Presentations at Babalon Rising

Radical Thelema: Presentations at Babalon Rising

Nuit is infinite space, Babalon welcomes all, but we are more limited. Thelemites are only human, striving to perfect ourselves through the lessons of incarnation. Radical Thelema dares us to dig to the root of Thelema – challenging us where we block our own progress and engaging our institutions where they create barriers to freedom. Radical Thelema unfolds the work of Babalon on Earth and calls every living soul home to the infinite love of Nuit.

Radical Thelema includes four presentations. Each can be experienced independently, asking questions, presenting tools, and suggesting avenues of experimentation. The presentations are rooted in historic research and contemporary Thelemic work while offering new philosophical and ritual ideas. Together they form a theoretical framework encouraging the construction of new rituals and other Thelemic works.

Radical Thelema

The initial presentation leverages the wisdom of the community through a structured discussion posing a series of questions on core topics:

  • post-Crowley Thelema
  • woman centered Thelema
  • queer Thelema
  • cultural appropriation in Thelema
  • secrecy
  • appropriate social action

Women’s Magick in Thelema

As priestess the woman Thelemite embodies the divine feminine: Babalon, the ancient power expressed in women’s sexuality, and Nuit, the Queen of Heaven. Western religion rejected that power; we trace the history of these goddesses and how they manifest through us today.

The priest responds to the call of the priestess and walks the path of the magician. Thelemic women stand in the place of the magician *as men*. How can women also walk the path of accomplishment as Thelemic magicians? This presentation will deconstruct the formulations that prevent this and suggest avenues for women’s operative magick.

Theurgy and Thelema

“There is no part of me that is not of the gods.” What does that mean?

Thelema is a theurgic system rooted in Neo-Platonism. The Platonic philosophers were also Pagan priests and priestesses. They explained the soul’s descent into incarnation and the path of return to the realm of the gods. Recent scholarship re-links the philosophical texts to the practical rituals preserved in medieval grimoires and rediscovered in ancient texts.

This presentation reviews Liber Astarte in the context of contemporary and ancient theurgy. Theurgic ritual offers a deeper understanding of Nuit and Hadit, Babalon and Chaos, Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Baphomet, and of ourselves.

Sex, Love and Thelema

Crowley and other westerners learned sex magick partly from the teachings of other cultures. This presentation surveys the state of sex magick today, from Chinese texts through newly translated Tantras to Western esotericism. Directed sexual energy accomplishes thaumaturgy; theurgy responds to the call of Babalon and Nuit – unto me! The gendered magick of Thelema leads us to the realization of our own divinity through the sexual relationship of the human with the divine.

Pantheacon 2016 – Reading Lists

Here are the reading lists I am recommending for each of my presentations – to save you the time to record them!

Reading list for Radical Thelema

Reading list for Advanced Theurgy

  • Tony Mierzwicki, Graeco-Egyptian Magic
  • Richard Reidy, Eternal Egypt, Ancient Rituals for the Modern World
  • Bruce McLennan, Wisdom of Hypatia
  • Patrick Dunn, Practical Art of Divine Magic, Contemporary and Ancient Techniques of Theurgy
  • Jeffrey Kupperman, Living Theurgy
  • Brandy Williams, For the Love of the Gods, the History and Modern Practice of Theurgy, Our Pagan Inheritance (Llewellyn Sept. 2016)

Pantheacon 2016 schedule

Here’s what I’ll be doing at Pantheacon this year. Hope to see you there!

Pantheacon 2016 – Change Makers!

Saturday, February 13

  • 11 am: Radical Thelema, social justice in Thelemic practice
  • 7-10 pm: Llewellyn New Book Launch party

Sunday, February 14

  • 9:00am Advanced Theurgy – The Soul and the Gods
  • 1:00 pm Consent Culture release party, Four Paths Hospitality Suite, rm 1064
  • 10:00 pmLlewellyn party

Pagan Theurgy done, vacation time!

It’s done!

Well, mostly.

