ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC: Call for Articles
Rudolph Steiner: Anthroposophy
William Butler Yeats: Golden Dawn Lodges
Jeanne de Salzmann: G. I. Gurdjieff – Fourth Way
The Widening Gyre: Western Esotericism in the Mid-Twentieth Century
Susan Johnston Graf and Amy Hale, eds. are seeking articles of 4,000 to 7,000 words for a volume that will explore developments within Western occultism and esotericism during the mid-twentieth century. The volume, when completed, will be under consideration for inclusion in the State University of New York Press (SUNY) series on Western Esotericism.
Interested authors should send a copy of their current curriculum vitae and a 300-500-word scholarly abstract summarizing the proposed contribution to both:
Amy Hale (firstname.lastname@example.org) and
Susan Johnston Graf (sjg9 @psu.edu)
by October 1, 2011.
Rationale and Topics
Historical analysis of Western esoteric movements over the past two
centuries has put great emphasis on cycles of popularity and the
public evolution of esoteric ideas. Two areas of scholarly focus have
been the occult revival of the fin de siècle through the 1920s and the
expansion of Neopaganism as a religious movement in conjunction with
other liberating social movements of the late 1960s and 1970s.
Comparatively, the time period between the end of World War I and
1965, which was one of consolidation and generation in the development
of Western esoteric societies and movements, has been given less
attention. Histories of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the
Theosophical Society, and other late nineteenth- and early
twentieth-century occult movements abound, but, aside from some
notable exceptions, in general there has been less concentration on
mid-century Western esoteric movements.
In this volume, we propose to concentrate tightly on the development
of esoteric groups and societies in the 45-year period between 1920
and 1965. This period saw the early unfolding and extension of Wicca,
important changes in Hermetic groups such as the Golden Dawn and the
O.T.O., and a significant change in the trajectory of Druidry in a way
that affected the entire subsequent direction of the Pagan movement.
Additionally, in the United States we see the earliest occult films of
Kenneth Anger and the first stirrings of the Church of Satan under
Anton LaVey. Likewise, in Germany we find the postwar development of
the Fraternitas Saturni. Our argument is that we should re-evaluate
this era, not only to redress the lack of scholarly attention it has
received, but also because it sets the tone and direction for Western
esotericism for the remainder of the twentieth century and into the
We seek articles which explore Western esoteric societies, movements,
and ideas, and the individuals, expressions, and places involved in
their continued flowering or declining, as the case may be, between
1920 and 1965.
Potential topics for exploration may include (but are not limited to) the following:
The development of Golden Dawn lodges after 1920
The development or decline of continental magical orders
Post colonial magical groups in Central America, South America and the Caribbean
The fractioning of neo-Druidic orders
The interplay between the esoteric and Science Fiction
Society for Inner Light and mid-century Glastonbury
Mid-century American magical groups
The work of Kenneth Anger
Early or competing (non Gardnerian) varieties of Witchcraft.
The legacy of Rudolph Steiner and Anthroposophy
G. I. Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way