Hello, Symposiasts. I’m Dr. Angela Puca, a religious studies PhD, and this is your online resource for the academic study of magic, esotericism, paganism, shamanism, and all things occult. Today, it is a live stream to celebrate my birthday and answer your questions. So, let me see who is in the chat. Hi Joao, Andrew, and Edward, and thank you for moderating the chat. Thank you, Dave, and thank you for the happy birthdays that everybody has sent so far. Yes, I’m an Aquarian; that’s what I was thinking about. I think that today, Aquarius starts anyway, but to make sure that everybody knows, today is not actually my birthday. But I’m celebrating your birthday with you because my birthday is actually on the 28th, but I will not be here on the 28th, and I will explain in a moment. So, I thought I would celebrate with you guys here because I like to celebrate my birthday with all the Symposiasts.
I just had a great conversation with my patrons in my Inner Symposium. We have a monthly call with patrons of all tiers, so it was a great conversation. I really loved it, and it kind of cheered me up. Because, you know, there have been some things going on, and having my community here and on Patreon really makes me feel like I want to keep going. Speaking of which, thank you so much, Rachel, for your best gift. Thank you, Rachel, that’s really nice of you. And which makes me think that this morning I got a nice gift of chocolate. So, I know that the person who sent it doesn’t particularly like to be mentioned, but you know who you are, and thank you for that. It’s always very, very appreciated. And oh, hi Frater RC, Frater RC was just there at our Patron’s call. It’s really nice to have you in the chat.
So I would say, before we start taking questions, oh, Christian, hi!, that’s another patron of mine; sorry, yeah, we missed you. And I can see that I also get some happy birthday wishes in Italian. So, for those of you who want to learn Italian, that’s Italian for happy birthday, which is ‘Buon compleanno.’
Oh, hi, Oracle, nice to see you here as well. I hope that I don’t forget anybody. I have the weirdest blind vision, you know, selectively blind vision. I don’t know what the selection is, but sometimes when I’m live streaming, there are literally some messages that I don’t see for whatever reason, and then when I look back at the video, it’s like, how could I not see that? Anyway, shall we do our cake thing or candle thing? So, let me light up. Now it will be weird because I have to kind of… should I sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to myself or pretend that you are singing it? Hi, Hank. So, I guess, happy birthday to me from all of you guys. Hopefully, so thank you all so much. And oh, let me wish for something. [Dr Puca blows out a candle] Here it is. Happy Birthday to me. And so, hopefully, the wish is going to come true.
And so yeah, thank you so much, guys. I can see all the happy birthday wishes. Oh yeah, sing away, sing! I should have, shouldn’t I? For some reason, I feel self-conscious, even though I am a singer. ‘Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, from all of you guys.’ Oh, in Italian, do you want me to sing in Italian? Yes, we also have the Italian version, which is the same music but obviously in Italian. So I can sing it for you if you want. Well, I guess for me, both of us, for you guys. So, in Italian, it is: [sings in Italian] Angela. So that’s the Italian version, so we’ve been bilingual and all. Thank you, Greg, for the happy birthday. That’s very nice of you. And thank you for the compliments on my voice.
As I mentioned in the news, ‘¡Feliz cumpleaños!’ As I mentioned in my newsletter, I’d love to get back to singing, but I think finding musicians in my area is difficult because I don’t have a car. You guys don’t know many things about me because I don’t talk much about my personal life. But I don’t have a car, so when I move around, it’s either walking or by public transport. So, I think it’s difficult to find musicians in my local area who like the same music and would be available when I am. So, I think maybe I should find a solution to make music myself and be self-sufficient. Hi Dan, “I just came over from Flip’s new video. Happy Birthday, Angela.” Oh, thank you so much. That’s lovely. And for all of you guys who don’t know Dan Attrel’s work, please go over and subscribe to the Modern Hermeticist. That’s a great channel. In fact, that reminds me that, as I was about to mention, I’m leaving for Japan in less than a week, and I will be there for two weeks.
Then you would be happy to know that I’ve saved one of your videos, I think two, so I can listen to them while on the long-haul flight. So, it’s going to be exciting. I’m also a little bit anxious, I have to say, but hopefully, everything is going to go well. I’m going with a group of Italian friends, even though one lives in Spain, she’s a tattoo artist, and the others live in Italy. But we will all meet in Amsterdam, which is funny enough. We all have the flight around the same time so that we will arrive at the same time in Amsterdam, and we will all gather there and then leave and go to Tokyo. My birthday, the 28th, will be in Tokyo, and I look forward to that. I also, so it’s a group of us, as I said, of long-time friends. Maybe this doesn’t translate in different countries and cultures, but in Italy, my generation, and even now, we tend to… maybe not as much now, I guess, because there are so many more channels with different types of cartoons. But I grew up, and my friends and I grew up with Japanese anime, so I think that we have an association with Japan and anime and our childhood.
So yeah, I was thinking that, and I was telling my patrons earlier that my main aim for this trip to Japan is finally transforming into Sailor Moon. So, we will see if that happens, if the transformation happens. You will probably… I don’t know if I will document it. Maybe I will. But one thing that will be fun is my best friend and I, whom my patrons have met because he gave a Magus lecture. You know, every month, I have a Magus lecture for my Magus and higher-tier patrons, and on one occasion, my best friend gave a lecture on the Rider-Waite Tarot deck from a practitioner’s point of view. So, he and I will separate from the group at some point and go to Mount Koya for this spiritual retreat with a fire festival. So, that will be interesting and probably challenging as well, but I will try and document things. I don’t want to be too annoying. I think that when I travel, especially when I am with other people, I don’t want to be like the weird influencer content-creator person who is just there with the camera filming everything, right? So, I feel a bit self-conscious, but I have to make an effort because Japan is a big deal.
