Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

United States

What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? What would we learn? How might they change us? Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a new podcast reading Harry Potter, the best-selling series of all time, as if it was a sacred text. Just as Christians read the Bible, Jews the Torah and Muslims read the Quran, we will embark on a 199-episode journey (one chapter an episode, to be released weekly) to glean what wisdom and meaning J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels have for us today. We will read Harry Potter, not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives.

Episodes

Frustration: Grim Defeat (Book 3, Chapter 9)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of frustration in chapter nine of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss latin etymology, quote Macbeth, and critique Snape's class design. They also talk about fun things like Sir Cadogan (who is rapidly becoming our favorite portrait). Throughout the episode they consider the question: When does frustration indicate injustice?

This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter ten, The Marauder's Map, through the theme of escape. Our donor of the week is Crookshanks and our voicemail this week is thanks to Camryn Kessler.

[Explicit] Extra! Extra!: Blooper Reel  

This is not a real episode! It's a reel episode. (Groan.) 

Ariana made this little blooper reel for some of the Crowdfunder backers, but we thought it would be nice to share it with everyone.  It's Ariana's mom's birthday today, and it's a beautiful Friday here in Boston, so it's a good day for something a little special. Thanks go, of course, to those who ordered it from the Crowdfunder - without you, it wouldn't exist! 

Today we're also releasing posters for our live tour. Go check them out on social media and share them with your friends. We can't wait to see ya'll in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. If you haven't yet bought your tickets, you can do so at: http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show/

P.S. Despite how it might sound in these bloopers, we love all of our sponsors and are very grateful for their support. The explicit warning is for swearing. See you on Tuesday!

Desperation: Flight of the Fat Lady (Book 3, Chapter 8)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of desperation in chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the credibility of divination, the intensity of Oliver Wood's quidditch passion, and whether Harry's need to go to Hogsmeade is silly or understandable. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do you prevent desperation from going hand and hand with isolation? 

This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Verizon Go 90. Next week we're reading chapter nine, Grim Defeat, through the theme of frustration. Our donor of the week is Mikhela Ungerleider and our voicemail this week is thanks to Sara Cochennet. 

Special Edition: Extended Conversation with Chloe Angyal  

We could only include a few minutes of Vanessa's conversation with Chloe into the main episode this week, but we wanted to share an extended cut of their interview. Hear Chloe talk more about humorous responses to internet trolls and the toll they can take. Hear Vanessa and Chloe awkwardly adore each other. You'll want to be their best friends. 

Humor: The Boggart in the Wardrobe (Book 3, Chapter 7)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of humor in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.They discuss the power of Satire, the absurdity of neck ties, and why Parvati is afraid of mummies. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is humor always rooted in truth? 

This week's story was told by the brilliant journalist Chloe Angyal. This episode is sponsored by Bombas and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter eight, The Flight of the Fat Lady, through the theme of desperation. Our donor of the week is Andrew Stairs and our voicemail this week is thanks to Duke Lambert. 

Forgiveness: Talons and Tea Leaves (Book 3, Chapter 6)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of forgiveness in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the difference between humility and self loathing, Hagrid’s metaphorical baptism, and instances of national atonement. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is forgiveness necessarily without punishment? 

This episode is sponsored by Bombas and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter seven, The Boggart in the Wardrobe, through the theme of humor. Our donor of the week is Hannah McGinty and our voicemail this week is thanks to Selina Mahmood. 

Foresight: The Dementor (Book 3, Chapter 5)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of foresight in chapter five of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the magical properties of chocolate, Harry and Ginny's romantic potential, and whether we should try and preserve the innocence of children. Throughout the episode they consider the question: is it worth knowing the future, if you can't change it? 

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Bombas. Next week we're reading chapter six, Talons and Tea Leaves, through the theme of forgiveness. Our donor of the week is Ashleigh Gilbertson and our voicemail this week is thanks to Catherine Gilbert. 

Hospitality: The Leaky Cauldron (Book 3, Chapter 4)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of hospitality in chapter four of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They consider the ways in which Hermione is diplomatic, do the Jewish practice of PaRDeS for the first time on their own, and grudgingly admit that maybe Percy has the right idea for once. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What's the relationship between capitalism and altruism?

This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Blue Apron. Next week we're reading chapter five, The Dementor, through the theme of foresight. Our donor of the week is Marilyn Pukkila and our voicemail this week is thanks to Abigail Smith. If you want to take the audience survey, you can go to panoply.fm/survey.

Special Edition: Extended Conversation with Jackson Bird from the Harry Potter Alliance  

We could only include a few minutes of Casper's conversation with Jackson Bird into the main episode this week, but it was so lovely that we thought it was important to share it all. So here's an extended cut! Hear Jackson talk more about the Harry Potter Alliance and his experience with publicly coming out as trans. 

