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Fernando Pessoa and the Esoteric Experience

  • 2012-05-23
  • Wassenaar, The Netherlands
Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) is now widely recognised as one of the most important figures in 20th century literature. One of the aspects that have emerged with increasing clarity from the unpublished writings found after his death is his deep interest for esotericism. This fascination began early in his life and remained constant until his death. His poems often contain references to esoteric ideas and images, and a very significant number of posthumous texts present themselves as short essays or notes on various esoteric subjects. Yet, this important aspect of Pessoa’s work remains relatively little understood or contextualised. For this workshop a number of scholars who have recently worked on subjects directly or indirectly related to Pessoa and esotericism has been invited with the aim of assessing Pessoa’s interest for and involvement with esotericism.


  • Onésimo Almeida (Brown University), “Pessoa’s conception of myth and truth”
  • Marco Pasi (NIAS/Universiteit van Amsterdam), “Fernando Pessoa and the study of western esotericism: problems and perspectives”
  • Jerónimo Pizarro (NIAS/Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá), “Editing the occult”
  • Steffen Dix (ICS/Universidade de Lisboa), “Fernando Pessoa between Theosophy and Rosicrucianism”
  • Pedro Sepúlveda (ELAB/Universidade Nova de Lisboa), “May 29, 1928, and Pessoa’s reformulation of his work”
  • Jorge Uribe (Universidade de Lisboa), “Fernando Pessoa’s readings of the shoemaker-prophet: Gonçalo Anes Bandarra”
  • Patricia Silva McNeill (University of London), “Sacred geometry of being: esoteric imagery in Pessoa’s poetic and aesthetic writings”
  • Pauly Ellen Bothe (Universidade de Lisboa), “Mysticism and poetry in Fernando Pessoa”


The workshop will take place in the Conference Hall of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS), Meijboomlaan 1, 2242 PR Wassenaar ( The Institute can be reached by car or public transport as described on the NIAS website by clicking on the tab How to Reach NIAS.

Registration and further information

If you wish to attend, you are required to register by sending an email to the following address before 15 May: It is also possible to register for lunch at the NIAS restaurant (cost: €15), but seats are limited, so please make sure to mention this in your email. If you do not wish to have lunch at the restaurant you are advised to bring your own lunch, as there are no other facilities at walking distance in the area.

The workshop has been organised with the support of:
NIAS, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies
Stichting Leerstoel in de Geschiedenis van de Hermetische Filosofie en verwante stromingen
Leerstoelgroep GHF, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Address: Conference Hall,
Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS), Meijboomlaan 1,
2242 PR Wassenaar,
The Netherlands

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