Just a reminder that my group art show, Sigils & Signs is only up for a couple more weeks at Observatory. I will be at the gallery myself all day on this Saturday, June 2nd and on Sunday, June 17th for its closing day (and will be serving wine on that day, too!). Please come by if you'd like to chat with me about the show, or anything else your heart desires.
Also, don't forget that there will be two events happening at Observatory in conjunction with the show:
Magic Circles in the Grimoire Tradition
An illustrated lecture with William Kiesel of Ouroboros Press
Date: Friday, June 1
Presented by Phantasmaphile
‘With the center of the circle as a starting point, orientation can take on precise meaning in the context of its ritual, which was designed to secure spiritual knowledge and material dominion in the world through the agency of spirits, stars and cabalistic arcana.’
Magic Circles have been depicted in popular expressions of magic and witchcraft as well as detailed with full rubrics in traditional manuals of magic such as the Clavicula Solomonis or Liber Juratus. Using narrative, visual and textual material available from European grimoires and manuscripts, William Kiesel will discuss the various forms and functions of this important piece of apparatus employed by magicians in the Western Esoteric Tradition, including their role in providing authority and protection to the operator, as well as examples of their use in divination and treasure finding.
WILLIAM KIESEL is an independent scholar researching occultism and western esotericism in practical and historical contexts. He is particularly interested in esoteric symbol systems and their use as manifested in alchemical, hermetic and occult traditions. In addition to giving presentations on these topics in the United States and abroad, Kiesel has also collaborated in avant garde music circles concerned with the esoteric use of music. It was the later context which led to his contribution in John Zorn’s acclaimed ARCANA series with an essay titled Musings on the Hermetic Lyre. His first book ‘Magic Circles in the Grimoire Tradition‘ is part of the Three Hands Press monograph series. William is the director of Ouroboros Press and editor at CLAVIS: Journal of Occult Arts.
Symbols & Spells
A Workshop with Judika Illes
Date: Sunday, June 10th
Admission: $40 ***You must RSVP to phantasmaphile [at] gmail.com, as class size is limited. You will then be sent a Paypal payment request.
Presented by Phantasmaphile
Symbols reverberate with power. They are not just mere markings. Instead they convey and radiate magical forces. Because of this, symbols are among our oldest and most potent magical tools. Their use spans the globe, as well as a vast spectrum of spiritual and esoteric traditions.
Magical symbols include seals and sigils– Kabbalistic and otherwise, Egyptian symbols, such as the ankh and the “girdle” of Isis, the Congo Cross, glyphs, runes, vèvè, alchemical, Masonic, fertility, Adinkra, and hex signs.
Symbols serve virtually unlimited magical uses. They are incorporated into amulets, talismans, and mojo bags and used in divination, spirit summoning, and magic spells. The most accessible manner of working with symbols is candle magic.
In this class, we will explore the esoteric power of symbols and how this power is transmitted through candles. The class will begin with a lecture about symbols and will then evolve into a hands-on workshop. Each attendee will have the opportunity to create a magic candle.
Attendees will receive a hand-out of symbols. We will also discuss how to create your own magic symbols to serve your own personal needs and desires.
PLEASE BRING a notebook or paper and something to write with, so that you can take notes.
PLEASE ALSO BRING a candle. The size is up to you, but the larger and more substantial the candle, the more surface space is available for carving symbols into it. Birthday candles and tea lights are too small and tapers tend to break. Pillar and round votive candles are best.
Colors, like symbols, radiate power and a candle’s color is chosen to coordinate with a spell-caster’s goal. Here is a list of traditional color associations, but if you possess your own associations, please trust your intuition:
Black: protection; banishing; fertility; regeneration; healing chronic illness.
Blue: protection; peace; healing emotional, mental or psychic illness; terminating addictions, including smoking.
Brown: justice; legal issues; grounding.
Green: fertility; prosperity; money; healing physical illness and conditions.
Purple: power; sex; erotic love spells.
Red: luck; good fortune; love; fertility; healing blood ailments.
Pink: love; spells benefiting children.
White: ancestral work; contacting those in the Next Realm.
***White candles possess the power of the blank slate and may be substituted for any other color. If in doubt or unsure, bring a white candle.
Judika Illes is an independent scholar, international speaker, educator, and author of books of folklore, folkways, and mythology about the subjects of magic, the occult, divination, diverse spiritual traditions, witchcraft, and the paranormal. She is the author of four popular encyclopedias: The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, The Encyclopedia of Spirits, and the new Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages. Her other books include Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting, Magic When You Need It and The Weiser Field Guide to Witches. Her website is: www.judikailles.com
And here's the show info again:
Sigils & Signs, a group art show
Opening reception: Friday, April 27th, 7-10pm, FREE!
Show on view April 28th - June 17th, 2012
Gallery Hours: Thursdays & Fridays 3-6pm, Saturdays & Sundays 12-6pm
The fibers of art and magic are woven so tightly together, it’s often said that they are one and the same. Images are imaginal pictures. When we see something, a constellation of synapses fires, associations swirl, and new thoughts are born. We are altered - and what is magic, if not this?
That said, there is a long lineage of artists who, quite literally, created spells via drawings on the floor, scrawls in books, lines cut into wood or stone. Though the featured players of this story are often English magicians from John Dee to Austin Osman Spare to Alan Moore, symbol-based magic can be traced back through the ages and across cultures. Germanic runes were carved into objects and later used as vehicles of divination. Hindu yantras and Buddhist mandalas are meditative, microcosmic diagrams meant to elevate the mind to the spiritual plane, and Kabbalistic letters are infinite layer-cakes of mystic meaning. The well-placed glyph can bless a birth, or curdle mother’s milk. A ring of certain characters can summon a demon, and the right number-grid can allow communion with the angels. Excavated from grimoires, handed down from teachers both living and dead, these are powerful emblems that act upon the fabric of the universe.
As such, the works in Sigils & Signs are agents of change. By using occult symbols from various traditions and times, each artist explores what it means to be a magician in the modern age: to emblazon sigils upon the energy field; to make magic marks. While these artworks may be appreciated for their aesthetic value – and oh how valuable they are – the viewer is invited to engage with each piece on the immaterial level. Whether protective or contemplative, refueling or revealing, these “wall spells” are cast with careful beauty and the intention to transform.
David Chaim Smith
About the Curator
Pam Grossman is an independent curator and lifelong student of magical practice and history. She is the creator of Phantasmaphile, a blog which specializes in art and culture with an esoteric or fantastical bent, and the Associate Editor of Abraxas International Journal of Esoteric Studies. As co-founder of Observatory, her programming aims to explore mysticism via a scholarly yet accessible approach. Her group art shows, Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists, VISION QUEST, and Alchemically Yours have been featured by such outlets as Boing Boing, CREATIVE TIME, Time Out New York, Juxtapoz, Arthur, 20×200, UrbanOutfitters.com, and Neil Gaiman’s Twitter. She lectures on such topics as The Occult in Modern Art 101, and teaches classes on herbalism and ritual. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied anthropology, art history, and religious studies. A resident of Brooklyn, she lives with her playwright husband, Matt, and their two cat familiars, Albee and Remedios “Remy” Varo.
Show image: Jesse Bransford, “Every Man and Woman is a Star” detail, 2008