So, I hope I can document things, and I’m planning on making videos on Japanese esotericism. So, having footage from my own trip is always great. Finding images and footage for videos is always difficult, so if it is my own footage, that’s even better. Even though I will be away, I still have content scheduled so you guys can have more episodes. There will be episodes coming up every Sunday, although next week, the next episode will be released on the 31st because it is a collaboration. But I’m not going to tell more so that I can build hype with the anticipation of not knowing. It’s going to be a collaboration with a friend and a fellow religious studies YouTuber. So that will be public on the 31st at 4 p.m. UK time. And then, I will still try to post something for you guys every week. In fact, I think I felt a bit stressed in the past few days because I had to do a month’s worth of work in two weeks to still provide educational content for you guys. And yeah, if you guys want to give me a birthday gift, I would love it if you would share my videos around. Share it with your friends and your family, and allow the symposium to get a wider outreach. That would be a great birthday present for me if you don’t mind.
So let me see if there are any questions now from you guys. Oh, there’s Oracle, who is a lovely patron of mine. So, Oracle asks, ‘What gave you the courage to start the channel?’ That’s a good question. It does take courage, doesn’t it? Because of all the backlash? So, the idea of the channel – it’s funny because, for a long time, I’ve kept journals. I’m not doing that so much anymore, but especially during difficult times, I tend to journal. So, when I started my PhD, it was a very difficult time. I had to move to another country, learn the language to academic and crazy levels, and I started teaching while I started my PhD. I also had to take a postgraduate qualification because, in the UK, you need something called PGHE, which is a postgraduate certificate in higher education to teach in universities. So, everything was happening at once. And I remember that I kept journaling and wanted to start a YouTube channel or a blog. I just felt like I wanted to offer academic knowledge to a wider public. And I think one of the drivers for that was that even for me, it was very difficult to find academic knowledge on paganism and esotericism. Those of you who have followed me for some time know that for a long time, until I completed my master’s, I had no idea that esotericism in today’s world was studied from an academic point of view because that was not happening in Italy, and I did my degrees in Italy. I think when you are in a country, you tend to have the point of view of that country. And then I came across a YouTube video where Dr. Jenny Butler, who is now a lovely friend of mine, she’s a lovely person, and a great scholar, and I saw her YouTube video where she was talking about her Ph.D., and it was like a Ph.D. showcase or something like that. And she was talking about studying and researching paganism in Ireland. And I thought, ‘What do you mean that this can be done as a PhD? Why am I not doing it?’ And then I looked around, and it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s why.’
So, then I tried to enter a doctoral program in Italy, and I couldn’t, so I decided to try in the UK, and I applied to the University of Chester and the University of Leeds with Leeds Trinity University. I got into both, but then I decided to go with Leeds because I would also get a teaching contract, so that was the story, but what gave me the courage I kept thinking about creating a YouTube channel because I felt like I didn’t want people to be in the same state of unawareness that I was because if fact when I discovered the academic study of these things for me it was like an epiphany. It’s like this stuff has been going on for decades, and I had no clue, even though I thought. Clearly, I was wrong that I was very knowledgeable on matters in esotericism, but the only works that were presented to me when I went to bookstores or even online were from practitioners. So, those were relatively accessible but not academic studies. So, I guess that I wanted to allow people not to feel like I felt like that I was completely oblivious that this was going on and also to know more about the academic world. I got enured with it because even I’m not saying that Academia doesn’t have issues because it does, but I really love the work that academics do – guys, academics do this for passion clearly, and I don’t know it just felt like how sad it is that these books and these articles they only run within academic circles and in conferences and in those very selected places where academics go and academics read but it never really reaches out to a wider public. So I thought I’ve got to do something about this, and I’m good at being silly in front of the camera, so why not? So I started being silly in front of the camera, but that’s why I’m in life, guys. I just started doing it. At first, I was sharing the research I was doing for my PhD, and then, over time, I started to do dedicated research for the videos, depending on the topic I chose, but that’s the story. What gave me the courage was education and wanting people to know about the academic side of the story, not because I think that academic research is superior to the practitioner’s perspective; I think that is just two different things. Practitioners have an aim, and they have their methodologies to achieve that aim, and academics have another aim, and their methodology is to achieve those aims. I think academia can be useful for practitioners; it can inform practices and debunk certain convictions.
Let me see if there are other questions or comments, and I don’t… Oh, Filip is in the chat. Oh, hi Filip, happy day of birth. Thank you so much, Filip. And for those of you who don’t know, Let’s Talk Religion is another great channel. I loved meeting you guys in Malmo. It was great, and I also adore Filip’s wife, Ayat. She saved me from the cold of Malmo, but it was great meeting the religion tube, or at least you know Filip, Zevi, Justin, and who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, that’s them. It was four of us in Malmo. I’m just thinking about the others who are part of the community, but the four of us met in Malmo, and it was great.
Happy birthday, Princess of Darkness. Thank you.
Are you going to livestream on the 28th? No, because, as I said, I will be in Tokyo. I’m leaving for Japan in a few days, so no. That’s why I decided to do the live-stream birthday celebration today to celebrate with you guys.
Happy Birthday, Angela, my favourite doctor. Thank you. I prescribe academic knowledge. And safe travels, thank you.
Yeah, at the beginning of January, there have been a few tragedies happening in Japan, and because there were the earthquakes and then the tsunami warning, and then there was the Tokyo [aeroplane] going in flame in Tokyo, and it’s like what is happening am I supposed to read a message in this. So, protections are welcome.
So Pascal is asking, from what you know and have experienced now, do you think you would like a traditional academic career?
