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Episode from the podcastNot Conformed

Episode 19: Witchful Thinking

Released Monday, 2nd March 2020
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Join us on our deep dive into icky pagan magic. We discuss the magical practices of the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians and how some of these practices made their way, through the systematizing hands of the Greeks, into the pagan Roman world. During our journey we identify the core features of pagan magic and explore a variety of magical practices, including the casting of spells (sadistic love spells and vicious binding spells), the use of magical objects (such as amulets and talismans), necromancy (skull divination and corpse reanimation), and child sacrifice. We focus our discussion on concrete evidence as we detail the Greco-Roman magical practises recorded on various papyri and tablets (including especially the well-known Greek Magical Papyri). Tracing the continued use of magic through the ages, we provide several shocking examples of the blatant use of magic in our culture today, including how magic was used by the celebrated six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady, and how witches have been active in binding and hexing public figures such as Bret Kavanaugh and Donald Trump. Of course, we also detail the Christian view and response to pagan magic. And, as it turns out, the chthonic entities (e.g., the subterranean goddesses) somehow rear their pagan heads once more.

Episode Timeline & Notes

0:00:36 - Opening
0:02:02 - General Intro to Ancient Magic
0:27:59 - Greco-Roman Magic
0:33:44 - Magical Objects
  • Thompson, R.C. (1903). The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia. Luzac & Co.
0:39:03 - Love Spells
  • Watson, L.C. (2019). Magic in Ancient Greece and Rome. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
0:47:14 - Binding Spells
0:54:51 - Necromancy
0:59:57 - Child Sacrifice
  • Ogden, D. (2001). Greek and Roman Necromancy. Princeton University Press.
  • Watson, L.C. (2019). Magic in Ancient Greece and Rome. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
1:04:55 - Magic in Medieval Europe
1:27:36 - Current Examples
1:43:35 - Christian Response
1:47:43 - Summary & Closing


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