Workshop Descriptions – (includes a closing panel and questions.)
8:30 – 9 am Breakfast snacks
9:00 am – 9:15 am Opening introductions and remarks
9:15 – 10:30 am – Animating the Sacred Image in the Ancient Classical World with Richard Reidy
Rituals of statue animation were a relatively common feature in ancient Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia, Hittite Anatolia, and elsewhere in the ancient Near East. These cultures saw the sacred image as more than an artistic reminder of a deity, but as actual vessels for a living and abiding divine presence. With a particular emphasis on Greece and Egypt, we will examine how and why these cultures attempted to enflesh deity on the material plane through rituals of animation. Particular attention will be paid to the views and practices of the Hermeticists and Neoplatonists. We also will touch on modern instances of statue animation.
Richard Reidy (Master of Divinity, 1979) authored Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for t he Modern World (available thru Amazon.com), a comprehensive collection of key pharaonic ritual texts with commentaries and background info. He moderates the Temple of Ra in San Francisco and an Egyptian Reconstructionist temple in San Jose, CA, meeting monthly. Contact at email@example.com.
10:45 am – 12:15 pm The Sun in Theurgic Practice with Brandy Williams
In theurgic ritual the sun is both a spiritual metaphor and a real deific presence. Prayers to sun deities connect with their spiritual power. Solar deities can be drawn into statues through collections of solar substances, synthema. Finally, the practice of solar breathing aids the soul on the ascent. All these techniques are easily accessible and practiced by theurgists today.
Brandy Williamshas been a teacher and organizer in the magical communities for 30 years. She organizes Seatle Pagan Scholars and is active in O.T.O. and Golden Dawn groups. She wrote “Practical Magic for Beginners” and “Ecstatic Ritual, Practical Sex Magic”, and edited the anthology, “Women’s Voices in Magic.”
12:15 am – 1: 45 pm Ascension with Tony Mierzwicki
In Ascension, the soul returns to its heavenly home where it can acquire wisdom and immortality. The process involves ascending past the planetary spheres and various forces by using hymns, names of power, breathing techniques and making various sounds. While Ascension is an important practice within Theurgy, only fragments remain of how it was actually practiced. Much can be learned, however, from studying similar techniques in Gnostic, Hermetic and Jewish writings.
Tony Mierzwicki is the author of “Graeco-Egyptian Magick: Everyday Empowerment” and a forthcoming primer reconstructing Classical Greek religion. He has presented workshops recreating ancient magickal practices in the United States and the east coast of Australia since 2001, drawing on his practice of ceremonial magick which he began in 1990. Tony’s wife, Jo-Ann, has been co-facilitating his workshops since 2004. Tony completed three degrees at the University of Sydney – MA, BE and BSc. For more information, see his website: http://www.hermeticmagick.com/
1:45 pm – 2:30 pm Lunch
2:30 – 4 pm The Engine of Theurgy with Sam Webster
Sacrifice lies at the heart of theurgic practice, but in each era this is transformed by the liturgical modes of the day. This transformation is possible, even necessary, due to the three grades of theurgic practice, which are themselves tied to the three orders that give structure to Magical Orders even today. The presentation will unpack Iamblichus’ explanation of these grades, show the basis for their reimplementation in Agrippa and the Golden Dawn, and discover the first known member of the mysterious Third Order and the basis for that esteemed body.
Sam Webster, M. Div., Mage, has taught magick publicly since 1984, graduated GTU, Berkeley in 1993 and is now a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, UK, studying Pagan history under Prof. Ronald Hutton. He is an Adept of the Golden Dawn, a cofounder of the Chthonic-Ouranian Templar order, and an initiate of Wiccan, Druidic, Buddhist, Hindu and Masonic traditions. He has published in a number of journals and his book “Tantric Thelema “(2010) , establishing the publishing house Concrescent Press. He founded the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn in 2001 (www.OSOGD.org), and serves the Pagan community principally as a priest of Hermes.
4:15 pm – 6 pm – Panel discussion with Q & A.
6 pm – Dinner and Social time