Well, that is what I was going for; when I started the YouTube channel and even a little bit after that, I was going for a traditional academic career. Then I stepped back from that, even though I’m still an academic and still publishing and teaching at universities. I’ve made teaching more
occasional because I just cannot have two full-time jobs because there are so many hours in a day, and between YouTube, you know, social media YouTube is my favourite social media platform, but between YouTube social media and also Patreon, it is a full-time job already. Then, I’m also doing research, and I occasionally teach in universities as well. You guys probably have seen that I’ve given a public lecture at Harvard University. It’s available online if you want to look it up. And I also gave a few other lectures at Harvard in previous years. I really liked the cohort of Professor Giovanna Parmigiani, and she’s great. I adore her. And I taught in Catania at the University of Catania; I was invited there. I taught at the University of Rome, La Sapienza, in December. I am still teaching at different universities, and I’m still publishing. In fact, speaking of Publications, my book with Brill called Italian Witchcraft and Shamanism will be published in May. On Instagram and social media, it says March, but if you look at Brill’s website, it says May, so I’m guessing Brill’s website is more accurate. And so that is very exciting. If you have seen the cover, I designed it myself and look forward to seeing it in the publication. The only thing that saddens me, to be frank, is that it’s really pricey but I tried to have an affordable option, but I guess that you know, hopefully, it will be available soon enough and also there’s the option of libraries. And that book is based on my PhD research, so it is something that I also allow my patrons to access.
Sell a kidney, yeah, I know. And you probably guys know that with academic publishers … well, let me not start, but I think that it’s also important to get your work with peer-reviewed publishers because I think that, obviously, peer-reviewed scholarship has a higher reputation compared to standard commercial publications, for good reasons. I think it was important to publish this work academically because I know that many Italian Witches and Shamans need to have their voices heard. I think a book published academically will help them. So I hope that happens, and I have already been asked to publish the Italian version. But it’s going to be a lot of work to translate everything, and Italian is my first language, of course, but it is still not just translating word by word is also different – the Italian academic system is different formally, and they would also expect me to change certain things completely. So it would be a lot of work. I’d love to do it, but I don’t know when I will find the time, to be honest. But it is definitely among the things that I’d love to do. But yeah, that’s the only reason I backed away from the traditional academic career. But if my channel hadn’t grown and if you guys hadn’t supported my work of public scholarship, that’s what I would be doing, you know, in the Ivory Tower. But you guys allow me to do that in public – not just teaching to small cohorts in universities but teaching to the world; thanks to all of you who support my work.
Oh, Christian asked how much editing you had to do, from a doctoral thesis to a book. That’s a good question. It really depends on the type of PhD that you do. In my case, it wasn’t a lot; it wasn’t massive changes because my PhD was an anthropological PhD. I think that anthropological PhDs read a bit more like books anyway, whereas there are other types of PhD dissertion that are just completely different even in the style of writing from a book. The things that I had to change are details… so when you publish the book version of a PhD dissertation, they don’t want as many details, whereas, in the PhD dissertation, you need to add every single detail like the date of the interview, the what they said the translation, like every minute detail you have to add. Whereas in the book version, all those details are just brushed away, and you need to make it more readable. So, fewer details, more readable, less academicese. So if there are words that are only known amongst academics, or academics of a certain field because, you also find that you don’t only have the fact that academics tend to have their own language but also different fields; even subfields may have their own language that’s my impression like for instance, I’ve heard the term’‘religionist’’ only among esotericist academics – even in religious studies but those who work on paganism, not on esotericism which, for whatever reason, are two different subfields even though I do both. But they are considered a bit different; you don’t find that term. I’ve only heard it among the list, and religionists are something that means when you have an approach that tends to advocate for a certain religion, so it’s not a neutral perspective, but it’s more of a perspective that tends to lean towards a certain religion.
So let me see. So Frater RC is asking, ‘Publishing with Brill gives you more credit for other academic and even popular writings you might publish, right? Or will it not even give you that advantage?’
Yes, it gives you that advantage. It’s the prestige. So, even if I were to, you know, if the YouTube channel and my patrons and my supporters were to give up on me, which, please don’t, you guys, please don’t, but if that were to happen and I went back into a traditional academic job, I would need published work. And commercial publications don’t count as publications. So having a book, Ronald Hutton, who, as you know, is my mentor, said, ‘Angela, you need to publish two books, two books.’ So I’ve got to do that because we were talking about what you need to progress in your academic career. And you need to have publications in peer-reviewed journals, which I have. If you look me up on Google Scholar, you will find them. And I also have a page on academia.edu where you can read my publications for free. So I’ve published in peer-reviewed journals, and I’m editing a volume, so this year, two books will come out. One that I authored, and the other one I co-edited, and that’s called ‘Paganism in Five Minutes‘ with Equinox. So, Andrew, if you also put the link in the chat of that one, that will help people find it out. So, that is an edited volume. So, there are many contributors from all over the world, and this is part of a series that Equinox does. It is called ‘Religion in Five Minutes.’ It’s geared towards undergrad students or students trying to get familiar with a religion they are unfamiliar with. So it’s called ‘Pagan Religions in Five Minutes’ because every small chapter, every chapter is small, is like 500 words, so you can read it within five minutes. And it’s the way it is articulated is questions and answers. So it’s very quick and easy so that you can just….
‘Oh, what happened?’
