Biography

Sarah VealeSarah Veale is an award-winning MA student at the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion, where she researches Roman religion. She is particularly interested in practices which are unmediated by institutional religious authorities and structures, especially phenomena like magic, mysticism, and mystery cult.

Her current project on Dionysiac cult challenges dominant models of religion in the Roman world. This project was selected for a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canadian Graduate Scholarship, which is granted to “high-calibre scholars” by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

A former journalist, Sarah graduated Summa Cum Laude from York University with an honours bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Classical Studies (double major). Her undergraduate work received numerous awards, including the William R. Coleman Prize for the best essay written by an honours student in a humanities or religious studies course. This essay, on Orientalism in Iamblichus’ The Mysteries, was published by the peer-reviewed academic journal, The Pomegranate. Her recent work on cursing rituals at the sanctuary of Magna Mater and Isis in Mainz is slated to be published in the journal Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Sarah has presented at academic conferences on diverse topics such as cursing practices in Roman Germany, medieval Christian apocrypha, and discourses of religious alterity in antiquity. She is co-director (with Dylan M. Burns) of the Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity, an ESSWE thematic network which connects scholars of ancient esotericism. Between 2010 and 2015, she maintained the popular blog Invocatio, and many of her Invocatio posts can be found here on the blog page. She also maintains a website on ancient curses (Ancient Curses.com) which acts as a resource for curses and cursing in the ancient world.

A proud native of Chicago, Sarah roots for the White Sox and whoever is playing the Cubs.