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  • 2020-09-07 19:30 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Aleister Crowley, the Thelemic Tradition, and the Creative Arts

    Call for Papers for a special panel at
    8th International ESSWE Conference:
    Esotericism, Art and Creativity

    5-7 July, 2021, University College Cork, Ireland

    Recent years have witnessed an increase of scholarly interest in the British occultist Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), his religion Thelema, and its relationship with various genres of the creative arts. In addition to Crowley’s vast production of magical and mystical texts, he made contributions to several genres of the arts, including fiction, poetry, painting, and drama. Previous research has highlighted, among other areas, the influence of Decadence and weird fiction on Crowley’s literary and lyrical production; his indebtedness to the compositions of Richard Wagner and the art of Paul Gauguin; and his collaboration with the artist Frieda Harris in the production of his Thoth Tarot. Moreover, existing scholarship has indicated Crowley’s influence on a number of prominent writers and artists, such as Fernando Pessoa, Xul Solar, and Kenneth Anger, as well as the reception of Crowley and Thelema in later popular culture. This panel takes as its starting point the multifaceted relationship between Crowley and the arts, seeking to further the discussion around two main areas. Firstly, the panel will consider Crowley himself not simply as an occultist who happened to dabble in fiction, poetry, painting, or theatre, but instead take seriously the reciprocal relationship between Crowley’s occultism and artistic pursuits, examining how these mutually informed and furthered each other. Secondly, the panel will consider Crowley’s broader influence on various genres of the arts before and after his death, seeking to deepen the understanding of his lasting significance in popular (oc)culture.

    Submission Guidelines:

    Paper proposals must include basic information about the author (title, institutional affiliation/independent scholar), a paper title and an abstract of no more than 300 words and 3-5 keywords about the proposed presentation.

    Deadline for submission is October 1, 2020.

    Proposals should be sent to or

  • 2020-08-31 16:10 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Dear members of ESSWE, the Summer 2020 issue of the Newsletter is available for download from the following link: ESSWE Newsletter Summer 2020 Volume 11 Number 1

  • 2020-08-07 11:41 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    8th Biannual Conference of the European Society for the
    Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE)

    Western Esotericism and Creativity:
    Art, Performance and Innovation

    University College Cork, 5-7 July 2021


    This conference brings together scholars who seek to examine the intersections of Western Esotericism and artforms, creative performance and production. The theme is open to broad interpretation, as well as geographical scope and historical and cultural context from antiquity to the present day. The relationship between diverse genres of the arts and Western Esotericism are close and multivalent; many artists, historical and contemporary, are practising occultists or influenced by esoteric philosophies or practices. The theme encourages explorations of manifestations of spiritual creativity and the relationship between esoteric symbols, principles and religious frameworks, and the production of artwork. A multitude of examples of esoteric-inspired art can be identified, from literature and music to painting and photography. Examinations can also be made of the interconnection between innovation and esotericism, and attention paid to historical and philosophical developments in alchemy and other so-called ‘occult sciences’, or this aspect can be explored in terms of scholarly theoretical and methodological innovations in the field of Western Esotericism. Specific sub-themes could include:

    • Esoteric themes in art
    • Otherworldly encounters and creativity
    • Ritual, performance and esotericism
    • Esotericism and literature
    • Art and music as techniques in esoteric practice
    • Aesthetic dimensions of Western Esotericism
    • Occultism, artistic expression and popular culture

    The broad conference theme encourages cross-disciplinary engagement, from scholars of religion, philosophers, historians, art historians, musicologists, literary scholars, psychologists and anthropologists as well as allowing the integration of perspectives and dialogue in relation to examinations of different dimensions of Western esotericism, whether in historical contexts or contemporary social and popular manifestations, in its experiential aspects or its philosophical strands.

    The year 2021 is a commemorative year in Ireland as in 1921 the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed, bringing an end to the War of Independence. Artists of the ‘Anglo-Irish Literary Revival’ or ‘Celtic Twilight’ artistic movement, such as William Butler Yeats, Ella Young, and George Russell, were involved in political movements and nationalist endeavours as well as folklore collection, and were practicing occultists, and the conference aims to explore such intersections of esotericism, art, politics and nationalism in Ireland and far beyond.

    ESSWE8 is a Special Conference of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR).

    Keynote lectures:

    Dr Marco Pasi, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam, Department of Humanities, “The Occulture of Contemporary Art”

    Dr Claire Nally, Associate Professor, Northumbria University, Department of Humanities, “Ireland’s Funerary Culture and Ancestral Memory: W. B. Yeats’s Early Poetry and Prose”

    Dr Christopher Webster, Senior Lecturer, Aberystwyth University, “Stone, Symbol and Face: Photography and Ethnos in the Third Reich”

    Call for Papers / Panels

    While the aim is for ESSWE8 to be a large, cross-disciplinary and inclusive conference, paper and panel proposals will go through a careful selection process so as to ensure that the final programme will be of high academic quality as well as focused on the conference theme. We encourage scholars across disciplines to creatively consider the theme and to come up with innovative analytical perspectives and frameworks that examine specific historical and cultural contexts, source materials, unique cases and topics.

    As always, the ESSWE wants to provide a platform for intensive exchange and collaborative networking between scholars from diverse perspectives, regions and on all levels of the academy. In this regard, postgraduate students as well as more experienced and established scholars are all encouraged to participate and submit proposals for papers or panels. In the many intersections that this conference theme shines a light on, we are confident that ESSWE8 will be a foundational event for developing collaborations in the field and establishing new research avenues for the future.

    Individual paper presentations should have a length of 20 minutes, leaving 10 minutes for discussion.

    The conference language is English.

    Please send your paper or panel proposal to esswe8[at]

    Submission Guidelines:

    Individual paper proposals must include basic information about the author (title, institutional affiliation/independent scholar), a paper title and an abstract of no more than 300 words and 3-5 keywords about the proposed presentation.

    Panel Proposals must include the following information:

    • Title of panel
    • Panel Description of approximately 300 words
    • Purpose, goals, expected outcomes and contribution to the conference theme (approximately 300-350 words)
    • Panel Convenor(s) (Organizer(s))’ names, email addresses and affiliations
    • Chosen Length: Panels can be 90 minutes or 120 minutes in length
    • Special requests/equipment needs

    Please Note: panels are expected to generate discussion and active exchange of ideas rather than simply presenting a series of papers. The convenor(s) thus have the option to choose a different format (for example, roundtable discussion or a series of short position papers with audience/discussant response). The format choice should be included in the Panel description.

    Important dates

    Deadline for submission of paper and panel proposals: 1 November 2020

    Notification of acceptance by: 15 January 2021

    Beginning of Registration: 15 February 2021

    Early bird conference fee until: 1 April 2021

    Normal conference fee: 1 April to 25 June 2021

    Please Note: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we reserve the option to postpone the conference to the following year should travel restrictions or university safety guidelines require it. If this is the case, delegates will be informed no later than 15 February 2021 (and in this eventuality, registration will not open).

    Conference bursaries

    The ESSWE provides a limited number of travel bursaries for participants from economically disadvantaged countries. For further information, see

    ESSWE8 will feature a special symposium event for students of the ESSWE Student Network, facilitated by Mriganka Mukhopadhyay.

    As part of its support of ESSWE8, the IAHR will provide two individual bursaries (of EUR 500 each) specifically for postgraduate students from weak currency countries in Europe. To apply, please email esswe8[at] with your name, thesis title, any links (website/social media) and notification of paper acceptance at ESSWE8.

    Conference Organizer:

    Dr Jenny Butler (Link:

    Scientific Committee:

    Jenny Butler, Henrik Bogdan, Egil Asprem, Christian Giudice, Crystal Addey


    ESSWE8 will take place in University College Cork in Cork city, Ireland.