Did you see that, guys? Anyway, apparently, you know, the StreamYard or whatever or YouTube likes what I said. But yeah, as I was saying, it’s a quick way to understand what paganism is about just by questions and answers, like, ‘Do pagans do ritual sex? Do pagans worship Satan?’ You know, the typical questions you know, ‘What do pagans believe in? Do pagans have gods? Do pagan gods bite?’ No, that one is not there, but you know, it’s just like quick questions and answers that you can read and get an answer to within five minutes because there are many essays from different contributors from all around the world. So that was a great experience, and I edited it with Susanne Owen, who was my PhD supervisor. So that was a nice experience. And I will also do more lectures at Leeds Trinity University in the upcoming month. So I always have a lot going on, but I consider my primary job, as you could say, what I do with you here, guys. But I’m still an academic, and I still want to be an academic. I think that it’s because I love it and also because it allows me to have a foot in the actual academic world so that I can act as a proper bridge with you guys. That was the idea of my channel: to create a bridge between academia and the world of practitioners so that you guys can access academic, peer-reviewed scholarship on the topics, and you can do whatever you want with them. It doesn’t mean that your religion or your spiritual experiences need to abide by academic scholarship, of course, but at least you can inform it however you decide. Thank you so much, Andrew; that is so lovely of you. Thank you for the donation. Uh, thank you for your important work and fascinating content. Thank you so much. That’s lovely; it’s a nice birthday gift. So…
Oh, you say being an academic opens more doors for yourself and your audience? Yeah, that’s also true. I think that if I were to completely leave academia, I don’t know, I guess that I would feel a bit of an impostor with you guys. I don’t know because I think that, yes, of course, I have a PhD, but it’s not enough to have a PhD to be an academic. You need to be part of the body of scholarship, the research that has been made. That’s what I think. I’m not trying to gatekeep anyone who does it differently. Everybody thinks the way that they want. The way that I think about myself is that it’s important to be part of the community and also to learn. It’s not just about a political game or networking and all of that, especially since I’m not really looking for a traditional academic job now. It is purely and genuinely because I love the community, and even though there are problems in academia, the academics that I know in my field, in religious studies and the study of esotericism, those people are heroes. They are doing this primarily out of passion, and they are helping a lot, the whole community, even practitioners. And they are helping the public understand what esoteric practitioners and pagans do.
So that’s another reason why I focus more on academics on my channel, and you know that all my videos are based on peer-reviewed scholarship. I would love to do more videos on things that I would love to talk about, but there is no scholarship, no academic scholarship yet, and that’s frustrating. And when that happens, what do I do? I turn it into a magus lecture for my patrons because with my patrons, I feel open to discussing primary sources and my interpretations of them, whereas, on my public social media, I prefer to deliver the academic scholarship, and when there isn’t any, and I’m still talking about the subject, I always premise this is based on primary sources, or this is based on my field experiences. For instance, there is a video that is going to come up soon on the channel on honest and dishonest syncretism that is based on my field experience this Christmas, being initiated again into the tradition of Segnature, Italian witchcraft. And I was passed down more Segnature, and there was a group, and something happened in that group during those days of initiation, and I discussed my reflections in that video. It’s a video that is already recorded, and my patrons already have access to it. It will be released on the channel in the coming weeks. But, for instance, in that case, it is a reflection on my field experience, and I clarify that. So, every time that there’s a difference in my methodology, I clarify that.
But yeah, oh, Frater RC is saying, ‘Smash that, like, you 100 plus people.’ Yes, smash that like button, you guys. Come on, and share my videos. That would be a great gift.
Let me see if there are other questions. So, Punketeria – I like the name. I’m guessing you’re a punk, so that’s cool. So, happy birthday. I’m a huge fan of your channel and want to thank you for your knowledge, as well as for bringing forth awareness on the many spiritual and religious practices.
Thank you, that’s lovely of you to say. Let me see if I missed any questions.
Hanegraaff’s article in Religion, I believe, made a fascinating argument for the reconfiguring of religious studies to include spirituality in an interesting way. Sadly, his article seems ignored.
Yeah, I think that’s a problem. The problem is that generally speaking, academic articles and academic publications are ignored. People who are interested in esoteric practices just go and buy books at the local bookstore, and that’s understandable. That is something that I was discussing an hour ago with my patrons. I am frustrated with how inaccessible academic publishers and publications are. I’ve had a discussion at the University of Cambridge with a publisher, trying to argue that academic publications are not as accessible. I mean, why don’t you have audiobooks? Why don’t you have wider outreach and wider access? They just aim for a different audience, but it’s a bit disappointing because it always feels like there is a separation between these two worlds, between the academic world and the world of practitioners. I realized that when I was doing fieldwork for my PhD, and as you know, my PhD is on Italian Witchcraft and Shamanism. That’s the title of my book. When I was doing a shamanic retreat as part of my fieldwork, one thing that I noticed was that within pagan communities and esoteric communities, you find that people tend to be very sensitive to research and really like to investigate things academically.
I think that many practitioners of esotericism, magic, and pagans are actually very academically inclined, and they really like to; I’ve seen many even readjust their belief system based on the scholarship and the studies that were available. So what you find is that sometimes, not very correctly, you will find that among practitioners, they will try and argue their points by using science. Now, this is something that you also find in the New Age movement. They usually do it very badly, completely misunderstanding what science is, not using peer-reviewed research, but using random studies which do not follow the scientific method, that were not published in peer-reviewed journals, that perhaps were conducted by a doctor who then you go and look it up, and it’s not even a PhD, something that they got, you know, with a paying or whatever. So, I have found that in some cases, there are claims, even quantum physics is, you know, being misused, like a few other things. But what I’m trying to say is that what this behaviour underlies is the fact that these types of practitioners would like to understand things, their beliefs, and their practices from a scientific point of view. And the fact that they often misuse science to prove a point means that, on the one hand, they don’t have the tools to understand science, and that is understandable because scientists and academics are the ones who have, you know, you are trained to develop those skills, and also because the academic information is not really there, available to the public. So it’s also our fault as academics.
