Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

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Correspondences: an online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism

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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.

Editorial Board

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





Preternature is a rigorously peer-reviewed interdisciplinary forum for original research that touches on the appearance of magic, prophecy, demonology, monstrophy, the occult, and related topics that stand in the liminal space between the natural world and the preternatural.

Preternature publishes scholarly articles, notes, and reviews covering all time periods and geographies, from a variety of academic approaches. As an English language publication, the Western tradition is inevitably an important focus, but the journal strongly encourages submissions covering cultural traditions worldwide.”

— Praeter paginam

Call for papers for Preternature, vol. 2, issue 2

Monstrophy: The Academic Study of Monster

Monsters have been widely catalogued in their historical and ethnographic contexts, and have been commonly included in cultural products such as epic, folktale, fiction, and film, but have only begun to be studied seriously as semiological markers indicating the seams of internal cultural tension. Interpreters commonly note the “monstrous” as occupying space at the borders of a society’s conceptual categories, such as those relating to sexual and behavioral transgression, or to inherent prejudice and internal conflict (for instance, in race, gender, politics, and religion). Monsters are rarely fully distinct from the “human,” but are often comprised of hybrid features of the human and non-human. This issue of Preternature invites contributions that explore how the category of “monster” is used to define and articulate what a certain group of people articulates to itself to be properly human.

Contributions are welcome from any discipline, time period, or geographic provenance, so long as the discussion highlights the cultural, literary, religious, or historical significance of the topic.

Contributions should be roughly 8,000 – 12,000 words (with the possibility of longer submissions in exceptional cases), including all documentation and critical apparatus. If accepted for publication, manuscripts will be required to adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (style 1, employing footnotes).

Preternature also welcomes original editions or translations of texts related to the topic that have not otherwise been made available in recent editions or in English.

Submissions are made online at: 


 Final Papers are due February 15, 2012

Queries about submissions, queries concerning books to be reviewed, or requests to review individual titles may be made to the Editor:

Kirsten C. Uszkalo:

Inquiries about book reviews should be sent to the Book Review Editor:

Richard Raiswell:

For more on the journal, please consult <>




Association for the Study of Esotericism Fourth International Conference

Call for Papers: Esotericism, Religion, and Culture University of California,

Davis July 19-22, 2012


The Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE) is seeking paper and panel proposals for its fourth International North American Conference on Esotericism to be held at the University of California, Davis. Because of a scheduling conflict, we have had to change conference dates to July 19-22, 2012.

We are seeking proposals on topics in Western Esotericism, particularly related to themes exploring the relationships between esotericism, religion, and culture. Papers may focus on any one of these topics, or on a specific conjunction of topics, especially as it relates to esotericism, and we encourage papers that feature intellectual history or history of ideas. We invite proposals on magic, alchemy, astrology, ritual practice, mysticism, spiritualism, occultism, hermeticism, neo-paganism, contemporary esoteric movements and teachers, Asian influences on Western traditions, and other related topics.

In addition to the broad theme of culture-which includes literature, art, philosophy, and drama, as well as religion-we would like to feature a methodological discussion (Esotericism Across the Disciplines). We also are interested in panels specifically on mysticism. ASE regards esotericism as an interdisciplinary field of research and we invite scholars from all disciplines to share their research and writings in support of a cross-fertilization of perspectives. We welcome scholars from a wide range of areas, including anthropology, American studies, art history, history, intellectual history, religious studies, literature, philosophy, psychology, medieval studies, sociology-the full range of academic disciplines and fields.. In order to encourage graduate study in the field, we will offer a modest prize for the best graduate student paper presented.

Because of the schedule change for the conference dates, now July 19-22, our extended deadline for panel or paper proposal submission is 15 February 2012.

If you wish to submit a paper proposal or a thematically focused panel proposal (with three presenters and short descriptions

included) for review and possible presentation at the conference, please send it by regular email to

No attachments, please: simply copy and paste your abstract into plain text email. Individual abstracts should be limited to one or two paragraphs, and must indicate academic affiliation and/or other academic qualifications. Independent scholars are welcome to submit proposals. Please note that our previous conference was at maximum capacity, so it is best to submit your proposal sooner rather than later. We hope to post a preliminary list of accepted proposals early in 2012. Possible venues for the publication of conference papers include the book series Studies in Esotericism (this will be the fourth volume in the series).

For more information on the ASE, see our website at Additional announcements will be forthcoming on the 2012 ASE conference.

CCWE SEMINAR 1: Legitimate Forms of Knowledge?


SEMINAR 1: Legitimate Forms of Knowledge?

Date and time: Thursday 13 May 2010, 2.30 – 5.30 pm

Venue: Wolfson Court, Girton College, Cambridge

There are practitioners of esoteric disciplines for example: Magic, Alchemy, Astrology, Gnosticism,

and there are scholars who study these disciplines. This seminar is for academics who belong to both these groups and would like to begin an exploration of some of the ways we might encourage a better understanding of both these interrelated activities by asking how we define legitimate forms of knowledge.

We are delighted to have with us:

DR SUSAN GREENWOOD Visiting Senior Research Fellow of Sussex University, a scholar and practitioner of magic, whose recent publication The Anthropology of Magic, (Berg, 2009), addresses this question by recounting some of the academic debates about the history and nature of magic together with her own experience of magical practices and begins to examine ‘the challenging topic of revisioning science so that magic can be considered as a legitimate form of knowledge.’

The seminar will be chaired by ANDREW JAMES BROWN, Woolf Institute, Cambridge.


2.30 – 2.45  Welcome and introductions

2.45 – 3.00  DR SUSAN GREENWOOD will present for ten /fifteen mins


Visualise a spider’s web that stretches across different branches in a hedge at dawn; pearls of dew hang from its delicate strands and each thread makes a connection to the whole. This web is a beautiful part of the natural world and a wonder of nature in itself, but it can also be used for envisioning a different type of science. The metaphor of a web can bring together such seemingly disparate branches of knowledge as science and magic into a new pattern that includes both.
Susan Greenwood The Anthropology of Magic Oxford: Berg, 2009: 146.

Historically magic has been seen as an irrational belief opposed to reason, and in evolutionist terms as leading to the development of an enlightened science. Due to rationalistic theories in the social sciences, magic has more recently tended to be explained solely by its psychological or sociological effects, resulting in the subjective experience of magic being marginalized.

As a practitioner of magic and an anthropologist my aim has been to create a bridge of communication between the experiential domain of magic and the social sciences. The focus of my paper is to explore an approach to this subject that helps us understand the experience of magic as an aspect of consciousness, and legitimate it as a source of knowledge.

