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.

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Episode 5: Methodologies for the Study of Magic

So what is magic, anyway? If you think the way magic works is mysterious and occult, try defining what the word ‘magic’ means! This episode discusses some methodological problems with the term ‘magic’, and what we can (and can't) do about them.

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.

Members only: Seaford on Soul, Ritual, and Money

Professor Seaford gets serious.

Episode 4: Richard Seaford on the Origins of the Soul

The idea of an inner self, a soul, arises more or less simultaneously in Greece and India in the sixth century BCE. Why? Richard Seaford has a theory.

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).

Members only: Wouter Hanegraaff on Western Esotericism

Professor Wouter Hanegraaff expands on the history of Renaissance Hermetism and gives an insider account of the history of the modern academic study of western esotericism.

Episode 3: Wouter Hanegraaff on Western Esotericism

Professor Wouter J. Hanegraaff, head of the Centre for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam, on researching western esotericism, the history of the field, and ‘rejecting the rejection of rejected knowledge’.

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

We continue our survey of the history of western esotericism, from the medieval era to modern times. More esoteric cocktails are mixed and, in the process, we gain some insight into the contours of the later western esoteric traditions.

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

A lightning summary of key major elements of western esotericism from late antiquity up to the middle ages, featuring a foray into the esoteric art of imaginal cocktail-mixing.

So What is Western Esotericism, Anyway?

An introduction to the podcast, discussing briefly what we mean by ‘western esotericism’. This episode also answers the burning question, ‘What’s so “secret” about The Secret History of Western Esotericism Podcast?’ and features a short quiz to test your knowledge of western esoteric history.