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  1. Mandala bodies: a torrent of terminologies

    To continue my examination of representations of mandalas, I will now turn to the problem of terminology – and how restrictive definitions of terms (a problem highlighted in this post) can limit one’s understanding of mandalas. In order to do this, one has to abandon the phenomenological representation of mandalas of which Jung’s presentation is an example (and as I hope to discuss at a later date, many occult/new age discourses are rooted in) which privileges individual “inner experience” over traditional/textual/cultural particulars and turn instead to matters of historical texts and their scholarly interpretation. Continue reading »

  2. Mandala bodies: Jung

    I’ve wanted to get some thoughts hashed out on Mandalas for some time now, and following a post-xmas conversation with a friend that managed to encompass the acoustic experiments of Ernst Chladni, the philosophical speculations of David Hartley, Tibetan singing bowls, and the widely-repeated factoid that Dr. Hans Jenny produced an almost perfect Sri Yantra by having a test subject sing “Om” into his tonoscope, I thought that one way to approach mandalas would be to outline some of the ways in mandalas are represented – starting with Jung. onwards…

  3. Tantra’s metahistory -I

    One of the many ways in which Tantra fascinates me is the way that it is represented, be it by practitioners, scholars, historians, occultists or any combination thereof – and how those representations change over time. It was my interest in how tantra (and other forms of South Asian religious practice) is represented in popular occult discourse which led me to become interested in both Orientalism and the influence on contemporary occultism of the Theosophical Society. So with a nod in the direction of Hayden White, this is the first of a series of posts examining the way in which Tantra’s history has been, and continues to be represented, particularly in occult texts. This opening shot is concerned with origin theories of Tantra which relate to the so-called Aryan Invasion Theory. Continue reading »

  4. Musings on banishing rituals

    Over the years, I’ve seen people discussing banishing in terms of “Centering” or “Grounding” “Closing/Opening” and so forth, yet “banishing” – with its strong implication of an imperative command – to expel, or to drive away – forcefully – remains the ‘favourite’ term. Continue reading »

  5. Season’s greetings

    Festive greetings everybody! Continue reading »

  6. The Pit

    The Pit is a short Lovecraftian piece I wrote some years ago which I’ve never managed to get published, and one of my friends suggested that I post it, so here it is… Continue reading »

  7. Pagan News pdfs available

    The first four of the promised digitised editions of Pagan News are now available here on my archive website for downloading. The issues are: June 1988, December 1988, July & November 1989. Pagan News was fortunate, I suppose in retrospect, in that we started up just as the “Satanic Child Abuse” panic of the late 1980s started moving into the UK. The magazine’s news section deals with these developments, and other news items deemed to be of interest to pagan/occult folk. More pdfs will follow as and when I get time.

  8. Embodied knowledge – an opening shot

    Last Saturday, wandering into Treadwells whilst on one of my pre-xmas rounds I had an enlivening conversation with Ellie and Suzanne – mainly about what Suzanne’s recent (9th December) “Interview with a witch” evening was like. One theme that we batted around was that it’s fairly common for occult books to present information such as theories, correspondences, rituals, etc;, but still people appear to find it difficult to practice this information – to make it meaningful within their day-to-day lives. Continue reading »

  9. Context matters

    There are a number of issues relating to the practice of attributing western ‘meanings’ to Sanskrit terms. Continue reading »

  10. Experience -II: when worldviews collide

    I keep swinging back to a text which has had a massive influence on me – Berger & Luckmann’s The Social Construction of Reality – which develops Alfred Schutz’s “Common-Sense” interpretation of human action. Continue reading »