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What is Occult Guide?
A fully user-fueled website, Occult Guide shares locations of occult interest as a means of both celebrating historical traditions and advancing current study and practice.  We encourage people of all paths to contribute to the site, creating a resource for all seekers of hidden knowledge.
Members can contribute locations to the global map, join discussion forums, or create groups with other users who share a common path or interest.  If you have an interest in magick, Wicca, Paganism, Hermeticism, Satanism, Thelema, Theosophy, or other schools of thought – we need your help! Please join in the discussion here and submit locations to add to Occult Guide’s worldwide map.
What can I submit to the Occult Guide global map?
  • Historical Landmarks – this could include statues, public art, the former meeting place of a magickal order, the grave of a significant occult thinker, or other locations of general interest.
  • Current Businesses – bookstores, supply shops, and other commercial businesses that cater to the occult scholar or practitioner.
  • Current Organizations – magickal orders, covens, and other currently practicing groups that wish to share their information publicly.
  • Public Archives – archives and libraries with primary source material of interest to occult scholars.
  • Museum Collections – permanent collections or individual items related to occult interests.
Because we focus on occult practice rather than supernatural phenomenon, locations such as a local haunted bar fall outside the scope of Occult Guide.  Social events, lectures, and temporary museum exhibitions cannot be included – but we encourage you to post about these in the forums.
How do I submit a new location?
If you have something to share, please visit our submissions page.  Submissions are approved by a moderator, so it may take up to 24 hours for new locations to become public.

TRIGGER WARNING: The Pictures linked to are Explicit.


ANOTHER Tim Pendry Occult Website: 'The Eyeless Owl'




Traditionalism & Twentieth Century Legends (A speculative piece for debate and discussion), by Tim Pendry

Politics over the last hundred years has been highly resistant to mythic or legendary considerations.
Legend may be used tactically for propaganda in a crisis or enter into the perceived history of a nation but, despite the influence of legend on nineteenth century romantic nationalism, most modern politicians most of the time like to avoid irrationalism.
Similarly the distinction between mythic and legendary narratives allows us to place to one side faith-based political ideology – notably that of the Shi’a but also the now much reduced, except in the backwoods of America, biblical fundamentalist narratives about race and providence.

The Best has been saved to be the Last Link:

Yes Tim Pendry attacked 9/11 'Conspiracy Theories':

9/11 CultWatch


July 12, 2009

Whilst Pendry notes the commercial and cultural base of conspiracy theory, he does not stress the rich tapestry nor range of theories that are out there. Black America for example, often has very different conspiracy theories to white America.