3.00 – 3.30 general response and discussion of her presentation

3.30 – 3.45 tea

3.45 – 4.30  ten/fifteen min presentation from
DR MATT LEE, Greenwich University,
Matt is an active philosopher and practicing magician from Brighton, UK. Academically he works in the space in between the dominant traditions of analytical and continental philosophy, drawing upon Deleuze and Guattari to develop a transcendental materialist philosophy. Magically he draws on the Chaos current and for the last three years has been facilitating a working magical group in Brighton which irreverently practices Golden Dawn kabbalistic techniques and Enochian magic.

The role of practical knowledge (‘know-how’) has become increasingly central to philosophical concerns with knowledge over the last century. One of the central difficulties encountered in the increasing acknowledgement of the role of ‘know-how’ is a problem of transmissibility and learning. The more knowledge is taken to be something unconsciously learnt, the less conscious reasoning processes can be taken to be at its centre. The worry for many in philosophy is that this dynamic masks a loss of reason rather than an advance into a new conscious practice.
Followed by discussion

4.30 – 5.00  DR ALASTAIR REID, Girton College, Cambridge, will lead a structured exploration of points arising during the afternoon.

5.00 –  5.30  Options. Looking at how to take this forward into the next seminar.

There are limited places, if you are interested in securing a place at the seminar please email Dr Sophia Wellbeloved at with a brief note of your academic and practitioner interests.

There will be a fee of £15.00 to cover costs (this includes tea and there is free available parking).


The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Western Esotericism, see is independent of any academic or esoteric communities with an aim to forward the need for a wider dialogue between scholars and practitioners in the field of Western Esotericism and for the provision of a secular space in which an interdisciplinary network of scholars and practitioners can thrive. From 2009 CCWE has operated within Lighthouse Editions Limited, a small publishing company Directors: Dr Sophia Wellbeloved, Jeremy Cranswick – see


Esotericism Magic and Radicalism Conference June 2010

law Quod, Michigan

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





This year’s conference is one of a series of CCWE conferences that continue and deepen research specifically in the field of Western Esotericism and the Arts, with a primary focus on secrecy.

Participative panel discussions will focus on secrecy: its positive, negative and ambiguous aspects, its uses and abuses in relation to literature, music and the visual arts, these may be expressed in such themes as:

vision, transformation, truth, the divine
the unknown, the future, death, the afterlife
power, control, anti-establishment aims, membership of an elite
language, texts, places, teachers
revelation, interpretation, levels of consciousness, ambiguity
codes, ciphers, correspondences, magic, hypnotism, hallucination
in the context of their relevance to the political, cultural and social demands of their time.

Presentations will be published on the website ahead of the conference. Lighthouse Editions are considering publishing a book of the conference papers, but these should not be submitted before the conference.

Deadline for submission end of July
Please send an initial abstract of 100-200 words to:

Dr Sophia wellbeloved

THE INTRODUCTORY PAPER FOR EACH SESSION WILL NOT BE MORE THAN 15 MINUTES IN LENGTH and will be followed by an open discussion for the remaining thirty minutes so 45 minutes in total.
All papers will be published on the CCWE website ahead of the conference.

RESPONDENTS to papers are invited to send a brief email with their interests in the areas of:

Secrecy related to:
French Surrealism in the 1930s
19th Century Hermeticism and Magnetism
Musical Modes
Imagery drawnfrom Bibblical story and Greek myth
17th Century painting in the Netherlands

Respondents may be asked to prepare short Position Papers from which they may contribute during the relevant panel session. Accepted Position Papers will be published on the CCWE website.
All participants are welcome to take part in the panel discussion that follows the above address. If you have a specific interest in this area or a contribution you would like to make please send details to




Nicolas Poussin: The Birth of Bacchus, 1657, detail
(see the complete image below the Keynote Address)


An exploration of the genesis and evolution of Poussin’s schema for The Birth of Bacchus will be given by
JULIA CLEAVE MA member of the Academic Board of the Temenos Academy THE LURE OF SECRECY
For of the knowledges that contemplate the works of Nature, the holy philosopher hath said expressly; that the Glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out: as if the Divine Nature, according to the innocent and sweet play of children, which hide themselves to the end they may be found; took delight to hide his works, to the end they might be found out; and of his indulgence and goodness to mankind, had chosen the Soule of man to be his Play-fellow in this game.”
Francis Bacon Preface to the Advancement of Learning (1640)

Poussin, the Quadrivium and the Mysteries

The circle of learned men for whom Poussin painted regarded themselves in some ways as privileged persons, who had been initiated into mysteries unknown…incomprehensible to the vulgar. Anthony Blunt Nicolas Poussin The A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts (1958)

Theon of Smyrna, writing in the 4th century CE, states in the midst of his Mathematics Useful for the Study of Plato: We can again compare philosophy to the initiation into things truly holy, and to the revelation of the authentic mysteries.

OED Definition of Theurgy:
2. The operation or intervention of a divine or supernatural agency in human affairs; the results of such action in the phenomenal world.

Poussin’s approach to his art was essentially theurgic. He conceived his compositions as a form of sacred theatre in which what is portrayed – an encounter between human and divine worlds – is intended (for those who have eyes to see) to move the soul of the viewer.

Bernini – after examining in detail, on his knees, the third painting in Poussins’s series of the Seven Sacraments Extreme Unction – declared: it has the same effect as a beautiful sermon to which one listens with rapt attention and after which one is left speechless, for one’s innermost being has been moved.

Poussin, himself, likened his art to the Greek theory of the musical modes: When all parts of the composition were assembled together in due proportion…there proceeded a power to breed various passions in the soul. In his final statement on the nature of his art he went further:

It is an imitation with lines and colours on any surface of all that is to be found under the sun. Its aim is delectation
. Not only is Poussin hinting here at his espousal of a form of solar mysticism but, in using the term ‘delectation’, he means not simply pleasure or delight, but is invoking St. Augustine’s notion of ‘delectatio bono’: a beatitude which leads to union with the divine.

Bernini’s phrase: left speechless recalls the Greek concept of arrhetos meaning ‘unspeakable’ or ‘inexpressible’ – a term from the lexicon of the mysteries which applies both to the injunction on initiates to keep secret the sacred rites – a necessary protection from the profane – but equally it implies the impossibility of conveying in speech such momentous experiential knowledge, or gnosis.

Whether Poussin is drawing for his subject-matter on Biblical story or Classical myth, he is concerned with such moments of epiphany or epopteia – with the dramas of initiation, trial, revelation and transformation which we associate with the Mysteries. The word mysteria, meaning secret rite or doctrine, was applied by the Church Fathers to the Christian sacraments as well as to the initiation ceremonies of the ancient world.

In the service of this aim, Poussin deploys the disciplines of the Quadrivium – the four subjects (literally the four ways) which were regarded by classical writers as pathways to spiritual enlightenment.

