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  • 2015-01-30 18:51 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The University of Manchester invites applications for a Research Associate on the exhibition project “Magic and the Expanding Early Modern World”. The exhibition will be staged at the John Rylands Library in Manchester and co-curated by Dr Jenny Spinks and Dr Sasha Handley, both Lecturers in Early Modern History at the University of Manchester. You will be based in the History division of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, and will work extensively with early modern materials in Manchester collections. You will have a PhD in early modern history or a related discipline, expertise in early modern print and/or manuscript culture, and demonstrable familiarity with the history of supernatural beliefs and debates c. 1400–1800. The role will primarily involve research on items to be included in the exhibition, the preparation of a range of catalogue and display texts, and assistance in planning for the exhibition and associated academic and community events. You will work under the supervision of Dr Jenny Spinks, with the position funded through her Arts and Humanities Research Council Early Career Fellowship on “Magic, Diabolism, and Global Religion in European Print Culture, 1500–1700”.

    For more information, click HERE.

  • 2014-10-29 08:00 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    A revised version of the ESSWE Spring 2014 Newsletter is now available, one which includes an apology concerning statements made in the original issue, plus the sincere regrets of the Board and President of the ESSWE concerning this unfortunate incident. The closure of the University of Exeter's EXESESO programme was indeed a great loss to the field of the study of Western Esotericism and we hope that ESSWE board and members, including EXESESO scholars and students can now join together in working for the future of the field.

  • 2014-07-29 20:16 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions

    Massimo Introvigne, guest editor

    This special issue of Nova Religio focuses on how new religious movements, and artists associated with them, have significantly contributed to the visual arts. In 1970 Finnish historian Sixten Ringbom (1935-1992) published his seminal book, The Sounding Cosmos, in which he argued that the artistic career of Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) and the birth of modern abstract art were crucially influenced by the teachings of the Theosophical Society. Although some of his conclusions remain controversial, Ringbom’s pioneering book opened the road to further studies. In 1983 American art historian Linda Dalrymple Henderson published the first edition of her landmark study, The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidan Geometry in Modern Art, in which she noted how alternative religions contributed to explorations of the idea of a spatial (rather than temporal) fourth dimension, which was crucially influential on modern art. Two large exhibitions, The Spiritual in Art (Los Angeles, 1986) and Okkultismus und Avantgarde (Frankfurt, 1995), popularized the connection between alternative spirituality, esoteric movements, and modern art for a larger audience. In 2013 the conference, Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy and the Arts in the Modern World, at the University of Amsterdam included some 50 papers, with an audience of 140 scholars plus some 2,000 from all over the world connected via streaming video. Although art historians have mostly focused on Theosophy, significant twentieth-century artists have also been associated with Christian Science, Baha’i, Rosicrucianism, Ordo Templi Orientis, Neopaganism, the New Age movement, the Church of Scientology, a variety of new Buddhist movements, and other new religious movements. By mapping out how new religious movements have interacted with the visual arts, this special issue will explore how alternative religions influenced artistic trends of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Contributions may focus on the ongoing debate on the relationship between Theosophy and modern art, but we hope to include articles on artists and currents associated with other religious movements.

    This special issue of Nova Religio will be guest-edited by Massimo Introvigne (Pontifical Salesian University, Torino, Italy). He may be contacted at Abstracts of about 150 words and a short CV (no more than two pages) should be submitted to Introvigne at the email address above by 20 September 2014 in order to elicit his feedback. Papers should be submitted to Introvigne no later than 15 January 2015. Abstracts and papers should be saved as Word .doc or .docx files. The preferred length of articles is around 7,000 words, including endnotes, with a maximum length of 10,000 words including endnotes. We encourage contributors to select and include photographs, including photographs of paintings, for which they (rather than Nova Religio) should secure the needed copyright authorizations, to be submitted in writing to the journal. For each photograph the contributor desires to include, his or her paper should be shortened by 200 words (for instance, with four photographs the preferred length becomes 6,200 words, with a maximum length of 9,200 words, including endnotes). Photographs will be published in black and white in the paper edition of the journal, and in color in the PDF article available through JSTOR. Contributors may also submit a PowerPoint slide show to be published in the Photo Gallery on Nova Religio’s website, providing copyright clearance has been obtained for all images. Accepted manuscripts must follow the Chicago Manual of Style for endnotes. All references should be in endnotes, numbered throughout the manuscript using the auto-numbering feature of Word. Please see the Nova Religio Style Sheet for the proper formatting of papers to be submitted to the journal. Each paper submitted will be subjected to peer review. If the paper is accepted for publication, the journal’s editors reserve the right to edit for length and clarity, with the agreement of the author. The editors also reserve the right to edit for usage and style. Authors of papers accepted for publication will receive a pdf file of their article and two free copies of the issue in which the article appears.

