My guest in this episode does not need a lot of introduction. Mark Stavish is the Director of Studies for the Institute for Hermetic Studies and has more than 25 years of experience in comparative religion, philosophy, psychology, mysticism and of course Traditional Western Esotericism. His books are internationally well-known and equally appreciated among students and teachers of the occult.

Mark Stavish started the Institute for Hermetic Studies out of the idea of a local study group back in 1997. From there it grew steadily and soon offered not only seminars and workshops to which people were willing to drive long hours but also published study guides in readable forms that originated in recordings of some of the seminars and workshops. The Institute provides a complete overview of the essential ideas and practices of Western Esotericism.

As promised in the episode, by clicking either on the above image or here, you will access the registration for that free 6-hour course on basics of the Western Esotericism.

Our main focus during this interview will be asking a lot of probably uncomfortable questions in the realm of Western Esotericism and trying to find some answers. One of these questions will touch the rather sensitive topic of why we start learning and practicing esotericism in the first place, the definition of esotericism in general and what being an adept truly means.

We will look at the role of groups in magic in their positive and less positive aspects as well as at the necessity of hierarchies in the learning/teaching process mirroring some qualities in nature.

The question if contemporary esotericism is sustainable or not is to be answered rather quickly but the solution to this problem is subject to an extensive part of our conversation but I don’t want to give away too much here as it is an issue that needs to be discussed a lot more in depth these days and I consider Mark’s input as a very valuable one in fact. Just a hint, it has to do something with Yesod and the world of imagination.

Mark will share with us his upcoming projects concerning the Institute for Hermetic Studies, one of his recently re-released books and the latest translations of his well-known work ‘Egregores – The Occult Entities that Watch over Human Destiny’ and also give some excellent recommendations for research such as Jeffrey Mishlove’s ‘The PK Man’ and George P. Hansen’s ‘The Trickster and the Paranormal’.

Mark’s most recent book, “Egregores”, published by Inner Traditions to the left, and the brand-new German translation .

Those are the two books that Mark mentioned and recommended in the interview.

Music played in this episode

When a rather heavy thunderstorm came up during the recording of this show (I was fortunately able to edit those noises out), Mark was joking about the planet influences. Well, we recorded this on a Tuesday, and I released this episode on a Sunday. So the choice of music was heavily influenced by the corresponding planets of Tuesday and Sunday…

1) GUSTAV HOLST  – MARS from “The Planets”

(Track starts at [6:47])


2) ERIK SATIE – AIR DE L’ORDRE from “Sonneries pour la Rose-Croix”

Satie wrote a series of piano pieces for the “Ordre de la Rose-Croix”, founded and run by Josephin Peladan in the early 1890s. Very austere pieces…

(Track starts at [55:55])



to celebrate the release day Sunday, a sunny piece inspired by North American native sounds


(Track starts at [1:31:06])

Intro and Outro Music
especially written and recorded for the Thoth-Hermes Podcast by Chris Roberts

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