Just a reminder, I've got some great events coming up at Observatory, including a newly listed talk with Jesse Bransford. Looking forward to seeing some of you over the coming weeks - maybe even as early as this Friday for Solstice:
Summer Solstice Ritual Workshop
A Class and Celebration with Pam Grossman
Date: Friday, June 21st
Time: 7:00-8:30(ish) pm
Presented by Phantasmaphile
***You must RSVP to phantasmaphile [at] gmail.com if you’d like to attend, as space is limited
Solstices are ideal times to recalibrate and rebalance. The word “solstice” comes from “sol” – the sun, and “sistere” – to stand still. In this workshop, we’ll take time out of our busy schedules to be still like the sun, and soak up its golden magick. We’ll learn ways to carry the sun with us and draw upon its power whenever we need it, as well as other methods for increasing our yang. The intention for the class is to recharge ourselves with bold and solar energy, and to welcome the beginning of summer. Our time together will be filled with spellcrafting, meditation, and, of course, feasting!
-A bit of food or drink to share
-Any altar objects you like. These can be decorative (Summery decor of any kind is welcome), and/or personal objects which you’d like to have charged
-A short candle and holder (votive or short pillar candle, NOT a tall taper)
-A cushion, pillow, or fabric, as we will be sitting on the floor (chairs will be available for those who need).
Note-taking is welcome. This workshop is open to men and women, novices and advanced practitioners alike.
Pam Grossman is an independent curator, writer, 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 Associate Editor of Abraxas Journal. Her group art shows, Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists, VISION QUEST, Alchemically Yours, and Sigils & Signs have been featured by such outlets as Art & Antiques Magazine, Boing Boing, CREATIVE TIME, Time Out New York, Reality Sandwich, Juxtapoz, Arthur, 20×200, UrbanOutfitters.com, and Neil Gaiman’s Twitter. She is a co-founder of Observatory, where her programming aims to explore mysticism via a scholarly yet accessible approach.
Real Magic: The Life and Methods of Neville Goddard
A presentation by Mitch Horowitz
Date: Friday, June 28th
Presented by: Phantasmaphile
Neville Goddard (1905-1972) was one of the most intriguing and intellectually arousing metaphysical teachers of the last century. His work, written under the solitary pen-name Neville, was as radical as it was simple: the Barbados-born mystic argued that God is nothing other than the human imagination. Your thoughts and feelings, Neville taught, give shape to the world around you; and this world can be changed when you understand how to use the mental and emotive states that created it.
Neville’s philosophy is so audacious that most serious people immediately want to argue with it or push it away. Yet this underground thinker has been steadily growing in popularity. His ideas, which he articulated in books and thousands of lectures, represent the most elegant and rigorous thought system to emerge from the culture of mind-power metaphysics that swept America in the last century. Neville’s statements, beginning in the 1930s, bear striking (and serious) resemblance to contemporary findings in quantum physics, neuroplasticity, and other fields of study.
In this special lecture and presentation, acclaimed writer and historian Mitch Horowitz (Occult America) explores the life and methods of this modern magus. Mitch shows how Neville’s techniques for self development are disarmingly simple, bracingly original, and, quite possibly, profoundly impactful for the individual.
Mitch writes extensively about Neville in his forthcoming history of the positive-thinking movement, One Simple Idea (Crown, Jan 2014). This talk is the first public preview of those themes. In particular, Mitch explores Neville’s personal history, which includes his early years in New York City under the tutelage of a mysterious spiritual “master” named Abdullah. The reality and identity of Abdullah have long fueled debate. As Mitch reveals, Abdullah was likely a real figure – who may even be identifiable.
Israel Regardie wrote in 1946 of Neville: “Of all the metaphysical systems with which I am acquainted, Neville’s is the most magical.” This evening’s presentation not only parts the veil on the life, work, and personal history of this great metaphysical persona, but highlights Neville’s practical ideas and techniques, which may hold the key to something truly extraordinary for us today.
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Mitch Horowitz is vice-president and editor-in-chief at Tarcher/Penguin, the division of Penguin books dedicated to metaphysical literature. He is the author of Occult America (Bantam), which received the 2010 PEN Oakland/ Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence. His new book, One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, is forthcoming from Crown in January 2014. Horowitz frequently writes about and discusses alternative spirituality in the national media, including CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline NBC, All Things Considered, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and CNN.com. He and his wife raise two sons in New York City. He is online at: www.MitchHorowitz.com
Jesse Bransford: Building the Fourth Pyramid, an Occult Art Installation at Galveston
Date: Thursday, July 11th
Presented by: Phantasmaphile
In 2012, the artist and mage, Jesse Bransford, was invited to create an installation for the respected Galveston Artist Residency in Texas. The result was his room of visual spellcraft, which he named “THE FOURTH PYRAMID.” In GAR’s words:
“For our first exhibition of 2013, marking our one-year anniversary on this island, GAR has teamed up with artist Jesse Bransford to bring about the existence of THE FOURTH PYRAMID. If ever there were an artist who could make transformative magic a reality it would be Bransford. Building off of nearly ten years of research, Bransford’s drawings and numerical symbols transform the GAR gallery into a space charged with possibility, a three dimensional spell, an incantation you can move through. The artist invokes many magical traditions to create his work, but especially focuses on the European Renaissance magical tradition. The symbols feel at once familiar and incredibly alien. Like a language forgotten, or a past life only glimpsed through dreams. They are universal and yet illegible. Phenomenal and noumenal.”
In this presentation Jesse shares with us the process of casting the spells – and spills – of the project. He has lectured at Observatory before about the Thoth tarot and magic squares, but this will be the first time he offers a rare glimpse of the magick that goes into the creation of his own fine artworks.
Jesse Bransford is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work is exhibited internationally. He holds degrees from the New School for Social Research (BA), Parsons School of Design (BFA) and Columbia University (MFA). An associate professor at New York University, Bransford’s work has been involved with belief and the visual systems it creates since the 1990s. Research into colour meaning and cultural syncretism led to the occult traditions in general and the work of John Dee and Henry Cornelius Agrippa specifically. His work is represented by Feature Inc. in New York and can be seen extensively documented on the website www.sevenseven.com, a site he has operated and maintained since 1997.