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Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

Vanessa Zoltan, Casper ter Kuile & Ariana Nedelman

+32 FANS

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 inst...Show More

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

29:56 | May 27th, 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. 

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

41:53 | Dec 13th

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 Umbri...Show More

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

43:34 | Dec 6th

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. Thr...Show More

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

39:53 | Nov 29th

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 w...Show More

Pride: Professor Umbridge (Book 5, Chapter 12)

36:42 | Nov 22nd

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...Show More

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

34:17 | Nov 15th

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 somethi...Show More

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

38:32 | Nov 8th

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 (surpri...Show More

Halloween Edition: On Witches and Brett Kavanaugh

44:47 | Nov 1st

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 f...Show More

Humility: Luna Lovegood (Book 5, Chapter 10)

39:06 | Oct 25th

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 ques...Show More

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

40:07 | Oct 18th

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 ...Show More

Partnership: The Hearing (Book 5, Chapter 8)

47:28 | Oct 11th

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 S...Show More

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

37:57 | Oct 4th

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...Show More

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

37:44 | Sep 27th

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. Ou...Show More

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

35:44 | Sep 20th

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 we...Show More

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

40:29 | Sep 13th

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 ...Show More

Brief Note: News about the future of HPST

0:54 | Sep 12th

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 s...Show More

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

42:30 | Sep 6th

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: Ho...Show More

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

34:11 | Aug 30th

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 suprem...Show More

Belief: Dudley Demented (Book 5, Chapter 1)

39:32 | Aug 23rd

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 con...Show More

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

22:28 | Aug 9th

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. 

Special Edition: Owl Post with Professor Stephanie Paulsell

37:13 | Jul 26th

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 embodim...Show More

Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

31:48 | Jul 19th

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 Fir...Show More

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

1:00:27 | Jul 12th

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 Triwi...Show More

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

37:57 | Jul 5th

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...Show More

Betrayal: Veritaserum (Book 4, Chapter 35)

36:03 | Jun 28th

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 monologui...Show More

Grief: Priori Incantatem (Book 4, Chapter 34)

38:41 | Jun 21st

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 discu...Show More

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

32:48 | Jun 14th

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 t...Show More

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

33:29 | Jun 7th

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 k...Show More

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

38:14 | May 31st

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: ho...Show More

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

37:52 | May 24th

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 import...Show More

Comfort: The Pensieve (Book 4, Chapter 30)

40:04 | May 17th

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...Show More

Chance: The Dream (Book 4, Chapter 29)

40:05 | May 10th

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 discus...Show More

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

51:28 | May 3rd

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 ...Show More

Corruption: Padfoot Returns (Book 4, Chapter 27)

34:44 | Apr 26th

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 quo...Show More

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

1:11:05 | Apr 19th

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 w...Show More

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

37:27 | Apr 12th

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: Ho...Show More

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

37:46 | Apr 5th

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 questi...Show More

Special Edition: Crowdfunder Update + Poem

1:46 | Apr 3rd

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...Show More

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

34:33 | Mar 29th

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 quest...Show More

Special Edition: Extended Conversation with Gretchen Rubin

18:01 | Mar 23rd

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 ...Show More

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

43:13 | Mar 22nd

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...Show More

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

34:09 | Mar 15th

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 hou...Show More

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

41:12 | Mar 8th

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 wee...Show More

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

36:14 | Mar 1st

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...Show More

Special Edition: Owl Post and Broderick Greer

37:48 | Feb 22nd

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...Show More

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

33:04 | Feb 15th

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 requ...Show More

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

37:18 | Feb 9th

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, "unit...Show More

Technical Difficulties: Episode Coming Tomorrow!

0:38 | Feb 8th

Sorry, no episode today! We're re-recording and it will be out tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a quote from William Shakespeare. 

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

39:50 | Feb 1st

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 responsib...Show More

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

42:03 | Jan 25th

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 tr...Show More

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

49:49 | Jan 18th

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...Show More

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

35:49 | Jan 11th

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...Show More

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

37:51 | Jan 4th

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...Show More

Special Edition: Puffs + T-Shirt Contest Winner!

14:03 | Dec 28th, 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 ...Show More

A Christmas Poem: Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

2:29 | Dec 25th, 2017

Here's a little treat from Casper. You can find the poem in Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl. Happy Holidays!

Special Edition: Owl Post and Marya Bangee

42:30 | Dec 21st, 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 Higgin...Show More

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

40:52 | Dec 14th, 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. Ou...Show More

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

36:03 | Dec 7th, 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 ...Show More

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

36:22 | Nov 30th, 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 Hermio...Show More

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

40:25 | Nov 23rd, 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 d...Show More

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

31:25 | Nov 16th, 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 savi...Show More

Acceptance: The Portkey (Book 4, Chapter 6)

34:58 | Nov 9th, 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 que...Show More

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

39:51 | Nov 2nd, 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 thi...Show More

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

51:02 | Oct 26th, 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 exper...Show More

Awareness: The Invitation (Book 4, Chapter 3)

37:35 | Oct 19th, 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 ...Show More

Destruction: The Scar (Book 4, Chapter 2)

35:11 | Oct 12th, 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-pr...Show More

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

40:54 | Oct 5th, 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 ba...Show More

Season Four Announcements + Trailer

10:30 | Sep 26th, 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...Show More

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

1:19:19 | Sep 19th, 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, thro...Show More

Special Edition: Owl Post and Sejal Patel

32:16 | Sep 12th, 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 an...Show More

Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

42:58 | Sep 5th, 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 w...Show More

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

35:02 | Aug 29th, 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 ...Show More

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

35:25 | Aug 22nd, 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....Show More

Charlottesville: Call it what it is

2:21 | Aug 16th, 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 ...Show More

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

33:28 | Aug 15th, 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 qu...Show More

Forgiveness: Owl Post with Professor Stephanie Paulsell

36:52 | Aug 8th, 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...Show More

Mercy: Snape's Grudge (Book 3, Chapter 19)

39:00 | Aug 1st, 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 ep...Show More

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

32:37 | Jul 25th, 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 o...Show More

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

35:21 | Jul 20th, 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 w...Show More

A Note from the Road

2:55 | Jul 18th, 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. 

