I started listening to podcasts about 6 months ago, and ever since then I’ve been scrambling to find new podcasts I want to listen to. “Harry Potter & The Sacred Text” is one I look forward to every week.
“Harry Potter & the Sacred Text” is a weekly podcast hosted by Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile that treats the books of Harry Potter as if they were sacred— that is, as if they had truth and wisdom that could be gleaned from the pages.
People often turn to their favorite book for comfort— “Harry Potter & the Sacred Text” just takes this one step further. If I am stressed or feeling rushed, hearing the hosts of the podcast calmly discuss each chapter and the meaning they find from it helps me find a sense of peace, no matter where I am.
Each week, Zoltan and ter Kuile discuss a chapter through the lens of a theme. They find the theme in the chapter and how it relates to life. It could be generosity, or fear or even shame— the themes are diverse. I find myself amazed every week at the wisdom, compassion and humor they bring to the podcast, finding meaning and guidance through what many consider just another story.
Each episode is concluded with a sacred reading practice, practices originally intended to help find illumination in religious texts, but which, when applied to Harry Potter, elevate the work of fiction and allow readers to find new meaning they can apply to their own life.
If you think this sounds sacrilegious,think again. Zoltan and ter Kuile may apply religious practices to a secular text, but they are always respectful of the origin and original intent of these practices.
Zoltan and ter Kuile bring humanity to the podcast by sharing personal experiences to help illustrate each theme, and encouraging others to as well, through voicemails. I’m often moved by the sincerity in which they share intimate details and this gives me the freedom to reflect on my own actions, thoughts and emotions with greater sincerity.
I never thought listening to a Harry Potter podcast could make me a better person, but this one certainly makes me think.
In addition to the podcast (now in its third season and covering Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Zoltan and ter Kuile occasionally host live shows.
I’m very excited to have tickets to their Portland show on June 11th.