In this episode we look at the collection of short texts often called ‘The Visions of Zosimus’, hallucinatory dream-narratives which Zosimus relates and then interprets for us. This is the earliest extant visionary alchemical allegory, and it's serious stuff.
Podcast Episodes Themed "Alchemy"
In this, our last Zosimus Storytime episode, we discuss the ‘Final Accounting’ or ‘Final Quittance’, a work in which Zosimus lays out for Theosebia the most recondite and hardcore spiritual practice to be found in his oeuvre. Part Hermetic, part demonic, all alchemical.
We delve into On the Letter Omega, one of Zosimus of Panopolis' most cryptic and extraordinary texts (which is saying something). It turns out that to understand the technical implements of alchemy you need to understand the fall of the primordial human being into the materialised Thoth-Adam.
We fill in some of the historical, cultural, and economic background of Zosimus' life and practice with Shannon Grimes. Come for the economics of metallurgy and ancient Egyptian trade-guilds, stay for the living statues.
In an extra episode with Dr Hallum we go all-in on the tangled textual web of the Arabic Zosimus. Who wrote what, and when? We then explore the incredible Muṣḥaf al-ṣuwar, our earliest alchemical emblem book, relating the text and images, and trying to make sense of it all.
Episode 158: Bink Hallum on the Extended Zosimus
We further explore the thought of Zosimus of Panopolis with Dr Bink Hallum, whose PhD research centred on the Arabic Zosimean corpus. We cover the basic (if confusing) textual situation, and then discuss astral influences, daimones and demons, mysterious talismans, Enochic ideas, and much more.
We continue our discussion of the great Zosimus, with anecdotes from the laboratory, discussion of the rhetorics of secrecy and the esoteric in Zosimus' works, and of Zosimus' Nachleben as one of the great alchemical authorities down the ages.
Episode 157: Matteo Martelli Introduces Zosimus of Panopolis
We discuss the life, work, and thought of Zosimus of Panopolis, greatest alchemist of late antiquity, with Professor Matteo Martelli. All is One!
Episode 122: Radcliffe G. Edmonds III on the ‘Mithrasliturgie’
We discuss PGM IV 475-824, the famous ‘Mithrasliturgie’, with Radcliffe G. Edmonds III. Come for the immortalisation, divinisation, and visionary cosmic ascent, stay for the magical crocodile-surfing.
Episode 107: M. David Litwa on Deification in the Hermetica
We discuss the important Hermetic idea (or should that be ‘practice’?) of becoming divine with Dr M. David Litwa, who has devoted considerable thought to the matter of deification. A fascinating conversation emerges, and Litwa blows our mind.
Episode 105: Other Hermetic Worlds: The Asclepius and Korê Kosmou
We discuss two world-building Hermetic texts from antiquity, the Latin Asclepius and the Korê Kosmou. We have seen Hermes as visionary pupil of the divine consciousness; now we see him as ancient esoteric sage, prophet of doom, and cosmic planetary deity.
Episode 86: Matteo Martelli on the Pseudo-Democritus
In the previous episode we surveyed alchemy from its beginnings to the present day; in this episode we go back to the roots. Matteo Martelli has produced the first critical edition of the fragments of the Pseudo-Democritus, our earliest-known work of alchemy. We discuss the secrets found within its pages.
Episode 85: Introducing Alchemy with Lawrence Principe
Here it finally is: Alchemy! This interview is a superb introduction to the Hermetick Art from Lawrence Principe, a man who knows how to ‘read, read, read’, but also how to practice.
The Jews in antiquity were busy doing rituals of all sorts, many of which scholars want to call magical. They were also seen by their neighbours as especially skilled at various ritual arts which the neighbours called magical. Naomi Janowitz discusses Jewish magic and the ‘Jewish Magi’ in antiquity.
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 39: The Esoteric Aristotle, Part 2
In this episode we survey the philosophical and occult Pseudo-Aristotles of late antiquity and the middle ages, dipping into a couple of wonderful manuscripts along the way.
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 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.
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.