"Substituting the Sign for the Symbol" - A Webinar with C.S. Lewis Scholar Sørina Higgins

  • May 25, 2023 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
  • Pacific Standard Time

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"Substituting the Sign for the Symbol" - A Webinar with C.S. Lewis Scholar Sørina Higgins


We invite you to join us for a C.S. Lewis College and C.S. Lewis Foundation webinar featuring C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams scholar Sørina Higgins.


The webinar will feature a presentation and an interview with Higgins, along with a Q&A session with questions from our audience.


This is a virtual event using Zoom. Upon registering, you will receive an email receipt and a Zoom link for the webinar from SimpleTix. Please check your spam/junk email folder if you don't receive it shortly after registration. We will also send an email regarding optional discussion groups from Steven Elmore at the C.S. Lewis Foundation.


From Sørina Higgins: 


For a brief time in his youth, according to his own report, C.S. Lewis was drawn towards occultism. While there is no evidence that he ever practiced any actual hermetic, esoteric, or ceremonial magical systems, he at least read and thought about doing so. But he was frightened away from such alternative religious paths by a personal experience and never considered them again. Charles Williams, on the other hand, joined two occult groups, rising up the ranks and becoming a high Adept and Master in one of them. While it seems he turned away from some of the more secretive aspects later in life, his writings from first to last are infused with the imagery, symbolism, and general atmosphere of the occult (or at least the hermetic). This talk will compare and contrast their explorations of and attitudes towards the occult, speculate on some of the attractions of those religious systems, and apply those observations to ourselves today. Ultimately, I believe that occultism (or at least the hermetic branches of it with which I’m familiar) misleads adherents by focusing on a symbol rather than a sign—and in this webinar, I’ll tell you what I mean!


About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is the Editor-in-Chief of the Signum University Press; she also serves on the faculty of Signum’s SPACE program and of the M.A. in Lit & Lang. Dr. Higgins holds a Ph.D. from Baylor University. Her academic interests include British and Irish Modernism, the Inklings, Arthuriana, theatre, magic, the occult, and ecocriticism. Her dissertation, entitled From Thaumaturgy to Dramaturgy, looks at modernist British and Irish playwrights who were initiated members of occult secret societies, examining how their ceremonial magic rituals influenced their plays, and consequently what role alternative spiritualities played in modernist literature. Sørina earned her M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, where she wrote about Sehnsucht in the works of C. S. Lewis.


Dr. Higgins is currently co-editing a volume on the ethical turn in speculative fiction with Dr. Brenton Dickieson and previously edited an academic essay collection entitled The Inklings and King Arthur: J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis, and Owen Barfield on the Matter of Britain (Apocryphile Press, 2017), winner of the 2018 Mythopoeic Society Inklings Scholarship Award. She wrote the introduction to a new edition of Charles Williams’s Taliessin through Logres (Apocryphile, 2016) and edited and introduced Williams’s early play The Chapel of the Thorn (Apocryphile, 2014). Her scholarship appears in International Yeats Studies, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual, VII: Journal of the Marion E. Wade Center, The Journal of Inklings Studies, Mythlore, and Penumbra. She is also the author of the blog The Oddest Inkling, devoted to a systematic study of Charles Williams’ works.


As a creative writer, Sørina has a volume of short stories, A Handful of Hazelnuts, forthcoming from Signum’s own press. She previously published two books of poetry, Caduceus (David Robert Books, 2012) & The Significance of Swans (Finishing Line Press, 2008). Outside of academia, Sørina enjoys practicing yoga, playing with her cats, cooking, baking, podcasting, gardening, dancing, and ranting about the state of the world. You can visit her website at sorinahiggins.com.

Date & Time

Thu, May 25, 2023 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

CS Lewis Foundation