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October 14, 2019
The whole idea of this podcast is that we want to get ready for when tragedies happen near us. We want to make sure that if an opportunity to love a one year old, dropped off at our door were to ever happen to us, we won't be a Dursley. Tragically, a vividly clear example of this is happening on our figurative doorstep; the American southern border with family separation, closing of borders from people feeling life-threatening conditions and more. To that end, we have partnered with RAICES and set a goal that between today, Indigenous People’s Day, and Christmas, our loving community can raise $25,000 together. Please join us, and take one further step on your journey to not being a Dursley. You can donate at: give.classy.org/dontbeadursley
October 10, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of temptation in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week Casper and Vanessa unpack the tragic story of Merope Gaunt, considering her abuse and the way she perpetuates it with Tom Riddle Sr. Throughout the episode we consider the question: how do we interrupt temptation when it leads us astray? Thanks to our anonymous listener for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter eleven, Hermione’s Helping Hand, through the theme of Pleasure.
October 10, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of temptation in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week Casper and Vanessa unpack the tragic story of Merope Gaunt, considering her abuse and the way she perpetuates it with Tom Riddle Sr. Throughout the episode we consider the question: how do we interrupt temptation when it leads us astray? Thanks to our anonymous listener for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter eleven, Hermione’s Helping Hand, through the theme of Pleasure.
October 3, 2019
Why would anyone want to be a Slytherin? Vanessa and Casper to talk with Travis McElroy about his devotion to his Slytherin identity. They touch on the importance of pride, the difference between patriotism and nationalism, and whether we should just dismantle the whole house system. This episode we also hear owl post from Laura, Harriet, an Anonymous caller, Sasha, and Tesla. Next week, we’re reading chapter 10, The House of Gaunt, through the theme of Temptation.
September 26, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of friendship in chapter nine of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week we are joined by internet super-star Gaby Dunn, who shares an opening story about a friendship break-up. Casper and Vanessa discuss McGonagall’s relationship with Neville, whether Ginny considers Harry ‘family’, and why Harry isn’t friends with Ernie Macmillan. Throughout the episode we consider the question: Is it possible to become friends with your mentors? Thanks to Nicole Engelhardt for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re doing an Owl Post episode where we discuss Slytherin identity with Travis McElroy. Don’t forget to check out Gabby’s new book, Please Send Help.
September 19, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of anxiety in chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week we discuss Harry’s response to Snape, Hagrid’s imminent disappointment, and Ginny’s non-anxious presence. Throughout the episode we consider the question: how do we take care of ourselves and each other in moments of anxiety? Thanks to Kent Stephenson for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter nine, The Half-Blood Prince, through the theme of Friendship with special guest Gaby Dunn.
September 12, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of glamour in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week we discuss Draco’s violence, Harry’s relationship with Neville and Luna, and how the members of the Slug Club are treated. Throughout the episode we consider the question: how do we embrace moments of glamour without objectifying ourselves? Thanks to Hongyue Guo for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter eight, Snape Victorious, through the theme of Anxiety.
September 5, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of stubbornness in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week we discuss Draco’s need to be taken seriously, Molly’s fear for her children, and Ron’s eternal hope that he’s the same as Harry. Throughout the episode we consider the question: can there be ‘big’ stubbornness? Or is it always about small things? Thanks to Kath for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter seven, The Slug Club, through the theme of Glamour.
August 29, 2019
CW: This week’s voicemail is about the shooting in Dayton, Ohio. If you’d rather skip it, the blessing start around 48:30. Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of yearning in chapter five of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week we’re joined by John Green, who tells an opening story about heart-break set in Alaska. Vanessa and Casper discuss Fleur’s feelings in the Burrow, Ron’s adorable bro-iness, and Hermione’s obsession with her grades.Throughout the episode we consider the question: when does yearning help us take action? Thanks to Colton for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter six, Draco’s Detour, through the theme of Stubbornness.
August 22, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of joy in chapter four of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week we discuss Horace’s supposed ‘cowardice’, Dumbledore’s good pedagogy, and the usefulness of inappropriate jokes. Throughout the episode we consider the question: is joy more likely in community? Thanks to Vivianna for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter five, An Excess of Phlem, through the theme of Yearning. We’ll be joined by friend of the podcast, author John Green, who will tell our opening story.
August 15, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Skepticism in chapter three of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This week we discuss Harry’s magical thinking, Kreacher’s humiliation, and Dumbledore’s relationship to lemon drops. Throughout the episode we consider the question: when do we need to trust authority and when should we be skeptical? Thanks to Nici for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter four, Horace Slughorn, through the theme of Joy.
August 8, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Prudence in chapter two of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. This week we discuss Peter Pettigrew’s relationship to his hand, Narcissa and Bellatrix’s love for one another, and when to quit a job. Throughout the episode we consider the question: Can you only know prudence in hindsight? Thanks to K Doraiswamy for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter three, Will and Won’t, through the theme of Skepticism.