The Esoteric and Liberal Conservatism

Wednesday 30 January 2008 at 11:42
'Occult' themes are central to much popular entertainment - from the back story of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and comic book adaptations such as Hellboy through to the Goth sub-culture and the imagery in pop videos, largely harmless and fun.
But behind the stylistic use of such material to express a dash of the controlled forbidden in the search for entertainment lies a more serious revival of intellectual interest in the non-rational, the 'hidden' and the liminal and in imagination and subjectivity as guides to life.
Much of this is playful. Some of it has been rediscovered through the workings of the new technologies (an old theme of ours). It has developed, as esoteric studies, into respectable academic communities in Exeter and in theNetherlands.
Why The Occult Now?
This rediscovery of what previous generations would find laughable or even dangerous and demonic needs some consideration as a cultural phenomenon. The subject is far too big for a single posting but some commentary may be useful.
The first observation is that it is an attempt to re-instil some semblance of meaning in the wake of the philosophical destruction of nearly all forms of traditional essentialism and as a means of dealing with the challenge of nihilism in relativism and post-modernism.
The second observation is that it appears to be emerging as a form of psychology. An individual can construct an identity, or perhaps makes more coherent their multiple identities, by creating a bespoke essentialism suitable for themselvesexistentially. It also has the advantage of not requiring the expense of a therapist or the authority of a priest in times of trouble.
In the past, there were formal structures of learning that built up a religious or even esoteric ideology into which one was apprenticed (much as the great religions do today within stable family and community structures).
Today, the psychological or subjective truth (in the eyes of a good proportion of humanity) that there is actually something ineffable out there requires individuals to make choices themselves about how to respond to that alternative 'reality'.
A science of non-science (or non-sense as the determined rearguard of the Enlightenment and probably Professor Dawkins would have it) has had to emerge as an exploration of 'that of which nothing may be said' (to paraphrase Wittgenstein).
It is required because many people cannot find value in taking the nihilistic or materialistic paths pointed out by any cold and calculated assessment of our position in the world [Heidegger's 'dasein'].
If we do not start out with conventional faith or are constitutionally disinterested in the big questions, then we are soon faced with that 'abyss' first drawn to our attention by Kierkegaard, knowing that one is alone in marching through the wood to the final clearing of death [Heidegger. again]. 
Best not to think on this or to make the thinking one does work for one's survival and pleasure in the world. Best, above all, not to take it for granted that there is no meaning and create one's own meaning through the exploration of what is before us ...
The sense of something 'hidden' behind the veil (the real sense of 'occult') is no more than a rejection of a nihilism that states that there is (not may be) nothing behind that veil - or that whatever it is behind that veil can be understood wholly in terms of a leap of faith into some grand narrative dictated solely by the community at large. 
The consequence is a culture of questing and search that pefectly fits our existentialist times and which fills a gap for many left behind by mechanistic, rationalist and materialist world-views and by the inadequacy of faith-based alternatives.
The New Religions
I am making this more intellectual than it is. The new non-rationalism is not interested in understanding the phenomenon so much as existing within it. 
And for every intense searcher after deeper truths, there are hundreds who just emotionally or playfully or religiously grab hold of the 'memes' of the occult side and enter into the new religions that exist half-way between intellectual occultism and older faith-based cultures.
These new faiths are growing quite fast amongst teenagers and socially marginalised groups but also amongst some solid stable ordinary folk who find they say something important about how life might be lived. 
We must not overplay their size or importance but the fear of ridicule and a certain paranoia about public reaction has meant that the extent of formal or informal esoteric and neo-pagan belief in Western society is probably significantly underestimated. People are still reluctant to 'come out' about an often misunderstood set of views about the world.

One starting point for anyone who might share this interest is Ronald Hutton'sThe Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (Oxford University Press, 1999). It cannot be recommended enough.

A surprising result of the book - which made it clear that claims of an ancient origin to the new religions (with the exception of induction by consent into traditional shamanism) were just so much bunkum - is the degree to which Wiccans in particular have taken Hutton to their heart. 
The 'newness' of these faiths, including the consciously reconstructed Heathenism of Asatruar, is fully accepted as a fact in terms of form and origin in order to preserve a 'timeless' content in terms of belief.  
Compare the perceptual shift from a scientific world view which had resulted in part from rational debate on the origins of God's Word in the Bible. The debate on 'truth' undermined traditional Christian faith and created the cuddly toothless Anglicanism of today. 
Neo-pagans simply say that the origins of their belief system are no less true for having been created (in one case) out of the fertile imagination of a pensioned civil servant. It would be like a Christian saying that he accepts a claim that Jesus' death was faked but that it does not matter because the message is true. This is faith existentially chosen because it represents a deeper inner truth. Tom Cruise might defend his beliefs in similar terms.
For example, Wiccan and pagan forum members on the internet will often be highly critical of attempts to over-estimate the deaths in the 'burning times' (the European witch hunts), of the unwarranted feminist claims of historians like Gimbutas and, above all, of the ridiculous claims of continuity between modern reconstructions and the ancient religions from which they have been reconstructed.