I’m not saying that it’s all of our fault because I have to say that ‘correlation equals causation’ is paramount with certain individuals, but there is also a contributing factor I think that academics should take into account, and I’m hoping to mend a little bit with my work, making academic scholarship more available to the public. But I think that the practitioners are particularly sensitive to academic scholarship, and that’s great because it means that, hopefully, it means that they are not dogmatic and that they are willing to change what they think and what they do based on the available evidence, which is what academia really is about. Another thing that I was discussing with my patrons earlier is that the general public tends to think that science and academia are there to deliver the truth, and then they get disappointed when there’s a study that says something different from a previous study. But science and academia are not looking for the truth; they are looking for the most accurate knowledge that you can get at a given time, and that’s always going to be upgraded, and it’s always going to change. Knowledge is a moving target; truth is something metaphysical; it’s not something that pertains to science or academics.
So, Brian is asking, I liked your video on ancestors, so my question is, what is the ritual atmosphere like in Italian practice? Any differences from other cultures? I have a few Italian-American friends.
That reminds me that I’d like to launch a course on Italian Witchcraft for English speakers because I mean, honestly, I often get Italian Americans asking me for references and advice, but there isn’t really anything in English that I would recommend, and that’s honestly the truth. I mean, obviously, you will find many things in English on Italian Witchcraft, but none of that is proper research or a proper study. So, I was thinking that given that I’m the first academic to have systematized Italian Witchcraft and have studied it as a whole, I’d love to launch an online course on that this year.
But anyway, to answer your question about whether the atmosphere is different in Italy, I think that every culture has its own thing. So maybe I’m gonna make you guys laugh, but I think in Italian Witchcraft, you have a lot of gestures. Nobody’s surprised by that, but there are gestures that are passed down during initiation rituals, and they are used specifically for certain purposes. Those are specific symbols; there are pagan ones and Christian ones. So, and also, there’s another thing that is interesting: food is used a lot in practice, in magic practice. Again, it’s a bit of a trope, right? Italians are all about gestures and food, and what can I say? I guess the trope is right. I think in terms of ancestors, Italians don’t have a cult of ancestors as other cultures have.
It’s a bit different, I guess, because I was thinking now about the cult of the skulls. So that is an Italian thing. I know that there are other countries that have the same type of cult related to the dead and ancestors, but it’s not specifically related to your blood ancestors; it’s just related to people who have lived there before you. So in Naples, where I come from, Napoli, there’s a place called Cimitero delle Fontanelle where you have old skulls, and also bones from people that have died in a Great Plague centuries ago, and up until quite recently, people used to adopt these skulls and take them home, give them names, and ask them to receive certain favours, and then once they get those favours, they take these skulls back in the cemetery, leave either a flower or a coin, and then give them prayers, so that they can exit the Purgatory because these skulls are called The Souls of the Purgatory. So, the belief is that since they have all died in a plague tragically, they are stuck in Purgatory, so you’re going to offer them your prayers so that they can exit Purgatory in exchange for their help to achieve something in your life, whether it is healing, money, whatever it is. It’s a form of folk magic practice in Italy. And last time that I was in Italy, it was closed, so I think they’re doing work. It’s one of those places that, unfortunately, it’s not, as you know, there’s not enough funding to keep it going, which is sad because it’s great. And also, you don’t see that only at the Cimitero delle Fontanelle because there are also other churches in Naples, like a church for Santa Lucia.
I know that Filip has made a video on Lucia, and the day dedicated to Lucia in Sweden, we collaborated with that video. In Naples, there is a church dedicated to St. Lucy that also has those skulls. Like, there’s, I wouldn’t call it a basement, but you know when you have places that have different floors, and usually there’s an underground floor in a church, and in the underground floor, you will find these skulls, and sometimes, oh, and there’s also this thing when you adopt a skull or a Purgatory soul, and they do not grant you your wish, you take them back to wherever you collected it, and turn the face so instead of the face facing the public, it’s facing the other way so that people know that they don’t work, that the skull doesn’t work, or that it’s not able or willing to grant your wish. So, you have all sorts of folk beliefs like that in Italy. So yeah, I would say food, gestures, skulls, and death are a big part of it.
Let me see if there are other questions.
Oh, Christian is saying, ‘Need to leave. Happy Birthday, and congrats on the excellent job.’ Thank you so much, Christian. It was, and it’s lovely to have you in the Inner Symposium.
Let me see if there are other questions. Thank you for spelling that out for everybody; that’s the spelling, Cimitero delle Fontanelle.
Oh, thank you for gifting an Inner Symposium membership, Jesse; I wasn’t familiar with that.
So yeah, if you guys have other questions, let me know. I felt cold, but now I feel warm because I have these lights on.
Oh yeah, Dan was saying that you often hear a confessionalsit.
Serdar, I’m not sure that I understand your question, ‘Wonderful human life education level books, Academy studies.’ What? I think I need more clarification.
Happy day of, Angela.
Thank you Xander
Oh, Aiat, I was just mentioning her. Happy birthday, dear. I hope to see you again soon – likewise.
Are there any upcoming shows on esoteric Christianity, Christian Cabala, or white magic? I love exploring the dark side, too, just curious as a prac. I don’t know this expression. What is a prac? I hope it’s not anything that I am not allowed to say on YouTube. You know YouTube listens to everything that I say. So yes, I’d love to make more videos on esoteric Christianity. So, this is something that I think I will do more of in the future. I’d also like to do a video on Hermetic Kabbalah and Christian Cabala. Yeah, obviously, there are lots of great videos on Kabbalah on Justin’s Channel at Esoterica and on Zevi’s Channel at Seekers of Unity, in case you’re interested. They also did a nice series on the Zohar. But yeah, I’d love to make videos on the Hermetic Kabbalah and Christian Cabala because they are obviously very different and play a significant role in Western esotericism. So that’s definitely something that I would like to cover. If you guys have asked me a question that I haven’t replied to, you can feel free to post it again.