August 1, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Helplessness in the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. This week we discuss the election of Rufus Scrimgeour, all things related to the muggle Prime Minister, and whether Fudge is too polite for his own good. Throughout the episode we consider the question: How much information helps us during times of crisis and how much actually hurts us? Thanks to Marianna Hackney for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re reading chapter two, Spinner’s End, through the theme of Prudence.
July 25, 2019
Welcome to Season 6! This week, Vanessa and Casper get together to talk what they're looking forward to in Half Blood Prince. They discuss the complications of Slytherin identity, Vanessa’s feelings about Ron, and Harry’s evolution from the last book. Next week, we’re reading Chapter 1, The Other Minister, through the theme of Helplessness. ’
July 18, 2019
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince starts next week! As is our custom, we’ve released an animated YouTube video to celebrate the start of a new season. We’re sharing the audio here, but go check out Hannah O’Neal’s amazing animations on our youtube channel.
July 16, 2019
Our new podcast, Hot & Bothered, officially launched today. We’re so proud to share our first episode with you: Justice for Dragons. This is the only episode of Hot & Bothered we’ll drop in this feed, so please go subscribe wherever you find your podcasts! — Vanessa Zoltan thinks that happy endings are the best part of romance novels. Bryce Gilfillian is writing his first romance novel and refuses to write a happy ending. On our very first episode of Hot & Bothered, we explore the trope of “Updated Fairytale.” Bryce sets out to write the gay fairytale he never had growing up. Meanwhile, Vanessa wrestles with her own princes, witches, and dragons. Along the way we get a little help from Professor of Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University, Maria Tatar, and receive our first writing assignment from our own fairy godmother, #1 New York Times best-selling author, Julia Quinn. You can follow along on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
July 4, 2019
What does the 4th of July mean and what should it mean? It’s Independence Day in the United States and so Casper sits down again with Professor Matt Potts to talk about tradition. They touch on marriage equality, Lectio Divina, and Matt’s favorite Christian Theologian - Julian of Norwich. This episode we also hear owl post from Rachel, Emily Ross, Ariel Weeks, Rachel Quint, and Mike Murphy. We’re taking two weeks off before we start Season 6: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. But do check back July 16th to listen to our first episode of Hot & Bothered!
June 27, 2019
In the final episode of season five, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They give Luna Lovegood her due praise, analyze Harry’s relationship to gifts, and Vanessa comes around more to the importance of Quidditch. Throughout the episode they unpack the growing presence of death in Harry’s life and this series. Next week, we're rounding out the season with a final Owl Post and a conversation with our mentor, Matthew Potts. Don't forget to hop over to the Women of Harry Potter feed on July 1st, to hear our episode on Lily Potter.
June 20, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "love" in the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we come to you live from our London show, where we were very lucky to be joined by John Green. We discuss Luna’s lost objects, John’s history with bullying, and Vanessa’s perspective on the afterlife. Throughout the show we consider the question: How can we best meet people in their grief? Next week we're doing a wrap-up of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Thanks to everyone who came out to the Indianapolis show. We have more events coming up in the fall; you can check them out at: http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events/
June 13, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Patience in chapter thirty-seven of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss occlumency lessons, waiting rooms, and how we feel about Dumbledore locking Harry in his office. Throughout the episode we consider the question: Can you force someone to be patient? Thanks to Kailina Mills for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be coming to you live from our Indianapolis show with John Green for the last chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Second War Begins, through the theme of love.
June 6, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Jealousy in chapter thirty-six of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss our love for Dumbledore and his relationships with Voldemort, Fudge, and Harry. Throughout the episode we consider the question: What other emotion is Jealousy hiding? Thanks to Ann-Mary Cloutier for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-seven, The Lost Prophecy, through the theme of Patience.
June 3, 2019
We have two special guest on this week’s episode of Women of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text - our friends from Reading Glasses Podcast, Brea Grant and Mallory O’Meara. They have chosen to bless McGonagall for being a great Boss Lady and maternal without having her own children. Vanessa invents a game about badass Scottish women. You can hear Vanessa on Reading Glasses Podcast here.
May 30, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Home in chapter thirty-five of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss the individuality of the Death Eaters, Harry’s relationship to Sirius, and the realities of war. Throughout the episode we consider the question: how do we appreciate a piece of text we hate? Thanks to Sarah-Jane Hasenauer-Kinsley for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-six, The Only One He Ever Feared, through the theme of Jealousy.
May 23, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Concealment in chapter thirty-four of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss Ron’s comment about the prophecy, whether Harry is fooling himself about Sirius, and the physical landscape of The Department of Mysteries. Throughout the episode we consider the question: If you could know when you die, would you want to? Thanks to Lorraine Haymen for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-five, Beyond the Veil, through the theme of Home.
May 16, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Inheritance in chapter thirty-three of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week discuss Centaurs as isolationists, Neville’s wand, and Luna’s redemption in Vanessa’s eyes. Throughout the episode we consider the question: What’s the relationship between inheritance and loss? Thanks to Kimia for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-four, The Department of Mysteries, through the theme of Concealment.