Secrets: The Knight Bus (Book 3, Chapter 3)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of secrets in chapter three of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the sketchiness of Cornelius Fudge, throw some shade at Stanley Shunpike and contemplate the role of socio-economic status in the wizarding world.

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter four, The Leaky Cauldron, through the theme of hospitality. Our story this week was told by our wonderful friend Jack Bird of the Harry Potter Alliance and this week's voicemail is thanks to Lyla Quinn. If you want to take the audience survey, you can go to panoply.fm/survey.

Family: Aunt Marge's Big Mistake (Book 2, Chapter 3)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of family in chapter two of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss why Vanessa loves her dog so much, the age old question of nature vs. nurture, and the muggle magic of alcohol. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What are we willing to suffer for our family?

This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Audible and this week's voicemail is thanks to Liza Mann. Next week we’ll be reading chapter three, The Knight Bus, through the theme of secrets. If you want to take the audience survey, you can go to panoply.fm/survey.

Mercy: Owl Post (Book 3, Chapter 1)  

Vanessa and Casper dive into Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with the theme of mercy. They discuss Ron's difficulty with telephones, Errol the owl, and return to the spiritual practice of Florilegia. Throughout the episode they consider the question: how much does intention matter when offering mercy? 

This week we're sponsored by Squarespace and Blue Apron. This week's voicemail is thanks to Jenn Radtke. Be sure to check out our website harrypottersacredtext.com to buy tickets for our live tour this summer! 

Season Three Announcement + Trailer  

Thanks to your immense generosity, we've reached our crowdfunding goal with time to spare! That means that, starting next week, we'll be launching into season three with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Here's the trailer audio, but be sure to also watch the beautiful animation (which we were able to create thanks to your donations). 

You all are the best listeners/community/conversation partners in the whole podcast universe. See you next season!  

Special Edition: The Live Show  

For those who couldn't make it to our live show back in January, here' s a little taste of all the fun we had! The audio quality is not ideal, but you still can get a sense for what it was like to be in the room. If all goes well, we'll be coming to a city near you soon.

Our sponsors this week are Blue Apron and Spotify Showstopper. See you in Season three!

Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets  

In the final episode of season two, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They evaluate the evolution of Harry's character, compare Lockhart to a Shakespearean protagonist, and talk about the importance of paying attention to ghosts. Throughout the episode they come back to ideas about liberation, marginalization, and belonging. 

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Casper. Be sure to check out our season three crowdfunder at harrypottersacredtext.com.

Special Edition: Owl Post and Rabbi Scott Perlo  

In our penultimate episode of season two, we hear from listeners Christina Richardson, Margaret, Meaghan Crowley, and Abigail Morris. Vanessa and Casper also have the opportunity to learn a new spiritual practice, PaRDeS, from the charming and wise Rabbi Scott Perlo.

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace. Next week, we'll be doing a full book review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the meantime, be sure to check out our season three crowdfunder at harrypottersacredtext.com.

Love: Dobby's Reward (Book 2, Chapter 18)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of love in the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Together they discuss the connection between love, memory, suffering, and why parents take their babies to the zoo. They are joined by special guest, Professor Stephanie Paulsell, to discuss and introduce a new spiritual practice — Florilegia. 

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and this week's voicemail is thanks to Katie Bowers. Be sure to check out our season three crowdfunder at harrypottersacredtext.com.

Heartbreak: The Heir of Slytherin (Book 2, Chapter 17)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of heartbreak in chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss practical jokes, juvenile delinquency, and the symbolism of Fawkes' tears. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What's the difference between heartbreak and soul-break?

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and this week's voicemail is thanks to Helen Valencia. Next week we’ll be reading chapter eighteen, Dobby's Reward, through the theme of love. 

Grace: The Chamber of Secrets (Book 2, Chapter 16)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of grace in chapter sixteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss the power of gratitude, the difference between the desolation of Moaning Myrtle and Ginny Weasley, and Vanessa's admiration of Johnny Cash. Throughout the episode they consider the question: why does the idea of grace make some of us uncomfortable?

This episode is sponsored by audible.com and this week's voicemail is thanks to Rebecca Dehovitz. Next week we'll be reading chapter seventeen, The Heir of Slytherin, through the theme of heartbreak.

Sanctuary: Aragog (Book 2, Chapter 15)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of sanctuary in chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss the power of silence, how Hagrid is a priest-like figure, and why spiders are so afraid of the Basilisk. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Are the most ordinary among us best suited to face life's greatest horrors?

This episode is sponsored by Aaptiv and Squarespace and this week's voicemail is thanks to Heather McDonald. Next week we’ll be reading chapter sixteen, The Chamber of Secrets, through the theme of grace. 

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