Posts Tagged ‘Western Esotericism’
Correspondences. An online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism.
Call for papers. Deadline: feb. 28, 2013.
Correspondences seeks to create a public academic forum devoted to discussion and exposition of issues and currents in the field commonly known as ‘Western Esotericism.’ The editors acknowledge that the use of “Western esotericism” as an umbrella term for a widely variant field of alternate scientific and religious ideas is problematic. Thus, articles related to esoteric currents from other global cultural centers may be accepted if a connection to “alternative” currents in “western culture” is implicitly established.
The following list of areas of study is provided for clarification: Alchemy, Anthroposophy, Astrology, Eco-spirituality, Esoteric art, literature, and music, Freemasonry, Geomancy, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Illuminism, Initiatory secret societies, Kabbalah, Magic, Mesmerism, Mysticism, Naturphilosophie, Neo-paganism, New Age, Occultism, Occulture, Paracelsianism, Rosicrucianism, Satanism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Traditionalism, Ufology, Witchcraft.
Correspondences encourages submissions from a variety of methodological and disciplinary approaches, such as: History of Religions; Sociology; Art History; Philosophy; History of Science; Literature; ; and Cultural Studies, just to name a few.
Jimmy Elwing, rMA student, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Aren Roukema, rMA student, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Egil Asprem, MA, Researcher, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Dr. Henrik Bogdan, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Dr. Juan Pablo Bubello, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dr. Dylan Burns, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dr. Peter Forshaw, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Christian Giudice, PhD student, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Dr. Amy Hale, St. Petersburg College, United States.
Prof. Boaz Huss, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
Prof. Birgit Menzel, Universität Mainz, Germany.
More Information, please contact us at
This sad news has just come to me in a forwarded email:
It is with great sadness and regret that we must inform our ESSWE colleagues of the death of Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke after a brief illness. Nicholas was the director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism at the University of Exeter, where together with his wife Clare he had built a world-class distance learning institute for postgraduate research in our field. He will also be well known to you all as the author of a number of insightful works on the history of Western esotericism, most notably his books concerning the relation of esotericism to fascist and far-right ideologies. Through his work Nicholas expressed his great love for the history, culture and peoples of both England and Germany, and in the course of a distinguished academic career he brought his considerable intellect to bear upon their respective esoteric traditions. With his passing we have lost a wise and much-loved teacher, an incisive scholarly mind and a jovial and kind-hearted friend.
Hereward Tilton (University of Exeter)
Wouter Hanegraaff (President of ESSWE)
[ link for ESSWE www.esswe.0rg/ ]
The link below is to Professor Goodrick-Clarke’s Exeter University page
ESSWE European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism
Call for Papers – Esoteric Traditions in the Ancient and Modern World
Date(s): July 12, 2012 -to- July 24, 2012
Location: Alexandria, Egypt
6 days in Alexandria Tour (optional):
3-day cruise on the Nile
3 days in Cairo
Conference description: the purpose of the Conference will be to examine the source and foundations of the mystery and esoteric traditions; their expressions and nuances in the ancient and contemporary world along with the interface between ancient wisdom and modern scientific paradigms.
As we will be returning to the cradle of so-called “Western Esotericism” for this event, the Conference will be focusing upon the Hermeticism of Alexandria, neo-Platonism, former ancient Mysteries, and the modern Theosophical Movement; in view of their phenomenology, social impact, and nuances in the shaping of cultural and spiritual aspects of the contemporary western world.
