Friday, 28 June 2013

Abraxas Journal

You know when you’re peripherally aware of something for ages, and then all of a sudden, things make themselves known? I’ve had that kind of week with the discovery of three websites/journals of brilliance that have crept into awareness. I only have space to talk about one of them today.

The first is Abraxas, a journal. Abraxas is run by Christina Oakley-Harrington, owner of Treadwell’s bookshop, who is, as well as bookshop owner and magic aficionado, is also passionate about links between magic/the occult and art. Abraxas is a very high spec journal that:

.. aims to represent the best of the international esoteric scene in a high quality printed format. As a bi-annual journal, it seeks to offer relevant and thought-provoking features: ranging from essays that are scholarly and engaging, to images and sounds that challenge and inspire. Our print run is limited, and every issue employs lavish colour and exotic papers – providing for the reader a rare sensory sorcery. Indeed, it is our intent that Abraxas should embody that magical, creative nexus which feeds both mind and soul.

As this suggests, the journal covers a variety of magic-type subjects and articles, in a refreshingly academic context, but there is a strong involvement in artistic practices too.

The current issue 3 of Abraxas has an amazing contributors list, which I am so excited about, I am reproducing in full here:

Talon Abraxas was born in South London, England in 1980. A self-taught artist, he is known for works that consist of a combination of traditional and digital images, creating surreal landscapes that have a believable dream-like quality. Inspiration is drawn from mystical artists and thinkers such as Austin Osman Spare, Jean Delville, Hieronymus Bosch, HR Giger, Beksinski, and Aleister Crowley. He considers himself a symbolist, painter, writer and occultist committed to spiritual esotericism. His vision is of the artist as a spontaneously developed initiate whose mission is to send light, spirituality and mysticism into the world.

Marcelo Bordese lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His images explore themes involving the flesh, sex, religion and despair. His style is reminscent of Bosch and Breughel, but Marcelo paints with acrylic, which he affirms ‘…like blood, dries quickly.’ He has exhibited extensively since 1996, most recently at Owners of the Crossroad: Aesthetics of Exú and Pomba Gira in Rio de la Plata, Buenos Aires, 2009 and Grito Íntimo: con sexo, corrupción y juegos, Instituto Cervantes de Tokio, Tokyo, 2010.

John Clowder is an artist working primarily in the collage medium. His history would be familiar to anyone living in the average suburban town. Luckily, a devious and unstructured childhood prompted him towards imaginative play, an activity that brought experiments with artistic creativity. At a receptive age he chanced upon Max Ernst’s oneiric collage novels and absorbed by their imagery, sought to replicate their effect. He lives in the American Midwest, but Surrealism is his chosen means of escape.

Ira Cohen (1935-2011) was an American poet, publisher, photographer and filmmaker. He travelled widely, most notably to Morocco where he published GNAOUA, a magazine devoted to exorcism, and later to Kathmandu, where he founded his Bardo Matrix imprint, issuing limited edition books printed on rice paper. His later years in NYC consolidated his role as one of the most important voices of American counter-culture. His contribution was unique and he will be greatly missed.

Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988) was a British Surrealist painter and author. Her membership of the O.T.O. in the early 1950s presaged involvements with numerous esoteric groups throughout her life. A move to Cornwall inspired her book The Living Stones: Cornwall (1957), a pioneering study of Earth-energies, although she is best remembered for her biography of MacGregor Mathers, The Sword of Wisdom (1975).

T. Thorn Coyle is an internationally respected visionary and teacher of the magical and esoteric arts. The author of Kissing the Limitless (2009) and Evolutionary Witchcraft(2004), she is also featured in many anthologies, hosts the Elemental Castings podcast series, writes a popular weblog, Know Thyself, and has produced several CDs of sacred music. Pagan, mystic, and activist, she is founder and head of Solar Cross Temple and Morningstar Mystery School and lives by the glorious San Francisco Bay.

Jon Crabb is a young art historian and writer who developed a mild obsession with the Beat writers in his teens, then graduated from the enthusiasm of Kerouac to the cynicism of Burroughs in his twenties. Having heard that William Burroughs once declared Brion Gysin ‘the only man I have ever respected,’ he was added to the personal syllabus and quickly became a chief fascination. His background is in 20th century art although his current research interests include book design, illustration and the juncture of word and image. He is also interested in the fin-de-siècle period, the cross-over between science and art, and the larger influence of the occult on Western art as a whole.

