Home > Uncategorized > Conference on Current Pagan Studies 2009 (2)

Conference on Current Pagan Studies 2009 (2)

8 Feb 2009

Robert Elm “The Emerald tablet, an Exploration of its Meaning and its Place in Modern Paganism”

Emerald tablet is important to pagans. It basically has “as above, so below” Alchemal text. Obscure origin, but probably greek. Short hermetic neo-platonic Pythagorean document. Written in Syrian, Arabic. Overlapping philosophical schools. Start with reason and devine truths and perameters. Against the idea of magic outside of theurgy. Hermetism is theological philosophical system because its from a very cosomopolitan ideas. Magickal view of the world. Men are made gods by their mysticism. But will of the gods is above the will of man. Nature is the will of truth. Ritualized technology (?). tablet shows importance of mind over matter. Combine the power of what is above with what is below. But don’t over-simplify. It only makes sense if you read the whold document. You can’t atempt (create change) from empty space. When a symbol becomes the thing itself, it focuses your will.

Look up the book “reconnecting with nature” by cowen. Applied eco psychology.


Alfred Surenyen “Music as a tool in magick and Spells”

Music functions as liturgy to us. Chants go from inside the practitioner and out to the divine. Meditation music is used to go inward and to the higher self. Instrumental and drumming is chanting without text; it is the vibration of the musical instrument given to the gods. Use it in spellwork, live or recorded, enhances the flow of energy. Music can be used in all parts of ritual. Check Cunninghams guide for a list of instrument correspondences. Goddess is associated with earth and water. God with wind and fire. Some instruments are associated with certain deities. Isis with the sistern, horn for the horned god. Book “Planetary Magick” for vibration keyes. Make instruments too. Use it to your own personal power.


My paper was well received. I had to cram a little at the end. I don’t think I spoke as clearly as I could have. Macha pointed out that lots of Pagans do it differently, using process theology, and don’t use the charge that way. I pointed out that some people do, particularly wiccans, and that’s what I meant. I only know as much as I know.


Darren Iammarin “Process Magic: Explaining Occult Phenomena via Whiteheadian paradigm”

Whiteheads philosophy of organism can pass the ultimate test (explaining how occult phenomena work). Tries to prove that occult phenomena is real. He talks about actual entities. He uses the word enchantment instead of spellcasting. Trance shuts down the psychic fascilities, letting the sigil do its work. Whitehead talks about Invocation. An attempt to get the skills and ability of the gods within your own being. You get as many symbolic correspondences with that godform as possible. You want to narrow and intensify the data that you are sending out. The more it occurs, the more intense it is. You make a nexus (a public fact or phenomenon. That is, others will see it). What you call yourself is actually a process of nexus. There is no “one moment” that is you. You bring in all things to yourself. Everything is literally all related. Dependant co-origination. Like quantum moments. Too scientific for me.


Marie Cartier “Lesbian Wraiths Cosmological Themes in Filmic Representation”

Butch lesbians in film tend to portend their own death in the filmic world, like a wraith. The Femme is left alone in the world. The death is due to the femme because she doesn’t entirely inhabit the world of the butch. In their cosmology, they cannot be together. In Gen X world, there is a community, not a dyadic relationship. Better off to depict the lesbian as a living, vital being, and not a wraith. Suicide seems often the only option to free the femme, but leaves her alone and bereft. Sometimes the Femme leaves first Or they abandon everything and go on the open road and becomes the outlaw. Even there they are a di-ad. And we don’t know how they live. These models are really prolific in gay cinema. Thelma and Lousie leaves neigher bereft or alone, but live forever outside of the world. The di-ad is too vulnerable. Now, films show friends in relational circles. Characters can have political actions, families, and addresses. Lasting love is possible because community is possible. Problem with di-ads is that they are a magickal coupling and they can’t have a normal life. The problem is that those watching it have community and actual lives, which are not positioned in the films. Femmes rarely have a choice against actions on their own: they are a gateway to normalcy. Whereas butcch are a gateway to a magickal, dangerous, and underground worlds. Lesbian filmic representation has only begun to make accurate portrayals on film. Old films show working class lesbians, who hang out at bars. Even upperclass women had to go to bars to meet people. If the butch leaves the femme, then she can move on to upper classes.