May 9, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Redemption in chapter thirty-two of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we look at a few characters and their possible arcs of redemption: Dolores Umbridge, Severus Snape, Kreacher, and Ron Weasley. Throughout the episode we consider the question: Do we feel comfortable saying that certain people are irredeemable? Thanks to Leah Holleran for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-three, Fight and Flight, through the theme of Inheritance.
May 6, 2019
We have a special guest on this week’s episode of Women of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text - our dear friend Dr. Chloe Angyal. Chloe has chosen to bless Molly for invisible labor during this war. Vanessa invents a game about great animal moms.
May 2, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Celebration in chapter thirty-one of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss Ron’s victory in the quidditch match, Harry’s opportunity to show off his Patronus skills, and joy as a tool of resistance. Throughout the episode we consider the question: How do we make celebration about collection triumph rather than individual superiority? Thanks to Erik for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-two, Out of the Fire, through the theme of redemption.
April 25, 2019
Vanessa sits down with Professor Matt Potts to discuss the theology of Apocalypses. They discover that many fruitful questions come out of contemplating an Apocalypse: What makes for a good life? What am I trying to preserve? Who is my responsibility to protect? What do I want to survive? This episode we also hear owl post from Peach Perera, Stephanie Greenley, Brit Barkholtz, Kari Gottfried, and Connie Kucani. Next week, we'll be reading Chapter 31 of Order of the Phoenix, O.W.L.s, through the theme of Celebration.
April 18, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Familiarity in chapter thirty of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we really pick apart Hagrid’s decision to ask the kids to take care of Grawp. Throughout the episode we consider the question: When does familiarity keep us from seeing the dangers around us? Thanks to Tess Schleitwiler for this week's voicemail! Next week Vanessa will be joined by Professor Matt Potts to talk about the apocalypse and answer some Owl Post.
April 11, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Revenge in chapter twenty-nine of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss the tension between Umbridge and Mcgonagall, the brilliance of Fred and George, and Harry’s dream to be an Auror. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we dissipate our need for revenge? Thanks to Kat Zdan for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty, Grawp, through the theme of familiarity.
April 8, 2019
It’s Vanessa’s turn to bless a female character of Harry Potter, and she’s chosen to bless Ginny for her trauma at the hands of Lord Voldemort. Ariana invents a game about youngest members of famous groups.
April 4, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of “entitlement" in chapter 28 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we come to you live from our San Francisco show. We discuss Umbridge’s relationship to her own authority, Snape’s shame over insulting Lily, and the healing power of tea. We were so very lucky to have Tara-Nicholle Nelson of SoulTour join us, with a story about her tonsils and our own worthiness. Next week we're reading Chapter 29, Career Advice, through the theme of revenge. Thanks to everyone who came out to the California shows!
March 28, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Hate in chapter twenty-seven of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss Umbridge’s hate of non-human creatures, Harry’s relationship to Draco, and Dobby’s attempts at self-harm. Throughout the episode they consider the question: what do the things we hate mean about ourselves? Thanks to Shannon Budelman for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-eight, Snape’s Worst Memory, through the theme of Entitlement live from San Francisco. NB: During this week’s episode, Casper tells a story about self-harm and Vanessa tells a story about assault. If you’d like to skip those topics, our spiritual practice starts around minute 26.
March 25, 2019
It’s Ariana’s turn to bless a female character of Harry Potter, and she’s chosen to bless Luna Lovegood for changing her mind about Ron. Vanessa invents a game about aptronyms (which means names that are well-suited to their bearers).
March 21, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Obligation in chapter twenty-six of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week, Vanessa starts to feel bad for Harry in his Occlumency lessons, Casper talks about the best and worst moments in his marriage, and they both gush over Seamus Finnigan. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When is a little obligation actually liberating? Thanks to Iris Gonzalez for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-seven, The Centaur and the Sneak, through the theme of Hate.
March 14, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Defiance in chapter twenty-five of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Hermione’s manipulation of Rita, Neville’s embrace of the DA, and Cho’s disappointment in Harry. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is defiance always personal? Thanks to Andy Phillips for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-six, Seen and Unforeseen, through the theme of obligation.
March 11, 2019
It’s Vanessa’s turn to bless a female character of Harry Potter, and she’s chosen to bless Madam Pomfrey for her invisible labor. Ariana invents a game about woman doctors in America. NB: Ariana’s ‘fact’ about disneyland is, of course, an urban legend. It’s quoted as being true in a few disney related biographies, but pretty easily proved otherwise through some googling… which we did after recording this episode.
March 7, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Curiosity in chapter twenty-four of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They really zoom in on the Harry/Snape dynamic in this chapter: discussing the first Occlumency lesson, examining Snape’s motivations, and as always, finding a way to blame Dumbledore. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How much curiosity do we owe people? Thanks to Trey Lyon for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-five, The Beetle at Bay, through the theme of defiance.
February 28, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Control in chapter twenty-three of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Molly’s anxiety over Arthur, Neville’s relationship with his grandmother, and poor sad Professor Lockhart. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we recognize when we’re telling distorted stories about ourselves? Thanks to Kelsi Moore for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-four, Occlumency, through the theme of curiosity.
