Martin Starr At Academic Conference In Tokyo

As the majority of visitors to this site will know, Martin Starr is the highly respected editor and publisher of some of the more interesting Crowley works, and the author of the wonderful The Unknown God.

Word has reached me that he will be presenting at the 19th World Congress Of The International Association For The History Of Religions.

Long-standing visitors to this site will know how adamant I am that Crowley needs to be dealt with in a far more professional way than in the past: his publications to be produced “with business way” and research to be academically sound and scholarly.

Martin Starr represents both…
The Congress (about which see this site) includes the following panel on March 29 that may be of interest to readers:

14G
Occultism – Provocation and Appeasement (0007)
Convener: Bogdan, Carl Henrik George
Panelists:

Bogdan, Carl Henrik George: Challenging the Morals of Western Society: The Use of Ritualised Sex in Contemporary Occultism (00418)

Occultism, understood as a specific esoteric current
formed in the middle of the 19th century, has often been
viewed with suspicion and, to a certain extent, fear by
the western society at large. The contributors to the
panel are encouraged to investigate the complex
relationship of 19th and 20th century Occultism with
specific aspects of western society. Controversial
subjects such as violence, sex and drugs have often been
laid at the door of occultist movements, often with
little or no understanding of the movements themselves.
What consequences have the polemics had for the
self-understanding and the strategies of identity of
occultist movements? Furthermore, occultist
organisations are quite often characterised by internal
strife as well as protracted disharmony with other
groups claiming to “map” the same occult “territory”. To
what extent are these conflicts related to Occultism as
such, and what are their relevance for a broader
discussion on methodology and definitions of Occultism?

Miles, Christopher John: Journeying into the Neither-Neither: The ‘Death Posture’ of Austin Osman Spare and the Establishment of Neo-Shamanic Identity (00133)

The English artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare
(1888-1956) created a dense and problematic body of work
that is unique within the Western occult revival in that
it prides itself on its lack of lineage. Spare’s texts
and accompanying art works are a mixture of practical
grimoire, revelatory exhortations, satirical diatribes
upon established religion and calm exegesis of his
esoteric theory; yet the technique of the ‘Death
Posture’ stands as a central touchstone throughout. The
paper will analyze Spare’s various presentations of his
physical techniques for inducing a state of
‘neither-neither’ and track their central influence
across his body of published work, focusing on the
manner in which Spare links the destruction of identity
with the cultivation of a matter-of-fact not-caringness.
It then goes on to identify similarities between Spare’s
highly individualistic methodology and long-recorded
shamanistic techniques.

Pasi, Marco: Definitions of Occultism: A Methodological Survey (00906)

The aim of this paper is to offer a terminological
clarification concerning the term “occultism,” as it is
(or should be) used in the context of the historical
study of Western esotericism. Special emphasis will be
put on the often ambiguous relationship this term has
had with a similar, related term, namely “esotericism.”
It will be seen that the main definitions of
“occultism,” corresponding to as many ways of
understanding its relationship with “esotericism”, can
be reduced into five broad categories. These will be
discussed, in order to appreciate their respective
validity for the scholar working today on the history of
esotericism. It will be suggested that, among them, the
most useful definition is the one that considers
“occultism” as a specific esoteric current, situated in
a particular historical context, and which presents
particular features of its own.

Starr, Martin P.: Chaos from Order – Cohesion and Conflict in the post-Crowley Occult Continuum (00365)

An overview of the post-1947 attempts to craft new
religious movements in the United States of America from
the elements of the occult orders and writings of the
English esotericist and prophet of the Law of Thelema,
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). The varied approaches to
Crowley’s abundant esoteric and literary legacy often
developed a compelling unity of purpose within the small
hierarchically-organized collectivities espousing
Crowley’s beliefs despite the seemingly antinomian
overtones of the thelemic maxim “Do what thou wilt.” At
the same time the religious texts of the Thelemites gave
license to protracted polemics with those outside the
immediate group which from an outsider’s perspective
shared many of the same religious ideals and structures.
The paper will focus on the development of the “Solar
Lodge” and show how its conflict with society led the
surviving members of Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis to
band together to restart their religious order.

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