Podcast

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

It’s the English class you didn't know you missed and the meaningful conversations you didn't know you craved. Join Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile as they bring thought, reflection and laughter to Harry Potter; not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives. Relive the magic chapter by chapter as they explore themes such as commitment, revenge and forgiveness. This podcast creates time in your week to think about life’s big questi...more

Episodes

  • A Christmas Poem: Goldilocks and the Three Bears

    Dec 25 2018

    Every Christmas Casper likes to read us a Roald Dahl poem. This year it's Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You can find the poem in Revolting Rhymes. Happy Holidays!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Respite: In the Hog's Head (Book 5, Chapter 16)

    Dec 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 ...more

  • Healing: The Hogwarts High Inquisitor (Book 5, Chapter 15)

    Dec 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 w...more

  • Boundaries: Percy and Padfoot (Book 5, Chapter 14)

    Dec 06 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...more

  • Obsession: Detention with Dolores (Book 5, Chapter 13)

    Nov 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...more

  • Pride: Professor Umbridge (Book 5, Chapter 12)

    Nov 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: har...more

  • Special Edition: Q&A with Producer Ariana + New Hot and Bothered Trailer

    Nov 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 th...more

  • Dread: The Sorting Hat's New Song (Book 5, Chapter 11)

    Nov 08 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 upcomi...more

  • Halloween Edition: On Witches and Brett Kavanaugh

    Nov 01 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,...more

  • Humility: Luna Lovegood (Book 5, Chapter 10)

    Oct 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:...more

  • Will Power: The Woes of Mrs Weasley (Book 5, Chapter 9)

    Oct 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 l...more

  • Partnership: The Hearing (Book 5, Chapter 8)

    Oct 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...more

  • Progress: The Ministry of Magic (Book 5, Chapter 7)

    Oct 04 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.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Memory: The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black (Book 5, Chapter 6)

    Sep 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.Learn more about your ad cho...more

  • Gratitude: The Order of the Phoenix (Book 5, Chapter 5)

    Sep 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.Learn more about your ad choices. V...more

  • Anger: Number Twelve Grimmauld Place (Book 5, Chapter 4)

    Sep 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.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Brief Note: News about the future of HPST

    Sep 12 2018

    Hi friends, we heard from our podcast network, Panoply, today that they will be dissolving their network. This means they'll no longer be selling ads on our show. It's scary news for us, because ad sales is the largest way that we make our business sustainable. We want to keep you posted as we move forward and hopefully find a new way to keep making this show that means so much to us. We love you and we're going to make this work together. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...more

  • Compassion: The Advance Guard (Book 5, Chapter 3)

    Sep 06 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.Learn more about your ad cho...more

  • Frustration: A Peck of Owls (Book 5, Chapter 2)

    Aug 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. Learn more about your...more

  • Belief: Dudley Demented (Book 5, Chapter 1)

    Aug 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 harrypottersacredtex...more

  • Special Edition: What We’re Excited for in Order of the Phoenix

    Aug 09 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Edition: Owl Post with Professor Stephanie Paulsell

    Jul 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!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    Jul 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 men...more

  • Love: The Beginning (Book 4, Chapter 37) — Live from London

    Jul 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....more

  • Disillusionment: The Parting of the Ways (Book 4, Chapter 36)

    Jul 05 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,...more

  • Betrayal: Veritaserum (Book 4, Chapter 35)

    Jun 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."...more

  • Grief: Priori Incantatem (Book 4, Chapter 34)

    Jun 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 ...more

  • Necessity: The Death Eaters (Book 4, Chapter 33)

    Jun 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...more

  • Waste: Flesh, Blood, and Bone (Book 4, Chapter 32)

    Jun 07 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. Learn more about your...more

  • Kindness: The Third Task (Book 4, Chapter 31)

    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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...more

  • Special Edition: Owl Post and Rabbi Scott Perlo (Again!)

