I’m happy to welcome Prof. Carole Cusack who has been working and teaching in the field of religious studies at the University of Sydney for more than 40 years.

Carole is not only well-known and highly respected in the world of academia but also among practicing occultists despite of not being a practitioner herself. She has been involved in teaching undergraduate courses since 1984 and her work covers many different topics of religion, esotericism and spirituality.

Growing up in a strict Catholic family Carole decided for herself that she didn’t believe in those concepts and went on to graduate from university with a PhD as a mediaevalist in 1996. Soon after that she started to teach contemporary religion and as she knew quite a few practitioners in different new religious movements she discovered her interest in writing and working in this specific area. Having a passion collecting articles, books and a lot of other material, the ability to connect the dots quickly and the attitude of a forensic criminal investigator ties in pretty well with her excellent work which is frequently published online on academia.edu.

In this episode of the show we’ll be talking quite a lot about the strange relationship between academia and esotericism and how there’s a turf war between secular studies and especially Christian theology. In general the concepts of objectivity and subjectivity in relation to religious studies will be another topic and we’ll be exploring the line between religion and esotericism in depths and how and why groups nowadays seem to become more open.

Covid presenting a danger or a chance for new religious movements and the differences between bigger organisations being less prepared for a pandemic versus the rather unconventional subcultural groups that have been used to working online since the 80s will be included into the discussion as well.

Carole also kindly opens up on some barriers she encountered during her researches due to vows of secrecy and on the value of her Catholic background and explains the changes that have been taking place in the last decade.

Music played in this episode

As we did already once or twice in previous episodes, we play some compositions by the great philosopher, mystic and spiritual teacher George Ivanovich GURDJEFF. His musical works – in this present case for piano solo – were then revised by his student and close collaborator, Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann.

Todays pieces are all piano transscriptions from Gurdjeff’s ballet “The Struggle of the Magicians”.

1) Meditation & Prayer

(Track starts at [7:40])


(Track starts at [51:31])


(Track starts at [1:33:38])

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

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