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  1. Shamanism and gender-variance: uncovering a history

    As I read through the various commentaries and observations in the wake of this year’s PantheaCon I came across people asserting that what happened was particularly reprehensible because Paganism has always been welcoming to LGBTQI people. This might well be the case in the USA, but its certainly not true for the UK. Continue reading »

  2. Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock – A Review

    Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock (San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2010) by Vere Chappell is a welcome contribution to a growing body of literature related to Craddock (1857-1902). After a long period of neglect, the life and writings of this amazing woman are finally emerging from obscurity. Continue reading »

  3. Issues with the Gender Binary in Public Paganism

    Our community benefits from questioning what gender and/or sexuality are doing in a given context.  Asking is simple, but the answers often reveal themselves to be complicated, and loaded with values and assumptions in ways that are not initially apparent, particularly when the subject in question is related to religion.  For modern religions, like modern Paganism, there are no common, sacred documents that enshrine assignment and treatment of gender and sexuality, or the values encoded by the handling of these issues, which means that we must find our own way of expressing these values in meaningful ways for our community.  As different groups under the wide umbrella of modern Paganism find themselves presenting ritual and religion in public, this can cause those chosen ways to be exposed and discussed publicly, which opens them to public criticism, because these manifestations can affect members of our community in ways not anticipated by organisers. Continue reading »

  4. Kula Bodies – III

    For this next installment of what’s turning out to be a fairly slow-moving series I’m going to briefly review some of the features of dividuality which have emerged out of ethnographic accounts of personhood in Melansia, with particular reference to the work of Marilyn Strathern and Edward LiPuma. Continue reading »

  5. Metaphor, Metonymy & tantric interpretations – I

    “metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.” George Lakoff & Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By

    In a post last year I made a brief mention of Lakoff & Johnson’s groundbreaking work on embodiment & metaphors in relation to understanding tantric terms. This is a theme I want to expand on in 2011, so for the first post in this series, I’m going to discuss some thoughts I had after reading A.K Ramanujan’s famous essay “Is there an Indian way of thinking”. Continue reading »

  6. Further thoughts on Lineage

    Another way to conceptualise lineage is in terms of two complementary axes – the vertical and the horizontal. Continue reading »

  7. Ganapati variations: an eighteenth-century interpretation

    “But the obvious forms and ceremonies of a religion are not always to be understood in their obvious sense; but are to be considered as symbolical representations of some hidden meaning, which may be extremely wise and just, though the symbols themselves, to those who know not their true significance may appear in the highest degree absurd and extravagant.”
    Richard Payne Knight, A Discourse on the worship of Priapus

    In the midst of Richard Payne Knight’s A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus, and its connection with the mystic Theology of the Ancients (first published in 1786) there is an early European analysis of Ganesa: Continue reading »

  8. Kenneth Grant: 1924-2011

    So Kenneth Grant is dead. He will be remembered for bringing both Crowley and – perhaps more importantly – Austin Osman Spare into the light of attention. What follows is a bit of personal reflection on how Grant’s work has impacted on my own ideas. Continue reading »

  9. Enfolding wiki down!

    The Tantra Wiki is down at the moment, following a plug-in upgrade. I am working on getting all the pages up and visible as soon as possible.

  10. Writings archive: White Dwarf

    This isn’t generally known, but a major milestone in my “career” (such as it is) as a published author was in May 1983 when I submitted an article to Games Workshop’s “White Dwarf” magazine on sigils as a magical variant in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Somewhat to my surprise, it was accepted and published in White Dwarf 41 – and the major milestone was that this was the first time I actually received a cheque for writing. I followed this success up in August 1984 with a brief article on Technology in A/D&D – “Don’t Touch that Dial” which was published in WD56 (cheque no.2).

    Just in case anyone wants to read these early efforts, I’ve posted them on mediafire as a small zip file.