Virtual Program

Virtual Presentations:

7th-13th September 2022

Please see the zoom registration links and each speaker listing for dates and times. All times are shown in Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). Local times can be identified using this website: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html

Presentations will be recorded unless otherwise advised at the start of each session and will be made available after the Australian Wiccan Conference 2022.

There are no fees to register for the presentations, but donations from people not attending the in-person Australian Wiccan Conference (16-18 September 2022) would be appreciated.

Donations by PayPal to australianwiccanconference@gmail.com or bank transfer (A$ only) to Australian Wiccan Conference Inc. BSB: 017 570 Account No: 4620-13463

Please put ‘Virtual Donation’ in the reference.

Please note that whilst this program has been confirmed, the organisers reserve the right to adjust it if it becomes necessary to meet any changing circumstances for the presenters. The organisers are also dependent upon third party IT and wi-fi services, which have been tested but are subject to unforeseen circumstances. If any interruption occurs, the organisers will make every effort to proceed and in the event of a complete failure of service, will attempt to re-schedule any affected presentations.

Register in advance for all sessions

There is no limit to the number of sessions for which you can register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the session. Each session will open 30 minutes before the first scheduled

Wednesday, 7th September

Professor Ronald Hutton (September 7, 19:00 AEST)

Professor Hutton will be speaking about his latest book, Queens of the Wild, which explores the history of deity-like figures in Christian Europe.

Ronald Hutton is intervening in an ongoing scholarly debate over the question of pagan survivals in Christian Europe. The consensus among professional historians in the 1990s was that while paganism itself did not survive long after the official conversion to Christianity, the new religion incorporated many features of the old which may be termed ‘pagan survivals’. Recently younger colleagues have attacked this to argue that all features of medieval and early modern European cultures may be termed Christian.

Ronald Hutton recasts the whole discussion by looking at particular figures in those cultures – the literary one of Nature or Mother Earth, the British fairy queen and the Gaelic Cailleach, who both transcended literary and popular culture, and the purely popular one of a superhuman female who leads a retinue of followers through the night – who do not seem to be survivals from ancient paganism but have nothing Christian about them either. He suggests that we need a new language to fit the complexities of actual medieval and early modern cultures.

About the presenter: Ronald Hutton is a leading international voice in paganism and witchcraft studies. He has published eighteen books and ninety-three essays on a wide range of subjects including British history between 1400 and 1700, ancient and modern paganism in Britain, the British ritual year, and Siberian shamanism. His books include the recently published Queens of the Wild, and the influential Triumph of the Moon, which was at the forefront of research into Modern Pagan Witchcraft.

Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History in the University of Bristol and Head of its School of Humanities, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the Learned Society of Wales, and the British Academy.

He is the historian on the board of trustees which runs English Heritage, and chair of the Blue Plaques panel which awards commemorative plaques to historic buildings.

Geraldine Beskin (September 7, 20:30 AEST)

Geraldine will look at the life and times of Helen Duncan, a 20th century Scottish medium who was charged under the Witchcraft Act of 1736.

It’s arguable that without the persecution of Helen Duncan, the Witchcraft Act would never have been repealed. She was a truly remarkable spirit medium whose accuracy and extraordinary work ethic made her famous, and her accuracy during World War II panicked the authorities. Geraldine reveals how a Catholic plot and an Oxford Professor of Logic sheds light on why she was pursued and attacked.

About the presenter: Geraldine is an international speaker on esotericism and a social historian, bringing the various important occult characters and places to life with her narratives and biographical talks. As co-owner of The Atlantis Bookshop with her daughter Bali, she has had a life-long interest in all things magical ever since seeing Gerald Gardner ascend from the depths of the Shop after one of his regular meetings held there. She is also a contributor to many esoteric books and publications and has a deeply held passion for Austin Osman Spare, the famous artist who worked for a time with Aleister Crowley, ever since finding her first two paintings by him whilst working at The Atlantis Bookshop.

Geraldine is very deliberately a historian, not an academic as she is far too loud and opinionated for that! Generally, she is pretty comfortable with the history of esoteric thought and practice over the last 150 years, with the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare and Dion Fortune as special interests. She has witchcraft in the mix too through her family connections and because it suits her.