February 25, 2019
It’s Ariana’s turn to bless a female character of Harry Potter, and she’s chosen to bless Professor Trelawney for her mentorship. Vanessa invents a game about Nostradamus.
February 21, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Distance in chapter twenty-two of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss the fabulous headmaster portraits in Dumbledore’s office, Dumbledore’s love for Harry, and how Harry cleverly changes his story throughout this chapter. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What technologies are actually helpful in closing the distance between people? Thanks to Holly Glover for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-three, Christmas on the Closed Ward, through the theme of control.
February 14, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Honesty in chapter twenty-one of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Nora McInerny, the host of one of our favorite podcasts: Terrible, Thanks for Asking. We discuss Ron’s bro-iness, Harry’s kiss with Cho, and the Thestrals as witnesses of grief. Our question this week is:  When is honesty actually the best policy? This week’s voicemail is thanks to Ricker Bailey. Next week we're reading chapter twenty-two, St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, through the theme of Distance.
February 11, 2019
We’re trying something new! Every other week, Vanessa and Ariana are going to sit down to bless a female character of Harry Potter. We’re calling the segment “Women of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.” This week, Vanessa blesses Fleur Delacour.
February 7, 2019
Inspired by last week's chapter, Vanessa sits down with our mentor, Professor Stephanie Paulsell, to learn more about the theology of pilgrimages. They discuss the Japanese poet Bashō, their own Virginia Woolf pilgrimage, and Hagrid’s journey to the giants. Throughout the conversation they consider the question: Must you leave your house to make a pilgrimage? This episode we also hear owl post from Danielle Daniels, Marcie Walker, Leah Bauman, Darlyn Summers, and Molly. CW: This episode contains voicemails about some intense topics, including grief and miscarriage. Next week, we'll be reading Chapter 21 of Order of the Phoenix, The Eye of the Snake, through the theme of Honesty. You can read more about our pilgrimages at: https://www.readingandwalkingwith.com
January 31, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Peace in chapter twenty of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss wizard/giant relations, analyze Umbridge’s intimidation strategy, and compare The Second Wizarding War to World War I. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do you respond to violence with restorative peace? Thanks to Felix Moore for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be doing an Owl Post with Professor Stephanie Paulsell.
January 24, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Distraction in chapter nineteen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Hermione’s brilliant DA galleon, Run’s crush on Hermione (who could blame him?), and Vanessa’s continued distain for the house system. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When is distraction more worthy than the end goal? Thanks to Kat Severin for this week's voicemail! Next week we’ll be reading Chapter 20, Hagrid’s Tale, through the theme of Peace.
January 17, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of “failure" in chapter 18 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we come to you live from our Cambridge show. We discuss whether Angela Johnson fails as a quidditch caption, what Hermione learns from S.P.E.W, and the brilliant women of the DA. We were so very lucky to have our dear friend and mentor, Dr. Matthew Potts, with us to tell a story from her experience. Next week we're reading Chapter 19, The Lion and the Serpent, through the theme of distraction. Thanks to everyone who came out to the Cambridge show. You can see David’s incredible painting at harrypottersacredtext.com/daphatplay
January 10, 2019
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Supremacy in chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Angelina Johnson’s prophetic position, how The Patriarchy shapes the actual building of Hogwarts, and the enduring grace of Helga Hufflepuff. Throughout the episode they consider the question: how do we celebrate ourselves without wanting to be better than others? Thanks to Hannah Ricks for this week's voicemail! Next week we’re coming to you live from our Cambridge show with chapter eighteen, Dumbledore's Army, through the theme of failure.
January 3, 2019
A few months ago we learned that our podcast network was shutting down. You may remember we made a panicked announcement in the feed, unsure of whether we could continue the show. Today, we're back with a much happier announcement. Spoiler alert: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text lives and all was well.
December 20, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Respite in chapter sixteen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Aberforth living in Dumbledore's shadow, Ron wanting to step out of his prefect roll, and Harry needing a break from his trauma. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Can respite be healing? Thanks to Maloy Moore for this week's voicemail. We're taking two weeks off for the holidays, but we'll be back on January 10th with Chapter 17, Educational Decree Number Twenty-four, through the theme of supremacy.
December 13, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Healing in chapter fifteen of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Artie Wu, the founder of Preside Meditation and a dear friend of Casper's. We discuss Umbridge's use of silence, Harry's perception of his own survival, and the importance of a diagnosis. Our question this week is: what is the relationship between individual and collective healing? Thanks this week to Charlyn for our voicemail. Next week we're reading chapter sixteen, In the Hog's Head, through the theme of respite.
December 6, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Boundaries in chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss the chemistry between Harry and Cho Chang, Sirius's wise thoughts on Umbridge, and Pansy Parkinson's racist comment. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What boundaries bring us closer to loving one another? Next week we're reading chapter fifteen, The Hogwarts High Inquisitor, through the theme of Healing. Thanks this week to Bayana Davis for joining us for our sacred practice. You can find her podcast, #WizardTeam, here.