    It will be possible to stay in the UCC campus accommodation, with rooms reserved for

    delegates at a special price. A list of suggestions concerning hotels, hostels, and B&Bs will be

    provided on the ESSWE8 website and the ESSWE Facebook page.


    All questions and inquiries should be directed to esswe8[at]

    For further information, please see the conference website:

  • 2020-07-14 18:25 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The 8th International ESSWE Conference: 

    Esotericism, Art and Creativity

    5-7 July, 2021, University College Cork, Ireland

    Call for Papers coming soon!

  • 2020-07-06 16:03 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The Centre for the History of Hermetic philosophy and related currents has two positions available, one for an assistant professor (UD) in the History of Western Esotericism in Late Antiquity, and the other for an assistant professor (UD) in the History of Western Esotericism in the Middle ages. Please find a description of the positions and details about how to apply here:

    Late Antiquity:

    Middle Ages:

  • 2020-03-02 13:43 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University

    Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism

    11th International Conference



    Images, symbols, and signs

    in mysticism and esotericism

    December 3–5, 2020

    First Call for Papers

    Mystical experience is connected to deep internal states of mind. However, this experience also has an external manifestation; it manifests in external world by certain means of expression. One of the important characteristics of languages of mysticism and esotericism through which subjective experience is communicated to the external world is utilization of images, symbols, visual metaphors and ciphers. Functions of these symbolical languages are manifold – from hiding esoteric knowledge to transmitting experience that is outside of the limits of rationality through artistic means. Rich visual symbolism of mystical and esoteric traditions connected to an atmosphere of mystery was a source of inspiration for many scientists, philosophers, writers, architects, and painters. Elements of esoteric symbolism are present both in classical and in contemporary art, including literature, paintings, architecture, sculpture, design, theater, cinema, and folklore.

    The goal of the conference is to study the plurality of forms of construction, functioning, and interpretation of images, symbols, and signs in mystical and esoteric doctrines, functions of visual symbolic language of mysticism and esotericism, continuity and historical transformations of this language, and semiotic mechanisms that allowed a transmission of these images, symbols, and signs in other spheres of culture.

    Sample topics include but are not limited to the following:

    • methodological problems of academic study of images, symbols, signs in the context of mysticism and esotericism;
    • theological connotations of mystical and esoteric symbols and images;
    • semiotic interpretation of mysticism and esotericism;
    • symbolical language of description of mystical and esoteric teachings;
    • symbolical and imaginary dimension of Eastern and Western mystical and esoteric traditions;
    • mystical and esoteric symbols and images in world artistic culture;
    • visual vocabulary of esoteric art;
    • historical transformations of esoteric symbolism;
    • mystical and esoteric images in contemporary design.

    Working languages: Russian, English

    Applications for the conference are to be sent to the address of the organizing committee by October 4, 2020. Due to possible visa concerns, we request that applications are sent by September 30, 2020. We kindly request participants to provide the following information:

    1. Full name:

    2. Date of birth:

    3. Academic degree (if applicable):

    4. Home address:

    5. Place of work/study (if applicable):

    6. Position:

    7. Telephone number:

    8. E-mail:

    9. Need of an official invitation to receive an entry visa to the Russian Federation (yes/no):

    10. Necessary equipment for your presentation (yes (specify)/no):

    11. Title of paper:

    12. Abstract:

    13. Language of paper:

    The applicants are also required to attach a photo of themselves, no more than 1Mb in size.

    Applications for panels are accepted until October 10, 2020. Panel applications need to follow the general application form outlined above. Additionally, the panel organizer needs to provide the approximate number of panel participants and a preliminary program.

    A completed application does not guarantee acceptance to the conference. The organizing committee reserves the right to ask for additional information from applicants to specify unclear applications. Decisions on applications are made by the organizing committee within a week after the application deadline. Applicants will be informed of the committee’s decision by e-mail.

