I am a PhD candidate at the Centre for the Study of Myth at the University of Essex. My PhD thesis focuses on the life and work of Joséphin Péladan: a full scale review of his work in the context of the history of Western Esotericism, and an attempt to reexamine and where necessary, rehabilitate the man and his work.
See The Peladan Project for more information on my thesis. In other academic pursuits, I am the founding director of Phoenix Rising Academy of Esoteric Studies and Creative Arts, an educational initiative dedicated to furthering the academic study of Western Esotericism.
I hold an MA in Western Esotericism (EXESESO, Exeter, 2008), and an MA in English Literature (Indianapolis-Athens, 2004) and I am assistant visiting professor in Religious Studies and History at the University of Indianapolis Athens. I write for Avaton Magazine, a Greek-language special-interest journal, have two monthly columns in Phenomena magazine, a cultural insert in a national Greek newspaper, and have written book reviews for JRFF and assorted other publications. Please see the list below for a list of forthcoming and published work. My other research interests include art and esotericism, mind and consciousness, ritual and initiation, Modern Greek Masonic history, and Esotericism in Modern Greece.
I have directed two international conferences and several smaller events and colloquia, and continue to do so as part of Phoenix Rising Academy’s activities. Please see the Academy’s Events page for details.
Beyond my academic pursuits, I am also an artist. See my online gallery and creative writing portfolio here: http://sashachaitow.co.uk (I am bilingual, so many articles are in Greek: click on “Artwork” for the gallery section).
I have been painting since I was 14,when I began by exploring the synaesthetic images inspired by the poetry of Jim Morrison, whom I blame for a lot of things. William Blake, Arthur Rimbaud, John Milton, and the Beat writers followed, and I spent the next few years training in art alongside several well-known Corfiot artists, including Spiros Alamanos and Aggelos Gerakaris. In 1998 I enrolled at Vakalo Art School in Athens, Greece and the University of Indianapolis, Athens campus, where I now teach. Since 2000 I have completed 6 solo art exhibitions in Corfu and Athens, and while my ever-increasing academic pursuits and other projects have made it difficult to paint full-time, my current research remains art-related, and I am planning a series of paintings that will accompany my PhD dissertation.
In my free time, which is increasingly scarce, I write, design websites (such as this one), read voraciously, and unashamedly enjoy old-school Goth, classic rock, science-fiction series, cats, Harley-Davidsons, iced coffee and cold beer, in no particular order.
- Initiation, Art and the Inner Ontological Shift: Interview with David Metcalfe of the Eyeless Owl.
- Studying Western Esotericism: Interview with Minas Papageorgiou of Phenomena, Eleftheros Typos Newspaper (Greek only)
Conference Papers and Lectures (academic papers in blue, public lectures in black):
- Plato’s Myths: The Ring of Gyges and The Myth of Er, Athens, Greece, June 2012
- Studying Western Esotericism in a World in Crisis, 2nd Alternative Research Symposium, Athens, Greece, 19-20 May 2012
- Michael Maier’s Alchemical Initiatory Emblems, Athens, Greece, May 2012
- Esotericism in Greece, 1st METACON Symposium, Athens, Greece, 28 January 2012
- Hieroglyphs of Nature: Michael Maier and the Renaissance Emblematic Worldview, ISSRNC Conference on Religion, Art, and Nature, Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome, 13th-14th October 2011
- Western Esotericism in the Modern World, Open House with Phoenix Rising Academy: Western Esotericism Studies Today, Treadwells Bookshop, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London, October 23rd 2011
- A Different Delphi: Contemporary Hellenic Paganism and Nationalist Politics in Modern Greece, Western Esotericism and Politics Panel, AAR Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 19-22 November 2011
- Organising and Introducing: Demons in the Academy: Renouncing Rejected Knowledge, Again? Parallel Session at AAR Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Saturday 19th November 2011
- The Hidden and the Visible: On the Nature of Emblematic Thinking, OUUNPO Research Network Symposium, hosted by International Masonic Order Delphi, Athens, Greece, 1st October 2011
- A Babylonian Mage in Fin-de-Siècle Paris, 3rd ESSWE Conference: Lux in Tenebris, The Visual and Symbolic in Western Esotericism, University of Szeged, Hungary, 2nd-4th July 2011.