Hence the meticulous architectonics which underpin his art: a deployment of whole number ratios, root geometries and musical proportions which is analogous to a form of temple-building. As in the history of architecture, so in the history of art, knowledge of these mathematical subjects was regarded as a closely-guarded secret – what Luca Pacioli called, in his treatise on the Divine Proportion: secretissima scientia, the most secret science. De Divina Proportione – drawn largely from the work of Piero della Francesco – was illustrated by Leonardo and published in 1509. While all claims to the persistence of a tradition of speculative geometry in painting need to be judiciously made, there is clear evidence that, more than a century later, artists like Poussin (buon geometra) were still making conscious use of geometry in their compositions for what appear to be both symbolic and talismanic purposes.

Not only is Poussin concerned with Arithmetica, Geometria, and Harmonia; he also engages with the fourth of the Quadrivium subjects: Astrologia or Astronomia. In a number of his canvasses, through a subtle combination of ecliptic geometry, together with solar, planetary or zodiac imagery, he explores the symbolic links between microcosm and macrocosm – humanity and the visible world under the influence of super-sensible forces.

Academic approaches to Poussin’s art have a tendency to treat his subject-matter as fossilized cultural memes – the stock topoi of sacred or secular art – to be interpreted in socio-historical, psychological or aesthetic terms, rather than as possessing spiritual content. On Dante’s hermeneutic scale of the four levels of interpretation: literal/narrative, allegorical, moral and anagogical, modern scholarship seldom ventures beyond the third level. Our predominantly secular culture has difficulty in acknowledging transcendence: shying away from lived spiritual experience, from the possibility of visionary flights of soul.

A myth gets its animation from a mystery (Pico della Mirandola)

The interpretation of The Birth of Bacchus is a case in point. This ‘mysterious canvas’, originally painted for one of Poussin’s closest friends and fellow-artist, Jacques Stella, now hangs in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. It has given rise to some puzzlement among art historians. They are at pains to account for the artist’s decision to combine in one scene two disparate myths which appear unconnected by any narrative thread: the stories respectively of the Birth of Bacchus and the Death of Narcissus. Drawing on scientific ideas current among Poussin’s libertins contemporaries, as well as Renaissance traditions of mythography, their solution has been to interpret the picture as essentially an allegory of opposing physical processes of regeneration and decay in Nature. While this theme is undoubtedly present, an exclusive focus on natural history is too reductive, and forecloses on more esoteric readings of the composition. It is only when this is viewed in the light of metaphysical traditions that we discover a more profound rationale for Poussin’s ‘mysterious’ conception. His sophisticated schema encodes a complex pattern of alchemical and planetary symbolism, consistent with Neo-Platonic and Hermetic conceptions of cosmology and the transcendent destiny of the human soul. Further confirming this anagogical interpretation, the artist left behind a number of clues in the form of some mythographical notes, and in a more explicit detailing of his ideas in one of his preparatory sketches.

Poussin’s highly-charged and often enigmatic canvasses invite us to muse deeply on their esoteric import – holding out the promise of access to veiled or submerged hermetic truths. This is the lure of secrecy, implicit in Francis Bacon’s remarkable image of a concealed God, inviting human souls to be his Play-fellows in a game of divine hide-and-seek, de-coding the phenomenal world in search of Deus Absconditus, and, in the process, discovering their own true destinies. (Vere tu es Deus absconditus was the gnomic inscription given to a posthumous engraving by Claudine Stella of one of Poussin’s most striking works The Holy Family on the Steps.)

An exploration of the genesis and evolution of Pousin’s schema for The Birth of Bacchus will be the subject of Julia Cleave’s keynote address.



Nicolas Poussin: The Birth of Bacchus, 1657

JULIA CLEAVE (MA Oxon, MA Essex) is a member of the Academic Board of the Temenos Academy. As an independent scholar, she is currently conducting research into the encoding of the hermetic traditions in Renaissance and Seventeenth-century art and literature, including evidence for proto-masonic symbolism and ritual practice. In 2003 her proposal for a doctoral thesis on sacred geometry and the mystery traditions in the works of Nicolas Poussin was accepted by the School of Traditional Arts at the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture. She has given lectures at the History of Astrology Seminar, the Theosophical Society, the School of Economic Science, the Jupiter Trust and the Temenos Academy.

Publications include:
A review of Friend to Mankind – Marsilio Ficino 1433-99 ed. Michael Shepherd in Temenos Academic Review 4 (Spring 2001)
Ficino’s Approach to Astrology as Reflected in Book VII of his Letters
Culture and Cosmos Volume 7 Number 2 (Autumn/Winter 2003)
Burlesquing the Brotherhood (Paper given at the 6th International Conference at the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre).
The Canonbury Papers Vol. 4: Seeking the Light – Freemasonry and Initiation (2007)
Of Hiram and Aymon – the Evolution of the Legend of the Third Degree
Transactions of the Manchester Association for Masonic Research Vol XCVIII [98] [2008].


Leverhulme GES

Universisties of Szeged and Budapest
Leverhulme Visiting Professor
Department of English, Communication, Media and Film
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England

will respond to the Keynote Address.

Professor Gyorgy Szonyi
Selected Publications

6 monographs, 11 edited volumes, 91 articles in the fields of Renaissance research, English and Hungarian studies in periodicals, collections of essays, encyclopedias. Book reviews, essays, critiques on Hungarian culture and current European issues. Two novels (1983, 2002) and short stories

Gli angeli di John Dee. Roma: Tre Editori, 2004, 170 pages, 9 illustrations.

John Dee’s Occultism. Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2004 (Series in Western Esoterism), 350 pages, 32 illustrations.

Pictura & Scriptura. Hagyományalapú kulturális reprezentációk 20. századi elméletei [Pictura & Scriptura: 20th-century Theories of Tradition-based Cultural Representations]. Szeged: JATEPress, 2004 (Ikonológia és muértelmezés 10), 324 pages, 54 illustrations.

Edited Books and Journal Issues:
“The Voices of the English Renaissance.” Special Issue, Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 11.1 (2005), 253 pages.

The Iconography of Power: Ideas and Images of Rulership on the English Renaissance Stage. Szeged: JATE Press, 2000 (Papers in English & American Studies 8), 214 pages, illustrated. With Rowland Wymer.

European Iconography East & West. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996 (Symbola & Emblemata 7), 263 pages, illustrated

Selected Articles and Book Chapters since 2001:
“The Dark Offsprings of Humanism: Erasmus, Reuchlin, and the Magical Renaissance.” In Marcell Sebök (ed.), Republic of Letters, Humanism, Humanities. Budapest: Collegium Budapest (Workshop Series 15), 2005, 107-25.

“John Dee as Cultural, Scientific, Apocalyptic Go-Between.” In Andreas Höfele, Werner von Koppenfels (ed.), Renaissance Go-Betweens. Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2005, 88-104.