Kristy Coleman “Re-Riting Woman: Luce Irigaray and Dianic Women”

Based on her book! :Dianic Women and the Feminine Divine” Luce is a French  philosopher, psychoanalysist, linguist etc of feminism. Deconstructs depictions of the “real” in a feminine way. “Speculum of the other woman” deconstructing philosophy. Dianic wicca is founded by Z Budapest, a religion by, for and about women and has only female concepts of the divine. Luce says “as longa s woman lacks a divine made in her image she cannot establish her subjectivity or achieve a goal of her own”. The feminine is repressed and conflates it with Dianic practice. Both have a shared agenda : recognizing patriarchy, realize how it represses the feminine divine, create and alternative feminine imagery. Dianics perform the imagery, more valuable than Luce’s imagining. Don’t join a system which deny woman’s particularity. A woman-identified perspective cannot be fully known because much of it is in the unconscious. Do not confuse with carl jung’s femininity. Le Feminin is the unknown potential of women in a non-masculine dominated world. Ideas affect the ways we see the world, how it is represented and how it is described. We need to k now the context of the problems. Men determine philosophy, which determines reality. Their language makes the male model as the norm, so women are “not men”. ?”He is” vs “she is not”. By judging as unlike, it makes it “less than”. The libito is described as masculine. Freud demonstrates that the phallis is the center. He cannot break free of it even if he observes another. For him the “little girl” is a “little man”. Even if we cannot show the gender of God, there is enormous resistance to feminine language. “in the Christian tradition god is a relatively genderless male deity”

Goddess and feminine images signify a potential woman-identified perspective. It was replaced by the male symbolic. Women need a system in which women can represent themselves. It must be practiced, not just theorized. Seasonal rituals dipict famale based imagery. Blood mysteries are important. Ritual is very effective in changing cultural imagination. Women need to express themselves without patriarchal hinderance.

The goal of dianic wicca is not to exist any more. We don’t need it if patriarchy goes away.


Windy Griffin “What Would Janus Do”

The way we develop knowledge and how the world changes…they don’t always match. She’s a Dianic and a scholar, so she doesn’t know much about Janus, but he has double vision of the past and futurel. Conferfences highlight the work being done by graduate students and shaped the direction of Pagan Studies. Selena Fox started the Pagan scholars network. They used to meet before other conferences. They had to prove to the AAR that there was enough material to warrant another group. As a formal area of study, it has matured beyond “new religious movements” status. She did a survey of the research on Paganism, Feminism, etc. There has been a refusal to reduce ambiguities and to embrace the plurality of study. We need to support Pagan studies by purchasing books, quoting each others, and getting them for university libraries. Observation of change in media: is it accurate?

Question: since we are making a new field of study, do we have the opportunity to redefine who an expert is? They check your academic rigor. They expect certain methodology, so it is handy to be academic, but we don’t have to disclude scholars who are not academic.

Check out the aarweb.org for the call for papers.


Jeffrey Fisher “The Tao of Just About Everything: How Natural Laws Governing Magic Influence Our lives—Moment to Moment Chemical Reactions in the Body”

Look at the emotional significance of the musical scale to I-Ching hexagrams. One scholar shows that hexagrams relate to amino acids. The vibration of the music gives energy. That’s why we should pay attention to what music has to offer. Law of Octives: a low note’s octives is twice as slow as the octive above it. Like “As Above, So Below”, a sameness but a differentness, like how sex can become love. Law of Harmonics: Everything vibrates as a whole and as a half. When you play a C, you also hear a G. It vibrates in half. The same note that sounds different has to do with the overtone: two instruments playing the same note sound different due to the overtone. Law of Resonance: Everything vibrates, even beyond the octives.



