Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

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The Programme, based in the Department of Anthropology, and supported by the LSE Annual Fund, aims to bring together staff and research students from across LSE, and within the wider academic and policy communities, working on issues to do with religion, secularism, and “non-religious” practices, beliefs, and traditions.

The Forum on Religion is becoming part of the new Programme for the Study of Religion and Non-Religion and will continue to host public lectures and an interdisciplinary seminar series.

For more information on the Programme, visit

or contact Dr Matthew Engelke at

We will continue to advertise Forum on Religion events through this mailing list.




9 May 2012, 16.30-18.00

Religion and Non-Religion: A Roundtable Discussion

With Dr Amanda van Eck (INFORM), Dr Matthew Engelke (LSE Anthropology), Dr Simon Glendinning (LSE, European Institute), Dr John Madeley (LSE Government), Rev James Walters (LSE Chaplaincy)

Seligman Library, Department of Anthropology, Old Building, LSE


Public lectures

6 June 2012, 18.30-20.00

At the Origins of Modern Atheism

Speaker: Rev Dr Giles Fraser 

Discussant: Prof John Gray (London School of Economics)

Chair: Dr Matthew Engelke (London School of Economics)

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

This event will be followed by a reception and marks the public launch of the Programme for the Study of Religion and Non-Religion


27 June 2012, 18.00-19.30

Ethics as Piety

Speaker: Prof Webb Keane (University of Michigan)

Discussant: Dr Faisal Devji (Oxford University)

New Academic Building LG.09, LSE




Call For Papers/ Presentations/ Performance: 

Hosting 6: “Absence – Haunted Landscapes”

Hosting 7: “Presence – Manifesting Ghosts

GHost invites proposals for papers, presentations, or performances of 30 minutes exploring the desire and attempt to materialise what is absent via the medium of haunted landscapes or through the manifestation of a ghost. We would like to hear from researchers within all fields – anthropology, art history, cultural studies, film studies, history, science, law, literary studies, parapsychology, psychology, philosophy etc. as well as practising artists.

The Hostings will take place in the Court Room, University of London, Senate House between 6.30 – 9.00pm on the 29th February and 14th March.

Please send a (working) title and an abstract of approximately 300 words, also include which Hosting you are submitting to and, if applicable, one or two pictures.  

Send these to Sarah Sparkes at: 

More about GHost:

Deadline for submissions of proposals: 13th January 2012

Hostings 6: Absence – Haunted Landscapes

The Key Of Solomon, a medieval grimoire instructs magicians to seek out “places that lie concealed, distant and removed from the haunts of men. Wherefore desolate and uninhabited regions are most appropriate, such as the borders of lakes, forests, dark and obscure places, old and deserted houses, whither rarely and scarce ever men do come, mountains, caves, caverns, grottos, gardens, orchards…”

Could it be that this instruction suggests a common topography of the haunted landscape that such venues operate as amplifiers for achieving rapport with the dead? Perhaps it is the absence of life and the nature of our own loneliness that in fact haunts the landscape? Are places of tragedy imbued with spirits of their victims or is this just a romantic engagement, an imaginative association with a past event? Is it possible to use a particular landscapes to facilitate the experience of paranormal phenomena – in this respect can landscape serve like the séance room for the natural channelling of the spirit of place, or the dead souls of its past? Moreover, have artists and writers intuitively apprehended these landscapes to manifest a haunted aesthetic?

GHost invites submissions exploring these or other ideas associated with the Haunted Landscape.

Hostings 7: Presence – Manifesting Ghosts

Ghost Seance has the potential to summon spirits at any given location and time although 3:00 a.m. usually produces the best results.” (Taken from a website advertising a séance app. for smart phones)

Writers, psychical investigators, mediums, parapsychologists, illusionists, artists all have manifested ghosts in their own way. The writers mind conjures up ghostly apparitions, pinning down their fleeting forms with words. In the darkened séance room both psychical investigator and audience witness phenomena produced by the medium. Whether witnessed by believer or sceptic, the spirit announces itself, with a common ghostly language: wraps, moving furniture, unexplained scents, temperature changes, phosphorescent lights etc. In more recent times visual and auditory ephemera has been described and captured by paranormal investigators with the help of technological devices. This new language of the ghostly reappears in the haunted aesthetics of films such as Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape and in the work of contemporary artists such as Susan Hiller. When attempting to document ghosts, is it us or the ghosts who are controlling the means by which we describe and measure their presence?