Thursday, 8th September

Dr. Andrew Sneddon (September 8, 19:00 AEST)

Andrew will be talking about his new book, Representing Magic in Modern Ireland, which explores belief in harmful magic and witchcraft from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century and how it was reimagined and (mis)represented by historians, journalists, creative writers and artists over the centuries.

About the presenter: Andrew Sneddon has published widely on British and Irish medical, religious and political history, and is a leading expert on the history of witchcraft, magic and the supernatural in Ireland. His most recent monograph, Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland, was published by Palgrave, and his latest articles appear in Preternature, Irish Historical Studies, Historical Journal and Cultural and Social History. He is currently writing two books for Cambridge University Press (Representing Magic in Modern Ireland, and Disability and Magic in early Modern Britain and America) and editing a collection for Bloomsbury on the cultural history of magic in enlightenment Europe.

Andrew Sneddon lectures in History in Ulster University. He is President of the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies (usihs36.com) and sits on the board of Irish Historical Studies. He is a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Peer Review Council and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Higher Education Academy.

Jessica Grote (September 8, 20:30 AEST)

The Wilderness Within: There exists a strong resonance and compatibility between the Witch and the Hetaera (‘courtesan’), in particular regarding their shared liminality – traversing the thresholds of societal norms.

Centered around a comparison of witch and hetaera, Jessica Grote will introduce you to the esoteric path of Modern Pagan Hetaerism, a contemporary form of eroto-magical living that can complement the practice and art of a witch of any tradition and sexual background.

About the presenter: Jessica Grote is a practicing Kosmic Gnostic, co-owner of Theion Publishing, and instructor at The Blackthorne School of Sorcery and Traditional Witchcraft. She has been an initiate of the Kosmic current founded by David Beth for over fifteen years and is actively involved in its development. This includes her elaboration of Modern Pagan Hetaerism as a pathway of esoteric-erotic companionship and magic, part of which she teaches publicly at The Blackthorne School in the class “Modern Hetaera: Paganism, Eros, Magic”. Apart from this work she is mainly engaged in manifesting unique books in beautiful fine editions with Theion Publishing, a leading publisher of sophisticated occult and esoteric works.

Jessica graduated from University of Heidelberg in Religious Studies and lives in Munich, Germany. She has published several essays, is currently working on her first book, and some of her writing can be found on her website http://www.jessicagrote.com.

Friday, 9th September

Dr. Vivianne Crowley (September 9, 19:00 AEST)

Wild Once – Living with intuition and Magic: Vivianne will talk about her new book Wild Once and how we can live more fulfilling lives by attuning ourselves to the voice of the deeper, truer self and following our guiding star.

About the presenter: Dr Vivianne Crowley is an internationally renowned teacher of Wicca, magic and spiritual psychology who has been teaching for forty years. She is the author of over twenty books on Paganism, Wicca and Jungian psychology, including Wild Once: Awaken the Magic Within, Unleash True Power (Penguin, 2022), Wicca: A Comprehensive Guide to the Old Religion in the Modern World, Jung: A Journey of Transformation, Principles of Jungian Spirituality, and The Magickal Life: A Wiccan priestess shares her secrets. Her books have been translated into ten languages. She writes for Vogue, newspapers and other major publications. 

Dr Vivianne Crowley is a Chartered Psychologist by profession and a professor in the Faculty of Pastoral Counseling and Chaplaincy, Cherry Hill Seminary, Columbia SC, USA, and a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, UK, where she specialises in the psychology of religion and spirituality. She sits on the Contemporary Pagan Studies committee of the American Academy of Religion.

David Beth (September 9, 20:30 AEST)

In this presentation David will investigate such concepts as the hedge, the wilderness and the Witches’ Sabbath from the unique perspective of Leonardian witchcraft, a current which originated in central Germany and practices a biocentric form of spirituality through intimate communion with the magical atmospheres of the cosmos.

About the presenter: David Beth was born and raised in Africa and has lived and travelled all over the world on his spiritual quest. He is the founder of the Kosmic ‘pan-daemonic’ Gnosis, an esoteric current fusing together various initiatic transmissions to manifest a unique magical vision of Life and Kosmos.