Peter Dubé is a novelist, short story writer, essayist and cultural critic. He is the author of the chapbook Vortex Faction Manifesto (2001), the novel Hovering World (2002), At the Bottom of the Sky (2007) a collection of linked short stories, and most recently, the novella Subtle Bodies: a Fantasia on Voice, History and René Crevel (2010). He is also the editor of the anthology Madder Love: Queer Men and The Precincts of Surrealism (2008).

Robert Fitzgerald is a long-time practitioner of the angelic evocation of John Dee and Edward Kelley, and is an initiate of Cultus Sabbati, a magical order of traditional witchcraft in Britain and North America. His written contributions have appeared in the British journal of folklore The Cauldron.

Edward Gauntlett is lifelong student of magic, and holds an MA in Literature, Religion and Philosophy. Currently he is working on a study of the Secret Tradition in late 19th and early 20th century supernatural horror fiction. He is editor of the Charles Williams Society.

Christopher Greenchild is a composer, musician, poet, writer, artist, designer and philosopher from Seattle. He is presently preparing the first releases from his archives and their parallel performance concepts. His music centres around an imaginal consciousness of memory and mystery that incorporates field recordings and electronic sound with classical, folk, alternative instrumentations, and vivid rhapsodic lyrics. He is also at work completing a three-part book series on his visionary account of dream awareness as a parallel mystical continuum in humanity and nature. His contribution to this journal was written in the spring of 2005.

Allan Graubard lives in New York, with previous lives in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, London, Washington DC, and other places lost to time and water – turns in the dance that sustains him. Through it all, body to body, shadow to shadow, he has sought and sometimes found the warm, transparent breadth of living completely. Recent works include ROMA AMOR (2010), Revolting Women/Woman Bomb-Sade (Theater Row, 42nd Street), and And tell, tulip, the summer (forthcoming). Happily, 2011 also saw the publication of Invisible Heads: Surrealists in North America – An Untold Story, which he edited with his friend, Thom Burns.

Amy Hale is an anthropologist and Chaote whose academic interests are primarily focused on modern Cornwall and British esoteric culture. She is the co-editor of New Directions in Celtic Studies, Inside Merlin’s Cave: A Cornish Arthurian Reader and Journal of the Academic Study of Magic 5 in addition to over 30 articles ranging from Druidry to Celtic cultural tourism. She is currently working on a series of projects and publications concerning the British Surrealist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun. She lives in San Francisco.

Dan Harms is a librarian and author whose interests include Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos, grimoires, the history of magic, and rôleplaying games. His books include The Necronomicon Files (1998, with John Wisdom Gonce III) and The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia (2008). His articles have appeared in Fortean Times, The Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, The Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Paranoia, Imelod, Le Bulletin de l’Université de Miskatonic, Worlds of Cthulhu, Cthuloide Welten, and The Unspeakable Oath. His work has been translated into French, German, Spanish, and Japanese. He is currently preparing an annotated edition of The Long-Lost Friend for publication. He lives in upstate New York with his ball python, Yig.

Desirée Isphording is a 25 year old artist living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Her work has been featured in the magazines Pentacle and SageWoman, and has also graced the covers of If…A Journal of Spiritual Exploration, PaganNet News and Harp, Pipe, and Symphony(2006), a book by Paul DiFilippo. In addition, she has material included in Gothic Art Now, a compilation of darkly elegant artwork.

Grevel Lindop lives in Manchester, where he was formerly a Professor of English at the University and is now a freelance writer. He worked with the late Kathleen Raine as deputy editor of the journal Temenos and now chairs the academic board of the Temenos Academy. His edition of Robert Graves’s The White Goddess (1997) is now the standard text. He has published six collections of poems, most recently Playing With Fire (2006), and Selected Poems (2001). His book exploring music and dance in Latin America, Travels on the Dance Floor, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and was short listed for Authors’ Club Dolman Best Travel Book, 2009. He is currently working on the first full biography of the poet, novelist, theologian and occultist Charles Williams. He teaches Buddhist meditation under the auspices of the Samatha Trust, and has a wide range of esoteric interests.