    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 Laurie Stevens, Kate McManus, Talya Sarna and Eva Resnick-Day. Laurie 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 'can...more

  • Comfort: The Pensieve (Book 4, Chapter 30)

    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. Learn more about your ad ch...more

  • Chance: The Dream (Book 4, Chapter 29)

    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 readi...more

  • Inspiration: The Madness of Mr. Crouch — With John Green (Book 4, Chapter 28)

    May 03 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 ...more

  • Corruption: Padfoot Returns (Book 4, Chapter 27)

    Apr 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 thi...more

  • Loyalty: The Second Task (Book 4, Chapter 26) – Live from Minneapolis

    Apr 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...more

  • Preciousness: The Egg and the Eye (Book 4, Chapter 25)

    Apr 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 ext...more

  • Integrity: Rita Skeeter's Scoop (Book 4, Chapter 24)

    Apr 05 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 fo...more

  • Special Edition: Crowdfunder Update + Poem

    Apr 03 2018

    Just a little note to let you know how our fundraiser is going. We're more than halfway there! Thank you to all who have donated. For those who want to help us get to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we're keeping the crowdfunder open until April 21st. You can donate here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/harry-potter-and-the-sacred-text-2018-crowdfunder#/Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Guilt: The Yule Ball (Book 4, Chapter 23)

    Mar 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 day...more

  • Special Edition: Extended Conversation with Gretchen Rubin

    Mar 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!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Happiness: The Unexpected Task (Book 4, Chapter 22)

    Mar 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 thi...more

  • Faith: The House-Elf Liberation Front (Book 4, Chapter 21)

    Mar 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 off...more

  • Opportunity: The First Task (Book 4, Chapter 20)

    Mar 08 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 fu...more

  • Delight: The Hungarian Horntail (Book 4, Chapter 19)

    Mar 01 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, ple...more

  • Special Edition: Owl Post and Broderick Greer

    Feb 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...more

  • Glory: The Weighing of the Wands (Book 4, Chapter 18)

    Feb 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. Le...more

  • Unity: The Four Champions (Book 4, Chapter 17)

    Feb 09 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 wo...more

  • Technical Difficulties: Episode Coming Tomorrow!

    Feb 08 2018

    Sorry, no episode today! We're re-recording and it will be out tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a quote from William Shakespeare. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Resentment: The Goblet of Fire (Book 4, Chapter 16)

    Feb 01 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 Ho...more

  • Trauma: Beauxbatons and Durmstrang (Book 4, Chapter 15)

    Jan 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! Learn more about your ad choice...more

  • Transformation: The Unforgiveable Curses (Book 4, Chapter 14)

    Jan 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 D...more

  • Judgment: Mad-Eye Moody (Book 4, Chapter 13)

    Jan 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 transforma...more

  • Excitement: The Triwizard Tournament (Book 4, Chapter 12)

    Jan 04 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!Learn more about your ad c...more

  • Special Edition: Puffs + T-Shirt Contest Winner!

    Dec 28 2017

    Vanessa and Ariana took a train down to New York to see the off-broadway play, Puffs. Here's the show in their own words: "For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs... who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world." Vanessa brings her full report back to Casper and they talk about some themes of the show: loyalty, historical context, ...more

  • A Christmas Poem: Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

    Dec 25 2017

    Here's a little treat from Casper. You can find the poem in Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl. Happy Holidays!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Edition: Owl Post and Marya Bangee

    Dec 21 2017

    It's time for our first round of owl posts for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! We hear your thoughts about stigma, the S.P.E.W. campaign, Fred and George's resilience, obliviation, and Hermione's muggle knowledge. Thanks so much to Angela Higginson, Jennifer Asturias, Jarrod Green, and Annalisa Galgano for sending in their messages. We also are visited by activist and organizer Marya Bangee, who tells us about her work and teaches us a little bit about the Quran.Our sponsors this week are Z...more

  • Play: Aboard the Hogwarts Express (Book 4, Chapter 11)

    Dec 14 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of play in chapter eleven of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, we discuss Queen Victoria, how defense against the dark arts is like sex education, and why it's okay to be rude behind closed doors. Our question this week is: Is there ever a time when play isn't appropriate? Our voicemail this week is thanks to Sara Ayebar. Next week, tune in for an owl post with special guest Marya Bangee. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...more

  • Promises: Mayhem at the Ministry (Book 4, Chapter 10)

