Amsterdam, Netherlands

Visions of the Occult: Introduction to Western Esotericism

online course
when 15 January 2024 - 26 January 2024
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 900

The goal of this course is to offer an introductory overview of the study of Western esotericism. In this two-week online winter course, we will investigate the key thematic aspects of Western esotericism, as they have manifested themselves historically within currents such as gnosticism, astrology, alchemy, magic, kabbalah, witchcraft, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Freemasonry, spiritualism, occultism, conspiracy theories, meditation, yoga, the New Age, and psychedelic culture.

Course leader

Dr. Marco Pasi & Dr. J Christian Greer

Target group

This course is for current university students of any level and professionals from any discipline who have not yet extensively studied this field. A general interest in the humanities and social sciences and an open mind are necessary.

Course aim

During online sessions and in guided-self study, classes, students will make use of primary sources, as well as secondary literature that clarify the way in which esoteric ideas have circulated and continue to circulate in both mainstream culture and more marginal contexts. Having completed this online winter programme, students will have acquired a solid overview of the main moments and movements related to the study of Western esotericism, both thematically and historically.

Our investigation into representations of the esoteric and the occult will go beyond the written word to include film, music, and graphic novels, as we explore together the important movements in esotericism in the past and reflect on how it manifests itself today, in the present.

Fee info

EUR 900: Tuition fee includes all course readings and materials, access to the digital library at the UvA, welcome and wrap-up sessions, live and pre-recorded lectures, access to the digital learning environment, individual feedback from our instructors on all course assignments, and an official transcript or a certificate of participation.


There are several scholarship opportunities. Please check the course website for more information and scholarship deadlines.