“Occult Semiotics and Iconology: Michael Maier’s Alchemical Emblems.” In Karl Enenkel – Arnoud Visser (ed.). Mundus Emblematicus: Studies in Neo-Latin Emblem Books. Turnhout: Brepols, 2003 (Imago Figurata, Studies 4), 301-25.

“Le intuizioni di Aby Warburg alla luce delle sfide postmoderne”. In Carlo Bertozzi (ed.), Aby Warburg e le metamorfosi degli antichi dèi. Modena: Franco Cosimo Panini, 2002, 183-203.


TESSEL M. BAUDUIN MA University of Amsterdam

elite knowledge and the avant-garde in French surrealism of the 1930s

Andre Breton

André Breton

In the first Manifeste du Surréalisme André Breton, founder of surrealism, states that he will reveal the “secrets of the magical surrealist art”, subsequently describing different surrealist techniques. In this paper I will investigate some of these “secrets”, focusing predominantly upon automatism, visual alchemy and other techniques for creating surrealist art, combining this furthermore with a review of the concept of secrecy in surrealism. As I will show, concepts of secrecy, elite knowledge, or even of gnosis, were prevalent in the art theoretical discourse of surrealism in the 1920s and ‘30s (the particular scope of this paper), and concerned reception of art, creation of art, as well as exhibition practices. Secrecy in surrealism was intimately tied to its avant-garde tenets, and thus to the internal paradox of the avant-garde: the simultaneous need for elitism and for revelation. The secret of surrealism is only meant for a select few and the approval of the general public needs to be avoided at all cost – but then, how can the surrealist revolution be inclusive and reach out to all? As I will make clear, the particular “secrets of the magical surrealist art” provide an answer.


Tessel M. Bauduin, MA, is a historian of art and culture. She is currently working at the University of Amsterdam, in a double position as lecturer and PhD-student, at the department History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents. After having taught art history for a couple of years, she is now teaching various courses in religious studies and history of hermetic philosophy. Her PhD-research is concerned with the interaction of esotericism and avant-garde art movements in general, and with the reception of esoteric sources in the discourse of Parisian surrealism in the 1920s and 1930s in particular. Her thesis is expected to be published in 2012. Tessel’s freelance activities include lecturing and teaching in art history. For more, please see and



Kunstgeschichtliches Institut der Goethe Universität Frankfurt


Art Cabinet: Willem van Haecht 1628


In the 15th century, scholars, patrons and artists (re-) introduced the hermetic tradition and with that the Order of the inspirati into European thought. Even in the southern Netherlands, especially in Antwerp, esoteric literature was studied and printed very often.
Nevertheless, with the counter-reformation in Antwerp there were frequent bans, and legal processes against these philosophical-religious currents. A famous process took place against the painter Otto van Veen, teacher of Pieter Paul Rubens. My paper explores the influence of esoteric traditions in the Antwerp School in the early 17th century. It focuses on Willem van Haecht ‘s Art Cabinet painting from 1628 that depicts paintings with hidden Hermetic-Christian and Paracelisian contents and asks why it was favored by elitist thinking and why esoteric interests had to remain secret. Haechts Art Cabinet of illusion – studied alongside the Corpus Hermeticum and little examined theoretical treatises by Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo or Pieter Paul Rubens – seems to display an elitist and secret microcosm within the Antwerp society.




The photographic image gives a new form of ‘life’ – or in any case, a new ‘state of things’, a new way of being a thing – to something available out of our visible field, out of our hands, out of our immediate apprehension. It is life transported to another world by the sensitivity of the photographic plate. Michel Frizot

And even if he be dead. He will come back. Sooner or later. He is eternal. Savitri Devi from Pilgrimage (on the return of the Hitler Avatar)

Since the cataclysm of the Second World War that ended in Europe with the death in his bunker of Adolf Hitler, there has arisen, out of the ashes, an underground and secret esoteric movement where, according to Nicholas Goodrick Clarke, certain individuals have “transformed the negative attributes of Nazism into a cult of cosmic significance.” Drawn by the lure of Ariosophist myths and dreams of a resurrection of Hitlerist ideals there are some for whom the relics of the Third Reich are more than historical curiosities associated with a war that ended more than sixty years ago. To those devotees of Esoteric Nazism objects associated with Hitler and in particular photographs, have become fetishized as iconic links with his presence. I am specifically interested in the use of the Hitler image, the postcard photograph and photographic portrait, which works as both index and icon. It seems evident that there is an enormous interest in collecting ‘relics’ from the Nazi era (ranging from badges and items of clothing to dinner plates) but beyond the remit of the specialist, historic or military collector there is also an esoteric impetus to access objects with direct links to Hitler for a ‘spiritual’ reason. This is particularly true of photographic representations of Hitler that suggest a closeness to the photographed subject without having to be personal objects directly linked to Hitler the man (usually rare or with a high price tag). This notion of the photograph as a piece of material culture carrying with it a deeper association is evident in this quote by Elizabeth Barrett-Browning:

It is not merely the likeness which is precious in such cases – but the association and the sense of nearness involved in the thing…the fact of the very shadow of the person lying there fixed forever! It is the very sanctification of portraits.

It is this transmutation where the photograph becomes a religious icon that intrigues me. I have been exploring aspects of Esoteric Hitlerism as a Nazi cult where the use and iconic transformation of images of the ‘Führer’ play a major role. Esoteric Nazism has developed in a covert but broad form since the end of the Second World War. Inspired by the writings of devotees such as Miguel Serrano and Savitri Devi, Esoteric Hitlerists regard Adolf Hitler as a Messiah, deified after his Berlin ‘sacrifice’; or even as the tenth and final Avatar of Vishnu.
Again according to Savitri Devi, Hitler was:
 …the god-like Individual of our times; the Man against Time; the greatest European of all times. (From the dedication to her book, The Lightning and the Sun).

This research has developed out of my examination of the use of photography as a pseudo-scientific tool in areas such as criminology, colonialism, eugenics and racial science; and the origins of such ideas in esoteric theories dating back to the Classical era. My specific interest here lies in the analogue photographic trace as related to such ‘religious’ practices – a small but significant area within the devotions of Esoteric Hitlerism.

My paper will briefly explore the relationship between the material connectivity of photography and the subject recorded and in particular the iconic status attributed to such images as ‘unholy’ relics for these secretive Esoteric Hitlerists.