A practicing occultist for more than three decades, David is also an initiated priest (Houngan Asogwe) of Haitian Vodou. He has given lectures world-wide, his writings have appeared in various journals and with publishers such as Fulgur Ltd. and his own ‘fine edition’ press Theion Publishing. University educated in Germany and the USA, David now lives in Bavaria, Germany when he is not travelling.

Saturday, 10th September

Professor Sabina Magliocco (September 10, 10:00 AEST)

Ecospirituality and Reconnecting to Everything: Fairies in the Folklore of Contemporary Witches and Pagans – Why are fairies important to modern Witches and Pagans, and how are they re-shaping traditional fairy folklore to reflect contemporary spiritual and ecological ideas? In this presentation, Prof. Magliocco will explore some of the ways traditional fairy beliefs have entered the practice of modern Witchcraft and Paganism, how Witches and Pagans conceptualize and interact with fairies, and how these ideas relate to the environmental crisis in religions for which nature is sacred.

About the presenter: Sabina Magliocco is Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the interdisciplinary Program in the Study of Religion at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She has published on religion, folklore, foodways, festival and witchcraft in Europe and North America, and is a leading authority on Wicca and modern Paganisms. She is a also Gardnerian priestess who ran a coven in Los Angeles for seven years, and now runs one in Vancouver.

Associate Professor Lynne Hume (September 10, 11:30 AEST)

This session is designed to be interactive rather than a solo presentation.  Lynne would like to invite participants to engage in a discussion around the topic of the ‘experiential’, in the context of what has been termed by anthropologists as ‘extraordinary’ experiences, especially those involved in Wiccan practices. We can discuss the importance of ‘set and setting’, creating sacred space, preparations for rituals, as well as any serendipitous experiences that may occur before or after rituals.

About the presenter: Associate Professor Hume’s publications include Paganism and Witchcraft in Australia, The Religious Life of Dress (the decorated body, dress and religion), and Portals: Opening Doorways to Other Realities through the Senses, what has been termed ‘extraordinary’ experiences. She is widely published in academic journals, encyclopedia entries, and has other published books including Ancestral Power.

Her theoretical interests are phenomenology, sensorial anthropology, and consciousness studies. She is currently engaged in a reflexive account of her fieldwork sojourns in Melanesia and Australia, one that will include her own subjective experiences as well as those of other fieldworkers who have been brave enough to include them in their academic publications.

Associate Professor Lynne Hume (The University of Queensland) is a socio-cultural anthropologist who has focused on alternative systems of belief with a specific interest in Paganism and Witchcraft in Australia.

Dr. Ceri Houlbrook (September 10, 19:00 AEST)

The Adaption of the Contemporary Witch Bottle: Ceri will be delving into the history of 17th-century witch-bottles, drawing on her project with Museum of London Archaeology, ‘Bottles Concealed and Revealed’, and exploring how the custom has been adapted by contemporary Wiccans.

About the presenter: Dr Ceri Houlbrook is a leading researcher in contemporary folklore, her interests including the material culture of popular customs and their adaptations in the present. In 2019, she won the Young Scholar’s Prize of SIEF (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) for her research on concealed shoes, and in 2011, won the Folklore Society’s President’s Prize for her work on the contemporary boggart. She has published monographs and journal articles on such subjects as ritual “litter”, coin-trees, and love-locks, and co-edited the volumes The Materiality of Magic and Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies. Ceri is currently working on the ‘Witch-Bottles’ Revealed and Concealed Project with Museum of London Archaeology, which is cataloguing all recorded historic witch-bottles as well as exploring how the custom adapted over time.

Ceri Houlbrook is Lecturer in Folklore and History at the University of Hertfordshire, where she lectures on the Folklore Studies MA. She is a member of the Folklore Society Council and editor of its newsletter. She is Heritage editor of open-access journal Cogent Arts and Humanities, and is currently co-editing a special issue of Peace Review on Folklore, Conflict & Peace.

Sunday, 11th September

Jo Carson (September 11, 10:00 AEST)

From The Fool to The World – A New Tarot from Feraferia: Explore the Feraferian approach to the cosmos with High Priestess Jo Carson. 