    Dec 07 2017

    Vanessa and Casper revisit the theme of promises in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, we discuss whether Rita Skeeter is a good journalist, Arthur Weasley's work at the ministry, and shifting familial roles. Our question this week is: When is it appropriate to break promises?Next week we're reading chapter eleven, Aboard the Hogwarts Express, through the theme of play. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Crysta Swarts. See you this weekend at Podcon!Learn more about...more

  • Grudges: The Dark Mark (Book 4, Chapter 9)

    Nov 30 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of grudges in chapter nine of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, we continue our discussion about Veelas and sexism, look at the connection between the personal and the political, and celebrate Hermione's truth-telling. Our question this week is: what responsibility to do we have to understand and forgive people who perpetrate violent hate crimes?Next week we're reading chapter ten, Mayhem at the Ministry, through the theme of promise. Our voicem...more

  • Fandom: The Quidditch World Cup (Book 4, Chapter 8)

    Nov 23 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of fandom in chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, our opening story is told by Kevin T. Porter, host of Gilmore Guys and Good Christian Fun. We discuss Veeela, nationalism, and Krum's decision to catch the snitch. Our question this week is: Is there a difference between sports fans and other fans?Next week we're reading chapter nine, The Dark Mark, through the theme of grudges. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Fran Smith. Happy...more

  • Beauty: Bagman and Crouch (Book 4, Chapter 7)

    Nov 16 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of beauty in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, we discuss Mr. Weasley's exoticization of muggles, Harry's generosity towards Ron, and why Fred and George gamble their whole life savings. Our question this week is: Can you disentangle beautiful things from the sometimes ugly situations (and people) that create them?Next week we're reading chapter eight, The Quidditch World Cup, through the theme of fandom. Our voicemail this week...more

  • Acceptance: The Portkey (Book 4, Chapter 6)

    Nov 09 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of acceptance in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, Vanessa and Casper discuss different parent/child relationships as they manifest in Amos and Cedric Diggory and The Weasleys. Our question this week is: How do we know when to accept someone else's choice, even if we think it's the wrong one? Next week we're reading chapter seven, Bagman and Crouch, through the theme of beauty. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Leena ...more

  • Masculinity: Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes (Book 4, Chapter 5)

    Nov 02 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Masculinity in chapter five of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, Vanessa and Casper discuss Ron's love of quidditch, Bill's gender performance, and Mr. Weasley's Oedipal conflict. Our question this week is: How does one actually get outside the boundaries of gender? Next week we're reading chapter six, The Portkey, through the theme of Acceptance. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Weronika Bartczak. Don't forget to buy tickets for the...more

  • Mystery: Back to the Burrow (Book 4, Chapter 4)

    Oct 26 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Mystery in chapter four of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Zach Kerzee, the founding pastor of Simple Church. Zach tells our opening story, shares from his experience with the foster care system, and deconstructs what Arthur Weasley does right in this chapter. Our question this week is: How do we manage our fear of the unknown? Next week we're reading chapter five, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, through the theme...more

  • Awareness: The Invitation (Book 4, Chapter 3)

    Oct 19 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Awareness in chapter three of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, Vanessa and Casper talk about Dudley's weight problems, Molly Weasley's perfect letter to the Dursleys, and why Muggles can't go to The Quidditch World Cup.  The burning question this week is: Who is the narrator of this text?Next week we're reading chapter four, Back to the Burrow, through the theme of mystery. Our sponsor this week is Care/Of and our voicemail this week is...more

  • Destruction: The Scar (Book 4, Chapter 2)

    Oct 12 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of destruction in chapter two of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This week, Vanessa and Casper negotiate their different theological perspectives, discuss the nature of confidentiality, and celebrate a non-present Hermione. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Can destruction be a force for good?Next week we're reading chapter three, The Invitation, through the theme of awareness. Our sponsor this week is Blue Apron and our voicemail this w...more

  • Instinct: The Riddle House (Book 4, Chapter 1)

    Oct 05 2017

    Vanessa and Casper dive into Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with The Riddle House - perhaps one of the most incongruous chapter in the the whole Harry Potter series. They discuss Frank's PTSD, Nagini's anatomy, and how Voldemort is just a big baby. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we avoid prejudice while following our instincts? This week we're sponsored by Audible and Care/Of and our voicemail is thanks to Katie Kelly-Hankin. Next week we're reading The Scar,...more