Dr. Christopher Webster was born in the UK in 1965. In 1982 his family moved to South Africa. Webster studied art and art history as an undergraduate and postgraduate in South Africa. In 1989 after graduating from art school, he lived and worked as an artist and lecturer in the Johannesburg area for several years. In 1996 he was appointed lecturer in fine art at Aberystwyth University’s, School of Art. Membership of international research committees and editorial boards has included and includes: The South African Association of Art Historians, Association of Studies in Esotericism, European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, Overseas Advisor to Faculty of Art, Vaal University of Technology (South Africa), international editorial board of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, international editorial board of the South African Journal of Photography. Most recent contributions to books include chapters for: The Nineteenth Century Encyclopaedia of Photography, Routledge, (2007) and Esotericism, Art and Imagination, MSU press (2008). As evidenced by international exhibitions and conference papers, Webster continues to develop, with his PhD and Masters students, alternative approaches to photographic practices (both chemically and conceptually). Webster’s most recent practice is centred on the production of short 16mm films that include stop motion animation and manipulation of the film surface. Areas of research and research supervision covers: (specifically) – occult and esoteric applications of photography (including physiognomy, spirit photography, documentation of esoteric events, photographs as evidence of the supernatural), the staged and manipulated photograph (especially in photo-collage and photomontage). Webster has investigated and adapted the iconography of the photographic image and in recent years he has participated in many group and solo shows including exhibitions in Johannesburg, Lancaster, Cape Town, London, Tel Aviv, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Baltimore, Cardiff and Pretoria. His recent art practice work centres on 16mm film experimentations. He is continuing to work on making new short films whilst concurrently researching material for a book exploring the use of faked photographs and photographs of doubtful provenance produced during the Second World War.

One person exhibitions/screenings

· Cipher – Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK, 1 October – 19 November, 2005; Theatre Clwyd, Mold, UK, 21 January – 4 March, 2006; St Michaels Theatre, New Ross, Ireland, April, 2006; Garter Lane, Waterford, Ireland, 8 May – 5 June, 2006; UNISA Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa, 4 July – 30 September, 2006; Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town, South Africa, 16 April – 4 May, 2007
· Visions and Traces – School of Art Gallery, UWA, Aberystwyth, UK, 2006
· Fragments – Artemisia Gallery, Chicago, USA, 2002, Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, 2003
· Sleepwalkers – Gallery 1885, London, UK, 2000; School of Art Galleries, UWA, Aberystwyth, UK, 2001
· Riemland’s Edge – (part of africainside during Photofestival Noorderlight 2000) Museum het Princessehof, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, 2000
· Gnosis – Folly Gallery, Lancaster, UK, November 1999 – January 2000; 100 X C (online exhibition), The Month of Photography, Cape Town, South Africa, 1999-2000
· Memory of the Fall – School of Art Galleries, UWA, Aberystwyth, UK, February – March 1998; MuseuMAfrica, Johannesburg, South Africa, May – June 1998; Durban Centre for Photography, Durban, South Africa, July – August 1998
· Roadworks – Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1993

Group exhibitions/screenings

• Beyond Words, (six person group show), Safehouse Gallery, Belfast, UK 24/01 – 07/02 2009.
• Film House, filmmakers in Wales, National Library of Wales Drwm, 29/01/2009.
• Outcasting, Season 4 ( August to September, Cardiff, UK, 2008.
• Imaging the Bible, Aberystwyth University School of Art, Aberystwyth, UK, 2008.
• Stone, Plate, Grease, Water – International Contemporary Lithography, The Museum of Modern Art Wales, Machynlleth, 12 March – 12 May 2007; Bankside Gallery, (next to Tate Modern), London, 14 August – 27 August 2007; The Naughton Gallery, Queens University Belfast, 4 September – 29 September 2007; Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran,
8 March – 26 April 2008
• Prints of Wales, Belger Arts Centre, Kansas City, USA, 2007
• fforma, Theatre Clwyd, Mold, UK, 2007
• fforma, Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, UK, 2006
• Originals 06, The Mall Galleries, London, UK, 2006
• Aberystwyth Printmakers, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, UK, 2005
• fforma, Stark Gallery, London, UK, 2005
• Aberystwyth Printmakers, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK, 2005
• fforma, Theatre Clwyd, Mold, UK, 2005
• Swansea Print Workshop, auction of original prints, The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum, Swansea, UK, 2004
• fforma, Theatre Mwldan, Cardigan, UK, 2004
• Contemporary Art from Around the World , Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, 2003
• fforma, Y Tabernacl, Museum of Modern Art Wales, Machynlleth, November – February 2003; St.David’s Hall, Cardiff, February – March, 2004
· Group Show, Gallery international, Baltimore, USA, 2003
• Toko, fforma exhibition at Toko, Aberystwyth, UK, 2003
· Exhibition of International Assemblage Artists, Gallery 24, Berlin, Germany, 2003
· Group Show, Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, 2002
· Harlech Biennale (Print Open), Theatr Ardudwy, Harlech, UK, 2002
· Premier Exhibition, Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, 2002
· Emerging Artists 2002, Limner Gallery, New York, USA, 2002
· Exposed, Fulton Street Gallery, Troy, New York, USA, 2001
· Identikit, Brixton Art Gallery, London, UK, 2001
· Current Works 2001, Society for Contemporary Photography Gallery, Kansas City, USA, 2001
· Studios Midwest A-I-R Program, Knox College Arts Building, Galesburg, USA, 2001
· fforma, Courtroom Gallery, Lampeter, UK, 2001
· Emerging Artists 2001, Limner Gallery, New York, USA, 2001
· International Young Art 2001 – international group exhibition finalist: Sotheby’s, Tel Aviv, Israel, January 2001; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, USA, January 2001
· The Welsh Lens, international touring group exhibition: Parco e Museo Genna Maria Villanovaforru, Sardinia, September 1999; Galeria Zirpoli, Belizona, Switzerland, May – June 1998; Y Tabernacl, Machynlleth, UK, October – November 1997
· Through the Glass, Darkly – School of Art Galleries, Aberystwyth, UK, 1996
· Images with a Twist – The Photo-Arte Gallery, London, UK, 1996
· International Environment Week Exhibition – United Banking Hall, Vereeniging, South Africa, 1994
· Art School Staff Exhibition, Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1994
· Drawing With Light – ‘Pushing the Limits of Photography’- ICA, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1993
· Art School Staff Exhibition, Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1993
· Vaal Triangle Artists – ICA, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1993
· Art School Staff Exhibition, Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1992
· Kaleidoscope – Gallery 88, Sasolburg, South Africa, 1992
· Rolfe’s Impressions – Grahamstown Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1991
· Anniversary Exhibition of Photography – Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1991


· Studios Midwest A-I-R program, Galesburg, USA, 2001

Gallery representation

· Gallery International, Baltimore, USA
· Clampart, New York, USA


· Kato-Ezell Collection, West Virginia Center for Creative Photography, Elkins, USA
· MuseuMAfrica, Johannesburg, South Africa
· The Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
· School of Art Collections, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK
· Axis database, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK
· Many private collections (international)

