ESSWE newsletter, Spring 2012

The ESSWE’s newsletter for Spring 2012 was sent out to the Society’s members this morning. It has already found its way online, and can be read here.  The editor, Per Faxneld, has put together a nice little overview of what is going on in the field, including a report from the three centres at Paris, Amsterdam, and Exeter. Besides this, Sasha Chaitow (of Phoenix Rising Academy) presents her PhD project on Péladan (“A Babylonian Mage in 19th Century Paris”), while Mike Zuber, who is just about to join the Amsterdam group as a PhD candidate, describes his upcoming research on Pietism and alchemy. It should be exciting stuff.

There is also a report on the second INASWE conference, that took place in Haifa, Israel, earlier this Spring. The Israeli group has rapidly become the most active local network in the ESSWE, as it has now produced two workshops/conferences in less than one year (see this post for their first event last summer)! Finally, the “scholar interviews” this time are with Kocku von Stuckrad, and yours truly. Enjoy!


Save the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica!

The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (BPH, or Ritman Library) in Amsterdam has been a very important institution for research into hermetic philosophy and related currents, particularly early modern Rosicrucianism and alchemy, for decades. In a dramatic and very unsettling turn of events, the library’s existence as we know it is now being threatened. It is all very unclear what will happen, but there is no doubt that spreading the word and creating attention around the developments is the least we can do to try and influence things in the best possible direction – to save the library, the staff, and its national heritage collection of manuscripts and printed books. Please sign this petition, and feel free to spread the word to anyone you think should know about this. For more information, read the note below.


Alchemy, and how to write about it: ESSWE thesis workshop

As advertised before on this blog, the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) has been organising a thesis workshop on alchemy. It took place  in Amsterdam on June 24; here is a short report.


“Alchemy: Between Science and Religion” – a workshop

On 24 June the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) will organize a one-day workshop on alchemy in Amsterdam. Some of the top experts of alchemy will present papers, including Professor Lawrence Principe of John Hopkins University. Although the main focus is on alchemy and its ambiguous relation to early modern natural philosophy and religion, the workshop is intended for graduate and postgraduate students working with themes related to esotericism more generally. Since it coincides with the board meeting of the ESSWE, virtually all the leading scholars of western esotericism will be present, including Antoine Faivre, Wouter Hanegraaff, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Boaz Huss, Mark Sedgwick, and Gyorgy Szonyi. They will all happily engage in discussions with students and young researchers.

In short: A great opportunity if you’re doing an MA or PhD in this area, and can make it to Amsterdam in June. Another notable perk: It’s free. For more details, check out the announcement, which I also post in its entirety below.