So, was Ernesto De Martino‘s work discussed positively at all in your degree? For those unfamiliar with him, Ernesto de Martino is probably the most famous Italian anthropologist of the 20th century, and he was from Naples. So apparently, anthropologists from Naples have a tradition of discussing Italian witchcraft. So yes, Ernesto de Martino is very highly regarded in Italy and the Italian academia, which I find interesting because I think Italy is still lacking in terms of anthropological research. I swear to you, every time that I was talking to an Italian academic about my PhD research and I was studying Italian Witchcraft and Shamanism, their first question, especially if these are academics that have always worked in Italy, their first question would be, ‘In which period?’ And I’m like, ‘Now, that’s also a period.’ I once saw a joke that Italians only see something valuable if it is at least 200 years old; otherwise, they’re not concerned with it. And it’s a bit true, unfortunately. There’s a lot of history, and history is great, but you also need studies on the contemporary world. So that’s why I think it’s interesting that Ernesto de Martino, who is now dated, was writing in the 60s and 70s of the past century, but he was very important and an essential scholar. So yes, I did study Ernesto De Martino at university, and I’ve also discussed it in my thesis in the literature review of my PhD, which will also be my book. Even though they don’t like literature reviews in the book versions of PhD dissertations, I still talk about that. So yeah, Ernesto de Martino did great work studying folk magic and witchcraft in southern Italy. I don’t know if much of it is translated into English. I think I saw something in English. Well, there’s a publication by Fabrizio Ferrara, who’s now a professor at the University of Padua and who wrote a book on Ernesto de Martino, but that’s more a secondary source. The books by De Martino, I think that some you will find in English, but most of them you will find in Italian, and I would recommend reading them in Italian because you lose something in translation, let’s put it that way. I also noticed that the versions of Ernesto De Martino’s that have arrived, at least here in the UK, are incomplete; there are chapters missing. So I don’t understand, but I really like De Martino. Now, it is a bit dated, but it is definitely a picture of post-World War II Italy and the practice of magic, especially in the south and especially in the area of Lucania.
Carl says, ‘Happy birthday, thank you. Japan will be amazing, with lots of esoteric topics to explore. Look for topics on Onmyoji, who are the diviners of their day.’ I will, thank you. Oh, so what day is your birthday? No, I’m not a Capricorn. That’s one thing that I was worried about. I think when does Aquarius start? I think it starts on the 21st or maybe the 22nd, but happy belated birthday, Dave Bett. But no, I am not a Capricorn, and I would like to make it known that I’m not. I like being an Aquarian. I think that I have lots of traits of an Aquarian.
So, thank you for the donation, SallyImpossible. ‘Happy birthday. I enjoyed your videos. Please keep on making them.’ Oh, thank you so much, that’s lovely. Oh, Dan says that he also does a lot of work on Christian Kabbalah for those who are interested. Thank you for pointing that out, Dan, and I’m sorry that I forgot to mention it. Yes, Dan is also in the Religion Tube sphere. So let me see if there are any questions that I haven’t answered.”
So let me see if there are any questions that I haven’t answered.
Andrew has also posted the link to my book with Brill. I think that at this point, it might be easy to find it online if you type or search for Angela Puca and Italian Witchcraft and Shamanism. Hopefully, it’s easy to find.
That Harvard session was excellent.
Thank you so much, Pascal. I am glad that you liked it.
Happy Birthday, Angela! Greetings from Bristol, UK.
Question: How is it you’ve done so much on Chaos Magick recently? By the way, it’s great; please keep it up.
Do you mean why I’ve done so much on Chaos Magick? I find Chaos Magick very interesting, so that’s why I have. I think that the most popular video on my channel is my first video on Chaos Magick, actually. But that’s not the reason why I’ve made more content on it, but it is more popular than other types of content, I have to say. Is there anything in particular that you guys would want me to explore more on Chaos Magick? Let me know in the chat or in the comments if you’re watching this after it’s gone live. But I find Chaos Magick very fascinating because it has its own belief system, and I think it is an evolution from Crowley’s thought. Even though I know that Chaos Magicians and Thelemites don’t particularly like each other, I think that Chaos Magick is definitely an evolution from Crowley, but also, of course, there’s influence from Austin Osman Spare. I think that I like the idea that they popularized the idea that you can create your own correspondences because with Hermetic philosophy or Hermetic spirituality, and the way that it has been absorbed in Western esotericism, the idea of correspondences has also been popularized, even though you don’t just find it in Hermetic philosophy. You also find it in Stoicism, the idea of sympatheia and antipatheia between all things in the universe. But with Chaos Magick, I think it is innovative, the idea of creating, making up your own correspondences, making up your own gods. And you could argue that perhaps it is a bit solipsistic, like the idea that I’m the creator of everything, so there is nothing outside that I can leverage on because it is really just all coming from me. So, it is more of an idealistic perspective in a philosophical sense because we understand ‘idealistic’ in a different way, but in philosophy, idealism is when everything comes from the consciousness. So even the world is a projection of that. So I think that you have a little bit of that, a bit of nihilism, so you have a lot of different philosophical strains that intersect in Chaos Magick, and I find that interesting, to be honest. And also the anti-dogmatism, the rejection of norms, that’s why it is classified as a Left-Hand path tradition. I think the Left-Hand path tends to be popular on the channel for whatever reason. People like things that are dark and obscure. Why do you guys like things that are dark? Well, then you know, said from a goth.
