Thursday 23 August 2012

Exploring The Extraordinary

Dr. Champagne's Space Time Capsule lands in Mistley - dwelling abode of Matthew Hopkins

I will be talking at the 4th Conference of Exploring The Extraordinary, in York,  on September 22nd.

The title of the talk is - 
English Heretic: An application of magical psychogeography and modern necromancy


English Heretic was instigated in 2003 as a magico-creative project, subverting our notion and consumption of history. Through its Black Plaque scheme English Heretic attempts to achieve rapport with the spectres of tragic figures in popular culture. Concomitant with this English Heretic engages in a form of natural magic, decoding and extrapolating new mythic wyrds from unusual and suggestive locations. For the symposium, English Heretic will deliver a report of the magical resonances and synchronicities that have emerged as the project has progressed. Discussing the Black Plaque scheme, it will speculate on the possibility of an unintentional cursing during the making of the film "The Witchfinder General".

Following on from this the talk will explore the interplay between film location and ceremonial magic, with particular reference to the horror film genre, asking the question: 'Is it not beyond the bounds of credulity that a well staged, suitably ornate ritual portrayed through the visual arts may harness the power to tear the fabric of consensus reality - and with what results: the letting in of monstrous denizens from a fantastic and bloody celluloid nightmare? The blind atavisms of the preternatural realm may not know the difference between theatrical ceremony and the incantations of the supposedly initiated.'

Illustrative of the use of literature and magical practice, the lecture will detail a pathworking carried out using the location setting of Daphne Du Maurier's "The Birds". In this case landscape was used to scry for hidden myths with very unexpected results in which rapport was achieved with the spirit of Joseph Kennedy Junior. Taking this example the talk will open up the prospect of using landscape as a magical tool, evoking the necromantic traditions of neoplatonic occult philosophy but within a modern context. 

The talk will discuss  the ceremonial intent of pilgrimage, more particularly to sites of heresy: cold war establishments, horror film locations, abandoned psychiatric hospital. Can these venues be used to adumbrate what the Hebrew termed the "qliphoth" but again within the context of 20th century history?

Tuesday 21 August 2012

English Heretic 2012 AGM

Over at the Events page, exciting news of our 2012 AGM!

English Heretic Annual General Meeting 2012 October 13th Masonic Temple, Old Orchard Theatre, Bath.

English Heretic has the pleasure of inviting you to its annual general meeting. This year, we are delighted to host the AGM at the wonderfully ornate Masonic Temple in Bath. The AGM will be a forum for friends and collaborators of English Heretic to present findings from their creative research over the past year, as well as previewing work in progress and future prospects. The AGM will culminate in musical ceremonies by our most holy augurs to propitiate imaginative nourishment for the coming year. 

The AGM is open from 12.30pm to 10.00pm.  We are honoured to welcome a plethora of exceptionally interesting and talented guest speakers covering a rich canvas of hermetic, aesthetic and ontological material.

Confirmed guest speakers and performers:

Antony Clayton – Gentleman of Hastings

As a taster for his recently published book Netherwood: Last Resort Of Aleister Crowley,  Antony will be taking the audience on an annotated guide to the remarkable guesthouse where the “Wickedest Man In The World” spent his final years, playing chess, injecting heroin and receiving an impressive cast of visitors. A unique memoir of place and person Antony's “Netherwood” is available as limited hard back edition, including over 40 photographs and illustrations.

John Cussans  - Red Cross Bones Pomba Gira Workings

Abstract to follow.