This maturity about facts - far from the caricature of outsiders - positions these religions as intimately linked to modernity. They look less and less like reversions to the traditional as time and study progresses. 
Even their interest in folk tradition centres on their being grounded in the contemporary community as local healers or as 'earth magicians', although these claims may eventually be legislated out of existence by severely materialist legislators worried about fraudulent claims on an unsuspecting public.
This flexibility of practice is in marked contrast to what happens when authority gets its grubby little paws on paganism to bend it to its own purpose. The fate of Shinto under the Meiji restoration is an object lesson in cynical inauthenticity for the purpose of nation-building with tragic consequences.
The Cultural Avant-Garde

Another contribution in the Hutton tradition of critical analysis of belief - Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic and Liberation in Modern Esotericism by Hugh Urban of Ohio State University (University of California Press, 2006) is also worth referencing here. 
Urban takes the key points in the history of 'sex magick' (not nearly as scandalous today as the nomenclature implies) as separate and successive components of alternative cultural practice. He demonstrates how what was highly transgressive at each stage, fully in defiance of conventional mores, eventually became pulled into the prurient and commercialised mainstream. 
A culture of individual resistance to community culture came to shadow each stage of the development of consumer capitalism. With no intention to do so on either side, radical individual liberation and the market converged, becoming the Western society that we live in today. This is, of course, my over simplification - read Urban's book. 
But the seven case-types he introduces: the sexual magic of the mixed race American Paschley  Randolph in the Post-Bellum era; the discovery of Tantra; the influence of Crowley; the Nietzchean impulse of Julius Evola; the arrival of Wiccan ideas and its links to feminism; the Satanic 'christian heresy' of La Vey; Chaos Magic with its shattering of all points of reference: all these lead (in Urban's analysis) to the 'magical logic of late capitalism'.
From this perspective, we must be entering the 'next stage' and the next stage may be the re-sacralisation and distancing of sexuality in sheer exhaustion at its omnipresence visually as a commercial tool.
But what next politically, if anything - with all barriers down and apparently nowhere further to go. Any belief, any practice seems to be permitted. 
The Politics of Non-Rationalism
An odd book, from 'Jonathan Black', the nom de plume of the head of a Random House imprint, gives a sense of some of the change taking place at the macro-cultural level. 
The Secret History of the World [Quercus, 2007] could be read as a cynical attempt to capture interest in the occult, as an occult attempt to re-introduce the 'Hidden Masters' to the wider public, as a 'sinister' ideological project to undermine the Enlightenment, as playfulness, as an attempt to rehabilitate imagination and subjectivity as equal to rational thought, as an experiment in creating a 'grand narrative' for the esoteric or as genuine attempt to create an esoteric morality based on 'art' (pp 380-1) - or all or part or something else.
The book claims to tell the history of the world from a non-rational perspective based on the esoteric tradition. To any academic historian or scientist, it is absurd from beginning to end but Black cleverly ensures that we understand that he is not making the same 'truth-claims' as these rational experts. His 'truth-claims' are imaginative but no less 'truth-claims'.

'Jonathan Black' appears traditional and conservative to the point of the dark side - his assessment of the French Revolution is negative, straight out of conspiracy theorist Abbe Barruel, he accepts the story of the American Empire as being Masonic in inspiration and he sees the Illuminati as a real plot, leading to the Terror and much else besides.
Yet Hugh Urban, on the other hand, points in the opposite direction - that each stage of the rediscovery of the 'occult' has resulted in increasing radical individualism and liberalism.  How can conservative imaginative traditionalism and radical libertarianism and tolerance be squared? 
Both interpretations could have in common an implicit critique of the collectivist and of the intrusion of the esoteric into political manipulation. While not identical, both interpretations seem to share an 'attitude' that is critical of systems and elites in both the material and 'spiritual' worlds that fail to deliver results specific to their sphere and are supportive of systems and elites that do.
The logic of this is that Governments that govern well, regardless of ideology, and who leave the spiritual world alone are 'good'. 
So, we have an essential pragmatism that dislikes grand narratives and ideology and, ironically, reflects Christ's dictum about rendering unto Caesar. It is a position that separates faith and state and is essentially conservative. A good King is better than a corrupt Republic.
However, the denial of the grand narrative (despite Black's attempt to create one) in matters of the spirit and the primacy of personal choice and free association, tolerance for all paths (including entrepreneurial and sexual) and determination on none suggests a radical libertarian perspective in favour of the individual.
Good governance without ideology and respect for the individual sounds remarkably like the social conservatism espoused by David Cameron and, though there is no suggestion of the British Tory Party as an occult organisation alongside the Illuminati and the Templars, there is a convergence between philosophical scepticism as final fruit of the post-modern revolution and the less-ambitious pragmatic 'Burkean' conservatism of the contemporary Conservative Party.
Why Are The Old Guard So Scared?
It is no secret that Cameron has had to ride rough-shod over his authoritarian Right to get to his current position. If Brown's Government had not gone into melt-down in the early Autumn, it is arguable that he might have been facing some much more serious challenges from the Right.
As it is, Cameron's social conservatism and the rise of non-rationalist thinking are also consonant with other cultural changes encouraged by the new technologies and the instinctively sceptical and pragmatic attitudes of the educated elements in the under-35 generations.
This seems to be a zeitgeist thing and we are moving far beyond our original curiosity about esoteric thinking to seeing it as a symptom of a whole series of converging developments that favour social conservatism at the expense of the psychological rigidities of centre-left communitarianism and the Tory Right.
Authoritarian personalities are anxious. This is not good, they say. The British military is worried, no kidding!  But their analysis is the opposite of ours and comes from within a state system that is worried because it is simply no longer fit for purpose.  They say ...