But I’m still curious. Oh yeah, the interview with Peter J. Carroll was an interesting experience because I got in contact with Pete, and he doesn’t like to show his face, so it was an interesting challenge because he said, ‘I’m willing to do this, but I will do it in writing. Is that okay?’ And I said, ‘Okay,’ and then I kept thinking, ‘So what can I do?’ I mean, I always do livestream interviews with people who are there, so what can I do now? So, that’s how I came up with the idea of that video. If you haven’t seen it. But I’m glad that you guys liked it. And I was discussing with some patrons the idea of doing something like that again with past esotericists like Doreen Valiente. I would love to make a video on Doreen Valiente, but there is no academic scholarship on it, so following my own methodology, I cannot do that unless I become more lenient and present you my interpretation of primary sources and clarify that. But I’m not keen on doing that. I still like the way my methodology is for my videos. But yeah, what I could do for esotericists that have not been studied yet academically would be doing something like that, sort of having an interview like the one that I did with Peter J. Carroll. And I think that Andrew, one of my patrons, and also Dave had the idea of creating an AI with all the publications of Doreen Valiente and doing an interview like that with her, with the AI that’s been fed all the books and information from Doreen Valiente and seeing what she replies. That would be interesting. Let me know if you’d be interested in that.
And thank you, Joshua, for gifting ten memberships. I hope that you guys like them. There are some benefits for members of Angela’s Symposium. I also post exclusive content there.
Oh, Frater RC is saying, explore the similarities between Chaos Magick and its origin in Golden Dawn Vault work, where Spare learned it. OMG, did I actually say that?…. shhhh!
That’s interesting. I wonder whether there are studies on that, to be honest.
Hi, my birthday is also today. Happy birthday to us. Oh, happy birthday, Diana or Diana. We would say Diana in Italian, but if you’re an English speaker, it is probably Diana.
Let me see if there are questions that I’ve missed. But I can say, guys, that there are a few upcoming videos on the channel. There’s a collaboration, and it’s going to be very exciting. It’s going to be on Isis, the Goddess Isis, and her interpretation and the practices around her from the 19th century onwards. I hope that you will find it interesting because you will see how she has been reviewed and reinterpreted from the 19th century onwards. And so I have that prepared. There’s also a video that I mentioned earlier on honest and dishonest syncretism because syncretism is such a hot topic among esotericists. And I think that there are ways to do syncretism, and one, I think, is an honest way to be – well, to be honest, and another one is a dishonest way. So you will learn about that in an upcoming video, too. And then there’s another one that I have forgotten, but I’m sure that Andrew remembers it better than I do. Andrew, who’s one of the moderators, Se Anstapa, is really helpful for the channel, so thank you for all that you do, Andrew. But yeah, these are the upcoming episodes, and there is another one that I have prepared for you guys that will be released during the time that I’m in Japan, but I have to look it up because I forgot my own creation.
Oh, yes, there’s the one on how rational minds embrace magic and witchcraft. Because I came across… one of the things is that there are many academics that talk a lot, that mention a lot about Tanya Lurhmann’s work. I came across Tanya Lurhmann’s work which is called ‘The Persuasions of the Witches’ Craft’ because there were many mentions of this with my colleagues, they were mentioning Tanya Lurhmann’s work. And it’s interesting because if you read their work, it seems, could appear somewhat critical of esoteric practices because she talks about the interpretative drift and all the aspects of the interpretative drift that happens and that allows rational people to start believing in magic, which someone assumes that magic is irrational, and she has a number of arguments as to how people come to believe in magic, you know. And there are a few arguments, and you will see them in this upcoming video that is already available for my patrons, Philosopher, and higher tiers. And yeah, and since I’m not in agreement with Tanya Lurhmann sometimes, I also present scholarship that I don’t agree with, but in this particular case, I really felt compelled to also offer the counter-arguments to Tanya Lurhmann’s arguments because I just don’t agree, but it is still an interesting work to learn about.
You may have noticed that I posted a video on Evola and made a disclaimer initially. I thought it was so funny that I got different types of reactions to my disclaimer. Some people were happy about the disclaimer, and some people, especially the academics, especially my colleagues, were like, ‘Why did you add a disclaimer? Are we really at the point where we must add a disclaimer when we study something?’ And I see their point because, from an academic point of view, you shouldn’t justify whatever you study; even if you study Hitler, it doesn’t mean that you agree with Hitler. So, it is, unfortunately, the cost of being on social media. People don’t understand that there is a difference between studying something from an academic point of view and endorsing something as a practitioner. I mean, if I was a practitioner and my job here on YouTube was saying, ‘Oh, this is the Angela way of doing magic,’ and then I would start incorporating elements from Evola, especially maybe politically charged elements, then I could understand people wondering whether I have certain political leanings. But as an academic, I agree that the disclaimer was probably superfluous but still needed. But yeah, it is a topic that I want to cover, and no, I don’t cover politics on my channel.
You can find a channel that talks about politics if you’re interested in politics. My channel doesn’t talk about politics. I do have political views, very strong ones, in fact, but it’s not something that I…. I have all sorts of things in my private life; I don’t share everything. This channel is not about Angela, and it’s not about my views or my opinions. I think that that comes across very clearly. This channel is not about what I think and what I believe. It’s about what I decided to offer to you guys: academic scholarship on the studies of esotericism and paganism. So, I may very well present a scholarship that I don’t particularly agree with or that I may think, you know, needs some revision, but if that is the best scholarship that we have at the moment, that’s what I’m going to offer to you because I’m not offering. I offer my opinion to my patrons. I tend to talk more freely about that in my Inner Symposium, and sometimes also here, on in the live streams, I talk a bit more about my views and opinions, but it’s not something I like to do in my episodes. I think that I like to see my YouTube channel, which is also now a podcast; I like to see it as an archive of information, like an encyclopedia or something, so that people go there. You may have noticed when I start a video; I don’t say things about myself unless it is a live stream. I don’t say, ‘Oh, today I feel like this,’ unlike many other YouTubers. I just go straight to the point because I aim to make an educational video.
