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  1. Reading the Saundarya Lahari – II

    For this post, I’m going to begin a brief examination of some of the themes present in verses 1-41 of Saundaryalahari – often referred to as Anandalahari – “wave of joy”. As I noted in the first post in this series, the Anandalahari is perhaps the most explicitly “tantric” half of Saundaryalahari providing cues for the dhyana (puja image) of the Goddess, Her mantra, yantra and her relationship to organising schemas of Cakras and Rays. For the present, I will concentrate on the first six verses of Anandalahari. Continue reading »

  2. Jottings: On queering deity

    “The problem is not to discover in oneself the truth of one’s sex, but, rather, to use one’s sexuality henceforth to arrive at a multiplicity of relationships.”
    Michael Foucault

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about Queer as a form of resistance to identification – a refusal to be categorised or reified into some kind of essential formation. Continue reading »

  3. Remembering the Lamp of Thoth

    Last year fellow Treadwells-regular Ed Gauntlett lent me his collection of a classic British occult magazine, The Lamp of Thoth. In many ways, The Lamp of Thoth (LOT) was a significant milestone in the history of my own interest in the occult, and reading through the old issues – finding favourite snippets of writing I hadn’t seen for some twenty-odd years cast me into a wave of nostalgia and reflection. Continue reading »

  4. Reading the Saundarya Lahari – I

    Tantra is often (popularly) represented in western occult writing as though it were an “outsider” tradition in India, something on the periphery or marginal to the orthodox or “mainstream” forms of Indian religosity – and highly esoteric – something which can only be “decoded” with the correct keys or “initiated” understandings. This view, which I’ve recently argued (Treadwells lecture, October 2011) actually says more about western occultism’s self-representations than any tantric actualities, is something I’ve been trying to counter with much of the tantric-oriented writing I’ve been doing here on Enfolding. Although I’ve made occasional reference to the Saundaryalahari (“Flood of Beauty”) here a couple of times previously (see this post in particular), for this series of posts I’m going to examine this work in more detail, drawing in some of the themes I’ve been outlining in other posts. Continue reading »

  5. One from the Vaults: With both hands

    Fiction isn’t really my forte, but I’m rather fond of this one. With both hands was written between 1989-1990, and published in Both the Ones – a magazine produced by Mal from TOPY Shefffield. Of the few attempts at magical fiction I’ve made, I consider this one to be the best. Set in Headingley (Leeds 6) it’s also the most directly autobiographical. Continue reading »

  6. Pagan Paths for a Gay Man: Wicca or Druidry?

    I was recently asked by a young gay man if I thought Druidry or Wicca was more gay-friendly.  The answer isn’t simple, but I think it merits some discussion, so I decided to spend some time collecting my thoughts on the subject in writing. Continue reading »

  7. Pan: Lord Dunsany’s “The Blessing of Pan”

    “What concerns Pan is fit to be sung before all mankind. Indeed his doings are most honourable.”
    Lord Dunsany Alexander & Three Small Plays 1925

    I ‘discovered’ the writings of Lord Dunsany in my early twenties, initially through reading HP Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror in Literature and, almost at the same time, coming across a collection of Sidney Sime’s illustrations of Dunsany’s fiction. Continue reading »

  8. Occult gender regimes: Polarity and Thermodynamic bodies – II

    “…there is no word in any language I know which is an exact synonym for vril. I should call it electricity, except that it comprehends in its manifold branches other forces of nature, to which, in our scientific nomenclature, differing names are assigned, such as magnetism, galvanism, &c. These people consider that in vril they have arrived at the unity in natural energetic agencies, which has been conjectured by many philosophers above ground…”
    Bulwer-Lytton, 1871, The Coming Race

    Continue reading »

  9. Practice notes: on the garland of names

    “What you’ve done can’t be helped;
    the day is almost over.
    On a jeweled island
    Siva sits in Siva’s house.
    Contemplate Her always.
    Prasad says,
    Durga’s ambrosial name liberates.
    Repeat it without ceasing;
    drench your tongue in nectar.”
    Ramprasad Sen (trans. Rachel Fell McDermott)

    Continue reading »

  10. Group Book review: Indian Goddesses

    As a follow-up to the group review of books related to Kali in August, I’m going to present short reviews of three books focusing on Indian Goddesses that I’ve found to be very useful – The Divine Consort: Radha and the Goddesses of India edited by John Stratton Hawley and Donna Marie Wulf; David Kinsley’s Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition and Lynn Foulston and Stuart Abbott’s Hindu Goddesses: Beliefs and Practices. Continue reading »