  • Season Four Announcements + Trailer

    Sep 26 2017

    Just a few updates on live shows (we're coming for you, Atlanta!) and our next season. Casper and Vanessa share what they're excited for in Goblet of Fire and we give you a preview of our new video. Check out the beautiful animation, by Hannah O'Neal at: https://youtu.be/CZMUSLepuLsSomerville Show: October 18th, The Somerville Armory Atlanta Show: November 8th, Park Avenue Baptist ChurchNext week, we'll be reading Chapter 1 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Riddle House, through t...more

  • Trust: Cat, Rat and Dog (Book 3, Chapter 17) — Live from Washington, DC

    Sep 19 2017

    Thank you so much to everyone who came out for our tour this summer and made it such a success! Here's the audio from our DC show, with special guest Scott Perlo. For our East Coast tour, we read Prisoner of Azkaban chapter 17, Cat, Rat and Dog, through the theme of trust. We'll be back to our regular episode on October 5th with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Edition: Owl Post and Sejal Patel

    Sep 12 2017

    In our final episode of Season 3, we have a chance to sit down with lawyer and fellow divinity school graduate, Sejal Patel. She chats with us about justice, Hinduism, and the Niebuhr brothers. We also do a last round of owl posts for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, hearing your thoughts about friendship, trauma, isolation, and spiritual practices. Our sponsor this week is Blue Apron. Check out this week’s menu and get your first three meals free —with free shipping—by going to bluea...more

  • Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Sep 05 2017

    In the final episode of season three, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They take some time to talk about Harry Potter himself, reflect on Voldemort's absence, and compare Draco to a young white supremacist. Throughout the episode they come back to ideas about purity, justice, and identity formation. This episode is sponsored by Audible. Audible has the best audiobook performances, the largest library and the most exclusive content...more

  • Love: Owl Post Again (Book 3, Chapter 22)

    Aug 29 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of love in the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is our third time discussing love of the podcast, but we still have so many questions: Where does overwhelming love come from? Should we try to be selfless in our love? Is the tooth fairy a fraud?Our voicemail this week is thanks to Colin Holden. Next week we're doing a full book review of Prisoner of Azkaban! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Crisis: Hermione's Secret (Book 3, Chapter 21)

    Aug 22 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of crisis in chapter twenty-one of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Snape's existential crisis, Dumbledore's rebellious streak, and Madame Pomfrey's delicious boulder of chocolate. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we find meaning in this time-turner business? Our sponsor this week is Away and our voicemail was thanks to Ameenah Wallace. Next week we're reading chapter twenty-two (the last chapter ...more

  • Charlottesville: Call it what it is

    Aug 16 2017

    Today was our first day back in the studio after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend. We wanted to share a few thoughts from the team. You can access the Charlottesville Syllabus that Casper mentions here. We've also put it as a button on the top of our website: harrypottersacredtext.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Justice: The Dementors' Kiss (Book 3, Chapter 20)

    Aug 15 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Justice in chapter twenty of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss justice in all its forms: poetic, divine, restorative and insufficient. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Can an injustice ever be rectified? This week's voicemail was thanks to Peighton Whaley. Next week we're reading chapter twenty-one, Hermione's Secret, through the theme of crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...more

  • Forgiveness: Owl Post with Professor Stephanie Paulsell

    Aug 08 2017

    This week, Casper's out of town so Vanessa sits down with Stephanie Paulsell, Professor of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School, to talk forgiveness and answer some owl post. Our regular scheduled programing will be back next week with Chapter 20, The Dementors' Kiss through the theme of Justice. Much thanks to Bri, Elizabeth, Abby, and Seth for their voicemails. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Mercy: The Servant of Lord Voldemort (Book 3, Chapter 19)

    Aug 01 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of mercy in chapter nineteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Snape's dual identity, Pettigrew's shrewd manipulations, and the legacy of Lily and James Potter. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What's the differing between mercy and forgiveness? This week's voicemail was thanks to Blair Boudreaux. Next week we're reading chapter twenty, The Dementors' Kiss, through the theme of justice. Learn more...more

  • Isolation: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs (Book 3, Chapter 18)