"An increased trend towards moral relativism and pragmatic values will encourage people to seek the "sanctuary provided by more rigid belief systems, including religious orthodoxy and doctrinaire political ideologies, such as popularism and Marxism".The relativism and pragmatism that unnerves them will lead, they think, to a demand for externally imposed certainties. In their dreams! 
This relativism and pragmatism is likely to result in quite the opposite - a demand for a framework of good governance by all means but also a complete abandonment of any attempt to tell the people what to do and what to believe so long as they obey a law that is minded to liberal values.
Collectivist, faith-based and fascist or authoritarian reactions to liberalism and attempts to reverse the trend are likely (especially on the back of the breakdown in the community that has resulted from state failure) but they will have few resources to reverse the 'hegemony' of a culture of libertarianism.
It is almost as if the military are willing order to return and, fearing a British Mussolini [Nick Griffin] or Stalin [Comrade Brown, perhaps], want us all to accepttheir order instead. Well, British intelligence has not had the best of records and we see no reason to accept this analysis either. The high point of an attempt at statist authoritarian rule ended when John Reid gave up the Home Office.
Good Times Ahead?
In fact, Authority may be very worried about its loss of authority but there is no reason why we should be. So long as authority does not intefere, a degree of self-correction within society is already taking place. 
We have been hitting a cultural, economic and social low point across the West and the existing structures are about to be politically punished. But this is a correction and not a collapse.

Now that the dangerous neo-conservative revolution (with its implicit offer of republican order and vertu) has collapsed, there is probably no turning back from this prevailing ideology of personal liberation within a framework of good governance. 
We have been careful not to call these new trends irrational. They should more properly seen as offering alternative rationalities. Even non-rational as a term is unfair. Non-rational thinking is perfectly reasonable [i.e. rational] once you accept the subjective assumptions underpinning it. But non-rational seems to me to be a reasonable concession to the wider world.
In this context, the threat to liberty now comes not from the Right but from radical liberation activists with their own grand narratives (notably the black-consciousness, gay and feminist elements). They feel that the tide is turning from single identity politics towards a society based on fluid and multiple identities. And this offers a profound threat to their political position.
Old Enlightenment liberals can only accept one set of assumptions based on universal rights and fixed identities and resent the idea that there are many alternaive ways of constructing a world view. And so, paradoxically, it is elements within the Enlightenment Left that are buttressing the New Right in a context of an alleged clash of cultures. 
One final thought. Urban in his Preface refers to the academic prejudice and fear surounding his taking up (even in an academic and objective way) the subject of 'sex magick' as a topic for serious study. He points out the odd combination in our culture of prurience and sniggering and yet the massive availability of sexual imagery in almost every context. 
We might call Western culture adolescent if it was not an insult to teenagers. If the new religions unravel attitudes more suitable to a peasant society before birth control and bring maturity to our civilisation, then this may be no bad thing. It would not be the first time (we think of Jesus) that the margins of an empire have proved its salvation.

[Some of this material appeared in an April 2007 posting on Gaia.com: New Religions And Our Civilisation]

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