Special emphasis will be given to the Theosophical Society; its foundational structures and orientation, successions, impact, and its role as an artery in the continuation of esoteric culture and Higher Age teachings within the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Suggested topics, not compulsory: – Ancient Mystery Traditions. – The Hermeticism of Alexandria. – Neo-Platonism. – The Star-Lore of Ancient Egypt. – Theosophical Connections with Egyptian Traditions. – The Brotherhood of Luxor and its influence on the Theosophical Society. – Successions in the Theosophical Society [The Judge Case,etc.] – The Theosophical Movement in the 3rd Millennium. – Ancient Wisdom & Modern Science. – Modern Physics & the Secret Doctrine. Categories of Submissions There are five categories of submissions: papers, panel, workshops, round-table and short documentaries:
Papers: All online submissions must be in one of four formats: MS Word for Windows, MS Word for Mac, PDF, or Rich Text Format. All tables, graphs, and pictures associated with your submission must be included with the main text in a single document. Submissions must be completed and received before July 2011. Additional information: Title, author(s) short biography, 200-words abstract.
Panel Session: Panel title, description, chair/discussant, presentation titles, abstracts, and any other required information. It is required for presenters to submit a 150-word abstract; you also need to prepare a 400-word rationale for your panel proposal and a 75-word panel description for the conference program. Panels can contain up to four papers with no more than 1.000 words each paper. These must be completed before July 2011.
Workshops: You should submit an overview of the workshop structure, including key topics to be addressed, the equipment necessary, duration, aims and a 150-word abstract. These must be completed before July 2011.
Round-tables: Round-table proposals (same submission criteria as panel proposals) and must be completed before July 2011.
Short Documentaries: Short documentaries between 5 to 15 minutes, must be submitted on DVD NTSC or PAL (please test before sending). These must be received before July 2011. Short documentaries must be available for screening during the Conference on July 2012. Eligibility: You do not need to be a member of any Theosophical organization to submit a paper or proposal for the conference.
Simply send your proposal to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference attendance: If your panel, paper, workshop or round-table proposal is accepted for the conference, you have a commitment to register for and attend the conference and perform your assigned role. If extenuating circumstances prevent you from attending, you should find a substitute to perform your duties and notify the program committee.
Conference registration: Submission of your paper or proposal does NOT automatically register you for the conference itself. If your paper or proposal is accepted for presentation at the conference “Esoteric Traditions in the Ancient and Modern World” you will be notified and then must register for the conference and pay the conference fee. Details about the conference registration will be soon available.
E-mail address: Each conference participant must use one and only one e-mail address for all submissions.
Program Committee: Alistair Coombs (UK), Nikos Fokas (GR), George Georgiades (GR), Erica Georgiades (GR), J.S. Gordon (UK). Conference chairwoman: Erica Georgiades.
Date(s): July 12, 2012 -to- July 24, 2012
Location: Alexandria, Egypt
For more information: For further information check the conference homepage at
AUGUST 27-29, 2012
Wouter J. Hanegraaff,
Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, University of Amsterdam
Christopher Partridge, Religious Studies, Lancaster University
Kocku von Stuckrad, Study of Religion, Groningen University
Deadline for Abstracts: March 30, 2012
Submit your abstract (approx. 200 words) along with a brief academic CV (approx 1 page) to: ContEso2012@gmail.com
The academic study of Western esotericism has blossomed in recent years; University departments and MA programs have been established, book series and journals launched, academic societies founded, and several international conferences and panels are organized every year. There is, however, still a major gap in scholarship on esotericism: very little research exists on contemporary phenomena. While some present-day phenomena related to esotericism, such as ‘New Age spiritualities’ and (neo)paganism, have been the focus of scholars in other fields, scholars working in the field of esotericism have largely neglected such developments. With a focus on early modern phenomena, scholarship in the field of Western esotericism has been predominantly historiographical in its approach, with a common reluctance to incorporate social scientific approaches. In recent years, however, serious attempts have been made to develop sociological approaches to the study of the esoteric/occult which are both compatible with historical approaches and forgo the biased presumptions of yesteryear. A fundamental challenge for the study of contemporary esoteric phenomena is that it is not sufficient to simply transpose theories, definitions and methodologies developed for the study of e.g. Renaissance magic to later manifestations of the esoteric. Studying contemporary phenomena poses intriguing possibilities, such as the opportunity to study esotericism in lived contexts, which unavoidably also introduce new problems. In general, several theoretical and methodological concerns need to be addressed if a proper study of contemporary esotericism is to succeed.