Ken Hollings  - The Psychoanalysis of Trash: The ‘Fever of Matter’ and the Aesthetics of Industrial Decay

Ken’s presentation will argue that ‘trash aesthetics’ represents an early crisis in the modernist dynamic. Starting from Huysmans’ A Rebours, in which the pasteurization process is a praised as a means of transforming poor quality wine into copies of fine vintages, it will  examine trash as the original prima materia of art. Alchemic processes of transformation (the ‘fever of matter’) are invoked, alongside early ‘hysterical’ practices identified by Sigmund Freud in which discarded objects associated with the dead king take on a sacred aspect, to trace connections between Crown Prince Rudolph of the Hapsburgs and King Ludwig II of Bavaria on the one hand and Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson on the other. All four of them were vilified for their excessive behaviour and ‘bad taste’, and all four of them were the victims of self-inflicted – one might almost say sacrificial – violence in one aspect or another. And yet all four of them created powerfully charged personal environments (the castle and the hunting lodge, the southern mansion the fairy-tale palace) that are closely associated as much with their deaths as their extraordinary lives.
The love and appreciation of trash, the talk concludes, is essentially aristocratic and subversive at the same time: closely linked with notions of alchemic transformation and the overthrow of all established cultural norms.

Dean Kenning  - Innovations in Heresy: Prospects for Growth

Working through a series of bullet points, graphs and flowcharts, Dean will chart unorthodox, anti-establishment, idolatrous and destabilising patterns of behaviour across the UK with a view to their potential exploitation

Sarah Sparkes  - Remember. THE END.

Sarah’s talk will contextualise this year’s AGM venue with regard to her current work for a forthcoming exhibition on Theatrical Dynamics at Torrance Art Museum. A  personal and historical, phantasmagorical travelogue, the talk will develop themes from Sarah’s GHost project, presenting her great grandfather’s magic lantern slides and discussing their unusual connection with The Tolpuddle Martyrs secret society. 

Haunted Shoreline - Plumbing the depths on the south coast of England.

Hermes Trismegistus and Salvador Dali chase giant psychedelic beachballs across fossil-strewn cliffs, while Georges Bataille performs unspeakable perversions with Max Ernst’s frottage sticks and a vampire squid. At The Haunted Shoreline, a stretch of the English coastline becomes transmuted, emerging as a wondrous Hermetic Theatre in which secret Nature is unveiled and the shadowed recesses of the mind illumined. Where occult beachcombing meets surrealist psychoanalysis, and everything crackles with life.

Music Ceremonies:

The Blue Tree  - perform a Lethbridge moog ritual.

Matthew Shaw is a Dorset based musician, artist, photographer and songwriter, he has been making and releasing music since the mid 1990s. Recent work has focused on compositions based on single locations such as Lanreath, Fernworthy, Seatown, Zeist and Barnoldswick. Matthew is also an active member of the bands Fougou, The Blue Tree and 230 Divisadero. The Blue Tree is Matt’s collaborative project with Andrew Paine.

English Heretic – Collision! The Devil Drives Out

An electroacoustic rendering of their forthcoming album. “Collision! The Devil Drives Out” imagines a post-mortem trip along the Bath Road in Berkshire. A death coach carrying Tarotic fools to a metal elysium beneath the Heathrow flyer, their cards read by Frieda Harris: Aleister Crowley directs Dr. Terror's House Of Horrors, ritual cinematography by Dick Bush. “The Mangled Destinies of Robert Cochrane, Angel Blake, Dr. Robert Vaughan and George Sanders” photographed by Peter Beard, in kodachrome kalas somewhere near 1973. Mall timeslips programmed by Ian Ball. Reanimated Ex Men, anti-heroes, under the tutelage of wheelchair bound mystic John Levy, a module in psychohistory delivered with the heavy hand of a violent cartoon.

EVENT TIME: 12.30pm  - 10.00pm


Monday 13 August 2012

Friday 10 August 2012

Saturday 4 August 2012

Mount Fuji

An eventful couple of days. On Thursday we climbed Mount Fuji - no sherpas were sacrificed in this mission - a decidedly unCrowleyean ascent... Last night, had the pleasure of my first earthquake, 4.9 - 20 epicentre miles NNE of Tokyo.


Mount Fuji, a set on Flickr.