  • 2014-07-16 20:24 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Manifesto of the Most Praiseworthy Order of the Rosy Cross, addressed to all the rulers, estates and learned of Europe.
    Translated from the original German and annotated by
    Christopher McIntosh and Donate Pahnke McIntosh,
    with an introduction by Christopher McIntosh

    The seminal document known as the Fama Fraternitatis (the Proclamation of the Fraternity) burst like a firework over Europe in the early 17th century, igniting the imagination of many with its story of the German seeker Christian Rosenkreuz, his journey through the Middle East in search of wisdom, and his creation of the esoteric Rosicrucian Fraternity. The first of three so-called Rosicrucian Manifestos, it has hitherto received no adequate English translation. Now, to mark the 400th anniversary of the original German publication in 1614, Christopher McIntosh and Donate Pahnke McIntosh have produced an English rendering, based on careful study of printed and manuscript versions. This edition is an essential resource for all who are drawn to Rosicrucianism, whether as a field of study or a spiritual path.

    Click HERE to go to the webpage.

  • 2014-05-21 20:26 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Book project, ed. by Dr Antje Bosselmann-Ruickbie and Dr Leo Ruickbie

    Magic is a wide field of research comprising what we might call the occult, paranormal events, anomalous experience, spirituality and other phenomena throughout human history. However, research has often been focused more narrowly on the historical analysis of written sources, or the anthropology and occasionally sociology of practitioners and their communities, for example. What is often overlooked are the physical artefacts of magic themselves.

    In all areas of research, ‘material culture’ is becoming increasingly important – the ‘material turn’ as it has been labelled. This is particularly the case for disciplines that traditionally have not focused on object studies but on theory such as historical or social sciences. However, it is self-evident that the objects emerging from a culture provide valuable information on societies and their history. This is also and particularly the case for magic and related phenomena. Magic, especially, became divorced from its concrete expressions as academic study focused on problems of rationality and functionalist explanation.

    When studying magic it is crucial to look at the objects that have been produced and what purpose they had, who made them and in what period, whether they represent only a certain historical period or are a long-lasting phenomenon, etc. This volume hence aims to ‘re-materialise’ magic, to re-anchor it in the physical things that constitute ‘magic’ and recover the social lives, even biographies, of these things.

    The envisaged academic book aims to cover a wide range of subjects, periods, geographical areas, as well as methods: firstly, because an interdisciplinary approach is essential to adequately encompass the subject; secondly, to investigate whether similar objects were used in different cultures in parallel or over a long period; and thirdly, to serve as a starting point for future research. This will be the first book on the material culture of magic and consequently has the potential to become a foundational text.

    Therefore, we invite contributors from different disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, art history, ethnology, folklore, parapsychology, religious studies, sociology and others. Subjects could be, for example, case studies focusing on particular objects, museum collections, or mass market items labelled as magical; analysis of classes of embodied magical functions, such as charms, amulets, talismans, magical jewellery, icons, relics, poppets (Voodoo dolls), etc.; consideration of classes of materials, such as bone, wood, metal, precious and semi-precious stones, etc. In addition, it is important to understand people-object relations, spatial-temporal aspects of magical objects, the dialectics of transference (projection and introjection), the role of narratives and social performance, cultural trajectories, and the processes of commodification and fetishisation (reification). These can be addressed in a variety of contexts from traditional religion to popular culture, and historically situated anywhere from prehistory to the present day.

    Any physical representation of magical ideation or anything imbued with supernatural meanings by its creator, such as found objects, animal/human parts, and man-made artefacts, can be considered in this context. What matters is a central focus on the physicality of the magical object; its material existence.

    The volume will present an overview of current research in this field. It will comprise approximately 20 of the best and most relevant contributions on this subject. Contributors will be asked to submit a finished chapter of around 6,000 words (inc. references) with publication planned for 2015.

    In the first instance, an abstract of no more than 300 words should be sent, together with a brief biography, to the editors before 1 August 2014 at . We are also happy to answer any questions.

    In order to get the best possible response, we would appreciate your help in re-distributing this call for chapters. Email it to colleagues, other relevant mailing lists, or print it out and stick it up on the department noticeboard!


    Dr Antje Bosselmann-Ruickbie is a lecturer in the Department for Christian Archaeology and Byzantine Art History, Institute for Art History and Musicology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

    Dr Leo Ruickbie is the published author of several books, as well as the editor of the Paranormal Review, the magazine of the Society for Psychical Research, and a Committee Member of the Gesellschaft für Anomalistik (Society for Anomalistics).

  • 2014-03-25 20:31 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    A free one-day workshop on the theme of 'Alterations of Consciousness', for graduate and postgraduate students, organised by ESSWE in conjunction with the Chair for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, University of Amsterdam, on Saturday 10 May 2014. Click HERE for news

  • 2014-03-13 20:33 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The new issue of Aries (14.1) is now available. It is a special issue on Rosicrucianism, guest edited by Hereward Tilton.