The primary aim of this conference is to place contemporary phenomena on the agenda of the study of esotericism. Thus we welcome papers dealing with contemporary and recent developments in “classic” esoteric currents – e.g. within Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and ritual magical currents – as well as esoteric developments of particular relevance today – e.g. Chaos Magick, Satanism, and (neo)paganism. We also strongly encourage papers dealing with theoretical and methodological issues that are particularly pertinent to the study of contemporary esotericism, as well as papers dealing with the societal, cultural, political, religious etc. contexts of esotericism today. This can include discussions on the role played by the esoteric in modern politics (e.g. the new right), grassroots activism (e.g. deep ecology and the animal rights movement), science (e.g. parapsychology, neurotheology, “New Age physics”), healthcare (e.g. alternative medicine), popular culture (both entertainment media and in broader contexts such as kitsch, consumer, and fan culture), and modern interactive communications media (e.g. mediatization and the effects of changing modes of mediation), as well as the simultaneous influence of these and other fields on esoteric notions, beliefs, and practices. General theoretical discussion on the potential usefulness of sociological terms and concepts such as globalization, secularization, and the post-secular in the study of contemporary esotericism is also encouraged. The conference should function as an interdisciplinary meeting place where scholars from a multitude of disciplines and with different approaches and perspectives can come together to learn from each other.
The conference is arranged in conjunction with the 2012 EASR conference, also arranged in Stockholm, Sweden (at Södertörn University, August 23-26). Panels on esotericism, both historical and contemporary, are planned for the EASR as well, thus providing the opportunity to engage in extended discussion on these subjects, and of course lessening travel expenses.
More detailed information, including conference fee, will be made available at a later stage.
Egil Asprem, PhD Research Fellow, Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, University of Amsterdam
Kennet Granholm, Assistant Professor, History of Religions, Stockholm University
Forthcoming volume on Contemporary Esotericism
The conference will function as the launching party for Contemporary Esotericism, the first volume specifically dedicated to the study of esotericism in the present day. The volume is published by Equinox Publishing and includes eighteen articles by well-established scholars as well as innovative younger researchers in the field. For more information, see the publisher’s webpage.
PHOENIX RISING ACADEMY
Demons In The Academy?
Renouncing Rejected Knowledge, Again.
Many scholars of Western Esotericism support that its validation as a field within mainstream academia lies in the application of empiricism as the primary research method. Yet this perspective disregards a defining constituent of the object of study, namely, the symbolic perception which might also be termed imaginal epistemology. Pejoratively termed “religionism,” carrying connotations of inadequate scholarship, this formative element of esoteric thought has become the new pariah of the academic study of the field broadly termed Western Esotericism in its current form.
The concept of symbolic perception and interpretation is rooted in Western intellectual history, and its significance has been highlighted by a number of respected scholars who have proposed integrative models and approaches that combine scholarly rigour with imaginative and sympathetic
engagement. Other scholars have called for channels of dialogue and mutual understanding to be developed between scholars and practitioners in order to better understand the application and potentials of such epistemologies. However, this perspective is frequently repudiated, and scholars calling for more interdisciplinary approaches often find themselves marginalised, meeting with varying degrees of censure among their peers.
This approach is taking the field in a reductionist direction, with disquieting implications. More alarming still is the near-demonisation of such areas of inquiry in influential scholarly circles. Such interdictions have no place in centres of intellectual inquiry, and to support them with claims of “academic legitimacy” is to perpetuate the very reductionist and rationalist thinking that led to the separation of the sciences from the humanities and consigned the study of esoteric and initiatory philosophy to the backwaters of cultural and intellectual inquiry for the last three hundred years.