We need the Angela channel. Thank you. I don’t think that I’m that interesting. I don’t know.
Robert. Thank you so much for the super sticker
And happy the Happy Angela day. Great videos.
Thank you. That’s lovely.
Yeah, technopaganism, oh, that’s another, that’s a smart approach. Have you considered the second channel where you express more of your opinion openly?
I’m not sure. I was asked to do a channel like this, like Angela’s Symposium in Italian, by academics, actually. They were academics asking me. There was a historical moment in Malmo at the University of Malmo last summer, and there was the foundation of the very first Italian Association for the Study of Esotericism. They asked me, ‘Angela, why don’t you create a YouTube channel in Italian? Why do you do it in English? You’re Italian.’ Well, I guess I would reach ten people in Italian. I don’t know. I think there would be less of an outreach, so that’s why I’m not doing it in Italian. But I’d like to, I mean, I’d like to do that in Italian if I had like 40 hours in a day. Having to choose, I feel like English is the international language, and I think that I got the news from YouTube. As a YouTube creator, you get those insights from YouTube, and they said that they plan on rolling out the dubbing on YouTube videos, so basically, you can dub it in real time in another language. That would be amazing. I hope that they actually do it. But I heard that that was in their plans, and as I mentioned, YouTube is my favourite social media. It’s the only one that I’m on that cares about creators. If you guys know of another social media platform that cares about its creators, If you guys know of another social media platform that cares about their creators, let me know.
Let me see if there are other questions. Marco is saying, ‘As someone who always voiced my opinion super loudly, I can tell you don’t do it. People say they want it but will hate you for it.’ I think that my political views come across, to be honest. I would be surprised if people haven’t gathered what I think politically. But, I think that is just not my primary interest, and since I’m not a teacher for practitioners, but I talk about the academic content, I just really don’t see the need to enter the political side. But I agree that politics is a hot topic; whatever you do, it’s difficult. I think I would encourage people who like to share their political views to be nicer to each other and nicer to people with different opinions. I think having very polarized views and hating on people who think differently from you doesn’t even help your own political side because the more people feel attacked, the more they become more polarized in their own views. However, I think a much better approach is to actually open the conversation, even if somebody has a completely different political view, to open the conversation to understand exactly where they’re coming from. Because not in all cases, I think that we tend to lump together certain political categories. Not everybody on that side of the spectrum thinks exactly the same and for the same reasons. So, trying and getting out of the person, what exactly is, and why do they think something can help you get more to the nuance and can help you open a conversation? And I think that having an open, honest, and respectful conversation with somebody with different political views will help both parties become less polarized. And I think that we need less polarization more than anything. I think that polarization is what has drawn a lot of people on a certain side these days.
Jon asks, ‘Is there a link to your forthcoming book that isn’t on Facebook? I don’t have a Facebook account.’ I also put it on Instagram. If you want, I can put it in my Linktree because I have a link tree that is linked to all of my social media platforms. So, I could probably add that. But yeah, otherwise, if you search on Google ‘Brill, Puca, Italian Witchcraft and Shamanism,’ hopefully, it will come out. But yeah, oh, Edward has just sent it in the chat. If you want to look it up, I don’t know if it is clickable on YouTube. I hope so because I’m using streaming software, which is not clickable for me, but hopefully, it is clickable for you.
So, guys, I guess that we can wrap it up here.
Yeah, you will see more of my content in the upcoming weeks. I will be on the other side of the world in Asia. Hopefully, everything will go well. I’m a bit anxious but also excited. Feel free to send protection; hopefully, I will have a lot of fun and film many things for you guys. It would be useful to follow me on Instagram if you don’t do that because Instagram is where I post the most, to be honest. So, if I have to post a story, I will post it on Instagram because it’s quick and easy, and also because with stories, you can post things that are not as important, and after a day, it’s gone. On my YouTube channel, I only want to post things that are educational, if that makes sense. So, if you want to know, if you want to see more of my trip to Japan, I would recommend following on Instagram if you have Instagram.
Otherwise, you can sign up for my newsletter because I also post videos and pictures that are more on the personal side in my newsletter. But I try to keep the YouTube channel more educational and not put too much of my own things into it. But thank you all so, so much for having come here. Thank you to all of those who sent super chats and gifted memberships. That was all great, and another amazing birthday gift would be to share my videos around. And if you want to support my work, you know the ways: there’s Patreon, YouTube membership, Ko-fi, and PayPal donations. Everything is really truly appreciated, you know that. This takes up all of my time, so every contribution really helps me to keep going. And yeah, also, if you like this video, this live stream, but if you’re here live or afterward, don’t forget to smash the like button, subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already, and activate the notification bell so you will always be notified when I’m live when I post something new. And yeah, leave me a comment. I hope that I have replied to all of your questions. Otherwise, leave them in the comments. Thank you all for being here and for being part of this community. This is for you guys, so it means the world to me that you appreciate it. And happy birthday to me. This is a very long candle; I keep using it every year. I don’t know if you noticed, but it was on last year’s livestream as well. We will see how far we can get it. I will keep it for next year unless it gets broken, hopefully not. I’m going to go and eat a bit of that. So stay tuned for all the academic fun.
Bye for now.