Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimech will speak at the 2018 Texts and Traditions Colloquium in Seattle on 15th and 16th September. Organised by Mortlake & Company, the colloquium is host to authors, publishers, artists, and booksellers participating in the unique field of esoteric thought and practice.
We both spoke at the first Esoteric Book Conference in 2009, and we're delighted to return to Seattle this year to share our work. Details of our talks below; more on the other presentations and participants can be found on the event website.
The Sacred Conspiracy – Peter Grey
The story of the fallen angels is the foundational myth of both magic and witchcraft. The account of 1 Enoch is one of pact, pedagogy and sex in a revolutionary coup d’état. This act of defiance against the tyrant profoundly re-orders the universe in what can be read as a deliberate sequence of transgressive (sacred) acts; which are of renewed importance in an age of demagoguery and division. I will proceed to an exegesis of 1 Enoch and the broader fallen angel tradition, paying particular attention to the issue of sovereignty and the sovereign. This will be given through the perspectives of demonologist Jean Bodin, his modern theological rival Giorgio Agamben and diverse other thinkers. A critique and model of sovereignty and hierarchy will be developed that can in turn inform our ritual practice and relationships with power, place, spirit and one another.
The Witches’ Dance – Alkistis Dimech
‘There is no assembly carried on where they do not dance.’ – Jean Bodin, On the demon-mania of witches (1580)
The witches’ dance is one of the central motifs of the sabbat, a diabolic fantasy elaborated in the writings of demonologists such as Bodin and De Lancre that has the power to move us still. In this talk I will trace the haunted kinaesthetic and psychic territories of witchcraft through the sabbatic dance. In the first place, I situate the dance in its socio-political context, showing how it emerges from a history of disorderly movement and unruly bodies: from popular seasonal festivals and folk dances to the dances of death, disease and ecstasy that periodically irrupted in medieval Europe. Following this, and drawing from my own practice, I will examine aspects of the witches’ dance that are suggestive for contemporary practitioners of magic and dancers to explore.