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.
After the completion of the masterclass on Maya Deren's and Moina Mathers' ritualistic-magickal aesthetics, including after-class discussions with fascinating researchers, creatives, and practitioners, I was able to join the presentations in the main hall. On my way, I found myself in the golden world of the abundant grain goddess created by the artist in residence, Victoria Musson. I breathed in the bright hues and the radiance of the warm wheat, filled with gratitude to Her blessings!
Despite the shortage of physical space and spare time that currently characterizes the lifestyle of young people, many of whom are employed on freelance contracts with no job security, Keynote Dr Christina Oakley-Harrington emphasised magic without real-estate, stating that 'magickal women will not be defeated by late-stage capitalism.' She was referring to magick that happens on a laptop, magick with ear plugs, magick embedded in zines, podcasts, net art, etc. This call to embrace the free and unintentional benefits that come with our daily digital devices for magick deeply resonated with my practice-based research in cybernetic and technoetic ritual-magick that initially grew from a lack of stable physical space and the need for an alternate ritual-space, a safe and sacred space in cyber-ether that I could call home and temple, performance stage and altar.
Another related issue concerning social media and its negative effects on magickal practices was raised by an audience member in the Q & A session, which sealed the event. He was questioning our protection from, and our exposure to, instant modes of communication that can hit us directly in devastating ways. Regardless, since the 1990s the Net has become the new frontier for feminists and activists, artists and occultists. Digital space is becoming more immersive, augmented and virtual with many creative options to bend, stretch and fold space-time. It recalls the relativistic space-time, the no longer stable universe of Ulysses, that Maya Deren described in her writings and ritualistic films. Despite the hazards of the digital terrain, we should, as Christina Oakley-Harrington stated, support the young and the brave who face, mold and share the lease-free properties and unbound domains of present and future magick.
Having spent a decade working on a practice-based PhD in dance and movement on screen, I was drawn to the presentation of Alkistis Dimech and her notion of 'occulted' apocalyptic body as well as to Amodali Zain's feminine current of the goddess Babalon. Alkistis Dimech's authentic and viscerally direct use of movement and its relation to the written and spoken words induces a mesh of metaphors and meanings that bypass the limits of linear thinking. In both cases, the feminine body is the key of wisdom that could unleash the destruction, renewal and evolution of life.
The final presentation in the main hall by Sharron Kraus was an immersive audio-visual experience exploring the ways in which her magical practice feeds and fuels her creative work. It was a beautiful ending, leaving a pulsating image and resonance in the evening air.
Although it was impossible to attain all of the presentations and workshops, I am certain that each and every one of them was invaluable.
The Magickal Woman was invoked and manifested,
Long May She Reign and Prosper!
The invocation of the Magickal Woman video
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