Podcast Episodes Themed "Cosmic Ascent"

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

We explore the nitty-gritty of the ritual acts lying behind the theoretical discussions in the De mysteriis. Brian Alt is our guide on a journey through Iamblichean theurgy, its many parallels in Hermetica and ‘magical’ papyri from Egypt, and its echoes in earlier and later Platonism.

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

We discuss the practices lying behind the descriptions in the De mysteriis, and the theory behind the practices. Professor John Finamore is our guide through the labyrinth of evidence about theurgy.

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

We talk about theurgy: what, where, when, and, indeed, how? It's more complicated than we thought. Come for the Chaldæan Oracles, stay for the Technical Brutal Death Metal.

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

We discuss the universe of Porphyry, which is crawling with gods, powers, and daimones, and some of the ways a human being might expect to navigate such a place. The episode features a long discursus on the theory of metempsychosis and a brief discursus on divine possession.

Into the Otherworld with Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

We ask Dr Edmonds some irresponsible questions about Otherworld journeys in ancient Greek religions and beyond. We receive fascinating answers thereto.

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

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.

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

A leading scholar of the interconnections between Plotinus' thought and the thought of the Gnostics whom he disliked so much, Jean-Marc Narbonne discusses some of the Plotinian texts and ideas which make more sense if we see them in dialogue with the Gnostics.

Dylan Burns Ascends to the Plēroma

We continue our conversation with Dr Burns, concentrating on envisioning the audience for these Sethian texts and their ilk and the kinds of ritual practices we find adumbrated in the texts. Who were these Gnostics, and what were they doing?

Episode 118: Dylan Burns on Sethian Gnosticism

We discuss the Platonistic Sethian tractates and the movements which lay behind them with Copticist and scholar of Platonistic esotericism Dylan Burns. Ancient texts, methodological distinctions, cosmic catastrophe, and salvation abound.

The Secret (Life) of the One

We explore Plotinus' One and the (human) self's encounter with the One. ‘Naked with stillness, on the edge of dawn she stays.’

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

In our final episode in the Hermetica series, we discuss the way of Hermes in antiquity with Christian Hervik Bull. Come for the renunciation, immortalisation, and hypercosmic ascent, stay for the animated statues.

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 106: Silent Encounters: The Esoteric in the Ancient Hermetica

We concentrate on the elements of the esoteric in the Hermetica that we have covered in the last few episodes, and discuss C.H. XIII and The Ogdoad Reveals the Ennead, our two most esoteric Hermetica.

Storytime: Reading the Corpus Hermeticum, Part III

We complete our reading of the Hermetic corpus, looking at tractates XI-XVIII (minus C.H. XV, which doesn't exist, and C.H. XIII, which we are discussing separately). Yet more inspiration, epiphany, and bafflement awaits the reader of these texts. Come for the hypercosmic god of eternity, stay for the musical cicada.

Storytime: Reading the Corpus Hermeticum, Part II

We continue reading, with C.H. VI-X posing all manner of baffling interpretive questions, as well as some of the most inspiring and gorgeous religious ideas from antiquity. Come for god as the hyperessential good, stay for the noetic garments of fire.

Storytime: Reading the Corpus Hermeticum, Part I

In this special episode we delve into the Corpus Hermeticum, seeking commonalities, differences, and the elusive threads which might help us figure out what is special about the theoretical Hermetic tradition in antiquity.

Episode 104: Wouter Hanegraaff on the Poimandres

Wouter Hanegraaff has been reading the Poimandres with great attention. Come for the visionary encounter with the divine nous, stay for cosmogenesis-as-love-story.

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

As the podcast enters the third century, we discuss the parameters of ‘late antiquity’, and what makes something ‘late-antique’. Special bonus material: the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire!

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

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.