November 29, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Obsession in chapter thirteen of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". This week, we discuss Hermione's House Elf activism, Umbridge's thirst for power, and Harry's love of Quidditch. Our question this week is: What are we willing to sacrifice for our work? Next week we're reading Chapter 14, Percy and Padfoot, through the theme of Boundaries. Don't forget to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows in Cambridge, and Orlando: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events
November 22, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Pride in chapter twelve of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". This week, we discuss the different political strategies of Umbridge, Hermione, Parvati, and Harry in this chapter. Our question this week is: When is pride healthy, and when does it lead to our downfall?  Next week we're reading Chapter 13, Detention with Dolores, through the theme of Obsession. Don't forget to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows in Cambridge, and Orlando: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
November 15, 2018
Hi everyone! Bad news: The file for this week's episode got corrupted (probably by Voldemort). Unfortunately, Vanessa had minor surgery this week (she’s recovering well!) and Casper’s off in a monastery, so that only left one person to record something last minute for this week’s episode — me, your loyal producer, Ariana. It’s super low-tech – we’re just hanging out in my apartment, but you get to hear me do a truly terrible British accent and gush about Vanessa and Casper. I’ve also included the newest trailer for our upcoming show, Hot & Bothered. You can go subscribe now! I was assisted in this episode by the very talented Jeff Emtman, who interviewed and recorded me. You can find his podcast, Here Be Monsters, at hbmpodcast.com.   Next week, we’ll get back in the studio and re-record the promised episode, Pride: Professor Umbridge (Book 5, Chapter 12). Thank you for bearing with us this week, and extra thank you to everyone who sent in questions over Twitter and Facebook.
November 8, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Dread in chapter eleven of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". This week, we discuss Hermione's insight into Umbridge, Harry and Seamus' big fight, and the content of The Sorting Hat's New Song (surprise!). Our question this week is: Is dread about the certainly of what's coming? Or the uncertainly of what could come?  Next week we're reading Chapter 12, Professor Umbridge, through the theme of Pride. Don't forget to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows in Cambridge, and Orlando: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events
November 1, 2018
Casper is out sick, so Vanessa is taking over our owl post episode this week. We talk Brett Kavanaugh and answer voicemails about his hearing, Voldemort's name, Advent and marginalia. Vanessa also has the opportunity to chat with Dr. Lynne Gerber, a friend of the podcast from Harvard Divinity School. They discuss Lynne's experience with neo-paganism and how to create feminist spaces for religious practice. Next week, we'll be reading Chapter 11 of Order of the Phoenix, The Sorting Hat's New Song, through the theme of dread. You can hear the rest of Stephanie Paulsell's sermon here.
October 25, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Humility in chapter ten of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". This week, we talk about Luna's truth-telling, Neville's nerdiness and Ron and Hermione's different approaches to being prefects. Our question this week is: why don't we live more radical lives? Next week we're doing an Owl Post episode with special guest Lynne Gerber talking to us about paganism. Don't forget to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows in Austin, Cambridge, and Orlando: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events
October 18, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Will Power in chapter nine of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". This week, we continue to obsess about Percy Weasley, congratulate Ron on his grace around being Head Boy, and very much want to punch Lucius Malfoy. Our question this week is: does will power have to happen in the moment, or is something you can plan for? Next week we're reading chapter ten, Luna Lovegood, through the theme of Humility. Don't forget to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows in Chicago, Austin, Cambridge, and Florida: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events
October 11, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Partnership in chapter eight of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Lauren Taylor, co-author of The American Healthcare Paradox and fellow Harvard Divinity School alum. We discuss Fudge and Dumbledore's polarizing effect, Percy's place in the ministry, and give our first impressions of Dolores Umbridge. Our question this week is: how close can we actually get to the kind of 'divine' partnership described by philosophers? Next week we're reading chapter nine, The Woes of Mrs. Weasley, through the theme of Will Power. Don't forget to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows in Chicago, Austin, Cambridge, and Florida: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events
October 4, 2018
Vanessa and Casper examine the theme of "Progress" in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss whether owls are an obsolete technology, The Fountain of Magical Brethren, and the power of Mamma Mia. Our question this week is: is progress inevitable? Next week we're reading chapter eight, The Hearing, through the theme of Partnership. Thanks this week to Aya Ahmed for our voicemail.
September 27, 2018
Vanessa and Casper examine the theme of "memory" in chapter six of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss Kreacher's institutional memory, Sirius's family tapestry, and whether or not you should cut an ex out of a photo. Our question this week is: what’s the difference between a memory and a record? Next week we're reading chapter seven, The Ministry of Magic, through the theme of Progress. Thanks this week to Rae Muhlstock for our voicemail.
September 20, 2018
Vanessa and Casper examine the theme of "gratitude" in chapter five of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss Mundugus Fletcher's apology, Molly Weasley's protectiveness, and the memory of James Potter. Our question this week is: what should the timeline of gratitude look like? Next week we're reading chapter six, The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, through the theme of Memory. Thanks this week to Miriam Wilks for our voicemail.
