the Gods

Episode 36: Plato’s Parmenides and Metaphysics

Episode 35: Mystery and Immortality: Plato’s Phædo

Episode 34: Mystery and Initiation in Plato

Episode 33: Nowhere to Go But Up: Philosophic Ascent in Plato

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

Members only: Adam Tetlow on Mathematics Useful for Understanding Plato

Episode 31: Sun, Line, Cave: Plato’s Inner Republic

Episode 30: Introducing Plato’s Republic

Episode 29: Otherworlds, Inner Worlds, and Utopias

Members only: Further Travels in Atlantis with Christopher Gill

Episode 28: Christopher Gill on Plato’s Atlantis

Episode 27: Plato’s Timæus

Episode 26: The Birth of the Symbol: Peter Struck on Ancient Greek Esoteric Hermeneutics

Episode 25: The Esoteric Plato

Episode 24: Introducing the Father of Western Esotericism: Plato

Members only: The Greek Iatromanteis: Katabasis, Metempsychosis, Soul-Flight, and the Question of ‘Shamanism’

Episode 23: Miguel Herrero de Jauregui on Ancient ‘Orphism’

Episode 22: Severed Heads and Cosmic Eggs: Orpheus and Esotericism

Episode 21: Elementary: Empedocles and the Secret History of the Elements

Episode 20: All for One, and One for All: Parmenides of Elea

Episode 19: Riddle Me This: Heraclitus of Ephesus

Episode 18: Don’t Spill the Beans: Pythagorean Silence

Episode 17: The Enigma of Pythagoreanism

Episode 16: The Enigma of Pythagoras

Episode 15: For the Love of Wisdom: The Birth of Philosophy

Episode 14: Methodologies for the Study of Mysticism

Episode 13: From Mystery to ‘Mysticism’

Episode 12: Richard Seaford on the Mysteries

Episode 11: The Long Secret History of Judaism, Part I

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

Episode 9: Esoteric Orientalism Part II: The Greeks are Always Children?

Episode 8: Esoteric Orientalism Part I: Ancient Barbarian Sages

Episode 7: We’re Together In Dreams: Dreaming and Western Esotericism

Members only: Daniel Ogden on Three Ancient Mages

Episode 6: Magicians, Ghosts, Amulets, and Spells: Daniel Ogden on Græco-Roman Magic

Episode 5: Methodologies for the Study of Magic

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

Members only: Seaford on Soul, Ritual, and Money

Episode 4: Richard Seaford on the Origins of the Soul

Members only: Kocku von Stuckrad on Western Esotericism

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

Members only: Wouter Hanegraaff on Western Esotericism

Episode 3: Wouter Hanegraaff on Western Esotericism

Episode 2: A Secret History of Secret History, Part II

Episode 1: A Secret History of Secret History, Part I

So What is Western Esotericism, Anyway?