Ian MacFadyen is an independent scholar and writer, based in London. He co-edited with Oliver Harris the book NakedLunch@50: Anniversary Essays (2009), to which he contributed six Dossiers. His libretto Point of No Return, on the life and death of Joan Burroughs, was performed at the University of London Institute in Paris in 2009 in collaboration with Radio Joy. His essay ‘Machine Dreams: Optical Toys and Mechanical Boys’ was published in the collection Flickers of the Dreamachine (1996) and his essay ‘Ira Cohen: A Living Theatre’ appeared in Licking the Skull (2000, republished 2006). He has written about the work of many writers and artists including Vladimir Nabokov, Georges Perec, and Yoko Ono. His articles and fictions have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Shamanic Warriors Now Poets (2003).

Malgorzata Maj (Sarachmet) was born in 1980 and currently lives in Gliwice, Poland. In 2004 she graduated from Warmia-Masuria University in Olsztyn with an MA, specializing in traditional techniques including painting on silk. Since 2005 she has been an illustrator and photographer who fell in love with 19th century painting colours and themes, ghostly moods & dreamy visions. In March 2010 she contributed to the exhibition ‘Phantasms’ at Cabinet des Curieux, Paris, France.

Misior was born in 1976 in Poland and is a graphic designer, an illustrator and a surrealist painter. He regards art as a unique tool of cognition, limited neither by logic, nor the limits of consciousness. By sacralization of eroticism, he tries to overcome the Western dichotomy of the spiritual and corporeal nature of man. His artistic style has been influenced by the Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, symbolists such as Gustave Moreau and Fernand Khnopff, Austin Spare, the surrealism of Max Ernst and Remedios Varo, the colors of Balthus and Hopper, along with Moebius and Manary’s comic strips. He also records music under the pseudonym of Kriccagiya.

Alan Moore, writer, anarchist and magician. Living legend.

Shani Oates lives in Derbyshire where she is a devoted practitioner of the true esoteric art. A mystic and pilgrim, she finds expression through her writing, visionary sketches, photography and therapeutic holism. Her essays and articles are included within: Hecate: Her Sacred Fires (2010) and various popular pagan, folklore and occult publications such asThe Cauldron, Pendragon, The White Dragon, Pentacle, The Goddess, The Hedge Wytch andThe Wytch’s Standard. Her debut book, Tubelo’s Green Fire, was released in 2010 and two more titles are due for release in 2011. She is current Maid of the people of Goda, of Clan of Tubal Cain.

Edwin Pouncey was born in Leeds in 1951 and now lives in south London. Under the nom de plume ‘Savage Pencil’ his art has mauled and entertained a generation with a ‘stinking psychedelic cesspit of corpse cluttered comix.’ As a music journalist, his writings and Trip Or Squeek cartoon strip are featured regularly in The Wire. He is currently working on a series of paintings, performances and other artworks with Chris Long (aka Eyeball) under the moniker Battle Of The Eyes.

Peter Redgrove (1932-2003) was a prolific and widely respected British poet whose contribution spanned more than 40 years. His interest in mysticism and magic led was further inspired by a move to Cornwall towards the end of his life. His published work includes The Black Goddess and the Sixth Sense (1987) and The Wise Wound(1978), the first dedicated exploration of the mysteries of menstration, co-written with his second wife Penelope Shuttle.

Residue was born in 1964 in Halifax. He lives out his magical existance in Yorkshire. He is not part of any magical lineage, though is influenced by Kenneth Grant, Austin Spare and philosophical writings of Deleuze. He often dwells on magical mechanisms, machine.nature combinations, by creating magical si-fi maps or rituals. He also often makes parodies of ‘awareness zones’ or develop pastiches of the illusion of seperateness. These manifest through squiggles and robotic images, fetish voodoo rituals, pods, gadgets and shrines.

Jack Sargeant is the author of numerous books, essays and articles on underground film, outsider art and the more unusual aspects of culture, his books include Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground (2007) and Naked Lens: Beat Cinema (2009). He has contributed to numerous collections of essays, most recently From The Arthouse To The Grindhouse (2010) and The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology (2011). His writings have appeared in Fortean Times, FilmInk, Real Time, The Wire and many others. Since 2008 he has been the program director for the Revelation Perth International Film Festival. In 2010 he co-curated the Sydney Biennale film program, presenting film and video works themed around visionary magus Harry Smith, these included works exploring indigenous Australian spiritual beliefs, outsider art and music, and culminated in a performance by Noko.

