Ancient Esotericism.org is the website for the Network for the Study of Ancient Esotericism (NSEA), a thematic network associated with the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE). NSEA specializes in the study of esoteric phenomena of the ancient period and provides contact for specialists of ancient esoteric thought, history, and literature.

This website is intended as a resource for scholars and students. While the ancient sources (Gnostic, theurgic, Neoplatonic, Hermetic, etc.) of Western Esotericism possess enormous importance for the development of esoteric currents from the fourteenth century onwards, there remains only a minimum of interaction between the antiquity experts and their (proto)-modern colleagues. The Network therefore is intended to 1) introduce scholarship on ancient esotericism to students of Western Esotericism, 2) serve as a forum in which to exchange ideas, notes and references, etc. outside of other professional bodies which are not concerned with esotericism per se, 3) (and most importantly) to provide a junction of the many resources online that can serve as aids in the study of this fascinating and difficult material (dictionaries, textual corpora, blogs, etc.).

NSEA Directors (2018-present):

Nicholas Banner, Trinity College Dublin

Andreea-Maria Lemnaru, Paris Sorbonne University


Former NSEA Directors (2012-2019):

Dylan M. Burns, Freie Universität Berlin

Sarah L. Veale, York University


The website was designed by Sarah L. Veale.

To join ESSWE, click here.



Papyrus by Suzanne Chapman, used via the creative commons.
Torah Scroll by rubberpaw, used via the creative commons.
Torah by erskinelibrary, used via the creative commons.
Egyptian stele by CDDinosaur, used via the creative commons.
Porphyry text in Greek by Ancient Commentators, used via the creative commons.
Mercury by Poul Iversen, used via the creative commons.
Nut by koopmanrob, used via the creative commons.
Greek angel by Pierre Metivier, used via the creative commons.
Vysehrad Codex by Ian Koh, used via the creative commons.
Menalaus by Zafky, used via the creative commons.
Dead Sea Scrolls by KWSW, used via the creative commons.
Louvre Voodoo Doll by Marie-Lan Nguyen, Wikimedia Commons.

All other images used via Wikimedia Commons.