Exhibition catalogues

• Prints of Wales, exhibition catalogue, Belger Arts Centre, Kansas City, 2007
• Cipher, exhibition catalogue, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 2005
· fforma, exhibition catalogue, UWA & Museum of Modern Art Wales, 2003
· Fragments, exhibition catalogue, Artemisia Gallery Chicago & Gallery International Baltimore, 2002
· International Young Art 2001, exhibition catalogue by Artlink and Sotheby’s, 2001
· Riemland’s Edge, Catalogue published, Noordelicht Fotofestival, 2000
· Riemland’s Edge, CD-ROM published, Noordelicht Fotofestival, 2000
· Sleepwalkers, exhibition catalogue, a Gallery 1885 publication, London, 2000
· Memory of the Fall, exhibition catalogue, UWA School of Art & MuseuMAfricA, 1998
· The Welsh Lens, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Modern Art Wales, 1997

Publications, conference papers, public lectures/workshops

• Paper delivered ‘ Face of the Divine: The Esoteric roots of Physiognomic Photography’ at the conference Hidden Sources: Western Esoteric influence on the arts, The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Western Esotericism, Cambridge, October 2008.
• Spirit, Ghost and Psychic Photography, in the Nineteenth Century Encyclopaedia of Photography, Routledge, 2007.
• Paper delivered ‘Fragments in Photography’ at the conference Cultural Histories and Vocabularies of the Fragment in Text and Image c.1300-2000, Aberystwyth University, June 2007.
• Cipher: Staging the Mind in the Photographic Construct, South African Journal of Photography, 1 (3), 2006.
• Gallery talk and exhibition walkthrough (x 4), University of South Africa Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa, July 2006
• Paper delivered ‘Photography, bastard of science or esoteric art?’ at the conference of the Association for the Study of Esotericism, at the University of California, Davis, Davis, June 2006
• Gallery talk, Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford, Ireland, May 2006
• Public lecture and gallery talk, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK, October 2005
• Analysis of Love, image reproduced in The William and Mary Review, Williamsburg, Virginia, Volume 42, 2004
• Paper delivered ‘Drawn from Nature; Hermetic references in the early photographs of W. H. F. Talbot ’ at the conference of the Association for the Study of Esotericism, at Michigan State University, East Lansing, June 2004
· Public Lecture, Galesburg Civic Art Center, Galesburg Illinois, July 2001
· Images from the Past, (book review), Inscape No 41, spring 2001
· What is and What is Not, Inscape, No. 40, winter 2000/1
· The Portrait Cabinet of Dr Bleek: Anthropometric Photographs by Early Cape Photographers, in Critical Arts: A journal for Cultural Studies (Murdoch University, Perth, Australia & University of Natal, Durban), South Africa, March 2000, ISSN0256004
· Paper delivered ‘Spiritualism and Photography’ at the conference Visions, Dreams and Nightmares at Marymont University, Washington DC, March 2000
· Robert Greetham Photographs 1978 – 1998, Inscape, No.32, winter 1999
· Seeing the Odalisque: Aspects of the colonial gaze in South Africa 1845 – 1975, in de Arte, University of South Africa art journal, South Africa, July 1999, ISSN00043389
· Paper delivered ‘A Woman of Sofala’ at the conference Encounters with Photography organised by the University of Cape Town and the South African Museum, Cape Town, July 1999
· Gallery talk, School of Art, Aberystwyth, UK, February 1998
· ‘The Sale of Dante’s Dream to the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool’, University of Michigan Press; The Rossetti Archive (Internet archive devoted to the life and work of D. G. Rossetti and compiled by Jerome McGann), 1998
· Public Lecture, ‘Rossetti and Hall Caine’, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, September 1998
· Public workshop accompanying The Welsh Lens, Y Tabernacl, Machynlleth, UK, October 1997
· Paper delivered ‘Memento Mori: The dichotomy of the desire to marry the machine (camera) to the spiritual in an increasingly secular age’ at the conference Shamanism and Belief in European Photography organised by The European Society for the History of Photography, Helsinki, October 1997
· Africa Obscura, University of Pretoria Art Journal, Vol. 2 (2), June 1997
· Photographing Anything, Inscape, No.24, summer 1997
· The Use of Metaphor in Landscape Photography, Inscape, No.12, winter 1995
· Photography in South Africa, Inscape, No.13, spring 1995
· Life in the Liberated Zone, (book review), Inscape, No.13, spring 1995
· Black Dog (short story), in Probe, the quarterly publication of Science Fiction South Africa, No.81, South Africa, September 1990


· Review of the exhibition Cipher in the Cape Argus, 29 April 2007
· Review of the exhibition Fragments in the Baltimore Sun, 11 February 2003
· Television interview for Ghosthunters a program for French TV channel 3, and the Discovery Channel, 2002 (broadcast 2003)
· Register Mail interview whilst an artist-in-residence at Studios Midwest, Galesburg, Illinois, July 29 2001
· Interview on the radio station the Laser, WLSR, Galesburg , Illinois, July 30 2001
· Exhibit-A, issue 6, September 2000, ISSN14629496
· Soul Searching (the work of Christopher Webster), in (not only) Blue, No.26, April 2000, ISSN13230026


· National Diploma (distinction visual communication), School of Art and Design, Vaal Triangle Technikon, South Africa, 1989
· National Higher Diploma, cum laude & academic colours, School of Art and Design, Vaal Triangle Technikon, South Africa, 1993
· PhD, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, School of Art, 2006

Other experience

· Lecturer in fine art, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK, 1996 – present
· On the Editorial Board of the South African Journal of Photography, 2006 – present
· On the Editorial board of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, 1999 – present
· On the International Editorial board of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts & Rodopi publishers (Amsterdam)
· Lecturer in photography, Vaal Triangle Technikon, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1991 – 1994
· Guest-curator, Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa, 1992 – 1993
· Liaison Officer for the visual arts, Vaal Triangle Culture Coalition, South Africa 1993
· Photographer’s Assistant, Michael Meyersfeld Studio – Johannesburg, South Africa 1990 -1991

DR JON WOODSON Howard University, Washington
The Lure of Secrecy for Writers in Early Twentieth Century America


Lighthouse Editions are most grateful for the charitable donation we have received from Education Services that have allowed us to offer some funding towards fees for presenters.


REGISTRATION FEE is £135 which includes lunch and refreshments during the day and the conference dinner in the evening. This can be paid as

£135.00 by UK checuqe
£143.00 (£135 plus bank charges £8.00) via bank transfer to the UK from Europe
or £138 via Paypal

details will be sent by email. Registration fees must be paid before a place at the conference, or can be confirmed. Places will be limited so early application is advised.

Friday 9th October
On the evening before the conference there will be an informal get together for those who have already arrived in Cambridge at the Double Tree Hilton. This is a superb hotel in the historic Cambridge city centre, beside the river Cam.

Hilton 3

We will gather in the Bar which looks out onto the Cam, you can ask for us at the reception desk.

Hilton map

Granta Place, Mill Lane
Cambridge, CB2 1RT
01223 259 988

See more info at:

see map at;xx=1300;yy=720;mt=c;mx=1344;my=862;sx=4;tl=Cambridge%20University%20Library

Wofson Court is on Clarkson Road at the top of the map off Grange Road.