Misha Ma’Heo “Political Emergence of the Pagan Commnity: Credibility, Relevanca and Rights” “Animating Democracy: The Status of Pagans in Politics” (she painted the picture Obama got)

Lately had two folks in the democratic party, and then others, very high up folks came out of the broom closet! For purposes of politics, “pagan” also includes Zoroastrians, Buddhists, and Hindus (the fastest growing influence worldwide!). We don’t’ consider them in pagan studies because they have strong movements on their own. But politically, we have found them to be a strong ally. The Interfaith Alliance in the Democratic party has only recently included Pagans. If we aren’t on the board, we won’t have a voice in big Obamas politics. Those who have the money make the rules, so we allied with Sikhs and Hindus to get on the board. With Candidates for Obama that it was the first time that a political group had links to pagan info. There was some flack, folks were afraid that the press would get it. One of Obamas top press advisors is Dianic. Republican party has more Asatru (as a mask for racism). The Green Party has long had a tradition of including pagans. There are a lot of opportunities online for political participation. Joined the Lady Liberty League to get the Pentacle on Headstones. They are working to get paid Chaplains in the military and prisons. Democratic pagans did a ritual at the Mercury Café and included it the Democratic daily itinerary. Ha! One on the Denver Capital Building, 1000 people showed up (but maybe because Hilary Clinton was doing something else at the same time! She learned something!) at the Democratic convention, we lobbied with the Hindu and Sikh community. They pressured and changed the benediction over the few days. Finally, we were asked to lead the closing prayers!! We were finally included and taking our party back. We need to be more than just one-issue folk, more than just spiritual equality, but the environment, hospital care, etc. We can join our other Pagan allies. At the inaguration, they played “simple gifts” but it was really “Lord of the Dance!” Go to youtube and look up animating democracy to see the rituals.


Helen hye-Sook Hwang “Historicizing the Voices of seeking Mago, the Great Goddess”

Music is the ultimate creativity: everything comes from music. We need an inclusive ideology, to include SE Asian religions. This is an area that is unknown to the West. She’s claiming pre-patriarchal tradition. She’s personalized her research for us. Mago is remembered and forgotten by SE Asians: too close to recognize, but unfamiliar. There’s a long tradition of Mago nostalgia. Mago is the progenerist, the original female. Mountains and rocks are the abode of Mago—the most enduring substances. The Giant Woman who creates natural and human-made landscapes (like villiages, but also rivers and mountains). Earth is home. We are not lost: the cosmos is home for everything. Academics call it animisnm, Shamanism, or geomancy. Mago is home knowledge. Daoists call it a cult of Mago. When she is apart from her male partner, she is ancient and primordial. She did not reveal herself during Paleolithic times, but she existed then and our connection to her is through that. Mago is One, both goddess and human at once. The sovereign and divine at once. To talk about her as just a goddess is to miss the point. She’ s in the mythological and historical. It’s a  pre-patriarchal tradition that has gone on through it. From Korea in China. She exists in daoist pantheon as an imoto (?) she is the originator of immortality. Located at Mt. Mago in China. She is favored by the intellectual (brought to them by the middleclass painters!) and the populace It has traditionally been studied in fragments, so she’s the first one to bring it all together, but we aren’t sure if it is influencing the tradition or worship of Mago. Korean women are slow to pickup the issue. There are a lot of parallels of Mago and myths of Amaterasu. She is known as “Grandmother” and Goddess, but she is sometimes killed, ridiculed etc, even if she is not exactly reveared.

Question: how can we recognize Mago in art? Depicted as a Hermit. There is a large body of literature that has been repeated through folk song and art, so folks know her. She sometimes has a peach (very daoist) or a basket. The literature is sort of taken advantage of in its own native language, it’s so prevelant that it becomes invisible.

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  1. January 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm

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