Since 2016 Jo has been working on the astral plane with Feraferia’s founder, Fred Adams, to transform his lifetime output of symbolic art into a powerful Tarot deck based on the Enneasphere psycho-cosmic tuning system. For over a year Jo’s Tarot Magic group did deep trance journeys to reveal hidden divinatory meanings in each card. Jo will share the techniques, ideas, and stunning results.

About the presenter: Jo Carson is passionate about Feraferia, A Love Culture for Wilderness, trees, magic, and creating positive visions of the future. Her professional life has included camera work on many feature films, and she is the creator of the documentary feature Dancing With Gaia: Earth Energy, Sacred Sexuality and the Return of the Goddess, plus the documentary shorts A Dance for the Goddess, about Feraferian rites, and Himalayan Pilgrimage: A Visionary Journey. Jo authored Celebrate Wildness: Magic, Mirth and Love on the Feraferian Path, a profusely illustrated introduction to Feraferia. She is currently working on a Tarot deck and book tentatively entitled The Feraferia Tarot: A Planetary Oracle. She lives in Northern California with her family, where she celebrates wildness with seasonal rites, trance, and nature immersion.

Jo is the High Priestess of Feraferia. She holds a Masters’ Degree from UCLA in film production, and serves as Chair of the Board of Feraferia, which she joined in 1972. She also holds the rank of 7th Degree in the Order of the Temple of Astarte, which she joined in 1970.  She was active in a Reclaiming-inspired Wiccan circle called Eye of the Crescent for 17 years and is currently in a smaller circle called Pentagram.

Dr. Amy Hale (September 11, 11:30 AEST)

Towards a Queer, Feminist, Esoteric Futurism: The aesthetics and modes of magical subcultures are often identified with a type of antimodern romanticism driven by a persistent belief that modern life is utterly disenchanted, a theory which has recently come under some reconsideration.  Yet there is a current of contemporary magical and occult thought, in some ways recalling the idealism of early Chaos Magic from the 1980s, which actively resists antimodernism and the rhetoric of lost and imagined pasts, instead being informed by queer and feminist theory, speculative fiction, anticapitalism and technology in response to issues such as climate change and growing trends toward populist authoritarianism.

This illustrated lecture will explore emerging trends in both esoteric art and occulture which are characterized by attempts to disentangle magical culture from the conditions of neoliberalism and essentialism, suggesting a magical future that is diverse, intersectional, creative, and interdependent. 

About the presenter: Dr Amy Hale has written widely on artist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun, notably the recent biography Ithell Colquhoun: Genius of the Fern Loved Gully (2020). She is also the editor of Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses (2022). She is currently a curator and host for Viktor Wynd’s popular Last Tuesday Society lecture series and has written gallery texts and essays for a number of institutions including Tate, Burlington Contemporary, Camden Arts Centre, Art UK, Arusha Galleries, Heavenly Records and Spike Island, Bristol.

Dr. Amy Hale is an Atlanta based writer, curator and critic. She has a PhD in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA and has published academic and popular articles on a wide range of topics such as Paganism and the New Right, women’s esoteric art, Cornish cultural nationalism, Arthuriana, color theory, and occult performance art. Her essays can be found at her Medium site https://medium.com/@amyhale93 and her website http://www.amyhale.me.

Professor Marguerite Johnson (September 11, 14:00 AEST)

Marguerite will speak about her lifelong interest in the artist and witch, Rosaleen Norton.

Popularly known as Roie, or by her magical name of Thorn, she followed a pantheistic / Neopagan style of witchcraft largely devoted to the Greek god Pan. Her style of magic was characterised by her ability to enter deep trance states, which she used to inspire her powerful art, producing a prolific output of drawings and paintings.

About the presenter: Marguerite Johnson is Professor of Classics and Ancient History at The University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research expertise is predominantly in ancient Mediterranean cultural studies, particularly in representations of gender, sexualities, and the body. She also researches Classical Reception Studies, and ancient magic. Marguerite has published on magic, particularly the portrayal of witches, in Greek and Latin literature and was dramaturg on professional productions of Theocritus’ Idyll 2 (‘The Sorceress’) in 2019 and Euripides’ Medea in 2021. She also researches and publishes on the Australian witch, Rosaleen Norton, with whom she has held a fascination since childhood. Marguerite delivers one of the few undergraduate courses on ancient occultism (AHIS2370: Magic and Witchcraft in Greece and Rome) and supervises several PhD students working on aspects of historical and literary magic.