Wolfson Court Cambridge CB3 0EH
Girton College’s Wolfson Court in central Cambridge is built around seven courtyards, within easy walking distance of the city centre and the University Library.

wOLFSON COURTfloralwalkway

Wolfson Court


Andrew Brown

Chairing the conference for the day is

a liberal Christian minister, a University Chaplain to Cambridge University, Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Regional College and also a professional jazz double-bass player. He teaches jazz/rock bass at Anglia Ruskin University and occasionally teach subjects related to inter- and multi-faith matters for the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths in Cambridge.

He writes of the connection between Western-esotericism and the Socinian/Unitarian Christian traditions: ‘that there were a number of figures within both the Radical Reformation and the later Radical Enlightenment periods who, for a variety of reasons, were particularly interested in neo-Platonism and the Kabbalah. In affirming Jesus’ humanity and the Unity of God the Socinian/Unitarian tradition (initially born out of an interesting mix of Italian Renaissance Humanism and Polish Anabaptism) naturally found some of the fruits of this study particularly interesting because it opened up new theological and philosophical possibilities for a genuine reconnection with Judaism and Islam, both of which also denied the divinity of Christ.’


Friday 9th October
from 6.30 – 8.00
informal get together
in Hilton Bar Mill Lane

Registration and welcome

9.30 – 10.30
First panel
Julia Cleave Keynote
Gyorgy Szonyi responds

10.30-11.00 coffee

11.00- 12.30
Second panel
11.00 – 11.45
1st presenter – 15 mins presentation 30 mins discussion
11.45 -12.30
2nd presenter – 15 mins presentation 30 mins discussion
12.30 – 1.30

1.30 – 3.00
Third panel
1st presenter – 15 mins presentation 30 mins discussion
2.15- 3.00
2nd presenter – 15 mins presentation 30 mins discussion

3.00 – 3.30

3.30 – 4.00

4.00 – 5.00
reflections on the day

5.00 Close




23 Trumpington Street, Cambridge

As we go along Trumpington Street towards Brown’s for our conference dinner you will see what looks like a wide open gutter, on both sides of the street. This is known as Hobson’s Conduit and was built from 1610 to 1614 by Thomas Hobson to bring fresh water into the city of Cambridge from springs at Nine Wells near the village of Great Shelford. There is more info about this and on Hobson himself, from whom we get the phrase Hobson’s choice’ on Wikipedia,



Girton College Tower

4.30pm There will be a visit guided to Girton College and chapel with special reference to the scholar Annabel Kitson, and poet and Fellow of Girton Kathleen Raine. We will be shown around by Rev Dr Malcolm Guite who is Chaplin at Girton, and was our Keynote Speaker at last year’s conference. After an English cup of tea in the Fellows common room, there will be the opportunity of going to Evensong, where we will hear Girton’s particularly fine choir.

Raine was a research fellow at Girton College from 1955 to 1961, and in 1962 she was the Andrew Mellon Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She taught at Harvard for at least one course about Myth and Literature offered to teachers and professors in the summer. She also spoke on Yeats and Blake and other topics at the Yeats School in Sligo, Ireland in the summer of 1974. A professor at Cambridge and the author of a number of scholarly books, she was an expert on Coleridge, Blake and Yeats.



If you can stay for a few days, either before or after the conference there are many wondereful buildings to visit and places to go to in Cambridge which this year is celebrating the 800 years since it’s founding.

Websites which give useful info about where to go and what to see in Cambridge:

“The name “Cambridge” summons breathtaking images – the “Backs” carpeted with spring flowers, Kings College Chapel, punting on the river Cam, and of course the calm of the College buildings. The City known worldwide as a centre for academic excellence, retains much of the atmosphere of a bustling market town, with its narrow streets, and cobbled market place. Home to 100,000 people, it is also a centre for technological expertise, has a varied arts programme, and many good shops, including fine book shops. The City, is richly served with museums and galleries, from the Fitzwilliam Museum, with a fine collection of paintings and works of art, Folk Museum and many collections of scientific and classical interest, available in the University Museums. Close to the city centre, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden is well worth a visit. A forty acre paradise of plants, the garden includes a lake, tropical glasshouses, Systematic Beds and Winter Garden. Cambridge with its’ winding streets and splendid architecture has much to offer at any time of the year; it is also the ideal centre for visiting the surrounding country side – the historic houses of Wimpole Hall and Audley End are close by, Ely Cathedral – the “Ship of the Fens”, peaceful villages with riverside pubs; the rolling wooded countryside made famous by the artist John Constable, are all a short drive away.”

This is probably the most comprehensive website giving details of

hotels and bed and breakfast, self catering,
(you can also find other internet sites with bed and breakfast lists). Accommodation is always booked up in Cambridge and the week of the conference will be an expecially busy one as the new academic yer is beginning and many parents will be staying in town.

include Gardens, and nature reserves.

among their Museums, Art Galleries listing are:

Kettle’s Yard House’

For sixteen years, Kettle’s Yard was the home of Jim Ede, a former curator at the Tate Gallery, London, and his wife, Helen. It houses Ede’s collection of art, mostly of the first half of the twentieth century. The collection includes paintings by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones, Joan Miró and many others, along with sculpture by artists including Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Paintings and sculpture are interlaced with furniture, glass, ceramics and natural objects. Ede’s vision of Kettle’s Yard was of a place that was not ” an art gallery or museum, nor . . . simply a collection of works of art reflecting my taste or the taste of a given period. It is, rather, a continuing way of life from these last fifty years, in which stray objects, stones, glass, pictures, sculpture, in light and in space, have been used to make manifest the underlying stability . . .” Each afternoon (apart from Mondays) visitors can ring the bell and ask to look around.

Kettle’s Yard, Castle Stree,t Cambridge CB3 0AQ
Tel +44 (0)1223 352124

The Fitzwilliam Museum

from their website:

“History of the Collections”

“Few museums in the world contain on a single site collections of such variety and depth. Writing in his Foreword to the catalogue of the exhibition for Treasures from the Fitzwilliam which toured the United States in 1989-90, the then Director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, wrote that “like the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam addresses the history of culture in terms of the visual forms it has assumed, but it does so from the highly selective point of view of the collector connoisseur. Works of art have been taken into the collection not only for the historical information they reveal, but for their beauty, excellent quality, and rarity… It is a widely held opinion that the Fitzwilliam is the finest small museum in Europe”.


gives details of colleges you can visit see their entry on St John’s College below:

About St John’s College St John’s College was founded in 1511 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII. The second largest of the constituent Colleges of the University of Cambridge, it has about 135 Fellows, 530 undergraduates and 300 graduate students. The total current membership of the College, comprising in essence all those who have studied here, stands at around 12,000. Visiting St John’s The College is open to visitors from Saturday, 7 March 2009 to Sunday, 25 October 2009 (10am to 5.30pm)

They also list details for


Trinity College Chapel

Trinity College: founded in 1546 of particular interest to visitors are the Great Court (scene of the Great Court Run ) and the Wren Library



Kings College : was founded in 1441 and attracts many visitors each year especially to see the Kings College Chapel. If you like walking you can download a one hour MP3 walking tour of Cambridge from



The CAMBRIDGE CENTRE for the study of WESTERN ESOTERICISM is independent of any academic or esoteric communities, the directors 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.. From 2009 CCWE has operated within Lighthouse editions Limited, a small publishing company Directors: Dr Sophia Wellbeloved, Jeremy Cranswick – see

Lighthouse Editions are most grateful for the charitable donation we have received from Education Services.