Even the most etic of approaches is not immune to subjectivity, and this begs the question of its adequacy for a subject whose very texts and images are directed towards inner, transformative work. Integrated approaches have been long established in many other areas of the humanities and social sciences, from art and performance, to ethnographic and behavioral perspectives. Thus the proscription of all but the most critical and rational methodologies necessarily fails to do justice to such a topic of study.
Phoenix Rising Academy wishes to explore the transdisciplinary options that may lead to more balanced and integrative approaches, while drawing attention to the very real dangers that we perceive in the insistence on objective and disinterested empiricism as the sole acceptable method for the study of these topics. To this end we invite interested parties to submit a proposal, or to join us for the discussion session at our symposium in connection with the:
Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR)
in San Francisco, California,
November 19-22, 2011.
- Five 15-20 minute keynote presentations [1.5 hrs]
- Two video-link presentations [30 mins]
- Up to eight five-minute statements [1 hr]
- Panel discussion [30 mins]
- Legitimate ways of knowing: the place of experiential knowledge and/or symbolic perception as a form of research.
- What can we learn from each other? Bridging the practitioner-scholar divide
- The esoteric polemic and rejected knowledge: a valid concern or a baseless claim?
- Why are history and discourse analysis not enough?
- Paradigms for integration and applied transdisciplinary methodology
Guidelines for proposal submission
Two keynote spots remain open, as do all the ‘statement’ segments. Precise timing will be kept, and speakers exceeding their allotted time will be asked to stop, regardless of whether they have completed their talk or not. Please help us to avoid this by ensuring that you do not exceed the allotted time.
- Keynote lectures should not exceed an absolute maximum of 17 minutes.
- Statements should not exceed an absolute maximum of 6 minutes.
- Statements should consist of a clearly framed thesis and an outline of supporting detail relevant to the symposium topic.
- Audience members will be invited to prepare one written statement or question during the symposium. These will be handed to the symposium coordinators during the intermission, and a selection will be read out during the discussion session.
With your submission please include the following:
1. Presenter information (name, mailing and e-mail addresses, phone number)
2. Type of presentation (keynote or statement)
3. Title and affiliation (institution or organization)
4. Proposal or abstract (in English, not to exceed 250 words, in PDF, or Word, or Office)
5. Biographical data (in English, not to exceed 200 words)
6. Selected track, or four keywords
Please email all submissions to
by July 15th 2011, marking “PRA Symposium”
in the subject line. All submissions will be reviewed promptly and you will be notified of the academic board’s decision within a maximum of one week after the deadline.
Phoenix Rising Academy offers full-length distance-learning courses, online seminars and webcasts in Western Esotericism, the Creative Arts, and many related topics.
Study at your own pace, from anywhere in the world, alongside accomplished scholars who combine rigorous and critical scholarship with imagination, intuition and spiritual awareness.
Distance-learning courses, events and retreats to stimulate the mind, stir the imagination, nourish the soul.
Academy Director: Sasha Chaitow
Dr Geoffrey Cornelius (founding member)
Dr Amy Hale
Dr Simon Magus
Dr Stanley Sfekas
Dr George Sieg
Dr Hereward Tilton
Romana Turina (founding member)
Dr Angela Voss (founding member)
Dr Jason Lawton Winslade
For full details see:
The Law Quod at Michigan State Univesity
Paper proposals are now welcome for the fourth North American international conference on esotericism, with a special focus on
Esotericism, Magic, and Radicalism
To be held June 17-20, 2010 at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Jointly sponsored by the Association for the Study of Esotericism, the Societas Magica, and
JSR: Journal for the Study of Radicalism
The many and varied associations between esoteric religion, magic, and radical politics are all more urgently in need of study in an era of rapidly increasing globalization. However these associations are not new, and indeed have a long and complex history. The connections between esoteric religions and politics may be specular and fantastic (as in the accusations of conspiracy so often leveled at witches and heretics), or may be very real (as with the movement led by the Franciscan Bernard Délicieux to suppress the inquisition against the Cathars in Southern France; Bernard was later accused of political sorcery himself). From early Gnostic movements to Rosicrucianism to recent movements like Traditionalism and its offshoots, figures and groups within Western esotericism have been seen, variously, as progressive, conservative, or radical. Many esoteric movements, groups, and individuals have tended either to gain some autonomy from normative religious or political institutions, or to set themselves up as a rarefied elite within such institutions through their beliefs and practices. Often, such figures, groups, or movements are much more complex in their political dimensions than it may at first appear.