    Jul 25 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of isolation in chapter eighteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they pity Peter Pettigrew, wonder about The Whomping Willow and solve the problem of suffering. (Just kidding on that last one.) Throughout the episode they consider the question: What stories do the buildings and objects around us have to tell? This week's voicemail was thanks to Keeley Harris. Next week we're reading chapter nineteen, The Servant of Lord Voldemort,...more

  • Innocence: Cat, Rat and Dog (Book 3, Chapter 17)

    Jul 20 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of innocence in chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They bemoan how the criminal justice system has betrayed Sirius Black, discuss Ron's prejudice again werewolves, and try and come up with a good metaphor for the chaos of this chapter. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Who do we normally suspect of guilt?This week's story was told by Kathy Tu, the brilliant host of the Nancy Podcast from WNYC Studios. This episode ...more

  • A Note from the Road

    Jul 18 2017

    Sorry folks, the episode's coming out on Thursday. Here's a quick voicemail from Vanessa and Casper. You can check out our new video on youtube and facebook! Much love. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Wonder: Professor Trelawney's Prediction (Book 3, Chapter 16)

    Jul 11 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of wonder in chapter sixteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss flobberworms, how Divination class is like divinity school, and why Professor Trelawney doesn't believe in her own prediction. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Should we try to answer unanswerable questions?Next week we're reading chapter seventeen, Cat, Rat and Dog, through the theme of innocence. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Laurie Ben...more

  • Pain: The Quidditch Final (Book 3, Chapter 15)

    Jul 04 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of pain in chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Casper's beautiful teeth, Vanessa's dislike of Hogwarts houses, and why Professor Trelawney is a better teacher than we once thought. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When is it okay to knowingly cause someone else’s pain?Next week we're reading chapter sixteen, Professor Trelawney's Prediction, through the theme of wonder. Our voicemail this week...more

  • Imagination: Snape's Grudge (Book 3, Chapter 14)

    Jun 27 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of imagination in chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, in some major reversals, Vanessa expresses concern for Snape and Casper blesses Hermione. They also discuss babies, puppies, and our criminal justice system. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How can we use imagination to do the most good in the world? Next week we're reading chapter fifteen, The Quidditch Final, through the theme of pain. Our voic...more

  • Rivalry: Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw — With Hank Green (Book 3, Chapter 13)

    Jun 20 2017

    Vanessa and Casper and special guest, Hank Green, explore the theme of Rivalry in chapter thirteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the difference between bullies and rivals, the delight of new babies, and why Cho Chang is a great model for competition. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How does power work within rivalry? If you want to see and hear more of Hank, you can watch him on his many youtube channels, listen to him on his podcast Dear Hank and J...more

  • Optimism: The Patronus (Book 3, Chapter 12)

    Jun 13 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of optimism in chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, Casper tells a story about climate activism, Vanessa tries to puzzle out how boggarts work, and together they take a close look at what exactly happens during a Dementor's Kiss. Throughout the episode they consider the question: why do we need permission to be optimistic? Next week we're reading chapter thirteen, Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw, through the theme of rivalry...more

  • Duty: The Firebolt — With Father Jim Martin (Book 3, Chapter 11)

    Jun 06 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of duty in chapter eleven of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Hermione's selflessness, Hagrid's traumatic experience in Azkaban, and McGonagall's harsh take-down of Trelawney at christmas dinner. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we differentiate between obedience and duty?We are delighted to be joined this week by Father Jim Martin to discuss Jesuit spirituality and sacred imagination. He's the editor-...more

  • Escape: The Marauder's Map (Book 3, Chapter 10)

    May 30 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of escape in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss whether we can have sympathy for dementors, Casper's college crush, and the toxic ideas that haunt us. Throughout the episode they consider the question: After we escape something awful, what allows us to go back and help others do so as well?This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Warby Parker. Next week we're reading chapter eleven, The Firebolt, throu...more

  • Frustration: Grim Defeat (Book 3, Chapter 9)

    May 23 2017

    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 ...more

  • [Explicit] Extra! Extra!: Blooper Reel

    May 19 2017

    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 chec...more

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

    May 16 2017

    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 chapte...more

  • Special Edition: Extended Conversation with Chloe Angyal

    May 09 2017

    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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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

    May 09 2017

    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...more

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

    May 02 2017

    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 hum...more

  • Foresight: The Dementor (Book 3, Chapter 5)