January 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm


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The Esoteric Studies Research and Teaching Group
in conjunction with the
School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
at the
University of Queensland

presents the 3rd Annual Alternative Expressions of the Numinous Conference

Date: Friday 15 – Sunday 17 August 2008
Venue: School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, University of Queensland,
St Lucia Campus, Brisbane, Australia

Conference Chairs:
Dr Helen Farley
Julie Washington, and
Håkan Sandgren

Conference Website:

Keynote Speakers
Doug Ezzy – ‘Religion as the Etiquette of Relationships’

Douglas Ezzy’s research is driven by a fascination with how people make meaningful and dignified lives. His most recent research is an international study of teenage Witchcraft with Helen Berger (West Chester University). It examines the interconnections of teenage spirituality, the mass media, and nature religion. He is particularly interested to supervise sociology postgraduates studying contemporary spirituality. He has published six books: Teenage Witches (with Helen Berger), Researching Paganisms (with Graham Harvey and Jenny Blain), Qualitative Research Methods (with Pranee Rice), Qualitative Analysis, Narrating Unemployment and Practising the Witch’s Craft, along with numerous articles.

Nevill Drury – ‘Black Magic, White Magic and the Cosmology of Rosaleen Norton’

Nevill Drury has recently submitted his PhD dissertation on ‘Rosaleen Norton’s Contribution to the Western Esoteric Tradition’ to the University of Newcastle. His most recent publications include The New Age: the History of a Movement (Thames & Hudson, London and New York 2004), Magic and Witchcraft: from Shamanism to the Technopagans (Thames & Hudson, London and New York 2003) and The History of Magic in the Modern Age (Constable, London 2000). He also co-authored Fire and Shadow: Spirituality in Contemporary Australian Art (HarperCollins, Melbourne 1999).

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

Papers are also invited for a session to run in Second Life, to be run in parallel with the real life sessions.

Abstracts: Monday 30 June 2008

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


Dr Helen Farley
Room E330 Forgan Smith Building
School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
University of Queensland Q 4072

Ph: 617 3365 6324
Mob: 617 401 878 880

EASR conference Brno, 7-11. September 2008


Brno, Czech Republic

Call for Papers

EASR conference Brno, 7.-11. September 2008

Panel: ‘Ex Oriente Lux: The Presence of Western Esotericism in Eastern Europe’

Convenors: Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam) and Osvald Vasicek (University of Amsterdam), on behalf of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE)

In recent decades the academic study of esotericism in the west (particularly France, the Netherlands, Germany and the Anglo-Saxon world) has experienced a rapid growth. In academic institutions in Paris, Amsterdam and Exeter, specific chairs have been created, while increasing attention is given to this area of research also from other fields of religious, cultural, historic, and sociological studies.

Due to several difficulties – mainly linguistic, but also political until 1989 – the status of research of esotericism in Eastern Europe is for the greater part unknown. For this particular panel we are therefore looking for papers that will discuss the development of the study of western esotericism in Eastern Europe and/or single topics related to the presence of western esotericism in the same geographical area. We would especially like to encourage Eastern European students and academics to share their research, knowledge and insight.

The academic study of esotericism has developed mainly in a historical perspective, but we will also consider proposals from others perspectives, such as sociology, psychology, and anthropology. Topics may likewise vary from alchemy, astrology, magic, hermetism, theosophy, spiritualism, occultism, and range from medieval sources to contemporary esoteric movements.

If you are interested to propose a paper for this panel, please send an e-mail with abstract to: Osvald Vasicek, MA ( Abstracts should be limited to 200 words and should be accompanied by a short personal description of the author with academic affiliation and/ or other academic qualifications. PhD, and exceptionally MA, students are also encouraged to submit a proposal.

Deadline for proposal submission is 24 April 2008.

For more information on the conference and registration see:
For more information on the academic study of esotericism see: and

Call for Papers

EASR conference Brno, 7.-11. September 2008
Panel: ‘The Political Temptations of Western Esotericism’Convenors: Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam) and Osvald Vasicek (University of Amsterdam), on behalf of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE)

The relationship between Western esotericism and politics is certainly not virgin territory. Just to mention two examples, Auguste Viatte in his classic work on illuminism (Les sources occultes du romantisme, 1928) had discussed the political significance of esoteric ideas in the period preceding the French revolution; and James Webb explored the interplay of esotericism and politics in the 19th and 20th centuries in two important books (The Occult Underground, 1974; and The Occult Establishment, 1976). Furthermore, since the mid-1980s the French academic journal Politica Hermetica has devoted its annual issues to this complex relationship. However, there is still much that academic research can say on this topic. One of the avenues which still have to be explored is the relationship that the research field itself may have with politics in the formation and the discussion of its object. How political is the study of esotericism? Which political assumptions may lead scholars to define esotericism in a certain way instead of another? How political is the choice of defining esotericism as specifically ‘western’, as opposed to ‘non-western’ in a cultural climate impregnated by discourses on the ‘clash of civilizations’? During the 20th century esotericism has been often associated to radical politics, both left- and right-wing, revolutionary and reactionary. If esotericism has been for a long time a suspect and sensitive field of research in the academia, its relationship with politics has often created an explosive mixture. Is it possible to study this relationship while avoiding the Scylla of apology and the Charibdis of sensationalist condemnation?
For this panel, we are looking for papers that will explore the politics of studying esotericism in all its possible aspects. Papers dealing with historical instances of the relationship between politics and esotericism will also be considered. Possible areas of interest may be, for instance, the use of esoterical themes in the construction of national identities in the 19th and 20th centuries or political theories of social regeneration based on esoteric thought.

If you are interested to propose a paper for this panel, please send an e-mail with abstract to: Osvald Vasicek, MA ( Abstracts should be limited to 200 words and should be accompanied by a short personal description of the author with academic affiliation and/ or other academic qualifications. PhD, and exceptionally MA, students are also encouraged to submit a proposal.

Deadline for proposal submission is 24 April 2008.

For more information on the conference and registration see:
For more information on the academic study of esotericism see: and

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