    Here's the table of contents:

    From Spiritual Regeneration to Collective Reformation in the Writings of Christoph Besold and Johann Valentin Andreae
    Stefania Salvadori

    Translating the Fama Fraternitatis: Pitfalls, Problems and Challenges
    Christopher McIntosh

    De furore Britannico: The Rosicrucian Manifestos in Britain
    Thomas Willard

    Sendivogius in Sweden: Elias Artista and the Fratres roris cocti
    Susanna Åkerman

    Is AMORC Rosicrucian?
    Cecile Wilson

    Click HERE to visit Brill's Aries webpage for the Online edition.

  • 2013-12-16 18:54 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Registration is now open for the EASR 2014 Conference entitled "Religion and Pluralities of Knowledge", to be held 11-15 May 2014 at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands)!

    The conference program includes key notes by Bruno Latour, Carlo Ginzburg, Birgit Meyer and Jörg Rüpke.
    • Early bird pricing (available until 1 February 2014) will be: 180 EUR.
    • Late registration (after 1 February 2014): 250 EUR.
    • Registration fees for students (incl. PhD students), only possible until 1 February 2014: 100 EUR.
    • Registration for one day: 80 EUR.
    • Meet & Eat on Tuesday evening (incl. dinner and drinks): 50 EUR.
    • Registration includes access to all sessions, coffee/tea breaks, and three lunches.

    For more information, please click HERE to visit the website.

  • 2013-08-01 19:17 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Now Accepting Submissions for Issue 1.2
    Deadline: August 1, 2013

    Correspondences is a biannual online journal devoted to the academic study of Western esotericism. We are looking forward to the release of our first issue on June 1, 2013. In addition, we are now accepting book reviews (max. 1500 words) and articles (5000-10000 words) for our second issue, which will be published December 1, 2013 following a peer-review process. Manuscripts should be submitted as per our submission guidelines, available at Please send your manuscript and any inquiries to .

    Correspondences intends to promote a wide forum of interdisciplinary debate. Therefore, students and non-affiliated academics are encouraged to join established researchers in submitting insightful, well-researched articles that offer new ideas, approaches, or information to the field.

    Jimmy Elwing and Aren Roukema, Editors.

  • 2013-07-13 19:11 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Special Issue of Preternature
    Edited by James A.T. Lancaster and Richard Raiswell

    The advent of novel approaches in early modernity to understanding and mastering nature - from natural magic, to natural history, to natural philosophy - motivated discourse about how best to distill true knowledge (vera scientia) from an increasing body of claims about the natural world. The need to develop a language with which to frame this discourse naturally led magicians, alchemists, historians, and philosophers to turn to that facet of society which already possessed the terminology necessary to deal with epistemological deviation; namely, the Christian religion. The adoption of traditionally religious terms such as "idol," "vanity," and "superstition" by investigators of nature afforded the opportunity to differentiate claims to true knowledge, at the same time as it facilitated virulent attacks between rival cultures of knowledge. Beyond the merely rhetorical, though, this process of adoption began to shift the established semantic landscape of early modernity. The very act of employing such religious terms within the context of the inquiry into nature infused them with new meanings; meanings which contributed, in turn, to the myriad new ways in which Europeans began to view both themselves and the world around them. Of particular importance was the notion of "superstition" (superstitio). More than many other terms, the meaning of superstition began an extensive transformation from its traditional sense of incorrect beliefs within the sphere of religion to incorrect beliefs within the sphere of nature. Discourses of superstition entered into numerous debates about the study of nature: they contributed to the development of definable relationships between the natural and the preternatural, for instance; helped to map new models of the mind and legitimize the practitioners of new, naturalistic vocations; and underwrote emergent ideas of "progress," "advancement," and "enlightenment" in tandem with beliefs about the nature of the (preter)natural.

    This special issue of Preternature seeks papers which address shifting conceptualizations of "superstition" as it relates to both the natural and preternatural in the early modern period. Papers should examine the ways in which various discourses of superstition contributed to the emergence of new cultures of natural and preternatural knowledge, thereby helping to shape the early modern world.

    Topics might include, but are not limited to:

    - The various ways in which the study of nature came to be conceived as a remedy for the apparent spread of superstition in the post-Reformation period.
    - How the concept of superstition was altered by emerging definitions of "true" and "false" knowledge with regards to the natural world.
    - How the idea of superstition contributed to the creation of a definable relationship between the natural world and the preternatural.
    - Whether new ways of thinking about nature ultimately led to the trivialization of superstition and superstitions.
    - The use of discourses of superstition in defense of natural magic, demonology, witchcraft, and the occult, etc.
    - The relationship between ideas of "progress," "advancement," "enlightenment" and superstition in early modern cultures of knowledge.

    Final papers will be due 15 January 2014. Submissions should be made through the journal's online submission module at:

    Contributions should usually be 8,000 - 12,000 words, including all documentation and critical apparatus. However, exceptions can be made in certain circumstances. If accepted for publication, manuscripts will be required to adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (style 1, employing footnotes).

    For more information, please contact James A.T. Lancaster
    ( ).

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