    Remote participation in the conference is not provided for.

    A conference program including information about participants and their abstracts will be published and provided to the participants before the start of the conference. It will also be available on the ASEM website.

    The conference fee is differentiated according to ASEM membership and geographical location of the participant (see table below):

    Conference participants

    ASEM members

    ASEM non-members

    Post-Soviet countries (excepting the Baltic countries)

    500 roubles

    1000 roubles

    Residents of non-Post-Soviet countries

    10 Euros

    30 Euros

    The conference fee will be used to cover the costs of organizing the conference as well as the publication of conference papers, which is planned after the conference takes place.

    The conference fee does not include transportation, lodging, food or possible additional services (tours, museums, and so on). The organizing committee does not provide lodging for conference participants; however, it will provide information on local options at the request of an accepted participant.

    The organizing committee is open to propositions of material and informational support from interested physical and legal persons.

    Conference address: ul. Bolshaya Sankt-Petersburgskaya, 41, Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University (NovSU), Novgorod the Great.

    All inquiries about the conference are to be directed to:

    Organizing committee:

    Organizing committee chairs: Sergey S. Avanesov, Sergey V. Pakhomov

    Organizing committee members: Daniil E. Krapchunov, Birgit Menzel,

    Evsey G. Berdichevsky, Stanislav Panin

  • 2020-02-28 21:40 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The Centre for the History of Hermetic philosophy and related currents (HHP)
    at the University of Amsterdam
    is organising its first Summer School:

    “Visions of The Occult: Introduction to Western Esotericism”.

    at the University of Amsterdam
    from 5 to 23 July.

    The summer school is meant for current university students (advanced Bachelors, Masters, Postgraduate), but it is also open to professionals from any discipline. You can find a poster in the attachment. We would be grateful if you could share it, bring it to the attention of potentially interested students, and/or print it and post it in your university.

    Program description:

    The goal of Visions of the Occult is to offer an introductory overview of the study of Western esotericism. In this three-week summer course, we will investigate the key thematic aspects of Western esotericism, as they have manifested themselves historically within currents such as gnosticism, astrology, alchemy, magic, kabbalah, witchcraft, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Freemasonry, spiritualism, occultism, conspiracy theories, meditation, yoga, the New Age, and psychedelic culture.

    During classes, students will make use of primary sources, as well as secondary literature that clarify the way in which esoteric ideas have circulated and continue to circulate in both mainstream culture and more marginal contexts. Having completed this summer programme, students will have acquired a solid overview of the main themes related to the study of Western esotericism, both thematically and historically.

    Each class will consist of three elements. In the morning, there will be a daily lecture (2.5 hours) and seminar discussion, after which there will be lunch (1 hour). We will pick back up with the afternoon session (2.5 – 4 hours), which includes student presentations, lectures, debates, and mini-conferences. This will also be the time in which individual research appointments can be made.

    There will also be excursions to local landmarks that play a special role in the on-going development of Western esotericism. Our aim is to pair readings with localities, such as the world famous Embassy of the Free Mind (also known as Ritman Library), which hosts a vast collection of books, artworks, and material culture related to Western esotericism. Likewise, our investigation into representations of the esoteric and the occult will go beyond the written word to include film, music, and graphic novels.

  • 2020-02-27 18:22 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Call for Papers

    “Islamic Esotericism in Global Contexts”

    2020 Meeting of the European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE)

    24-26 September, 2020

    Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain la-Neuve, Belgium

    Deadline for submissions: 1 May, 2020

    The European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE) invites you to submit proposals for its 2020 meeting. The theme for the meeting is “Islamic Esotericism in Global Contexts”. The aim is to consider the relationship between Islam and esotericism, and Islamic esotericism, in a global context, shifting the emphasis not only from Western perspectives, but also being more inclusive of the experience of Islam beyond the Arabo-Persian domains. We encourage proposals that give prominence to the agency of non-Western actors in negotiating and challenging social, political, and doctrinal “realities” as they manifest in the writings and activities of esoteric groups and systems. The chronological scope thus stretches from medieval to contemporary times. We encourage papers outlining suitable methods of investigation, re-evaluating accepted conceptual frameworks, formulating effective comparative research, and foraying into new textual frontiers.

