January 2013

Western Esotericism PDF-NOTE: Internet Explorer Users, right click the PDF Icon and choose [save target as] if you are experiencing problems with clicking. Print

Call for Proposals

This Group invites paper proposals on the following topics:

  • Esotericism and psychoactive substances — exploring the historical, cultural, and social dimensions of the use of drugs and more generally psychoactive substances in the context of Western esotericism, especially in relation to visionary and/or mystical experiences but also in relation to magical and ritual practices

  • Michel Foucault’s concept of “technologies of the self” and focuses to esoteric practices of bodily and/or mental discipline used as tool of spiritual or magical realization

  • For a possible cosponsored session with the Ritual Studies Group, play and games in an esoteric context, particularly the dimensions of irony, games, play, and humor in esotericism and challenging the classic stereotype of the esotericist who looks at his/her endeavors and doctrines with extreme seriousness and gravity


This Group seeks to reflect and further stimulate the current process — reflected in the recent creation of new Chairs and teaching programs, international associations, journals, monograph series, and reference works — of professionalization and scholarly recognition of Western esotericism as a new area of research in the study of religion. For more information on the field, see the Websites of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, the Association for the Study of Esotericism, and the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam. On these Websites you will also find information on the academic journal Aries and the Aries Book Series (both published by Brill Academic Publishers).

Anonymity of Review Process

Proposer names are visible to Chairs but anonymous to Steering Committee members.


Cathy N. Gutierrez
Sweet Briar College
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Marco Pasi
Universiteit van Amsterdam
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Method of Submission


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