Although we will consider paper and panel proposals on the whole gamut of themes and topics under the rubric of Western esotericism, as outlined below, we are particularly interested in providing a venue to explore the interconnections between esotericism and various political and social movements. What are the political associations of figures and groups within Western esotericism? What does it mean to say that a given figure or group within Western esotericism is “radical”? How have charges of magical practice been allied with political accusations against minority groups, and in what ways? We expect that most papers will offer insight into some aspect of the history of Western esotericism, but we also are interested in papers from sociological, anthropological, literary critical or other academic approaches with an eye to political implications or controversies.
There are multiple publishing opportunities associated with the conference. We will publish a subsequent volume in our ASE book series Studies in Esotericism, on the conference theme of Esotericism and Politics, and some papers may also be accepted as articles in JSR: Journal for the Study of Radicalism or the journal Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft affiliated with the Societas Magica.
We encourage submission of proposals for articles on subjects that belong to one or more of the following general categories:
1. Esotericism in Antiquity: Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Platonism 2.History of Magic and Magical Practices from Antiquity to the Present 3.Medieval and Renaissance Esotericism 4.Early Modern Esotericism in Europe and North America a. alchemy, astrology; the history of science, technology, magic, and medicine b. folk magical traditions in North America (Pennsylvania Dutch, Appalachian, and other forms) 5.Nineteenth Century Forms of Esotericism:
History of Magic and Secrecy in Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Music, or Art 6.Twentieth Century Forms of Esotericism: History of Art, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Magic 7.New Religious Movements and the Contemporary Study of Esotericism 8.Asian Influences on European and North American forms of Esotericism 9.Methods and Approaches to the Study of Esotericism 10. Other paper subjects that pertain to Western esotericism, including the history of mysticism.
We welcome scholars from a wide range of perspectives, including anthropology, American studies, art history, history, history of religions, literature, philosophy, religious studies, sociology-the full range of academic disciplines and fields that bear upon this area of study. Papers should approach subjects analytically. This is an interdisciplinary field of research, and we believe everyone will benefit from the cross-fertilization of perspectives. We are also interested in panel discussions on interdisciplinary approaches to the field.
If you wish to submit a paper proposal for review and possible presentation at the conference, please send it by regular email to conference organizers at
No attachments, please: simply copy and paste your abstract into ordinary email. Please limit abstracts to one single-spaced page or less, and please also include a short c.v. or biographical paragraph.
The deadline for paper proposals is December 15, 2009, but we would encourage that proposals be sent sooner rather than later. Each proposal will be reviewed by an academic committee and because of time constraints, we can only accept a limited number of papers.
You should receive our response within four to six weeks.
The Association for the Study of Esotericism [ASE] For more information on the ASE and our conference, see our website at http://www.aseweb.org
THIS IS A CALL FOR PAPERS FOR THE SECOND CCWE CONFERENCE
to be held on Saturday 11th October 2008
in the Unitarian Memorial Church in Cambridge CB1 1JW UK
WESTERN ESOTERICISM & THE ARTS
The Association for the Study of Esotericism website http://www.aseweb.org gives the following useful definition of esotericism:
The word “esoteric” derives from the Greek esoterikos, and is a comparative form of eso, meaning “within.” Its first known mention in Greek is in Lucian’s ascription to Aristotle of having “esoteric” [inner] and “exoteric” [outer] teachings. The word later came to designate the secret doctrines said to have been taught by Pythagoras to a select group of disciples, and, in general, to any teachings designed for or appropriate to an inner circle of disciples or initiates. In this sense, the word was brought into English in 1655 by Stanley in his History of Philosophy.
