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  1. Some thoughts on Lineage

    If there’s one topic guaranteed to get an argument going amongst pagans & occultists, its the topic of lineage – whether or not one has a connection to a lineage, whether its judged to be “authentic”, and so on. Continue reading »

  2. Ganapati variations: the female Ganesa?

    I became interested in the female forms of Ganapati after a friend recounted to me a dream in which she encountered a female form of Ganesha. Continue reading »

  3. Occult gender regimes: Polarity and the spirited body – I

    In the early part of the nineteenth century, electricity was thought to be the force most likely to prove the existence of the elan vitale or life force of Naturalphilosophie. Schelling, at the turn of the century, for example, proposed that heat, light, magnetism and electricity were all byproducts of a single universal life force. The arising of electrical models allowed polarities to be discovered within organisms – and between discrete classes of persons. Thus maleness or masculinity was assigned to the positive pole, and femininity to the negative. The gendering of electricity and energy continued in the nineteenth century, particularly in respect to medical theories and the notion of “nervous energy”, and the rise in popularity of Spiritualism. Continue reading »

  4. Ganapati variations: the Ganapatyas

    Hail to the Lord of Vows, hail to Ganapati, hail to the First Lord, hail unto you, to the Big-Bellied, One-tusked, Obstacle-destroyer, the Son of Shiva, to the Boon-Giver, Hail, hail.
    Ganesa Upanisad

    Inspired after a recent Ganesa Puja in Wales, and reflecting on the fact that I have been a devotee of Ganapati for well over 20 years now, I thought it would be appropriate to write a short series of posts on some of the more obscure aspects of this much-beloved devata. Continue reading »

  5. Framing Rumi’s Ecstasy of Being

    The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
    As we laugh together

    From Rumi’s Divan of Shams of Tabriz (translated by James Coleman)

    Of late, I have been re-reading some of the writings of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, the thirteenth century Persian Sufi mystic whose poetry is so beloved in the contemporary West. Continue reading »

  6. Ordering-machine: sketchy maps?

    Through the process of knowledge assemblage we have created a naturalised space amenable to being mapped; we now equate scientific knowledge with maps.
    David Turnbull, Masons, Tricksters and Cartographers

    Continue reading »

  7. Vodou in Berlin

    In our recent trip to Berlin, we happened across a wonderful exhibition at the Museen DahlemVodou: Art and Cult from Haiti – which is on until 24th October 2010. If you should find yourself in Berlin, it’s well worth a look. Continue reading »

  8. Experience – III: Some conundrums

    “At one extreme experience (present) is offered as the necessary (immediate and authentic) ground for all (subsequent) reasoning and analysis. At the other extreme, experience . . . is seen as the product of social conditions or of systems of belief or of fundamental systems of perception, and thus not as material for truths but as evidence of conditions of systems which by definition it cannot itself explain.” Raymond Williams, Keywords

    Continue reading »

  9. Letter to a Young Gay Man on Celebrating Beltane

    You asked about how a gay person can celebrate Beltane, as it’s about fertility.

    It is such a standard image, no? Beltane being about the God and Goddess having sex or marrying. She in her long hair and coy long-legged femininity. He always tall, muscular, strong, looking conventionally masculine, holding her a loving embrace. I too attended rituals celebrating their happy union. And at midsummer, they stood together, a couple with their child, born from their Beltane coupling. Like you, I heard this described as fertility. And it did seem logical. Continue reading »

  10. Side projects: Tracing lives

    A couple of years ago, prompted by a footnote in Logomancy of Zos to the effect that Austin Osman Spare was one of the witnesses for the defence at the trial of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (1928) I became interested in attempting to trace this connection. Continue reading »