Lauren Simonutti lives in Baltimore. Her images are born entirely from traditional photographic techniques. Her work is represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC. Since 1998, Lauren has produced a series of books in very limited editions exploring specific themes through her photographic work. She has exhibited extensively since 2001, and her work has been featured in Silvershotz, Catchlight Magazine, Eyemazing, Descry Magazine, Soura, and La Négatif. In early 2010 she had a solo exhibition at the Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, who currently represent her.

Mark Titchner was born in Luton in 1973. He graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, in 1995. In 2006 he was nominated for the Turner Prize for a solo show at the Arnolfini, Bristol. In 2007 he was included in the 52nd Venice Biennale, exhibiting in the Ukraine Pavilion. His work is held in the permanent collections of the South London Gallery, the United Kingdom Government Art Collection and the Tate. He is represented by the Vilma Gold Gallery,

Heather Tracy has been an actor and singer for twenty-seven years, working across a diverse range of genres and media from unrehearsed Shakespeare to comedy cabaret. She has had a long association with the Lions part, an eclectic company of professional performers who collaborate to create seasonal festivals incorporating stories, playtexts, music and folklore. She is currently forging a deeper understanding of theatre’s ritual and shamanic legacy through experiential exploration of paradox, humour, neurological shock and the emotional interplay between voice, word and flesh. This work also informs her solitary magical practice and writing.

Arktau Eos is a sentient frame capable of capturing fleeting moments of oneiric activity, where essential gnosis manifests itself in blazing hieroglyphs… It is a ghastly and wondrous parade of cryptic images and sounds, which a given recording is a reflection of, thus becoming a new gateway for the perceptive listener. Equal parts stellar and serene, subterranean and disturbing, ARKTAU EOS remains in constant evolution, paying attention only to the cues of the spirits and maintaining the integrity of the dream-continuum of which our ‘consciousness’ is but a mere drop in the ocean.

John Contreras is an American cellist, best known for his work with Current 93 and Baby Dee. He has also performed with Marc Almond, Fovea Hex and Nurse With Wound. In addition to the cello, he also performs with the Buchla 200e. His work is released on the Durtro label.

Cyclobe are a music duo based in London, formed by Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown. They make hallucinatory electronic soundscapes by mixing sampled and heavily synthesized sounds with acoustic arrangements for strings and woodwind. Their approach draws upon diverse forms, including acousmatic, drone music, dark ambient, noise and sound collage. Thrower is also a film journalist and author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci. Ossian Brown worked with Coil from 1999 until the band’s cessation on the death of John Balance in 2004.

English Heretic seek ostensibly to maintain, nurture and care for the psychohistorical environment of England. Availed of the services of some of the country’s very finest occult archaeologists, astral geographers and mystical toponymists, we aim to help people decode and realise the alchemical ciphers and conspiratorial interplay of the buildings and landscapes around them.

High Mountain Tempel consists of Eric Nielsen (of both Maquiladora and Buzz or Howl) and Keith Boyd. Eric has played with members of such highly respected avant garde groups as Acid Mothers Temple, High Rise, White Heaven, Mainliner, Mus, The Black Heart Procession, etc. Creating dense soundscapes and sonic stories, their music touches on elements of Krautrock and such musicians as Lustmord, Harry Partch, Coil and Zombi. Along with these spacier elements, there is a free-form and hybrid spirituality to this music that is of a particular West Coast and Pacific variety.

Kallee is a musickal lunar sound project founded in 15.05.10 e.v. Tantrick and magick transformation for musickal paintings…

Philip Legard has travelled to various locations throughout Britain to record his music, letting himself be inspired by the spirit of the surroundings. Phil also releases most of his own music through his label Larkfall. A new edition of his esteemed Psychogeographia Ruralis is due for release in 2011.

Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule is a prolific visual and sonic artist who finds drawing, painting, sculpture, theatre, photography, animation, verse, video, violin and voice effective ways of earthing magickal currents. His recent book Coagula (Fulgur, 2011) is the latest in his Tela Quadrivium series.