Monday, 12th September

Dr. Helen Cornish (September 12, 19:00 AEST)

Meeting the Uncanny beyond the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic: this talk sets out from the UK Museum of Witchcraft and Magic into the Cornish landscape. While uncanny encounters are often seen as frightening, as time and space slip, I discuss how more creative and imaginal ideas about uncanniness can open possibilities between human and other-than-human worlds here and elsewhere.

About the presenter: Helen Cornish has followed how histories of witchcraft and magic have been navigated by UK witchcraft practitioners since the early 2000s. Some of her research has taken place at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall. She is interested in how magical consciousness, storytelling, and more embodied or sensory practices contribute to archival interpretations about the past. She has written for scholarly and popular publications and is completing a book on her long-term research for Routledge: Weaving the Past. 

Dr Helen Cornish is a Research Fellow in Anthropology at Goldsmiths (University of London). She is launching a research network to study Anthropologies of History in the European Association of Social Anthropologists. She is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and a trustee of the Dragon Project Trust.

Dr. Angela Puca (September 12, 20:30 AEST)

Italian Folk Witchcraft: in Italy there is an enduring tradition of folk witches and vernacular healers, present across the different regions of the peninsula. As part of my doctoral research, I systematised the regional practices under the label The Tradition of Segnature, highlighting the core trait found across the country. This talk will cover what the Segnature are and what are the traits, initiation process and practices of this tradition.

About the presenter: Her research focuses on magic, witchcraft, Paganism, esotericism, shamanism and related currents.  The University of Leeds awarded her a PhD in Anthropology of Religion with a thesis on Indigenous and Trans-cultural Shamanism in Italy, which is soon to be published with Brill.

Author of several peer-reviewed publications and editor of the forthcoming Pagan Religions in Five Minutes for Equinox, she hopes to bridge the gap between academia and the communities of magic practitioners by delivering related scholarly content on her YouTube Channel and TikTok ‘Angela’s Symposium’.

Dr Angela Puca joined Leeds Trinity University in 2016 and is currently lecturing on Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Tuesday, 13th September

Dr. Thomas Waters (September 13, 19:00 AEST)

Moon Magic – A Modern History: moon worship is often associated with the ancient world. However, the Georgians and Victorians observed vast arrays of lunar superstitions and rites. This talk explores the persistence and development of magical beliefs and practices associated with the moon, in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. It also considers the wider history of moon magic since ancient times, as well as its more recent resurgence among some esoteric communities.

About the presenter: Thomas Waters is a historian of witchcraft and magic during the (relatively) modern period. He’s published numerous articles on many aspects of the history of magic, including the art of Irish cursing, the globalization of magical practices during the era of the Enlightenment, and the persistence of witchy folk beliefs in modern Britain.

His book Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times (Yale, 2019) draws on well over a decade of research, and explores the evolution of harmful magical beliefs and practices in Britain between around 1800 and the present day.

Tom is Lecturer in History at Imperial College London, where among other things he teaches an adult-education course on the social history of magic. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He read History at the University of Leeds and then Oxford, where he did doctoral research on religion, magic, and supernatural belief in Victorian England. Tom has previously lectured at the universities of Oxford, Derby, Hertfordshire, and Leeds, as well as for the Workers’ Educational Association. He enjoys writing and speaking for audiences both within and beyond academia, and is currently researching the curious histories of various esoteric topics including oaths, fairies, and moonlight.

Rufus Harrington (September 13, 20:30 AEST)

Presentation: Hermetic magic (details to follow)

About the presenter: Rufus Harrington is the consultant cognitive behavioural psychotherapist for SongPath, a mental health initiative, providing participants with nourishing ways of connecting through walking, talking and music-making in nature.

He is the director of cognitive behavioural therapy studies at the University of Cumbria, and a specialist in Hermetic Meditation, a western tradition of meditative practice. He is also the director of the newly founded WISER MIND Institute, teaching a psychology of integration. 

Rufus Harrington is Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program for the University of Cumbria. He manages an international program for the study of Hermetic Meditation.

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