September 13, 2018
Vanessa and Casper examine the theme of "Anger" in chapter four of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss Percy's betrayal, Ginny's coolness, and how badly Harry is treating his friends. Our question this week is: Is anger ever a productive emotion? Next week we're reading chapter five, The Order of the Phoenix, through the theme of Gratitude. Thanks this week to Beth Strickland for our voicemail.
September 6, 2018
Vanessa and Casper return to the theme of "compassion" in chapter three of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss Tonk's hair, Moody's eyeball, and how Harry really needs a meditation practice. Our question this week is: How do we be compassionate to someone who doesn't want to receive it?  Next week we're reading chapter four, Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, through the theme of Anger. Thanks this week to Nikki Spencer for our voicemail.
August 30, 2018
Vanessa and Casper return to the theme of "frustration" in chapter two of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss the psychology of Mundungus Fletcher, the heroism of Mrs. Figg, and Dudley's crumbling sense of his own supremacy. Our question this week is: When does frustration enable learning?  Next week we're reading chapter three, The Advance Guard, through the theme of compassion. Thanks this week to Rabbi Max Chaiken for our voicemail.
August 23, 2018
Vanessa and Casper dive into Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with the theme of belief. They discuss the breakdown of trust between Harry and the Dursleys, between Harry and his friends, and Harry and himself. Throughout the episode they consider the question: what makes us believe things, beyond just 'the facts'? This week, we're trying out a new spiritual practice: Marginalia.  This week's voicemail is thanks to Emily Anderson. Be sure to check out our website harrypottersacredtext.com to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows and Vanessa's pilgrimage to Japan!
August 9, 2018
Season 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, launches on August 23rd. Vanessa and Casper get together to talk what they're looking forward to in Order of the Phoenix and share our season 5 trailer about Dolores Umbridge.
July 26, 2018
In our last episode of season four, we catch up on some owl post with Stephanie Paulsell. We hear from Angela Hronek, Michelle Solomon, Jaxn Hill, Margaret Cooney and an anonymous caller. Inspired by our callers, Stephanie and Vanessa discuss embodiment, communion, and the limits of radical love.  NB: We’re taking a week off, but we'll back with season five and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on August 9th!
July 19, 2018
In the final episode of season four, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They take some time to talk about Harry Potter himself, reflect on Cedric's death, and dissect the role of the Goblet of Fire itself. Throughout the episode they take a critical eye to the stories we tell ourselves and whether those are a force of good or complacency.  Next week, we're rounding out the season with a final Owl Post and a conversation with our house mentor, Stephanie Paulsell.
July 12, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "love" in the final chapter of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we come to you live from our London show. We discuss the grief and generosity of Cedric's parents, the  false promise of the Triwizard Tournament, and whether love can be political. We were so very lucky to have our dear friend and mentor, Stephanie Paulsell, with us to tell a story from her experience. Next week we're doing a wrap-up of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Thanks to everyone who came out to the London show. We have three events coming up in August; you can check them out at: http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events/
July 5, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "disillusionment" in chapter thirty-six of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Snape's bravery in revealing his dark mark, Molly's clarity of purpose in taking care of Harry, and the way government leaders tend to let us down. Our question this week: how much are we allowed to change the 'facts' of our own story? Next week we're reading the very last chapter of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, chapter thirty-seven, The Beginning, through the theme of "love." We'll be coming to you live from our London show. Thanks this week to Kelly Webb for our voicemail.
June 28, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "betrayal" in chapter thirty-five of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Neville and Harry’s friendship, poor Winky and her grief in this chapter, and why villains are prone to monologuing. We return to the question this week: how do we hold people accountable for their bad actions without isolating or radicalizing them?  Next week we're reading chapter thirty-six, The Parting of the Ways, through the theme of "disillusionment." Thanks this week to Amanda Holly for our voicemail.
June 21, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "grief" in chapter thirty-four of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Professor Matt Potts, a beloved mentor from Harvard Divinity School. In the episode, we discuss Cedric's last request, Wormtail's hand, and whether we believe in the idea of 'sin.' Our question this week: is grief an emotion or something more permanent and essential?  Next week we're reading chapter thirty-five, Veritaserum, through the theme of "betrayal." Thanks this week to Jessica Hyde for our voicemail.
June 14, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "necessity" in chapter thirty-three of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we get into Voldemort's psychology, take pity on Wormtail, and discuss the human instinct towards survival. Our question this week is: how do we decide what's heroic? Next week we're reading chapter thirty-four, Priori Incantatem, through the theme of Grief. Thanks this week to Rachel Diebner for our voicemail.
June 7, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "waste" in chapter thirty-two of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss the most chilling scene, in perhaps the whole series - that of Cedric's death. Our question this week is: how do we keep in mind our own mortality without letting our fear of death control us? Next week we're reading chapter thirty-three, The Death Eaters, through the theme of Necessity. Thanks this week to Allison Boldt for our voicemail.
