Season Five: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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

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. 

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Belief: Dudley Demented (Book 5, Chapter 1)

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

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

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? 

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Compassion: The Order of the Phoenix (Book 5, Chapter 3)

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? 

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

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?

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

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?

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

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?

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

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?

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Partnership: The Hearing (Book 5, Chapter 8)

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 by philosophers?

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

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.

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Humility: Luna Lovegood (Book 5, Chapter 10)

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.

Halloween Edition: On Witches and Brett Kavanaugh

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, through the theme of dread.

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

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.

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Pride: Professor Umbridge (Book 5, Chapter 12)

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.

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

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. 

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

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' 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.

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

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? 

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

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? We're taking two weeks off for the holidays, but we'll be back on January 10th with Chapter 17, Educational Decree Number Twenty-four, through the theme of supremacy. 

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Supremacy: Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four (Book 5, Chapter 17)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Supremacy in chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Angelina Johnson’s prophetic position, how The Patriarchy shapes the actual building of Hogwarts, and the enduring grace of Helga Hufflepuff. Throughout the episode they consider the question: how do we celebrate ourselves without wanting to be better than others? Next week we’re coming to you live from our Cambridge show with chapter eighteen, Dumbledore's Army, through the theme of failure.

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Failure: Dumbledore's Army (Book 5, Chapter 18) — Live From Cambridge, MA

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of “failure" in chapter 18 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we come to you live from our Cambridge show. We discuss whether Angela Johnson fails as a quidditch caption, what Hermione learns from S.P.E.W, and the brilliant women of the DA. We were so very lucky to have our dear friend and mentor, Dr. Matthew Potts, with us to tell a story from her experience. Next week we're reading Chapter 19, The Lion and the Serpent, through the theme of distraction.

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Distraction: The Lion and the Serpent (Book 5, Chapter 19)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Distraction in chapter nineteen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Hermione’s brilliant DA galleon, Run’s crush on Hermione (who could blame him?), and Vanessa’s continued distain for the house system. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When is distraction more worthy than the end goal? Next week we’ll be reading Chapter 20, Hagrid’s Tale, through the theme of Peace.

Peace: Hagrid's Tale (Book 5, Chapter 20)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Peace in chapter twenty of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss wizard/giant relations, analyze Umbridge’s intimidation strategy, and compare The Second Wizarding War to World War I. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do you respond to violence with restorative peace? Next week we’ll be doing an Owl Post with Professor Stephanie Paulsell.

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Owl Post and Other Journeys with Professor Stephanie Paulsell

Inspired by last week's chapter, Vanessa sits down with our mentor, Professor Stephanie Paulsell, to learn more about the theology of pilgrimages. They discuss the Japanese poet Bashō, their own Virginia Woolf pilgrimage, and Hagrid’s journey to the giants. Throughout the conversation they consider the question: Must you leave your house to make a pilgrimage? Next week, we'll be reading Chapter 21 of Order of the Phoenix, The Eye of the Snake, through the theme of Honesty.

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Honesty: The Eye of the Snake (Book 5, Chapter 21)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Honesty in chapter twenty-one of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Nora McInerny, the host of one of our favorite podcasts: Terrible, Thanks for Asking. We discuss Ron’s bro-iness, Harry’s kiss with Cho, and the Thestrals as witnesses of grief. Our question this week is:  When is honesty actually the best policy? Next week we're reading chapter twenty-two, St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, through the theme of Distance.

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Distance: St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries (Book 5, Chapter 22)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Distance in chapter twenty-two of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss the fabulous headmaster portraits in Dumbledore’s office, Dumbledore’s love for Harry, and how Harry cleverly changes his story throughout this chapter. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What technologies are actually helpful in closing the distance between people? Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-three, Christmas on the Closed Ward, through the theme of control.

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Control: Christmas on the Closed Ward (Book 5, Chapter 23)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Control in chapter twenty-three of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Molly’s anxiety over Arthur, Neville’s relationship with his grandmother, and poor sad Professor Lockhart. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we recognize when we’re telling distorted stories about ourselves? Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-four, Occlumency, through the theme of curiosity.

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Curiosity: Occlumency (Book 5, Chapter 24)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Curiosity in chapter twenty-four of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They really zoom in on the Harry/Snape dynamic in this chapter: discussing the first Occlumency lesson, examining Snape’s motivations, and as always, finding a way to blame Dumbledore. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How much curiosity do we owe people? Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-five, The Beetle at Bay, through the theme of defiance.

