Conferences, like sea waves, come and go but only a few succeed in leaving a lasting imprint behind, a magickal vestigia that continues to pulsate after they ended. It was certainly pulsating in the air during the Magickal Women Conference that, as many already remarked, has made history! The organisers Sue Terry and Erzebet Barthold produced and magickally weaved the groundbreaking context and the setting for talks, workshops and masterclass by women visionaries and occultists, academics, sages, artists and more with various diverse skills. The programme presented a syncretic arrangement of views and approaches to the study and exploration of women in occult traditions as well as women's innovative practices of occult magick and witchcraft, past and present, a melting-pot that could probably only happen at this moment in time. 1 June 2019 marked that moment in our current zeitgeist that makes Magickal Women of various traditions and ideologies historically and culturally fully visible and acknowledged.
Read my review of the conference with a few images and personal reflections, here.
The Magickal Women Conference, organised by Sue Terry and Erzebet Barthold, will take place in London on June 1st, 2019. It pays homage to the women of the past who challenged the status quo by embracing mysticism, esotericism, and occult teachings, and to the women who continue those rich traditions through lived practice, performance, and adeptship. There is an astounding international roster of speakers, masterclasses, and workshops, including the headline speaker Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, and keynote speaker Christina Oakley-Harrington. I am honoured that my proposal was selected and I will be giving a Masterclass.
(See details below).
Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum
Two women summon the sea, one is soaring above it as the mistress of its watery elements (Flying Roll XXIII ), and the other is born of it, and quest her place on earth with the senses of an oceanic creature (At Land, 1944). They are both trailblazers, the first is modernising magick with an artistic flair, and the second is innovating the art of film through modern ritualistic aesthetics. She makes films akin to ritual-magic. Although belonging to different epochs, Moina Mathers (1865-1928) and Maya Deren (1917-1961) share a common ground that enlighten the processes involved in the intersection of the arts and ritual-magick especially with regards to the role of women and the feminine. Mathers and Deren were both performers who utilised their body as the powerful nexus of the mythically divine and visionary feminine.
In the Masterclass, which is divided into an enlightening part and a participatory part, Dr Lila Moore will first present Deren's and Mathers' approaches to the feminine body, sexuality and mind. Mathers' remaining illustrations appear embedded with radical messages about the future roles of women in magickal-mystical traditions. The feminine body that she depicts is physically and sexually liberated, liminal and gender fluid. These images correlate with her statements on the inherent natural and magical powers of the feminine body which are not merely linked to biological reproduction but to special feminine intelligence, sympathetic comprehension and universal love.
Likewise, Deren, more than four decades later, speaks of the rhythms of her films and their aesthetics of time as deriving from her feminine body and its unique sensibility. Only after her Voudoun initiation, Deren compares the sexuality and love of the goddess Erzulie to the function of art and to the pivotal role of women artists and film-makers. Furthermore, Deren's ritualistic art is technologically and scientifically informed and the bodies that she depicts may be perceived as ultra-modern women, technological goddesses and cyborg seeresses. Ideas and imagery inspired by the sea and cosmos, elements of nature and culture, and the feminine magical body and mind, will be demonstrated as they were articulated by the two legendary women who sought to interweave the aesthetics of art and magickal occult practice in order to generate influential cultural shifts.
Dr Moore considers their legacies in the context of the Great Work and equally important in relation to the challenges faced by women today. Based on her extensive practice-based research of Deren's ritualistic art and film form, the participatory part of the Masterclass will commence with her digital poems of ritual-magic, invoking The Magickal Woman and The Hieroglyphic Body Identity. It will be followed by a guided viewing of a short film by Maya Deren as The Rite of the Ultra Modern Heroine, including a handout of a magickal protocol for further personal experiments. The overall ceremonial aesthetics is intended to summon and authorise novel feminine visions, ideas and futures, in the spirit of Moina Matters' defiant motto: "I never retrace my steps."
Dr Lila Moore's academic article on Moina Bergson Mathers is available online, here
Dr Lila Moore's essay entitled: Magic(k)al Visions of the Ultra-modern Woman: Reconsidering the Feminine Aesthetics of Moina Mathers and Maya Deren (Pp.207-225) was published in Making Magic Happen: Selected Essays from the Inaugural Magickal Women Conference 2019
Invocation of the Magickal Woman
A Digital Poem of Ritual Magic by Dr Lila Moore
On the winter solstice that coincided with the Full Moon, I performed the Invocation of The Magickal Woman by summoning the names of mythic and trailblazing women from the history of art, magic and the occult. The liturgy consisted of poetic words interwoven with video images, including a woman who is seen walking ceremonially throughout the elements, holding the Mirror of Hathor. The digital-video poem and rite can be reactivated online.
The Magickal Words
The invoker summons the names of magickal, legendary women from myth and history. She sends the names into the networked ether, the astral cyber void, the great Teom of the goddesses Tiamat and Nuit. The names weave the weavers within a field of bright consciousness, under the Full Moon, of the shortest day. The field which weaves the name sparks lightning over the waters of Teom and the body of Nuit, waves of purple hiss, breaking through the cracks in ignorance and fear, greed and slavery. From the silence of her Creation she rises, soothing the howls of Lilith. From the bitter all-knowing abyss of Binah, she emerges, the Awakener of the Ages. Formed from the cosmic anti-matter, she is the builder of the starry highways, walking and dancing on stone circles of planets and asteroids. Over and beyond the ruins and temples of Malkuth, glorious may she reign for all eternity.
Published by the Magickal Women Conference, London:2019