Two years ago, September 2013, I started writing “Pagan Theurgy”. Six months later I turned in a manuscript that in retrospect looks more like notes toward a book. My (fantastic) editor kicked it back to me for a rewrite. I turned in the rewrite the first week of September 2015. So that’ll teach me to think I can write a book in six months!

My editor likes the rewrite and has placed it on the launch track. It’s such a relief. I’ve got some edits to clean up by the end of the year, but compared to the extensive reworking of the last 18 months, they’re pretty darned minor.

To celebrate I promptly went on vacation. Every free weekend and vacation week for the last two years has been spent on the writing – it’s time to party! In my case this means taking Alex on a week long vacation to…Sequim, where I’ve been doing all the writing. We closed the bookstore for a week and just went.

It was very interesting to be in the same house doing something completely different. I actually didn’t sit down at my computer once that whole time. We stocked up on local food at Nash’s Farm Store and Sunny Farm store and mostly cooked in the kitchen, saving our money for a really great dinner at Alder Wood Bistro on our last night. Ted came out one evening and we had a family dinner and breakfast, with the great conversation we have when we’re all relaxed and have the time.

Being in the same landscape on the same month felt like starting over. It was such a vivid reminder of when I first visited to start writing two years ago. I remembered the color of the light, the seasonal notices in the stores, the look of the farmland. With the book behind me it felt like I could relax and enjoy it all. I am very fond of Sequim and expect to spend more time there when I retire. In the meantime I can look forward to editing weekends.

Oh, and I took half an hour at Hurricane Ridge and scribbled notes for three more books.

Here’s what we did on our end-of-summer vacation.

Cline Spit fishing

Cline Spit fishing

Cline Spit county park is very close to the house. It was a calm day when these fishermen set out.

22015SeptElwhaDam

Two out-of-commission dams have been removed from the Elwha River to restore the salmon runs. This is where the lower dam used to be – hardly looks like a dam at all now!

32015SeptCapeAlava

Cape Alava is the northwest tip of the continental US. The walk out to the viewpoint is three quarters of a mile of slick boardwalk but totally worth it.

32015SeptCapeAlavaAlex

Alex took much better images than I did all weekend. He was dressed for the part too!

42015SeptLakeCrescent

Lake Crescent. I grabbed this quick shot leaning over Alex in the driver seat on our way back from the Makah reservation.

52015SeptHurricanRidge

Hurricane Ridge on a rare cloudless day. The visitor center is open all year long, gets pretty snowy in the winter!

62015SeptCedarbrook

This used to be Cedarbrook farm. Now the restaurant Crave serves local food out of what used to be the gift shop.

72015SequimDungenessFarmland

There’s a settler cemetery close to the house with a spectacular view of Sequim-Dungeness farmland and the Olympic mountains.

8Sept2015DungenessSpit

Dungeness Spit. It’s five miles one way to the lighthouse, mind the tides!

92015SeptRailroadBridge

If you mean to take a picture of the railroad bridge, best do it right away. It’s coming down to be replaced by a safer but less picturesque pedestrian bridge.

We spent a beautiful week in a beautiful place. Now I’m catching up on all my blogging and such before wading back in to finish the edits.

Pantheacon 2015

Here’s where I’ll be at Pantheacon:

  • Saturday 11 am Santa Clara Lives of the Pagan Teachers
  • Saturday 7 pm San Juan/San CarlosBring Race to the Table Panel
  • Sunday 9 pm Llewellyn Mingler, Llewellyn Hospitality Suite

I’m sorry to miss the Patheos blogging event Friday at 1:30, our plane doesn’t land until 2:15.

See you there!

The working class writer

Ann Bauer’s Salon piece about how privilege aids writers challenged writers to talk about where the time and money comes from to write.

I have a full time job. When I travel, or work is heavy, it can take up my evenings and weekends too. Being White made this job much easier to get. Being a woman made it harder, but since I am a token, I am making a man’s wage. Even though the job comes with periods of high stress I appreciate that I can partially support three families with it.

