Exploring the forgotten and rejected story of Western thought
Alireza Doostdar on ‘Metaphysical Religion’ in Contemporary Iran
We speak with Alireza Doostdar on his field-research exploring alternative forms of spirituality in Iran. Come for the new-age exorcisms, stay for the the true spiritual significance of The Exorcist.
Karin Valis on Magic and Artificial Intelligence
In our second A House with Many Rooms interview, we discuss the intersections between AI and magic with machine learning engineer Karin Valis. Come for the divination, ensouled statues, golems, homonculi, and alphanumeric cosmology, stay for the techno-magical intervention at the end.
Noah Gardiner on the Pseudo-Bunian Shams al-maʿārif al-kubrā and the Corpus Bunianum
We discuss arguably the greatest magical book of the Islamicate tradition, the Shams al-maʿārif al-kubrā or Great Sun of Knowledge. Turns out it isn't by al-Būnī as everyone thought, though there is some Būnī in there; but it has so much to tell us about Islamicate culture, Sufism, and the ‘project of forgetting’ of esoteric Islām among both Muslims and scholars.
Noah Gardiner on Aḥmad al-Būnī and Islamicate Lettrism
We introduce Aḥmad al-Būnī, master sūfī and alphanumeric speculator, but most famous in the Islamicate world as an authority on magic. We sift the wheat from the chaff and get to the bottom of who al-Būnī was, what he really wrote, and what kind of reception he has had, both within and outside of Islam.
Morwenna Ludlow on Universal Salvation in Christianity
We discuss universal salvation, a perennial idea within Christianity – that all of humanity, or maybe even everything in the universe, will be saved through Christ's salvific atonement – with Morwenna Ludlow of the University of Exeter. Starting from Clement of Alexandria and ending with the current state of play in sometimes-unlikely Christian circles, we explore the long history of an esoteric (and sometimes not so esoteric) Christian idea.
Jason Josephson Storm on the Myth of Disenchantment
We discuss the widespread idea of the ‘disenchantment’ of the modern world – the idea that ‘we don't believe in magic any more’ – with Jason Josephson-Storm. It turns out that the idea is a myth, that the myth is actually a number of complex, interacting myths, and that none of them is empirically-accurate.