    Apr 25 2017

    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 th...more

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

    Apr 18 2017

    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 c...more

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

    Apr 11 2017

    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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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

    Apr 11 2017

    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 Ha...more

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

    Apr 04 2017

    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, thr...more

  • Mercy: Owl Post (Book 3, Chapter 1)

    Mar 28 2017

    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 ...more

  • Season Three Announcement + Trailer

    Mar 19 2017

    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!  Learn more about your ad choi...more

  • Special Edition: The Live Show

    Mar 14 2017

    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!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    Mar 07 2017

    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 har...more

  • Special Edition: Owl Post and Rabbi Scott Perlo

    Feb 28 2017

    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.Learn...more

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

    Feb 21 2017

    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 crowdfund...more

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

    Feb 14 2017

    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. ...more

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

    Feb 07 2017

    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 chapt...more

  • Sanctuary: Aragog (Book 2, Chapter 15)

    Feb 01 2017

    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...more

  • Loyalty: Cornelius Fudge (Book 2, Chapter 14)

    Jan 24 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of loyalty in chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Hagrid and Dumbledore's mutual admiration, how to navigate multiple responsibilities, and why Cornelius Fudge is a poor politician. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When does loyalty become cultish and when is it the highest form of respect? This episode is sponsored by Aaptiv and Squarespace and this week's voicemail is thanks to Jane. Next week we’...more

  • Cowardice: The Very Secret Diary (Book 2, Chapter 13)

    Jan 17 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of cowardice in chapter thirteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss hate crimes, the psychology of murderers, and secret admirers. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What is the primary emotion associated with cowardice? Is it fear, shame, confusion, or something else?This episode is sponsored by LifeAfter and Casper and this week's voicemail is thanks to Teague Peterson. Next week we’ll be reading chapter fourteen, Corne...more

  • Belonging: The Polyjuice Potion (Book 2, Chapter 12)

    Jan 10 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of belonging in chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss magical portraits, the metaphor of the phoenix, and Vanessa’s distrust of optometry. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is a shared history necessary for feeling belonging? This episode is sponsored by LifeAfter and Aaptiv and this week's voicemail is thanks to Evin Shinn. Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirteen, The Very Secret Diary, through the ...more

  • Excellence: The Dueling Club (Book 2, Chapter 11)

    Jan 03 2017

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of excellence in chapter eleven of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Harry's proficiency with Parseltongue, Ernie McMillan's authority within the Hufflepuffs, and Vanessa's esteem of Lebron James. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we make sure that we pursue excellence in way that's in line with our values?This episode is sponsored by LifeAfter and Aaptiv. Our story this week was told by the incredible Mark Oppenhei...more

  • Complaining: The Rogue Bludger (Book 2, Chapter 10)

    Dec 27 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of complaining in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Madam Hooch's negligence during the quidditch match, Lockhart's toxic masculinity, and Colin Creevey's surprising thoughtfulness. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When do we have the right to complain?This episode is sponsored by LifeAfter and Wordpress. This week's voicemail is thanks to Meghan Cooper.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...more

  • Innocence: The Writing on the Wall (Book 2, Chapter 9)

    Dec 20 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of complaining in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Madame Hooch's negligence during the quidditch match, Lockhart's toxic masculinity, and Colin Creevey's surprising thoughtfulness. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When are the times that we should be complaining?This episode is sponsored by LifeAfter and Wordpress. This week's voicemail is thanks to Meghan Cooper.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...more

  • Rumors: The Deathday Party (Book 2, Chapter 8)

    Dec 13 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of rumors in chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss the difference between rumors and propaganda, whether Nearly Headless Nick should be allowed in the headless hunt, and how they would feel if their friends started hearing voices. Throughout the episode they consider the question: At what point do rumors become dangerous? This episode is sponsored by LifeAfter and this week's voicemail is thanks to Antonia Aguilera. ...more

  • Confusion: Mudbloods and Murmurs (Book 2, Chapter 7)

    Dec 06 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of confusion in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Hagrid's magical umbrella, the usefulness of mantras, and what the 'mudblood' incident can help us understand about systemic racism. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When faced with pernicious confusion, what's our best course of action? This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and LifeAfter. This week's voicemail is thanks to Andrew McIntyre. Lea...more

  • Attraction: Gilderoy Lockhart (Book 2, Chapter 6)

    Nov 29 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of attraction in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss their schoolyard crushes, Ron's malfunctioning wand, and a metaphorical interpretation of the mandrake plant. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Where do we draw the distinction between healthy and unhealthy attraction? This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and Life After. This week's voicemail is thanks to Cindy Phippen.Learn more about your ad choice...more

  • Special Edition: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Spoiler Warning!)