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

35:08 | Jul 11th, 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 ...Show More

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

32:36 | Jul 4th, 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 ...Show More

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

34:06 | Jun 27th, 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, puppie...Show More

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

30:16 | Jun 20th, 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 ...Show More

Optimism: The Patronus (Book 3, Chapter 12)

34:01 | Jun 13th, 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...Show More

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

47:22 | Jun 6th, 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 ch...Show More

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

40:32 | May 30th, 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 e...Show More

Frustration: Grim Defeat (Book 3, Chapter 9)

34:21 | May 23rd, 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 Cadog...Show More

[Explicit] Extra! Extra!: Blooper Reel

5:28 | May 19th, 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 F...Show More

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

38:15 | May 16th, 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 Hogsmead...Show More

Special Edition: Extended Conversation with Chloe Angyal

13:32 | May 9th, 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 ca...Show More

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

37:51 | May 9th, 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 qu...Show More

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

36:13 | May 2nd, 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. Throug...Show More

Foresight: The Dementor (Book 3, Chapter 5)

36:08 | Apr 25th, 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 innocenc...Show More

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

38:42 | Apr 18th, 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 ...Show More

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

14:43 | Apr 11th, 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 P...Show More

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

33:54 | Apr 11th, 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 t...Show More

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

32:05 | Apr 4th, 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 epi...Show More

Mercy: Owl Post (Book 3, Chapter 1)

36:07 | Mar 28th, 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 ...Show More

Season Three Announcement + Trailer

4:09 | Mar 19th, 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 ...Show More

Special Edition: The Live Show

1:10:23 | Mar 14th, 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 ...Show More

Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

36:20 | Mar 7th, 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 imp...Show More

Special Edition: Owl Post and Rabbi Scott Perlo

43:50 | Feb 28th, 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 R...Show More

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

46:05 | Feb 21st, 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 speci...Show More

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

32:19 | Feb 14th, 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 quest...Show More

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

32:50 | Feb 7th, 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 J...Show More

Sanctuary: Aragog (Book 2, Chapter 15)

27:46 | Feb 1st, 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 epis...Show More

Loyalty: Cornelius Fudge (Book 2, Chapter 14)

29:03 | Jan 24th, 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 polit...Show More

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

32:54 | Jan 17th, 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 t...Show More

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

32:00 | Jan 10th, 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...Show More

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

31:19 | Jan 3rd, 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 Jam...Show More

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

28:25 | Dec 27th, 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 thoughtfulne...Show More

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

28:54 | Dec 20th, 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 thoughtfuln...Show More

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

35:22 | Dec 13th, 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 w...Show More

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

32:56 | Dec 6th, 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 r...Show More

Attraction: Gilderoy Lockhart (Book 2, Chapter 6)

33:40 | Nov 29th, 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 ep...Show More

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

12:24 | Nov 28th, 2016

After seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Vanessa and Casper discuss their impressions and share their favorite moments from the film.

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

38:47 | Nov 22nd, 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. Throu...Show More

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

35:54 | Nov 15th, 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. T...Show More

A Brief Post-Election Note

0:47 | Nov 14th, 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.

Curiosity: The Burrow (Book 2, Chapter 3)

36:12 | Nov 8th, 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. ...Show More

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

35:40 | Nov 1st, 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 IKE...Show More

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

33:26 | Oct 25th, 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 r...Show More

Season Two Teaser: The Worst Birthday

1:13 | Oct 19th, 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.

Special Edition: Owl Post and Professor Stephanie Paulsell

26:06 | Oct 1st, 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 ...Show More

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

22:56 | Sep 24th, 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 them...Show More

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

25:24 | Sep 17th, 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 ...Show More

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

24:51 | Sep 10th, 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,...Show More

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

25:11 | Sep 3rd, 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 cha...Show More

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

23:39 | Aug 28th, 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 Hag...Show More

Special Edition: Catching up on the Owl Post

26:08 | Aug 20th, 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...Show More

Hope: Nicolas Flamel (Book 1, Chapter 13)

25:27 | Aug 13th, 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.

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

24:49 | Aug 6th, 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 ne...Show More

Goals: Quidditch (Book 1, Chapter 11)

25:11 | Jul 30th, 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 ad...Show More

Friendship: Halloween (Book 1, Chapter 10)

30:32 | Jul 23rd, 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...Show More

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

27:45 | Jul 16th, 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.

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

28:04 | Jul 9th, 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.

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

26:21 | Jul 2nd, 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...Show More

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

25:15 | Jun 25th, 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 spiritu...Show More

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

28:09 | Jun 18th, 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. 

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

25:41 | Jun 11th, 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. 

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

26:08 | Jun 3rd, 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. 

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

25:17 | May 19th, 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. 

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text - Teaser

3:06 | Mar 21st, 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. Ju...Show More