May 31, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "kindness" in chapter thirty-one of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Bill's generous questions, Molly's coldness to Hermione, and the need for self-care. Our question this week is: how much do we have to take responsibility for our creations? Next week we're reading Chapter 32, Flesh, Blood, and Bone, through the theme of waste. Thanks this week to Connie Carringer for our voicemail.
May 24, 2018
Vanessa is still recovering from her surgery, so Casper is taking over our owl post episode this week. We hear from listeners Lóre Stevens, Kate McManus, Talya Sarna and Eva Resnick-Day. Lóre and Kate respond to Casper's question about the importance of libraries, Talya shares some Jewish thoughts on around pregnancy, and Kate recounts how she got her 15 minutes of national fame.  Casper also has the opportunity to chat with our old friend, the brilliant Rabbi Scott Perlo, about the 'canon' of sacred texts and how ideas of canon play out in the Jewish tradition. Next week, we'll be reading Chapter 31, The Third Task, through the theme of kindness.
May 17, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "comfort" in chapter thirty of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Bellatrix's fanaticism, how the pensieve is a model for virtual reality, and why Dumbledore reveals certain information to Harry. Our question this week is: Is it ever okay to be truly comfortable? Next week we're doing and Owl Post episode with special guest, Rabbi Scott Perlo. Thanks this week to Thea Raymond-Sidel for our voicemail.
May 10, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "chance" in chapter twenty-nine of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Melissa Anelli, host of Pottercast and author of Harry, A History. In the episode, we discuss Fred and George's blackmailing plan, Harry's leadership ability, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Our question this week is: how much agency can we exert in our lives, given our belief in the arbitrariness of the universe?  Next week we're reading chapter thirty, The Pensieve, through the theme of "comfort." Thanks this week to Ji Kweon for our voicemail.
May 3, 2018
Vanessa and Casper and special guest, John Green, explore the theme of "inspiration" in chapter twenty-eight of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They discuss fainting in public, Dobby's humanity, and some of the sadness of parenthood. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we commit ourself to doing work after the inspiration happens? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-nine, The Dream, through the theme of "chance" with special guest Melissa Anelli. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Bronwyn Toth. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live show in London and Pittsburgh: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show
April 26, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "corruption" in chapter twenty-seven of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Barty Crouch’s governing tactics, praise Hermione for her bravery, and have a debate about one of the most quotable lines of the series. Our question this week is: When do we want people to be corruptible?  Next week we're reading chapter twenty-eight, The Madness of Mr. Crouch, through the theme of Inspiration - with special guest John Green! Thanks this week to Wesley Cheney for our voicemail.
April 19, 2018
For the first time on the podcast, we're bringing you your weekly episode from one of our live shows! Live from Minneapolis, Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "loyalty" in chapter twenty-six of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss the root of Harry's heroism, the fish in the Great Lake, and why Hermione trusts Severus Snape. We return to the question: How do you have loyalty and maintain integrity? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-seven, Padfoot Returns, through the theme of corruption! Thanks this week to everyone who came out to the Minneapolis show, our special guest storyteller, Travis Salisbury, and the whole team at The Basilica of St. Mary. Also a special thanks to Jeff Emtman for composing our live show music and Ariana Nedelman for producing and editing as usual, but also for playing the music at the show. We've extended the timeline for our fundraiser! If you can, please support us so we can read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
April 12, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "preciousness" in chapter twenty-five of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Moaning Myrtle's voyeurism, Harry's fatal flaws, and Mad Eye Moody's good luck. Our question this week is: How do we appreciate the things that are precious to us without coveting them? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-six, The Second Task, through the theme of loyalty - live from Minneapolis! Thanks this week to Lyra Hara for our voicemail. We've extended the timeline for our fundraiser! If you can, please support us so we can read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
April 5, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "integrity" in chapter twenty-four of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Professor Grubbly-Plank's unicorn, Hagrid's doom spiral, and Fleur's disadvantage in the second task. Our question this week is: Are loyalty and integrity always in conflict? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-five, The Egg and the Eye, through the theme of preciousness. Thanks this week to Margot Zarin-Pass for our voicemail. We've extended the timeline for our fundraiser! If you can, please support us so we can read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
March 29, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "guilt" in chapter twenty-three of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Viktor Krum's classiness, Dobby's love of languages, and the pervasiveness of gift-giving in our culture. Our question this week is: How do we protect ourselves from turning guilt into shame? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-four, Rita Skeeter's Scoop, through the theme of integrity. Thanks this week to Topher Soltys for our voicemail. We only have a few days left in our fundraiser. If you can, please support us so we can read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
March 23, 2018
We could only include a few minutes of Vanessa's conversation with Gretchen Rubin into the main episode this week, but we wanted to share an extended cut of their interview. Hear Vanessa and Gretchen nerd out about this week's chapter and learn more about her theory of The Four Tendencies. Happy Friday!