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Defiance: The Beetle at Bay (Book 5, Chapter 25)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Defiance in chapter twenty-five of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They discuss Hermione’s manipulation of Rita, Neville’s embrace of the DA, and Cho’s disappointment in Harry. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is defiance always personal? Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-six, Seen and Unforeseen, through the theme of obligation.

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Obligation: Seen and Unforseen (Book 5, Chapter 26)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Obligation in chapter twenty-six of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week, Vanessa starts to feel bad for Harry in his Occlumency lessons, Casper talks about the best and worst moments in his marriage, and they both gush over Seamus Finnigan. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When is a little obligation actually liberating?

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Hate: The Centaur and the Sneak (Book 5, Chapter 27)

NB: During this week’s episode, Casper tells a story about self-harm and Vanessa tells a story about assault. If you’d like to skip those topics, our spiritual practice starts around minute 26.

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Hate in chapter twenty-seven of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss Umbridge’s hate of non-human creatures, Harry’s relationship to Draco, and Dobby’s attempts at self-harm. Throughout the episode they consider the question: what do the things we hate mean about ourselves? Next week we’ll be reading chapter twenty-eight, Snape’s Worst Memory, through the theme of Entitlement live from San Francisco.

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Entitlement: Snape's Worst Memory (Book 5, Chapter 28) — Live from San Francisco, CA

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of “entitlement" in chapter 28 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we come to you live from our San Francisco show. We discuss Umbridge’s relationship to her own authority, Snape’s shame over insulting Lily, and the healing power of tea. We were so very lucky to have Tara-Nicholle Nelson of SoulTour join us, with a story about her tonsils and our own worthiness. Next week we're reading Chapter 29, Career Advice, through the theme of revenge.

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Revenge: Career Advice (Book 5, Chapter 29)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Revenge in chapter twenty-nine of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss the tension between Umbridge and Mcgonagall, the brilliance of Fred and George, and Harry’s dream to be an Auror. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we dissipate our need for revenge? Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty, Grawp, through the theme of familiarity.

Familiarity: Grawp (Book 5, Chapter 30)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Familiarity in chapter thirty of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we really pick apart Hagrid’s decision to ask the kids to take care of Grawp. Throughout the episode we consider the question: When does familiarity keep us from seeing the dangers around us? Next week Vanessa will be joined by Professor Matt Potts to talk about the apocalypse and answer some Owl Post.

Owl Post from the Apocalypse with Professor Matt Potts

Vanessa sits down with Professor Matt Potts to discuss the theology of Apocalypses. They discover that many fruitful questions come out of contemplating an Apocalypse: What makes for a good life? What am I trying to preserve? Who is my responsibility to protect? What do I want to survive?This episode we also hear owl post from Peach Perera, Stephanie Greenley, Brit Barkholtz, Kari Gottfried, and Connie Kucani. Next week, we'll be reading Chapter 31 of Order of the Phoenix, O.W.L.s, through the theme of Celebration.

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Celebration: O.W.L.s (Book 5, Chapter 31)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Celebration in chapter thirty-one of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss Ron’s victory in the quidditch match, Harry’s opportunity to show off his Patronus skills, and joy as a tool of resistance. Throughout the episode we consider the question: How do we make celebration about collection triumph rather than individual superiority? Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-two, Out of the Fire, through the theme of redemption.

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Redemption: Out of the Fire (Book 5, Chapter 32)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Redemption in chapter thirty-two of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we look at a few characters and their possible arcs of redemption: Dolores Umbridge, Severus Snape, Kreacher, and Ron Weasley. Throughout the episode we consider the question: Do we feel comfortable saying that certain people are irredeemable? Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-three, Fight and Flight, through the theme of Inheritance.

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Inheritance: Fight and Flight (Book 5, Chapter 33)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Inheritance in chapter thirty-three of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week discuss Centaurs as isolationists, Neville’s wand, and Luna’s redemption in Vanessa’s eyes. Throughout the episode we consider the question: What’s the relationship between inheritance and loss? Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-four, The Department of Mysteries, through the theme of Concealment.

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Concealment: The Department of Mysteries (Book 5, Chapter 34)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Concealment in chapter thirty-four of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss Ron’s dumb comment about the prophecy, whether Harry is fooling himself about Sirius, and the physical landscape of The Department of Mysteries. Throughout the episode we consider the question: If you could know when you die, would you want to? Next week we’ll be reading chapter thirty-five, Beyond the Veil, through the theme of Home.