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Posts tagged ‘jottings’

  1. Jottings: on comparative demonologies

    At my May 2017 lecture at Treadwells Bookshop examining Tantra & Trance Possession, I gave a very brief outline of “afflictive possession” in both Ayurvedic & Tantric texts – and what is sometimes referred to as bhūtavidyā (‘the science of spirits’) including some remarks on how this subject is treated in the Netra Tantra – an eighth-century Kashmiri text, possibly composed in court circles, which has much to say on the subject of possession, exorcism, and related topics. Continue reading »

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  2. Jottings: On tantra and heteronormativity

    “To fit perfectly a man needs a woman, a woman needs a man. They are polar opposites, and that polarity is needed. It is just as if you are trying to create electricity without polar opposites, without positive and negative.”
    Osho

    If liberation could be attained simply by having intercourse with a śakti then all living beings in the world would be liberated just by having intercourse with women.
    Kularnavatantra

    In the wake of some of my posts discussing approaches to gender in a variety of Indian contexts, I’ve been engaged in some thought-provoking correspondence. One correspondent recently commented – “don’t you find that traditional tantra is well, really heteronormative?” Continue reading »

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  3. Jottings: On the sacredness of text

    Back in December, I ran into a friend who asked me what I was occupying myself with, and I told him that – amongst other things – I was struggling with my series on the Saundaryalahari and that my original estimation of how long it would to take me to write a commentary on its verses had become mired in difficulties – because, as one might appreciate, it was opening up questions – and avenues – that I hadn’t expected to have to deal with or traverse. He was sympathetic, but asserted “Well, Pagans don’t have sacred texts”. Looking around us – we were having this conversation in one of London’s largest esoteric bookshops – I pointed past him to the shelves and replied – “no, Pagans have an abundance of texts”. Continue reading »

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  4. Jottings: Reading like a frog, reading like a lion

    “Every journey begins with a single hop.”
    Kermit the frog

    Occasionally I find myself, when trying to approach a subject for writing & reflection – flitting between many different texts. So a couple of weeks ago for instance, I picked up Catherine Bell’s Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice to browse on my morning train ride, glanced at an online article by Lakoff & Johnson at lunchtime, and took in a gulp or two of Jaideva Singh’s translation of the Spanda-Karikas in the evening – all in relation to wanting to articulate a hazy idea related to ritual practice. Continue reading »

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  5. Jottings: on defining tantra

    “Not knowing that the truth is situated within one’s Self, the deluded is confused by looking for it in treatises. One whose judgement is so poor is like the shepherd who sees his goat in a well when it is actually already within the flock.”
    Kulanarva Tantra, 1.96

    “the Tantras are generally mere manuals of mysticism, magic, and superstition of the worst and most silly kind.”
    Monier Monier-Williams

    Sometimes, when I do public lectures on tantra, or just natter on to people in the pub or round a campfire, I’m asked to give a “definition” of tantra. This is something that I’m generally reluctant to do, as tantra is such a wide-ranging field, that it’s well-nigh to sum it up in a one-size-fits-all definition. So for this post, I’m going to explore some of the ways that contemporary scholars have attempted to get to grips with the problem of defining tantra. I’d argue that it’s useful to acquaint oneself with these issues, particularly, if, one is drawing on contemporary scholarship on tantra for inspiration and guidance. Continue reading »

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  6. Jottings: Queer Pagans or Queering Paganisms?

    I’ve been involved in the UK Queer Pagan scene for a number of years now, but whenever I decide to try and write about this, I find myself reflecting on what for me is a core issue – what happens when “Queer” is placed next to Pagan? Continue reading »

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  7. Jottings: talking “energies”

    “Energy” is one of those words which has to do a great deal of work. It has become something of a generic term that gets used in multiple contexts, sometimes to the extent where any exercise/experience which gives rise to sensations or emotions is attributed to an impersonal ‘energy’ being present, moving, flowing, or being blocked, trapped, or stored. Continue reading »

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  8. Jottings: On queering deity

    “The problem is not to discover in oneself the truth of one’s sex, but, rather, to use one’s sexuality henceforth to arrive at a multiplicity of relationships.”
    Michael Foucault

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about Queer as a form of resistance to identification – a refusal to be categorised or reified into some kind of essential formation. Continue reading »

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  9. Jottings: Possession

    Some further musings on “possession” – nothing really thought through here – just some noodling around with ideas which I may come back to later. Continue reading »

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