GHost invites submissions exploring ghost-makers; their means, methods and their reasons for manifesting ghosts.

About GHost

GHost is a visual arts and creative research project which explores the various roles ghosts play in contemporary culture by bringing artists, writers, curators, researchers and others together. In homage to Duchamp’s wordplay “A guest + a host = a ghost”, we take on and explore the various roles of ghosts, guests and hosts in our activities. The project has been running since 2008 and we have organised exhibitions, performance nights and so-called Hostings, seminar-style workshops which serve as a forum for exchange between thinkers and makers, audience and practitioners. As a research project, GHost blurs the boundaries between the diverse research groups and audiences that exist for the paranormal and hosts events in which these groups can explore their various beliefs. As a visual arts project, GHost explores the illusionary power of art and artists to create what could be seen as a ‘haunted aesthetic’. Visual art exhibitions have been hosted by a John Soane church in East London, at the London Art Fair and the Folkestone Triennial Fringe while the Hostings have been held at Senate House, University of London.

GHost has been organising Hostings in association with the IGRS, School of Advanced Study, University of London since 2009.


Lee Irwin of Charleston College South Carolina kindly sent us this calender of events in England.

Sat. 28th. June 2008 10.30am – 6.00pm
Assembly Rooms, Ludlow, Shropshire, UK.

Tracy Thursfield: Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival
Robin Cousins: The Travels of John Dee (illustrated)
Julia Phillips: Madeline Montalban
Ken Rees: The Regency
Alan Richardson: W.G. Gray

Plus esoteric bookfair with specialist booksellers. Midian will be
there with an extensive selection from stock including new titles and
rare books.

Tickets £15.00 payable to Verdelet @ P.O. Box 82, Craven Arms,
Shropshire, SY7 8JW


Saturday 6th September 2008
Day session 1100 – 1800
Evening session 1900 – 2200

A day of seminars featuring cutting-edge thinking from pioneers in the
field of magickal practice, followed by an evening of rituals
demonstrating Chaos Magick in action:

Duncan Barford
White Hair and Brown Pants: When Magic Turns Paranormal
Alan Chapman
Magic with a K: How to Spell Correctly
Mary Hoptroff
Codes to the Heart of Power: a Shamanic Perspective
The Kite
The Colours of Wealth Magic
Dave Lee
YourSelves: The Grimoire of Selfhood, part 2
Susan Leybourne
Sex, Magick, and Getting What You Want
Peter Mastin
Life Sculpting
Soror Res
The Noosphere, the Biosphere and the Chaosphere: When Worlds Collide
Julian Vayne
Two Worlds and In-Between: the Changing Concepts & Use of Space in
Modern Magick
Plus Special Guests…

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
(nearest tube: Holborn)

Tickets £23 daytime, £10 evening, £30 day + eve

Online ticket sales (subject to booking fee) at
Direct ticket link:
Tickets by phone (subject to booking fee) 020 7267 6148
Snail-mail tickets available – just send a cheque in favour of P.
Mastin to
BM8482, London WC1N 3XX, UK


Saturday 4th October 2008
12:00pm till 1:00am
The Canal Club, Ulfgar Road, Wolvercote, Oxford, England, OX2 8AZ
Tickets £20

There is to be a reunion/revival of the old annual O.G.D.O.S.
International Thelemic Symposium this autumn. Tickets are £20 each, in
cash over the counter at The Inner Bookshop if you are nearby otherwise
email to reserve them, where we
will contact you with regards payment and postage.
There will be no guest list or concessions. The event will consist of
speakers to start with from 12noon till 7pm.
The speakers in no particular order are:

Lon Milo DuQuette – Topic TBA
Constance DuQuette – Topic TBA
Mike Magee – The 5 senses in A.M.O.O.K.O.S. and Tantrik Traditions
Charlotte Rodgers – Taboo & Blood Rites (A Talk with Slideshow Pictures)
Jake Stratton-Kent – Goetic Magick
Melissa Harrington – Thelema & The Feminine Part II
David Beth – Topic TBA

After a break there will then be a fully staged Gnostic Mass to all who
want to take part. It will be performed by the E.G.C. ordained Priest
and Priestess of York. The Eucharist will be administered to all who
take part. During the Mass it will be musically accompanied by Sharon
Krauss and Guests. This will continue after the Mass too with a Live
Musickal performance. After that there will be DJs till 1:00am when a
short bout of thank you speeches will round of the evening.


