The thing that you can always say about The Occult Conference, held in Glastonbury every February, is that its an experience. This year was no exception. I’m actually wondering if I left my brain in the hotel – ’cause return to normality seems impossible. But I think that has more to do with personal feelings than the ghosts at The George and Pilgrim stealing my body parts.
This years theme was Death and the Lovers and it never felt very far away, even when the talk seemed unrelated – reflecting the omnipresence of such themes in magickal practice, appearing even when uninvited, weaving a constant through all of life.
As usual the talks and workshops were an eclectic blend, but first we had the Friday party to attend. First Paul Weston spoke about his new book with an energy that reminded me of Julian Cope. It sounds fascinating and every one who is reading it is having an amazing time. I wish I’d bought a copy, but that is easily remedied. Then came the talent that is comedian magician Danny Buckler. I found myself childlike and in awe of him being able to change a card from one thing to another BEFORE OUR VERY EYES. It could have been an amazing set, but he sang some Les Miserables. 😉 I enjoy these Friday evenings, as it gives you a chance to see the faces of the weekend – attendees and speakers – and form that unspoken bond for the next couple of days. Friendships old are rekindled, and new are made.
Then came Saturday and the event began proper! The lectures and workshops were diverse and informative. My list of books to purchase is far too long to achieve. By the end of the day you feel like you’ve been to a two day event already as you’ve crammed so much in, and the speakers have been so brilliant. As well as other talks and workshops, we learnt about Sound and Symbol, with James North, making beautiful energy with our voices, and then Sex and Death Magick in Ancient Egypt from Mogg Morgan. The days closing ritual was simple and elegant, and I was privileged enough to be a very tiny part of the team who were hosting it, the Liferites team. It was a very beautiful thing to be part of, written by a friend I hold very dear, highlighting the importance of light and dark, in contrast and balance.
Saturday party! Goth dancing ahoy. Love it.
Sunday -what another day??? The day continued with life changing experiences and Divine intervention, and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. I attended my first Gnostic Mass, and later learnt all about connected breathwork – research into breathing differently is something I hold dear as a meditation group leader – in a workshop with David Lee. It was life changing -part of me died, part of me loved. The whole day and event finished with an energetic ritual of chaos magick hosted by The Illuminates of Thanateros- again contrasting so much with other experiences of the weekend – and it felt like a perfect burst of energy and togetherness to be sent home with.
The themes and actions of Death or the Lovers can be uncomfortable and uninvited, or thrilling and exciting. By simply by attending you’re inviting life altering experiences and knowledge. The Occult Conference this year has certainly delivered.
Just as a postscript I have to share a funny moment of the weekend. As I said we stayed in the George and Pilgrim which was very nice indeed. Our room had a little square window up high in the wall, whitewashed for privacy and to dull the light from the corridor. This provided a comforting little nightlight for townie me, and an irritant for my country dwelling companion. Just as I was going to sleep I heard her chunter
” Its like bloody haunted PlaySchool!”
HA! Just don’t call her Hamble.