    Nov 28 2016

    After seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Vanessa and Casper discuss their impressions and share their favorite moments from the film.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Responsibility: The Whomping Willow (Book 2, Chapter 5)

    Nov 22 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of responsibility in chapter five of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Dobby's constant meddling, Snape's connection with the Whomping Willow, and whether it's okay to bless the Dursleys. Throughout the episode they consider the question: is discipline best executed from a position of objectivity or compassion?This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and LifeAfter. Our voicemail is thanks to Maxine Kobinski.Learn more about your ad choices....more

  • Shame: At Flourish and Blotts (Book 2, Chapter 4)

    Nov 15 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of shame in chapter four of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Harry's generosity, the difference between teasing and criticism, and whether there's anything to admire about Gilderoy Lockhart. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Do we inherit the shame of our fathers?This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and this week's voicemail is thanks to Cari Kramer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Brief Post-Election Note

    Nov 14 2016

    Hi friends, we hope you're taking care of yourselves. We offer you this reading from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Curiosity: The Burrow (Book 2, Chapter 3)

    Nov 08 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of curiosity in chapter three of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Arthur Weasley's enthusiasm for muggles, the moral implications of de-gnoming, and the alluring appeal of RuPaul's Drag Race. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is love an important component of curiosity?This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and this week's voicemail is thanks to Michelle Sisco.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...more

  • Control: Dobby's Warning (Book 2, Chapter 2)

    Nov 01 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of control in the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss the bureaucratic power of the Ministry of Magic, the benefit of Harry's deep curiosity, and the endless frustrations of IKEA furniture. Throughout the episode they consider the question: when is control a noble intention and when is it oppressive? This week's voicemail is thanks to Mijal Tenenbaum.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Disappointment: The Worst Birthday (Book 2, Chapter 1)

    Oct 25 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of disappointment in the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss homesickness and why returning home sometimes brings out the worst in us, acknowledge Petunia's domestic labor, and return to the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina. Throughout the episode they consider the question: how do we maintain optimistic and integrity when confronted with disappointment? This week's voicemail is thanks to Grace Halverson.Learn more a...more

  • Season Two Teaser: The Worst Birthday

    Oct 19 2016

    Join us next week on October 25th for the official launch of season two of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text! In the meantime, here's a little teaser of our first episode. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Edition: Owl Post and Professor Stephanie Paulsell

    Oct 01 2016

    In our last episode of season one, we hear from a few more listeners and have a meta-conversation about the podcast itself. Vanessa and Casper also have the opportunity to chat with Professor Stephanie Paulsell, with whom they developed this project at Harvard Divinity School. We’re back with season two in a few weeks! Note: This is our last week of particularly bad audio quality. Hurray!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    Sep 24 2016

    In the final episode of season one, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They finally get around to talking about Harry himself, revisit the kindness of the Weasley twins, and think about the thematic relevance of food in the book. Throughout the episode they come back to ideas about vulnerability, friendship, and love.  Note: Unfortunately, we're still having trouble with microphones. This time, just to keep you on your toes, it's Vanes...more

  • Love: The Man with Two Faces (Book 1, Chapter 17)

    Sep 17 2016

    **Note: We had some technical difficulties in the studio this week (mainly with Casper’s microphone) so unfortunately the sound of this episode is not up to our usual standard and occasionally distracting. Still, the conversation was fruitful enough that we wanted to share it with you. Thanks for your patience and, if you have the option, maybe leave your good headphones at home for this one!  Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of love in the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer...more

  • Destiny: Through the Trapdoor (Book 1, Chapter 16)