March 22, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Happiness in chapter twenty-two of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Gretchen Rubin, host of Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen tells our opening story, sharing from her experience switching career paths. Our question this week is: What is the difference between procrastination and time for 'self-care'? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-three, The Yule Ball, through the theme of Guilt. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Amanda Patton. Don't forget to donate to the crowdfunder: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/harry-potter-and-the-sacred-text-2018-crowdfunder#/
March 15, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "faith" in chapter twenty-one of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Vanessa's first celebrity crush, the separation of church and state in the US, and the internalized oppression of house-elves. Our question this week is: What does faith look like when it's not religious? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-two, The Unexpected Task, through the theme of Happiness. Thanks this week to Austin Bucholtz for our voicemail. We have officially launched our fundraiser. If you can, please support us so we can read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
March 8, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "opportunity" in chapter twenty of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Cedric's wholeness, Harry's brokenness, and what Vanessa thinks about "Fifty Shades of Grey." Our question this week is: How do we create our own opportunities in the world? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-one, The House-Elf Liberation Front, through the theme of faith. Thanks this week to Hannah Burgess for our voicemail. We have officially launched our fundraiser. If you can, please support us so we can read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
March 1, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "delight" in chapter nineteen of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Harry's vulnerability with Sirius, Charlie's love of Hagrid, and Madame Maxime's potential manipulation. Our question this week is: What's the purpose of delight? Next week we're reading chapter twenty, The First Task, through the theme of opportunity. Thanks this week to Kelly Petrauskas for our voicemail. We have officially launched our fundraiser. If you can, please support us so we can read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
February 22, 2018
Vanessa is sick today, so Casper is taking over our much-anticipated "owl" themed owl post. We hear from listeners Stefanie French, Ali Ribe, Camille Knox and Sophie Ralph. Casper also has the opportunity to learn a new spiritual practice, Marginalia, from the charming and wise Reverend Canon Broderick Greer. This episode is sponsored by Care/Of. Next week, we'll be reading Chapter 19, The Hungarian Horntail, through the theme of delight.
February 15, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "glory" in chapter eighteen of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Draco's "Potter Stinks" badges, Hermione's toast, and Snape's empty threats. Our question this week is: Does glory require sacrifice? Next week we're reading chapter nineteen, The Hungarian Horntail, through the theme of delight. Thanks this week to Lia Hagan for our voicemail. Two big things coming in March: Our show in Holyoke, MA, and our annual crowdfunder.
February 9, 2018
Note: We discuss sexual assault and suicidal ideation in this episode. If these topics are something you want to avoid, we understand. Here's a funny picture of a walrus to hold you over until next week.  Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of, "unity" in chapter seventeen of, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we ask: Why is Snape in the back room? Why is Ron so mad? Why can’t Hagrid wave hello? Our philosophical question this week is: When is the dissolution of difference worthwhile for the sake of unity?  Next week we're reading chapter eigtheen, The Weighing of the Wands, through the theme of glory. Unfortunately, the episode will be out a day late, so look out!  Two big things coming in March: Our show in Holyoke, MA, and our annual crowdfunder.
February 1, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of, "resentment" in chapter sixteen of, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." This week we discuss Hermione's jealousy, Hagrid's hypocrisy, and Dumbledore's hospitality. Our question this week is: whose responsibility is it to correct for resentment?  Next week we're reading chapter seventeen, The Four Champions, through the theme of unity. Unfortunately, the episode will be out a day late, so look out!  Two big things coming in March: Our show in Holyoke, MA, and our annual crowdfunder.
January 25, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of trauma in chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week we discuss returning home, acknowledging pain, and the BAMF known as Madame Maxime. Our question this week is: how do you integrate trauma into your personal narrative? Next week we're reading chapter sixteen, The Goblet and Fire, through the theme of resentment. Two big things coming in march: Our show in Holyoke, MA, and our annual crowdfunder!
January 18, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of transformation in chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, our opening story is told by Mike McHargue, host of Ask Science Mike and The Liturgists. We discuss the ways that Neville as like Christ, Moody is like the Buddha, and Snape is maybe, possibly pitiable. Our question this week is: Can transformation ever be complete? Our voicemail this week is thanks to Bethy Crowe. Next week we're reading chapter fifteen, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, through the theme of trauma.
January 11, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of judgement in chapter thirteen of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week we discuss blind love, alcoholism at Hogwarts, and why we all take such joy in Draco being turned into a ferret. Our question this week is: how do we learn to value things based on their inherent worth, rather than their functionality? Our voicemail this week is thanks to Bri Anele. Next week we're reading chapter fourteen, The Unforgivable Curse, through the theme of transformation. We'll be also be joined by special guest, Science Mike, from The Liturgists podcast!
January 4, 2018
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of excitement in chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, we admire the Creevey brothers, interrogate Harry's blasé attitude, and wonder what Barty Crouch Jr. must be feeling. Our question this week is: Are formal ceremonies impersonal or transcendent?  Our voicemail this week is thanks to Charlotte Binks. Next week we're reading chapter thirteen, Mad-Eye Moody, through the theme of judgement.. Stay warm!
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