Monday, August 29, 2011

Science and the Occult -- Call for Papers

Science and the Occult - from Antiquity to Early Modern Period

APRIL 20-21, 2012 (Friday-Saturday)

Hosted by the Department of History and supported by the Bilsland-Puskas Initiative endowment at Purdue University

Keynote speakers:
Edward Bever Ph.D., Chair of History & Philosophy Department, SUNY-Old Westbury (State University of New York)
Nancy L. Turner Ph.D., Chair of Social Sciences and History Department, University of Wisconsin-Platteville; Chair of Societas Alchimica

Abstract submission: 500 words
Contact: Angela Catalina Ghionea at email:

To chair a Session: September 15, 2011 (Propose a title with short description for a session you would like to chair, and one page Resume)
Paper Proposals: October 1, 2011 (500 words Abstracts to be submitted as word attachment, plus full CV)
General Sessions: January 15, 2012 (Offers to preside for possible General Sessions, plus one page Resume)

Topics considered (but not limited to):

History of Magic, Alchemy, Witchcraft, Medicine, Herbalism, Kabala, Numerology, Sacred Geometry, Esoterism, Hermetism and Hermeticism, Divination, Tarot, Astrology, Tradition and Lore, Ciphers and Alphabets, Semiotics and Symbology.

The fascinating recurrence of alchemical symbols in European, American, and Islamic thought, as well as specific non-rational methods employed by many scientists to promote rational discoveries from Ancient times through the Early Modern Period, will be the focus of this conference. We anticipate the publication of an edited Volume II, after the event.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Godwin on Alchemy for non-initiates

To look at these symbols as pictures is to understand something that commentators rarely point out. They will tell us what the various creatures or figures symbolize, but if that were sufficient, there would be no need for an illustration: it could all be put into words, like philosophy. Why draw so many images if all they mean is that there is a relationship between “soul” and “spirit”? The reason is that these symbolic landscapes and their inhabitants are to be brought alive through the imagination.
For those of us who cannot or would rather not “rise in the planes,” the symbolic world of Hermetic philosophy still affords a unique combination of visual pleasure and spiritual meaning.

— Joscelyn Godwin, The Silent Language: Symbols of the Hermetic Philosophy

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jung on Alchemy

My results, based on fifteen years of effort, seemed inconclusive, because no possibility of comparison offered itself. I knew of no realm of human experience with which I might have backed up my findings with some degree of assurance. The only analogies-and these, I must say, were far removed in time-I found scattered among the reports of the heresiologists. This connection did not in any way ease my task; on the contrary, it made it more difficult, because the Gnostic systems consist only in small part of immediate psychic experiences, the greater part being speculative and systematizing recensions.

Carl Jung, Alchemical Studies