Includes illustrated talks, performance, interactive presentations and
ceremony, plus Attunement – Enchanting the Sacred Space, followed by
Magical Journey impromptu ritual drama.
Saturday price £20.

Saturday includes:
Gaia’s Revenge led by Cressida Pryor and the Mad Moll Mummers and
Mayers. Olivia’s niece offers a short play that grapples with those
issues that affect us all – global warming and the shopping mall…
Which Goddess Lives Near You? Interactive session led by author,
singer, songwriter and Priestess Caitlin Matthews. Includes song and
oracle work.
Is She Local? with Caroline Wise. Following Caitlin’s theme, we discuss
identifying and communicating with your local Goddess, God, guardian
and genius loci. Includes magical exercises and divination.
The Goddess and the Stars. Andrew Collins unveils dramatic new
discoveries showing a link between the oldest known artistic
representations of the Goddess, the evolution of human spirituality,
and the constellation that spans the Great Rift in the Milky Way.
Honouring the Goddess of the Groves. Priestess and Artist Sheila Broun
invites you to join in making a shrine to Nemetona, connecting us to
the ancient forests.
Who’s That Girl? Lynn Picknett, author of ‘Mary Magdalene,
Christianity’s Hidden Goddess’ shines a light on Mary Magdalene and
looks at her Isian and London connections.
Isis is You Sis (Variation). Performance from Xanthe Gresham. Be
amazed! “Xanthe Gresham speaks like a woman spitting jewels.”

Other presenters to be confirmed.

Tickets: credit card sales or to collect in person: Treadwells
Bookshop, 34 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7PB.
Telephone: 020 7240 8906
By cheque: payable to Starfire Publishing, BCM Starfire, London WC1N
3XX, please enclose your address.
A donation will be made to The Friend’s of Bride’s Mound.

Sunday 6th July – Meeting the Goddess
Optional walk in the City to discover the site of the Roman Temple of
Isis and her sisters, with guided meditations and a chance to make your
own links and discoveries.
This will only be open to those attending on the Saturday.
Sunday price £5


amsterdam_001.jpgKABBALAH and MODERNITY
International Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

4–6 July 2007

University of Amsterdam
Centre for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents

Here is the program for the conference, abstracts and other info at:
and for the university

The conference will be held in the central building of the University of Amsterdam, Oudemanhuispoort, in the center of the old city of Amsterdam.


Wednesday, 4 July

9.00–9.15 Introduction (Kocku von Stuckrad)

Panel 1: Kabbalah, Modernity, and Scholarship

9.15–10.00 Paul B. Fenton: ‘Who was Jean De Pauly, Translator of the Zohar into French?’

10.00–10.45 Andreas B. Kilcher: ‘Philology as Kabbalah’

10.45–11.00 Coffee Break

11.00–11.45 Jonatan Meir: ‘The Imagined Decline of Kabbalah: Gershom Scholem, the Kabbalistic
Yeshivah Sha’ar ha-Shamayim, and Kabbalah in Jerusalem in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century’

11.45–12.30 Avriel Bar-Levav: ‘Lachover, Tishby, and the Wisdom of the Zohar’

12.30–14.30 Lunch

Panel 2: Modern Kabbalah and the New Age

14.30–15.15 Shaul Magid: ‘The American Roots of Jewish Renewal’s New Age Kabbalism’

15.15–16.00 Zeev Gries: ‘Printing and Kabbalah in the Twentieth Century’

16.00–16.30 Coffee Break

Panel 3: Contemporary Kabbalistic Schools

16.30–17.15 Yuval Harari: ‘Between Magic and Practical Kabbalah: Types of Current Charm Writers in Israel’

17.15–18.00 Jody Myers: ‘Marriage and Sexual Behavior in the Teachings of the Kabbalah Centre’


Thursday, 5 July

Panel 4: Kabbalah and Politics

9.00–9.45 Steven M. Wasserstrom: ‘Mysterium Judaicum: Carl Schmitt, Ernst Jünger, and the Cabala of Enmity’

9.45–10.30 Gideon Aran: ‘The Cult of Dismembered Limbs’

10.30–10.45 Coffee Break

Panel 5: Romantic and Esoteric Readings of Kabbalah

10.45–11.30 Wouter J. Hanegraaff: ‘The Beginnings of Occultist Kabbalah: Adolphe Franck and Eliphas Lévi’