Noko: Order 41 is Barry Hale, Scott Barnes and Michael Strumm, a performance collaborative. Re-presenting various lines of esoteric research, NOKO erupt into the traditional fine arts arena, merging magical ritual work with contemporary experimental sound and visual forms, producing highly original assemblages in a live multi-media format.

Okok Research Bureau are sometimes described as a “transgressional freethinking experiment,” or “an interdimensional action theatre whose players juggled a curious amalgam of art and magic.” Mark Reeve and Liam Olan are the movers behind this, and ORB Editions.

The Psychogeographical Commission was formed at the start of 2008 to explore the many interfaces between the built environment and the people who inhabit it through dérive, magick and sonic experimentation.

Raagnagrok sound like a free-psych gnosis-musick invoking previous transmissions from satellite residents Cluster, Heldon, Jan Hammer, Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. After over forty live performances in basements, galleries, bunkers, pubs, theatres and more ordinary music venues around Europe Raagnagrok plan to release an album in the near future; just don’t ask whose future…

T.A.G.C. are a side project of Clock DVA. Formed in the early 1980s by Adi Newton (although the idea existed as early as 1978), T.A.G.C. (originally The Anti-Group) was conceived as an open-membership experimental multimedia collective, focused on audio, visual, and textual research and production, as well as performance art and installations.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Regressive Poetics

I am excited to report that my fourth book of poetry, Regressive Poetics, will be published by the Knives, Forks and Spoons Press this year. Hopefully in a few months' time. This is the introduction to the book to give an idea of what it's about. RP is a continuation of my interest in the intersection between spiritual practices and language.

I became aware of the concept of reincarnation at a young age, being presented with the idea that our souls use the earth as a vast schoolroom, returning to it to learn new lessons over many lives, as a completely logical concept by my mother. I continue to view it as entirely likely.

When I was older I discovered that my grandmother had for many years been secretary and editor to A J Stewart, author of Falcon: The Autobiography of His Grace James IV, King of Scots. Ms Stewart’s fascinating book was the account of her past life as James IV, and she was completely convinced of the veracity of her story.

The guiding ethos of this work is my interest in the correlations between artistic and spiritual practices, and the strong place of language within practices such as meditation, magic, divination etc. After producing a process-based poetic work on the tarot I wondered whether past life recall stories would be an interesting medium for a similar processual approach.

I am interested in the way that a past life “memory”, or story, is accessed via a hypnotic state, and relayed to the hypnotist or therapist in a state very much like a waking dream. We have all had the experience of language in dreams, where the words that seem so profound in the dream are nonsense when awake.

There is also an element of translation or decryption present in past life tales, in the sense that they are usually relayed back in a somewhat fragmentary way from the border of the unconscious. In mediumship this is a common problem, because communicating with the spirit world is described as talking with someone very far away, or operating on a very different frequency of sound. Discrepancies occur.

I see now how we can wander and get lost in the memories of the automatist when we so-called dead try to communicate. This kind of mutual selection is bound to be what my friend Gerald calls a “mixed grill”

– Received from Winifred Coombe Tennant by Geraldine Cummins in Swan on a Black Sea: A Study in Automatic Writing eds Signe Toksvig, 1971.

I wanted to push this derangement of language another step further, this “mixed grill” of language from one side, death, being translated through to the other side, life.

I worked with a digital dictation app into which I read published accounts of past lives from a variety of sources. This produced its own version of the text, complete with interesting inaccuracies and juxtapositions and a surprising amount of digital and online-speak, which can only reflect the programming of the app to be sensitive to current technological jargon. In the way that the app “made sense” of what I gave it, we too tend to interpret accounts such as past life “memories” through the veils of historical fact, bias, scientific rationale, physics theory or personal prejudice.

With past life regression hypnotic work there is also the possible issue of suggestion on the part of the hypnotist/therapist, again echoing the possible adjustment of the text. This mediation is also common in mediumship, as mentioned above. In Swan on a Black Sea, the spirit of the very politically liberal Mrs Coombe-Tennant sometimes “transmitted” far more conservative political opinions, which was deemed to be the bias of the medium Miss Cummins’ own beliefs on the original message.