I don’t have kids. I do a share of the housework, cooking, gardening, and taking care of the pets (including the chickens, technically livestock but treated more like family). I am lucky enough to live with two adults who do their share too.

I know a Black woman who has a full time job and kids who manages to crank out a lot of articles and edits anthologies. She’s written a book as well. She’s a hero – I frankly don’t know how she does it.

I respect the writers of my acquaintance who support themselves and their families with their books. I don’t know any one of them who doesn’t also augment that income with lectures, workshops, classes, and other related gigs. Unless you’re James Patterson, Stephen King or Nora Roberts, it’s hard to make money on content alone. The ability to create is increasingly a privilege of the one percent.

Let’s get real, it’s hard to integrate writing into a working class life, holding a job and caring for the house (no outsourced labor here.) It’s easier to write blog posts and articles in the little slices of time left over than to complete a book length project requiring sustained thought. I’ve managed to complete three books in three decades by working on weekends and on vacations. I assure you the book that is overdue weighs heavily on my life.

All the appearances I make are time and money drains too. I was lucky enough to have one all-expenses-paid gig in my life. Otherwise, my expenses are at best defrayed and I use up my vacation time on the events. The prep time eats up writing time too.

So here’s my privilege: I have a job, a house, and a great family. I plan to retire as soon as possible and write full time, understanding that the ability to retire is also a privilege. Under these conditions I’ve been able to do a fraction of the work that I planned to do as a young writer. I hope my health holds out long enough to finish the work I know I am meant to do. Starting with the overdue book.

Editing

I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to leave my people and my cats (dog, chickens, bees, garden) and go spend another weekend in isolation. Duty drove me to leave my desk at the dot of 5 and climb into the car to make the hour and a half drive to Clallam County.

The world is so beautiful. I remembered this as I crossed the Hood Canal bridge, the water shimmering silver around the little islands. This is why we leave our homes and travel. On the pass the wind’s strong hand send clouds scudding and cars skidding. Across the pass the mountains relaxed into pleasant valleys dotted with barns.

Back porch view

Back porch view


At the store (Sunny Farms) (really) I picked up two days worth of lunch and dinner. The squashes are in, so are the cabbages, and they are ginormous, and there were little bags of candy corn by the cash register.

I realized that this is where I came in. The wheel has turned one whole round and I’m back in the season where I started the book. It’s been a year. I’m still playing out that contract, delivered a draft by deadline, now working out the edits. My editor wished me a happy writing weekend which means more than you can know if you haven’t left everyone you love to stick yourself in the echo chamber of your own mind.

I re-read the draft I made at the Labor Day vacation. It did not suck. This is immensely reassuring. Before anyone else can like what I’ve done I have to like what I’ve done. The draft, to be honest, felt like a slog, a whole lot of work squeezed into not enough time, and the prose felt dry. It’s lively now, less prosaic and more poetic. When the draft ended where I had stopped I was disappointed – wait, what next?

After a year in this house I know its little sounds, they no longer alarm me. I still wish I could bring Fiona the wonder dog along, but this very nice place belongs to a non-pet owner, so that’s out. But a warm cup of tea sends me to sleep.

In the morning the storm had passed and the Olympics came clear. There is nothing here to do but write which is the point. So I write. I’m leaning more into story as I go along and when I do my voice settles. It’s a nice feeling. Almost compensation for the absence of loved cats, and people.

Theurgy presentation notes

Last night I gave a presentation on theurgy to Horizon Lodge. The audience was generous and attentive. The writer’s life is isolated and it was a wonderful opportunity to talk about the work that I am doing. I also find it critically important to discuss the ideas and rituals I’m working on with live people, it makes the work better. If you were there, thank you!

Several people asked about the initiatory order of reading Plato’s dialogues. The blog Practical Theurgy lists them: Reading Course of Ten Platonic Dialogues Devised by Iamblichus.

I also promised a link to a bibliography and the names and dates I reviewed: Pagan Theurgy notes.