We discuss all the amazing astral imagery associated with Mithraic temples, the extraordinary testimonies to ascent of the Mithraic soul given by Celsus and Porphyry, and ask what it all means. Salvation, astral ascent, initiatory mysteries, and weird planetary orderings abound.
Podcast Episodes Themed "Astronomy"
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.
We discuss Clement's endgame, where the Gnostic encounters god face-to-face after a lengthy transformative evolution into higher and higher spiritual forms. Things get seriously esoteric.
In the first of a two-part episode, we read through Book V of Clement's Stromateis, which contains, among other things, perhaps the fullest surviving exposition on types of esoteric discourse from antiquity. Come for the ainigmata and symbola, stay for Abraham the astrologer.
Episode 89: The Astrology of Vettius Valens
We examine the life, work, and legacy of Vettius Valens, second-century Roman astrologer and author of the Anthologies, the most hard-core practical handbook of astrological practice which survives from antiquity.
Episode 88: Claudius Ptolemy and the Tetrabiblos
We discuss Claudius Ptolemy (no relation), synthesiser of Hellenistic astronomy/astrology to the mediæval world and beyond, and his two great works, the Almagest and the Tetrabiblos. Come for the naturalistic account of astral causation, stay for the planetary talismans.
We trace the rise of the Hellenistic divinatory art of astrology through the Roman Republic into the first century of the Empire, and investigate how an esoteric science became a matter of highest concern to the Roman state. Expect uprisings, assassinations, and executions. Astrology used to be really exciting.
The first true western esotericist: Philo of Alexandria. In this episode we come to grips with what makes him so western, what makes him so esoteric, and introduce his fascinating life and work.
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 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!
'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.
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.
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.
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.
Plato looked up with his intellect; the world of eternal truths he fixed his inner gaze on was located above the earthly realm. In this episode we examine the accounts which he gives us of the journey there.
Episode 30: Introducing Plato’s Republic
Plato’s Republic is widely regarded as his masterwork. It is complex and sly. We introduce the dialogue and try to come to grips with it in a general way, noting the intricate structure of the text itself.
Episode 27: Plato’s Timæus
In this episode we introduce Plato’s Timæus, the father of western esotericism’s single most influential dialogue. With this work Plato set the scene for pretty much all subsequent esoteric thought. Dig infinity!
The earliest known science of astrology developed in Mesopotamia as one and the same science as the first known astronomy. We chart the earliest known texts and their development.