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Lecture Summaries 2

 

Over the years, Pagan Pathways has presented many talks of potential interest to pagan and magical folk and the following is another brief survey from a selection of diverse and informative topics that various speakers, experts in their respective fields, have explored at one time or another.

 

Dowsing (Grey Wolf)

Dowsing is a type of divination which has been used for centuries for many purposes, from locating underground water supplies to diagnosing illness. Some pagans use dowsing for sensing hidden energies, for getting answers to questions or for finding hidden objects. Dowsing commonly uses rods or pendulums but some dowsers may use other things or no tools at all. This workshop discussed the uses and techniques for dowsing and gave everyone an opportunity to try out different types of dowsing for themselves.

Pathworking Workshop: April 2010

This was an opportunity to participate in Guided Meditation, or Pathworking as it’s often called, to celebrate and attune to the energy of Beltane. Healing music, candlelight, and the aroma of incense was provided. A brief preliminary talk by both Rosa Mundi and Silverspear on the subject of Guided Meditation started the evening off and an enjoyable, spiritual and magical evening was had by all.

Goddess Workshop (Everyone)

This meeting was a group initiative to explore the relationship we have, as pagans, with the Goddess and God. Previous discussions have shown that we all relate to the deities in very different ways. This meeting gave each of us a chance to talk about our relationship with Goddess and God and how such deities figure in our rites and everyday lives. Many who came brought with them a God or Goddess figurine they had been drawn to and discussed its attraction and significance. Those who don’t relate to deity at all still came along because it was just as interesting to hear why deities are a part of many people’s paganism.

The Five King Arthurs (Davida)

There can be few people in these Isles who do not know the legend of King Arthur. This talk was about how a Celtic pagan prince was hijacked by the Christians, then by the English and then by Hollywood – and maybe by many more?  King Arthur turns up in various guises and now the idea of him is more important than the reality. It has been said that no one can call themselves British without some believe in a King Arthur, whichever one he may be. This was a fascinating talk and a serious attempt to pin down Arthur, if only for an hour or so at Pagan Pathways. (Long live the King!)

Hallucinations (Penrose)

This talk and discussion focussed on visual hallucinations, voluntary and involuntary, with lots of pictorial images showing examples all the way from archaeology through to contemporary art, via neuroscience. There are many questions about this subject, and there is much argument among the experts about every aspect of the issue. Can we base judgements about cave paintings on current/modern anthropology – and vice versa?  That was one question posed by Penrose. Is the way we view such phenomena all down to the prevailing societal interpretation – and are our present attitudes more positive, or just different? That was another question put to the audience. But just because answers of the “set in concrete” variety are not always readily available does not detract from the subject. On the contrary – it adds to its interest and fascination.

Temple Bruer and the Knights Templar (Our Adept)

The tower at Temple Bruer in Lincolnshire is all that remains of what was once the largest preceptory of the Knights Templar in Britain. The site has an interesting history and a mysterious archaeological pedigree, which was explored in great depth. Our resident adept also explored the implications the site might have for our understanding of the continuing controversies surrounding the Templars.

Petroglyphs of Kazakhstan – Truth Carved in Stone? (Penrose)

Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, abrading etc. as a form of rock art. One example is Tamgalyin in Kazakhstan and the site of over 5,000 petroglyphs dating from circa 3,000 BCE right up to the era of Soviet occupation. Interpretation of Soviet graffiti added to the site has changed dramatically with shifting political tides, which raises the question as to how one can distinguish between truth and propaganda (A challenge we are all having to confront every day). Does such ambiguity in archaeology also reflect on our reading of other sites and, more importantly, should this give us pause for reflection? An excellent and thought-provoking talk.

The Nature of Sacrifice (Timaeus)

The word 'sacrifice' appears to have many different meanings and to be applied to many different scenarios. Much has also been said regarding the position that 'sacrifice' occupies in the collective unconscious and in some (but not all) scenarios it certainly has strong emotional overtones. In this talk Timaeus aimed to explore these different meanings and scenarios, not all of which are associated with religion. He argued persuasively that the instincts and practice involved in aspects of 'sacrifice' are not merely restricted to the human race. It was expressed at the time that hopefully the topic would provoke a spirited discussion. Well, being Pagan Pathways, one need not have hoped in vain. Great stuff!

An Evil Cradling (Grey Wolf)

This meeting was the last in our series of ‘Talks for the Dark Season’, which was a series of lectures given at PPs during the winter months. In keeping with the darker side of magic, Grey Wolf discussed his research into the subjects of Necromancy and Black Magic in the landscape of our modern world, with reference to sites such as Royston cave, Highgate Cemetery and Kirklees Priory. Those of a certain age (such as me) will recall that Highgate Cemetery, to mention just one of that trinity, was notorious back in the day for allegedly being the scene of much vampire activity, resulting in a well-known figure on the occult scene subsequently spending some time languishing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for illegally interfering with burial sites. Dark Season stuff indeed…  

End (more to follow)

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