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Western Esotericism - Year-long Introductory Course (scholarly/ academic)
Western Esotericism - Year-long Introductory Course (scholarly/ academic)

Wed, 16 Nov


Western Esotericism - Year-long Introductory Course (scholarly/ academic)

Dr Sasha Chaitow's popular online one-year course: mystery cults, alchemy, grimoires, Golden Dawn, Crowley, tarot and more

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Time & Location

16 Nov 2022, 19:00 – 21:30

About The Event

This year-long course, meeting online monthly, explores esoteric traditions to give a well-rounded sense of their content; it teaches their historical developments and key ideas and their place within the broader background of conventional history. Dr Sasha Chaitow starts in the turbulent Hellenistic period, when  “acceptable” and “occult” thought were first distinguished from one another. Here too, were the roots of esoteric traditions in neoplatonism, hermeticism, and gnosticism. These three very different, but related worldviews, were reconstituted during the Renaissance, when elements borrowed from kabbalah, alchemy and other sources were merged with older currents of thought. This marked the birth of “the Western Esoteric Traditions.” The common objective of these movements was to raise human consciousness and self-awareness towards a reintegration with the divine, through human will and individual spiritual development. Interaction with developments in science, politics, and religiocultural events shaped these traditions as much as their counterparts. The course then examines the esoteric movements of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, concluding with occulture today.

1. · 16th Nov  The Academic Study of Western Esotericism: Terminology, Methods, Issues

2. ·  14th Dec Historical review of Western Esoteric Thought from antiquity to modern times.

3. · 18th Jan The Hellenistic Period: Hermeticism and Neoplatonism

4. · 15th Feb Gnosticism in Antiquity and its absorption into later traditions.

5. · 15th Mar The Renaissance and the birth of the “Western Esoteric Traditions”

6. · 12th Apr Alchemy: The Art of the Philosophers

7. · 17th May Kabbalah: Healing the World

8. · 14th Jun Pansophia, Theosophia, and the Philosophia Sacra

9 · 12th Jul The Scientific Revolution and the Counter-Enlightenment

10 · 9th Aug Initiation and Esoteric Fraternities

11 · 13th Sep The Occult Revival and Modernism

12. · 11th Oct 21st Century Occulture

Who is it for?

  1. People looking for an academic, yet accessible, approach to occult movements, with practitioner perspectives 
  2. Practitioners who want a deeper understanding of their chosen path, and to know what scholars actually do
  3. People wishing to understand the roles esoteric traditions have played in the history of wider Western culture 
  4. Scholars wanting a grounding in the terms, history, and ideas within Western Esotericism
  5. People wanting to get a firm grasp of the historical interrelationships across the spectrum of esotericism
  6. People considering advanced academic study in Western Esotericism

Course structure

There are twelve monthly topics, each involving three elements.

  1. A pre-recorded lecture on the month’s theme, which you watch at any time before the live seminar. It comes with a recommended reading list (not obligatory)
  2. A 2.5-hour seminar on  a Wednesday, 7pm GMT (UK time), based on interactivediscussion of the texts emailed to you the pevious week. There is then discussion in small groups (using Zoom’s breakout rooms) responding to specific prompts and questions, whose conclusions are fed back to the main group. There is live Q&A sessions at the start and end of each seminar.
  3. For further study, you receive prompts, questions, and further reading to work on over the course of the following month. For this, you have access to to Dr Chaitow's support and guidance.

At a minimum, you must view the recorded lecture before attending the related live seminar session. The Further Study component is optional but important if you want to have a full experience. The minimum monthly time commitment is 2 hours for watching prerecorded material,  2.5 hours for the live seminars, and 3-5 hours reading: monthly total of 7.5 to 9 hours. Participants may of course spend more time studying if they wish. 

About the Instructor

Dr Sasha Chaitow earned her PhD in Cultural History/Western Esotericism at the University of Essex. She holds an MA in the History of Western Esotericism (University of Exeter, 2008), and an MA in Literature (University of Indianapolis, 2004). She has published two books based on her research, is working on two more, and has also published extensively in peer-reviewed journals as well as magazines and professional journals. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and has 20 years experience in adult education. She frequently presents her research at conferences and has organised numerous academic conferences and symposia. In her parallel career as a visual artist, she has produced 13 solo art exhibitions in the UK, Greece, and Sweden and frequently participates in curated group exhibitions. She taught this course successfully as part of Phoenix Rising Academy (2010-2014), privately by invitation from a Masonic lodge (2016), and as an intensive 12-week course for Treadwell’s in 2020. This 2022 version offered exclusively through Treadwell's, features a strongly interactive component that works closely with source texts. Previous participants include senior scholars from diverse fields, high-profile esoteric writers and teachers, artists and esoteric practitioners. She is frequently invited as a guest lecturer for international academic, specialist, and general audiences on culture and education, and she also teaches academic skills and research literacy for the sciences. She has worked in academic and scientific publishing and as a journalist and science writer. Her current (2022) research interests include the history of science and its intersection with wider culture between the 18th-21st centuries, and interdisciplinary approaches in the health sciences.  Full CV:


  • Full Course Digital Ticket

    You will receive a second email on the 1st of November with further details.

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