- Aleister Crowley: Works and Days, “An Evening with the Beast: ALEISTER CROWLEY: His Life and Work” Enastron: Athens, Greece, May 27th 2011
- Symbols: The Language of the Soul, at the invitation of Hypatia Lodge, Theosophical Society in Greece, February 16th 2011
- Beware Titans Bearing Gifts: Art, Imagination, and Initiation, 1st International Phoenix Rising Conference, University of Indianapolis, Athens, 7/11/2009
- Corfu, Crucible of Change: A Multicultural Island of Masonic Initiatory Secrets, 2nd ESSWE International Conference, Capitals of European Esotericism and Transcultural Dialogue, Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme-Alsace (MISHA), 2-4/6 2009
- Sacred Fire: Panentheism in the Philosophy and Work of Nikolai Roerich, University of Indianapolis Annual English Department Conference, 29 May 2009
- Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens as an Initiatory Path, Keystone Philosophical Society Annual Public Lecture, March 2009
- · The Eye of the Storm: Promethean Man and the Esoteric Counter-Enlightenment, Conference on Interfaith Dialogue and the Role of Literature and the Media, University of Indianapolis, May 2008
- Thoughtforms and the Power of the Creative Process, University of Indianapolis Annual English Department Conference, Nov. 2004
- Synaesthesia and the Colour of Words, University of Indianapolis Annual English Department Conference, Nov. 2003
- Freemasonry: The Greatest Initiatory System in the World, Salonica: Archetypo Books, Dec. 2009
(Co-written with: George Ioannidis (ed), Iordanis Poulkouras, Stefanos Elmazis, Ion Kydoniatis, Nikos Iliopoulos)
- “Understanding and Using Intuitive Faculties” and “Synesthesia” in : Leon Chaitow, Palpation and Assessment Skills, (3rd edn), Edinburgh: Churchill-Livingstone-Elsevier, Dec. 2009
- The Alchemical Iconography of Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens as an Initiatory Path, (MA thesis) , Athens: Isis (in press)
- Book Reviews for the Journal for the Research of Freemasonry and Fraternalism (JRFF)(Recently invited to act as peer-reviewer for JRFF)
- Two monthly columns in Phenomena Magazine (weekly cultural insert with Eleftheros Typos daily national newspaper). Most past articles are available (in Greek) from my personal portfolio website.
- Silent Poetry: Each month I choose a painting (or selection of paintings), and following a brief survey of relevant contextual information, I decode the symbolism and “hidden” messages within the painting. To date some of the works I have covered include: Lorenzetti’s Allegories of Good and Bad Government, Botticelli’s Mars and Venus, the Ars Moriendi, the Mona Lisa, Bronzini’s Allegory of Aphrodite, etc.
- Explorations: In this column I explore a variety of topics. Recent entries have included discussions of the value of each of the Liberal Arts in the contemporary world, popularised introductions to the relationship between esotericism and culture, explorations of occulture in modern media (esp. film), discussions of the phenomenon of conspiracy theorising and essays on cultural narratives, mythic history, and education.
- Various commissioned articles for Avaton magazine (Salonica, Greece), including:
- Esotericism in the Academy (article & interview, September 2008)
- Initiatory and Fraternal societies today (feature article, May 2009)
- Sympathetic Empiricism (October 2009)
- Academic vs. Practical Esotericism: Allies or Foes? (October 2009)
- 2013: Esoteric Theories of Human Evolution (January 2010)
- Ars Moriendi and Memento Mori (March 2010)
- “Corfu, Crucible of Change: A Multicultural Island of Masonic Initiatory Secrets” in the proceedings of the 2nd ESSWE Conference: Capitals of European Esotericism and Transcultural Dialogue, Strasbourg:Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg (in press)
- (Translator and Editor) Alexandros Kalozoides, “Hellenic Pagan Revivalist Movements and Right-Wing Politics,” in Studies in Esotericism: Esotericism, Religion, and Politics, 3rdedn, Arthur Versluis ed., MSU (in press)
- “Building Bridges : Implications and Responsibilities of Studying Esotericism in the 21st Century,” in the proceedings of the Third International Conference of Mystic and Esoteric Movements in Theory and Practice: Studying Interpretations of Esotericism and Mysticism, Vladimir State University, Russia. (click here to access full e-book, scroll down to p. 5, the article is in English).
Other Academic Projects and Activities
- Coordinator for Greece of: Ancient Greek Mysteries and Philosophy, Esoteric Quest Conference, hosted by New York Open Center in Samothrace, Greece, 2008
- Director of Phoenix Rising Conference: Death and Rebirth in Philosophy, Literature and Art: A Dying Society or a Renaissance for the 21st Century, hosted by University of Indianapolis Athens, November 2009