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.

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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.

Episode 54: Frances Flannery on Jewish Dreams in Antiquity

In an interview bringing together both the visionary narratives of apocalyptic and the practical side of the Hekhalot traditions, Professor Frances Flannery leads us through the corridors of dreaming and the esoteric in antique Judaism.

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

We give an overview of the complex and fascinating Hekhalot and Merkavah texts, works not only describing the journey to God’s throne, but giving instructions on how to get there, and not merely enumerating the angelic hierarchies, but giving the tools to summon and command them.

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.

Episode 52: Enoch, Apocalyptic, and Abrahamic Faith

In this episode we explore further the amazing work 1 Enoch, taking in along the way ruminations on the history of the west, debates about the identity of the Enochic authors, and some hints as to the development of the Enochic tradition as a western esoteric ‘scripture’.

Episode 51: Enoch and the Book of Watchers

The text known as 1 Enoch is perhaps the greatest work of apocalyptic literature, and a kind of esoteric scripture within Judaism, Christianity, and Gnosticism. We meet the text and look at the evil giants and celestial visions of its first part, the Book of Watchers.

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!

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

Judaism starts to get seriously esoteric in the time known as the Second Temple period. This episode gives some basic historical points of reference for this era of Jewish antiquity, setting the stage for the visionary journeys, apocalyptic revelations, and magic to come.

Episode 48: Pythagoras Revived: An Anatomy of Neopythagoreanism

After the final Pythagorean died, all was quiet. And then, suddenly, people started going around calling themselves Pythagoreans. Growing long beards. Hailing Pythagoras as an ancient magus-sage. Positing a monad as the ultimate source of reality. Welcome to Neopythagoreanism.

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.

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

Whenever anyone does something other than arithmetic with numbers, the name Pythagoras tends to crop up. Exactly how this strange situation came about is a fascinating story, and Dr Kalvesmaki has done groundbreaking work on the subject. This episode is a superb introduction to the origins of ‘gematria’ and arithmology.

Episode 46: After Pythagoras

When we last visited the Pythagoreans, they were going through some difficult times. In this episode we discuss what happened next. Pythagoreanism is dead, long live Pythagoreanism!

Episode 45: Stoic Physics and Esoteric Metaphysics

The Stoics had a naturalistic physical theory which, strangely, had a huge influence both on esoteric spirituality and on occult sciences. In this, our final episode on Stoicism, we discuss three key terms from Stoic physics and their surprising afterlives in western esotericism.

Episode 44: Esoteric Hermeneutics in Stoicism

The contribution of Stoicism to the art of esoteric reading, both of texts and of the secret correspondences within the universe, is little studied. This episode sifts the evidence to set the record straight.

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.

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.

Members only: Chris Brennan Gets Fatal(istic)

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

Episode 42: Chris Brennan on Hellenistic Astrology

Historical discussions often fail to help us 'get inside' the subject we are looking at. In this episode we talk to Chris Brennan, Hellenistic astrologer and historian, for some theoretical and practical light on the realities of ancient astrology.

Episode 41: Fate and Foreknowledge: Toward Hellenistic Astrology

The synthesis of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek sciences of the stars gave rise to the art of astrology in Hellenistic Egypt. Astrology went on to become a defining aspect of western culture, and the master-discipline of western esotericism. We look at how it happened.

Episode 40: Wheels Within Wheels: Toward Western Esoteric Cosmology

We are moving with astral ineluctability toward the birth of true astrology in the Hellenistic period. But first we need to get from Mesopotamian astronomy to the Greek world. This episode bridges the gap between middle-eastern astral science and the Hellenistic flourishing of Greek astronomy.