11.30–12.15 Konstantin Burmistrov: ‘Kabbalah and Secret Societies in Russia (18th–20th centuries)’

12.15–13.00 Jean-Pierre Brach: ‘Paul Vulliaud (1875–1950) and the Kabbalah’

13.00–14.00 Lunch

Panel 6: Romantic and Esoteric Readings of Kabbalah (continued)

14.00–14.45 Boaz Huss: ‘The Sufis from America: Kabbalah and Theosophy in Puna in the Late 19th Century’

14.45–15.30 Marco Pasi: ‘The Uses of Kabbalah in English Occultism: Interpretations and Transformations’

15.30–15.45 Coffee Break

Panel 7: New Approaches in the Study of Kabbalah

15.45–16.30 Giulio Busi: ‘Beyond the Burden of Idealism: For a New Appreciation of the Visual Lore in the Kabbalah’

16.30–17.15 Eric Jacobson: ‘The Kabbalah of the Future: On the Dislocation of Past Primacy and the Future of Illusions’

17.30 Guided Tour through the Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam, followed by a reception


Friday, 6 July

Panel 8: Kabbalah, Literature, and the Arts

9.00–9.45 Moshe Idel: ‘Abraham Abulafia and Modern Literature’

9.45–10.30 Doreet LeVitte Harten: ‘Kabbalah and Contemporary Art’

10.30–10.45 Coffee Break

10.45–11.30 Kocku von Stuckrad: ‘Madonna the Shekhinah: The Playful Transgression of Gender Roles in Popular Culture’

11.30–12.00 Concluding discussion


June 27, 2007 at 4:18 pm

Posted in CONFERENCES, Events



Above: Brisbane River and City

Here are details about this forthcoming conference

The Queensland Society for the Study of Religion (QSSR)

in conjunction with the
School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics,
University of Queensland

presents the QSSR conference

Alternative Expressions of the Numinous

Date: Friday 17 – Sunday 19 August 2007

Venue: School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics,

University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Brisbane,


Keynote Speakers:

Sallie-Ann Glassman
An Haitian Vodou priestess, Sallie-Ann Glassman has lectured extensively on Vodou and visionary art, and has performed rituals at Tulane University, UNO, and Loyola University. Books include: Vodou Visions

Dr Sylvie Shaw
Has written extensively about the environment as numinous. Her work includes Deep Blue: Critical Reflections on Nature, Religion and Water and Wild Spirit, Active Love in Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future.

Conference Chairs:

Helen Farley
Julie Washington
Håkan Sandgren

Call for Papers:

Abstracts (250 words) are invited for, but not limited to, the following strands:



Alternative expressions of major religions

Religions of re-enchantment

Popular culture religions

Indigenous religions

Paganism and Neo-Paganism

New Religious Movements

Personalised religion

Alternative methodologies
The conference committee is open to proposals for workshops and panels.


Abstracts: Friday 15 June

For more information contact:

Helen Farley
Conference Co-Chair
School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
St Lucia Q 4072
Ph: + 617 3365 6324 (Outside Australia)

07 3365 6324

Fax: +617 3365 1968 (Outside Australia)

07 3365 1968


The Queensland Society for the Study of Religion (QSSR) is an incorporated not-for-profit association dedicated to fostering the interdisciplinary academic study of religion. It publishes a twice-yearly, peer-reviewed journal, Khthónios. A special issue of Khthónios will be published containing selected conference proceedings. Participants will also be invited to submit their papers to the Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies.

The School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics (HPRC) at the University of Queensland, houses the largest Studies in Religion department in Australia. The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s prestigious Go8 universities and is also a member of Universitas 21. For more information about the University of Queensland, go to: For more information about the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics go to: The University is readily accessible from the city by bus or Citycat.

Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city. With an idyllic sub-tropical climate, it boasts beautiful, lush parks and gardens located on the Brisbane River. The city is just over an hour’s drive from either the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast. The mountainous hinterlands provide spectacular scenery and tropical rainforests. For more information about holidaying in South East Queensland, visit For more information about Brisbane, visit: Brisbane is serviced by the Brisbane International Airport with trains, buses and taxies to take you into the City.


May 19, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Posted in CONFERENCES, Events


Let us know of events you would like to post here, see Contact

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).


January 8, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Events



December 14, 2006 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Events

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