Esotericism, as an academic field, refers to the study of alternative or marginalized religious movements or philosophies whose proponents in general distinguish their own beliefs, practices, and experiences from public, institutionalized religious traditions. Among areas of investigation included in the field of esotericism are alchemy, astrology, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Kabbalah, magic, mysticism, Neoplatonism, new religious movements connected with these currents, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century occult movements, Rosicrucianism, secret societies, and theosophy.
It is also important to consider that the major world religions have all been influenced in various ways by esotericism, and Western esotericism has influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Artists in the literary, musical and visual fields have long been influenced by and involved with esoteric teachings and practices, some of these connections are well known, Botticelli and astrology, Mozart and Freemasonry, Yeats and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, but many remain less known or hidden, so that the extent and importance of these influences tends to have been underestimated or unrecognised.
Papers are invited which look at Western Esotericism and the Arts, from a variety of academic and practitioner disciplines. Please send an email of your abstract in two hundred words to Dr Sophia Wellbeloved email@example.com
The registration fee must be received before speakers can be confirmed.
CONFIRMED KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Reverend Dr Malcolm Guite
Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge is both poet and priest.
see his website
The registration fee is £30.00 for the day, includes light lunch, coffee and tea student rates available. Contact: Dr Sophia Wellbeloved at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism is independent of any academic or esoteric communities, the co-ordinators share an interest in the need for a wider dialogue between scholars and practitioners in the field of Western Esotericism and in the establishment of a secular space in which an interdisciplinary network can thrive (see people).
October 4th, 2008 – 2nd Annual Conference
Location: Masonic Hall, 71 West 23rd St., New York, NY 10010
Join us for the 2nd Annual Rose Circle Conference. We will be presenting speakers from all over the world to further your Esoteric education. Current confirmed speakers include:
• Christopher McIntosh was born in England in 1943 and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford and German at London University, later returning to Oxford to take a doctorate in history with a dissertation on the Rosicrucian revival in the context of the German Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment. After working in London in journalism and publishing he spent four years in New York as an information officer with the United Nations Development Programme, then moved to Germany to work for UNESCO. In parallel he has pursued a career as a writer and researcher specialising in the esoteric traditions.
His books include The Astrologers and their Creed (1969); Eliphas Lévi and the French Occult Revival (1972); The Rosicrucians (latest edition 1997); The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason (1992), based on his D.Phil. dissertation; The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria (latest edition 2003); and Gardens of the Gods (2005). His fictional work includes the occult novel Return of the Tetrad published in Czech as Navrat Tetradi (1998).
He also has a long-standing interest in nature-oriented belief systems. He has lectured widely and is on the faculty of the distance M.A. programme in Western Esotericism at the University of Exeter, England. His home is in Bremen, North Germany. Mr McIntosh is a long-standing member of the Pilgrim Lodge No. 238, London. This is a very unusual lodge in that it was founded in 1779 by Germans living in London and still conducts its rituals in German. It also uses an unusual German working different from the regular English Emulation working.
• R. A. Gilbert, British author of numerous masonic, historical and rosicrucian books, journals and articles (most recently having co-authored ‘Freemasonry: A Celebration of the Craft” with John Hamill, Director of Communications for the United Grand Lodge of England. Bob Gilbert is England’s foremost book antiquarian. As former Librarian and Archivist to the SRIA, he became well known for his numerous contributions to Rosicrucian Scholarship. R. A. Gilbert is an expert on Freemasonry and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn & Christian Esoterica in general. He is a Past Prestonian Lecturer (1997) and former editor of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (AQC) while currently serving as chairman of QCCC Ltd.
Articles by Gilbert:
Books by Gilbert: