Monday, 23 November 2009

Dealing with the Devil

This paper given at Reinventing the Renaissance Occult, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, 14 November 2009, explored the development of the Faustian Pact, looking at how the Renaissance magician Faustus came to be condemned as having made a pact with the Devil, and how this condemnation itself came to be a pattern for magical practice.

Pacts with the Devil have been a mainstay of Christian legend, used to reveal the saintliness of some and revile the Satanism of others – a two-edged weapon in the war of words fought between sanctioned ‘truth’ and outlawed knowledge. And it is a sword that has landed firmly on the neck of one sixteenth century magician in particular.


Saturday, 21 November 2009

Reinventing the Renaissance Occult

The aim of the day was to explore the different ways in which modern culture has returned to Renaissance esotericism. Some have been drawn to the intriguing remoteness of such teachings from our own more scientific and sceptical age. Others, by contrast, have sought to discover unexpected points of contact between the mysteries of the occult and more modern mysteries, such as quantum science. The lure of the occult today may partly be explained by a growing dissatisfaction with Enlightenment rationalism and its perceived failure to address fundamental human concerns.

Reinventing the Renaissance Occult in Modern and Postmodern Culture, Saturday 14 November 2009, Helmore 201, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

Jennifer Mckimm, ‘“Sounding Alchyme:” The Politics and Aesthetics of Milton’s Alchemical Verse in Paradise Lost’ [Cancelled]

Diana Barsham, ‘"That Miracles are Ceased": Reginald Scot and the Rediscovery of Witchcraft’ [Cancelled]

Ewan Fernie, ‘The Possessed’.

Gyorgy E. Szonyi, ‘Three "New Age" Interpretations of the Book of Enoch'.

Urszula Szulakowska, 'Art and the Esoteric Tradition in Australia'.

Sophia Wellbeloved, 'The Conquest of Time in the Writings of GI Gurdjieff'.

Leo Ruickbie, 'Dealing with the Devil: The Faustian Pact in Magical Culture'.

Monika Smialkowska, 'Magicians and Scientists: David Calcutt's Prospero's Island and Elizabeth Nunez' Prospero's Daughter'.

Patricia MacCormack, 'Occultism and Continental Philosophy: From Solomon through Spare to Serres'.

Mark Goodall, 'L'Occhio Selvaggio: Towards an Occult Film Studies'.

Rowlie Wymer, 'Science, Religion and Magic in James Blish's "After Such Knowledge" Sequence'.

Marina Warner, reading from Phantasmagoria.

Listing from

Monday, 2 November 2009

Spells for Halloween

Many people celebrate Halloween by honouring the dead, strengthening family ties, and using scrying mirrors, spells and magic to find future happiness and love.

Some of my Hallowe'en research has turned up at something called in an article entitled 'Spells for Halloween: Celebrate Halloween with White Magic Scrying, Spells and MagicRead'. You can read it here:

You can also find out the answer to the gripping question 'Do Mormons Celebrate Halloween?' - The answer is 'mostly'.

Or read the original here: