Skip to navigation | Skip to content



  1. The Anthropology of Magic reviewed

    Back in December, I rashly promised a review of Susan Greenwood’s new book The Anthropology of Magick. I’m playing around with the “Now Reading” wordpress plug-in at the moment, so the review can be found here.

  2. Occult gender regimes: Polarity and Tradition

    When women want to escape from exploitation, they do not merely destroy a few “prejudices,” they disrupt the entire order of dominant values, economic, social, moral and sexual. They call into question all existing theory, all thought, all language, insamuch as these are monopolized by men and men alone. They challenge the very foundation of our social and cultural order….Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which is Not One

    Continue reading »

  3. ordering-machine: meaning & mapping

    One of the reasons that I was drawn to studying occultism in the nineteenth century was its relationship to the colonial enterprise – something which first struck me when watching Adam Hart-Davies’ 2001 BBC series What the Victorians did for us was how much of the Victorian enterprise was bound up with the drive to order the world – be it through colonial management and its practices (census-taking, fingerprinting, anthropometry), mapping, and the emergence of new disciplines such as sexology, anthropology, and comparative religion. Ordering – and thereby managing these emerging ‘territories’ underwrote the great projects of the Victorian age, and I began to think of Victorian occultism as another example of this trend. Continue reading »

  4. Bumblebees

    I love bumblebees…

    My love affair with bumblebees started years ago when I worked for a ‘design company’ that constructed Santa’s Grottos all year round [horrendous if you don’t like Xmas in the first place!] but also made some seasonal decorations for shopping centres. And for the spring/Easter season some centre up North had ordered 3 giant bumblebees so I spent a few weeks helping another woman construct ginormous bumblebees out of hoola hoops, fake fur and plastic foil. Continue reading »

  5. Theorising Practice II: Habitus/Hexis

    One of the consequences of the mind (theory)-body(practice) divide in contemporary approaches to magic (and more widely, spiritual development in general) is the notion that the spiritual/magical is set apart from the material/everyday world. There is a pervasive belief that materiality (and the concerns that relate to it) is a burden to be overcome; that development requires that the concerns of the body be transcended. This kind of discourse tends to privilege abstracted knowledge over bodied experience. Yet all practices (including those understood as inwardly turning, such as meditation or visualisation) involve our bodies. Continue reading »

  6. Playful mind

    Meditation is often thought of in terms of stilling the internal dialogue, of calming the endless fluctuations or whirlings (vrittis) of cognition. Often, beginners in meditation find this difficult, and its easy to get into the routine of making meditation a seperate space from the rest of our lives; of practicing it at times when we won’t be disturbed by too many sense-distractions. It is difficult to still the endless flow of cognitions – to lengthen the gap between thoughts. Why not do the opposite? Let the mind play. Continue reading »

  7. Watkins Bookshop: 1897-2010

    On the 23rd February it was announced that Watkins Bookshop – London’s oldest esoteric bookshop – went into administration, with 11 members of staff being made redundant. Unless a buyer for the business emerges by 25th March, the business will be liquidated. Continue reading »

  8. Kula Bodies – I

    “Yes, we perceive our own world in connected, synthesized and unfolded series, always from some specific zone of perception, such as the human eye or body. This is the productive synthesis which is at heart of all experience, not only human experience. We can see the way in which the eye connects its visual field, the way human bodies connect to produce groups, the way organisms connect to produce ecological synergies. But it is illegitimate to go from connection and production to an unseen but presupposed subject or ‘who’ that is the ground or hidden order of production. From organized bodies–assembled through connections–we can extrapolate a ‘body without organs’ that must have been their condition, but this will always be read back from its effects.”
    Claire Colebrook Deleuze: A Guide for the Perplexed

    Continue reading »

  9. Baphomet possession obsession

    A while ago some friends and I, after an evening of lazy meandering conversations ended up discussing some of the topics on this blog, like possession and Baphomet and that set me off musing on past possessions. Continue reading »

  10. Deity Meditation: Lalita

    Meditating on the image of a deity is a very old practice (its generally thought that it emerged from early Buddhist practice around the 5th century BCE). Meditation is not really a seperate “technique” as its often presented to be in contemporary writings (more of which another time) but is an aspect of one’s overall sadhana – inseperable from the visualisation/recollection of any interiorised image or form. The root of the Sanskrit dhyana – often translated as “meditation” is dhi – “to see”. Indeed, the seperation of “meditation” from other forms of sadhana is a relatively recent one, and can be seen emerging at the turn of the twentieth century with the prioritising of internal mental practices over bodily-oriented practices and external ritual. Continue reading »