Each poem in this collection is based on one particular past life story and is the result of translation and rewriting from the original text (the original experience) to a doubly mediated text – a version of the original mediated first by technology and second by the writer (me). Some pieces were recorded by the app direct from online videos rather than being read aloud by me. The poems are therefore subject to technological, programmed language bias and personal bias/artistic style on my part. This is an integral part of their being.

I found that this method gave me some linguistically interesting pieces which still managed to keep a sense of dreamlike mystery as well as highlighting the strange hyperreality of “remembering” a past life in such apparent detail. In these poems, the stories are trying to “get through”, but there is an imperfect medium (me) using a flawed machinery. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Interesting magical stuff

A quick roundup of some brilliant articles and things to enjoy I've been looking at recently.

Tomorrow I am excited to be going on a Summer Tree Walk on Hampstead Heath (ahhh, Hampstead. My spiritual home... apart from Glastonbury and Cornwall, that is...okay, and Haight Ashbury) faciliatated by my friend and occasional creative collaborator, crimson-haired Aries beauty Laura Daligan, and Zoe Hind - who I haven't met before, but I read her excellent astrology blog here. To get an idea, here's a video of the last one they did. Basically we will be wandering around the Heath and learning about the magical properties of trees; the Ogham system, how to recognise certain trees, and learning about the mythology behind those trees. Awesome. And also RESEARCH. For something yet to be conceptualised. Probably.

Next, a fabulous article in The Believer with favourite initial-sharer Alan Moore. On his book, Jerusalem, currently in the writing:

" What I was trying for here is something which is quite a long way away from conventional narrative. I think it’s very readable, but the structure, the story, and the subject matter, all of these things make it very difficult to define. Parts of the books are frankly brutal social realism set in a wholly underprivileged neighborhood, and there are also chapters of outrageous fantasy dealing with ghosts, fairies, angels, and all sorts of other phantasmagoric creatures. And yet this is in a context of, largely, a social realist novel which is looking at this impoverished neighborhood and the people who pass through it over the years. So it’s a strange beast. I’ve been thinking of calling it “scientific fiction,” but that is largely out of perversity, mainly to annoy people who have a too-rigid definition of what science fiction should be.
Pretty much all of the book is predicated upon the assumption, which seems to be implicit in the work of most modern physicists since Einstein, that we inhabit a universe that has at least four spatial dimensions. There are the three dimensions that we are conventionally aware of, and there is the fourth dimension, which is also a spatial dimension, but we don’t perceive it as that. We perceive the distances of the fourth dimension as the passage of time. If I understand it correctly, I believe our entire continuum is at least a four-dimensional solid in which time is not passing, where every moment that ever existed or will exist is suspended, forever unchanging, from within this immense solid of space-time. And therefore the passage of time is an illusion that is only apparent to us as we move through this huge solid along what we perceive as the time axis.

.... which sounds pretty awesome. HIs interviewer, Peter Berbegal, is apparently author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock ’n’ Roll, out soon. Brilliant title anyway.
Last, I've just got the agenda and abstracts through for the Great Writing conference at Imperial College at the end of this month, and am excited by:

Amy Lee Wai Sum, Hong Kong Baptist University - How do I qualify to be a witch? A personal reflection on Salem, the Trials, and the Fictions

For a couple of years now, I have put “witchcraft”, “fictional witch stories” as my research interest in documents submitted to the university for my annual review exercise. I was first attracted to the study of witch trials by the postcolonial rewriting of Tituba in Maryse Conde’s postcolonial fiction, I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem (1986), and later became more interested in the trials and subsequently the fictional outputs using the historical event and the personalities.

The fact that the Salem Witch Trials and the people involved directly and indirectly are still very much current in the popular fictional outputs seems to me that there is something in the event that we find difficult to let go. Therefore apart from reading the continuous publications of popular fiction that advertise a link with the centuries old Witch Trials, I went to Salem the town and stayed for two weeks last summer to see for myself some remnants of the historical event and how present day Salem fashions itself for the world.

The presentation is a personal remembrance of a two-week stay at the historical witch town, and a creative reflection on the changing meaning of witchery and how it impacts on real life practices in a generally secular modern community.

I will report back.