    We invite papers that engage with these aims, but proposals that do not relate to the 2020 meeting theme are also welcome.

    There is no fee for attending the meeting and accommodation will be provided, but the cost of travel is the responsibility of individual participants.


    By 1 May 2020, please send to

    • The title and abstract (250 words maximum) of your proposed paper.
    • Your name, institution, academic position, a brief bio, and a short CV.

    Scientific committee

    The meeting is organized by

    • Mark Sedgwick, Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies, Aarhus University, and Convener of ENSIE,
    • Liana Saif, Research Associate, Warburg Institute,
    • Godefroid de Callataÿ, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Université catholique de Louvain,
    • Michele Petrone, Postdoc, Université catholique de Louvain,
    • Francesco Piraino, Postdoc, IDEMEC-CNRS - Fondazione Giorgio Cini,


    • The 2020 meeting is arranged in cooperation with the ERC project on Philosophy in al-Andalus
    • (PhilAnd), and the Université catholique de Louvain.

    Further information

    For further information on ENSIE, see

  • 2020-02-14 00:16 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    International conference to commemorate
    loannes Amos Comenius (1592-1670)
    and the 350th anniversary of his death

    Naarden / Amsterdam The Netherlands
    12-15 November 2020

    Pansophia was one of the lead ing principles - if not the most important one - in the work of loannes Amos Comenius 1592-1670). However, the idea of pansophia represented much broader intellectual current in the early modern thought. The conference will address the pansophia phenomenon as interpreted by Comenius, his forerunners, followers and critics. For Comenius, pansophia means the system of universal knowledge, which represents harmony of all things. As a theologian, he grounded this idea metaphysically as the divine order of all things. As a pedagogue, he wanted to teach "everything to everyone". As a universal reformer, he proposed an emendation of human affairs: philosophy (or knowledge), religion and politics.˙

    The topics of papers may include, but are not limited to:

    • The sources of Comenius' pansophism.
    • The interpretations of pansophism by Comenius and his contemporaries.
    • The relation of pansophism to other elements of Comenian thought such as encyclopaedism, educational theory, theology, sciences, millenarianism, prophecy, irenicism, politics and universal reform.
    • The connection of pansophism to other intellectual and philosophical systems and systems of worldview, such as established traditions like Aristotelianism, Neo-Platonism, Neo-Stoicism, Art of Memory, Renaissance Philosophy in general, mainstream Calvinism, Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, or alternative traditions like Lullism, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism and Esotericism.
    • Comenius' contemporaries and their ideas, interpretations and criticism of pansophism and related questions. The reception of early modern pansophism in later times and other contexts.

    The conference is held at the occasion of the 350-year commemoration of loannes Amos Comenius' death (1592-1670), and it is organized by the Comenius Museum and Mausoleum in Naarden, the Netherlands, in cooperation with LEARN ! research institute on learning and education, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Museum of Jan Amos Comenius, Uhersky Brod, the lnstitute of Philosophy at the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, the Deutsche Comenius Gesellschaft, Berlin, the Comenius Forschungsstelle, Alfter by Bonn, and the Embassy ofthe Free Mind, Amsterdam.

    Presenters are asked to send an abstract (100-300 words, in English or German) and a short academic biography (including name, degree, and current affiliation) by 1 March 2020 to

    The conference committee will make the final selections by 15 April 2020.

  • 2019-12-17 14:33 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Dear members of ESSWE, the Summer / Winter 2019 issue of the Newsletter is available for download from the following link: ESSWE Newsletter Summer / Winter 2019 (Volume 10, Number 1&2).
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