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  1. 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 »

  2. 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 »

  3. Further thoughts on Lineage

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

  4. 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 »

  5. 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 »

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Upcoming Treadwells Lecture: A Phallic Night

    January may well be (like December) a lean month for posting as I am presently working on a lecture to be given at Treadwells on Thursday, 3rd Februrary. Continue reading »

  9. Writings archive: Chaos International

    A friend recently asked me if I had any of my old contributions to Chaos International magazine in digital format. I’ve scanned all the articles I think are worth hanging onto (mostly written under my own name, with a few using the pseudonyms “Kalkinath” or “Cliff Othick”) and collected them into a zip file which can be downloaded from Mediafire (zip is about 76mb):

    http://www.mediafire.com/?03bxcf7e4eknny4

  10. Occult gender regimes: Polarity and the spirited body – II

    In my last post in this series I examined the relationship between spiritualism and the rapid growth of communications technology in the nineteenth century. This time round, I’m going to focus on the notion of “female passivity” in terms of Spiritualism, and its relationship to wider cultural discourses of the period. Just as spiritualism took off at the same time as the rise of the telegraph, it also was contemporaneous with the growing tensions over women’s role and influence – the so-called “Woman Question”. Continue reading »