    Sep 10 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of destiny in chapter sixteen, the penultimate chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss why Neville is excluded from the trio's adventure, where Hermione's strengths and weaknesses come from, and the possible symbolism of chess pieces. Throughout the episode they look at the question: are our choices part of our destiny? This week's voicemail is thanks to Micah Herstand. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...more

  • Regret: The Forbidden Forest (Book 1, Chapter 15)

    Sep 03 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of regret in chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss the eccentric behavior of centaurs, celebrate Neville's burgeoning bravery, and try to justify Filch's ongoing sadism in this chapter. Throughout the episode they return to the question: why do we regret things that are out of our control? This week's voicemail is thanks to Kevin Bianchi. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Rebellion: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback (Book 1, Chapter 14)

    Aug 28 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of rebellion in chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Casper's high school antics, Hagrid's lack of self-care, and whether the ends justify the means when Hermione manipulates Hagrid to gain information about the Sorcerer's Stone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Edition: Catching up on the Owl Post

    Aug 20 2016

    Vanessa recounts how she came to read literature as sacred and, in Casper’s absence, uses voicemails from the audience as her conversation partners this week. Together, they touch on a new theology of horcruxes, the difficulty of transitions, and why Hermione wasn't sorted into Ravenclaw. We’re back to your regularly scheduled programming next week!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Hope: Nicolas Flamel (Book 1, Chapter 13)

    Aug 13 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of hope in chapter thirteen of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Neville's brawl with the Slytherins, the sacred space of quidditch, and whether a rhetoric of hope can be exploitative.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • White Privilege: The Mirror of Erised (Book 1, Chapter 12)

    Aug 06 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of white privilege in chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Molly Weasley's continued generosity, explore the topic of invisibility both literally and metaphorically, and begin a new spiritual exercise: the Jewish practice of Havruta. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Goals: Quidditch (Book 1, Chapter 11)

    Jul 30 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of goals in chapter eleven of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Voldemort's questionable judgment in this chapter, whether our intentions are as important as our actions, and Vanessa's lasting admiration for Whoopi Goldberg. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Friendship: Halloween (Book 1, Chapter 10)

    Jul 23 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of friendship in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Hermione's confrontation with mortality, give an allegorical reading of Quidditch, and offer a possible redemption for McGonagall after last week's criticism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Betrayal: The Midnight Duel (Book 1, Chapter 9)

    Jul 16 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of betrayal in chapter nine of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss bullying, Brexit, and why Professor mcGonagall might be a worse teacher than you think. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Promises: The Potions Master (Book 1, Chapter 8)

    Jul 09 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of promises in chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss tropes in bad 80s tv shows, Harry's reaction to his own fame, and Hermione's destiny to smash the patriarchy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Vulnerability: The Sorting Hat (Book 1, Chapter 7)

    Jul 02 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of vulnerability in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss how Harry’s experience with the sorting hat teaches us to reclaim our own narratives after trauma, and extend blessings both to know-it-all Hermione and know-nothing Neville. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Expectations: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (Book 1, Chapter 6)

    Jun 25 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of expectations in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Harry and Ron's budding friendship, the unusual bravery of Scabbers the rat, and how our bodily practices relate to our spiritual experience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Being a Stranger: Diagon Alley (Book 1, Chapter 5)

    Jun 18 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "being a stranger" in chapter five of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss hefty ideas like consumerist culture in the wizarding world, Hagrid's status as an outsider, and mentorship. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Generosity: The Keeper of the Keys (Book 1, Chapter 4)

    Jun 11 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of generosity in chapter four of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Casper demonstrates his excellent Hagrid impression and Vanessa addresses whether we can or should empathize with the Dursleys. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Fear: The Letters From No One (Book 1, Chapter 3)

    Jun 03 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of fear in chapter three of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Vernon Dursley's illusion of control, the psychology of bullies, and climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Loneliness: The Vanishing Glass (Book 1, Chapter 2)

    May 27 2016

    Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of loneliness in chapter two of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss the Dursleys' parenting choices, the significance of numbers, and the birthday blues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Commitment: The Boy Who Lived (Book 1, Chapter 1)

    May 19 2016

    In the premiere episode of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Casper and Vanessa talk about why they are starting this project and analyze the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone through the theme of commitment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Harry Potter and the Sacred Text - Teaser

    Mar 21 2016

    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 w...more