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Life updates and extra content!
I will be going on a brief writing hiatus while I work on a few other projects.
Woah. I’m swamped.
Next month will have a lot in store:
The Consilience Conference
I will be doing a presentation at an upcoming conference called Consilience: Unifying Knowledge and Orienting Toward a Wisdom Commons. Plenty of awesome folks, such as Brendan Graham Dempsey, John Vervaeke, and Zak Stein will also be presenting at this conference. My presentation is called Toward A Representational Systems Theory: The Cognitive Science and Phenomenology of Magic.
Here’s the abstract:
Cognitive science is defined by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as “the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence.” Meanwhile the term “magic,” which has its roots in a Persian word meaning “to be able” or “to have power” (Sorensen 2006) has increasingly fallen out of favour since the Enlightenment (Faivre 1993). From a natural scientific perspective, it may seem that phenomenological reports such as the precognitive dreams mentioned by Bernstein (2006) or the accounts of extrasensory perception reported by Murphy (1993) should be approached sceptically, if at all. It remains nonetheless that parapsychological experience is prevalent in human life, and requires proper contextualisation relative to our natural scientific understanding of the world. Information on the subjective qualities of ritualised movement, noted in works by Vangeline (2021) and Cohen (1993), are compatible and consistent with theories of mind posited by Henriques (2011), and Hoobyar and Dotz (2013), and d’Aquili and Newberg (1999), with the latter especially implying a cognitive basis for mystical experience. When considered together, these works imply that magic can be defined not just as a way of experiencing the world, but as a set of practices for cultivating personal meaning, relational influence, and cognitive mastery. It is possible that cognitive science can offer us what natural science alone cannot: a theory for understanding what subjective mythopoetic experience represents about reality.
Registration is free and open to the public, so if you are interested to attend, you can do so below.
The course in metamodern magic starts on March 25th. Enrolment ends on March 16th. However, the Slack workspace, which will be our hub for communication and resources over the next 6 months, will officially open on March 1st.
Creating a container for transformation and play that is just the right balance of somatically and intellectually nurturing demands a lot of energy and dedication. I have been doing my best to research the right practises, approach lessons with historical accuracy, and create guidelines and agreements that will make the container both safe and challenging. I’m a tad perfectionistic, so I’m a bit nervous about running this course. However, I know that this will be a remarkable learning experience for everyone involved—including myself.
Creating this course has been a real labour of love and I’m so excited to start. So far, there are 6 participants, and we technically have room for 10 more, so if you are considering joining us, check out the informational video in the post below.
The Human Slop and The Mythic Body
I joined two group containers this year, for personal and professional development reasons.
The first is called The Mythic Body, and it’s facilitated by the host of one of the most interesting and informative podcasts I have ever listened to. Josh Schrei’s The Emerald combines trance induction with educational content and thought provoking statements, with the result being a unique sonic journey that leaves no listener unchanged. This course combines group discussion, individual and collaborative ritual practise, and skillful facilitation to guide students toward the invocation of various animate powers. We have been playing with various elements of what Josh calls “mythosomatic practise,” based on the principle immanent in the Indian spiritual traditions: a myth lives in the body of the practitioner. An upcoming radio show episode of TOS with feature a discussion Josh and I had recently about the nature of mythosomatic practise.
The second container, which I briefly discuss in the most recent podcast episode, is called The Human Slop. It is run by none other than the “butterfly with a snake body” herself, Esi Wildcat. In this space, we are challenged to meet reality exactly as it is and notice the emergent dynamics that arise when a bunch of different people come together to share space. Because The Slop is such an exquisitely held container, I’m actually not allowed to say much more about it—and that alone says so much, doesn’t it?
Check out the episode featuring Esi here:
I decided to join these containers because I am a ritual guide—but first, I am a ritual practitioner. My own practise has significantly suffered as a result of my being so busy, not to mention financially unstable and physically unwell this past year and a half. As I am recovering from illness and getting back into the practises that ground and nurture me, I notice that I am hungry for guidance and inspiration. These two teachers are some of the most well-learned, humble, and inquisitive folks I have met! I’m honoured to be in space with them, as I know it will serve to make me a better guide.
What does this mean in terms of TOS content?
Due to the aforementioned, content will be a bit different from usual this coming month.
I will be taking a two-week hiatus from publishing articles so that I can focus on preparing for the conference, placing the finishing touches on the course, and remaining present in the group fields that I have joined. Parts of the course and a recording of my talk at the conference will be available to paid subscribers. If that is of interest to you, consider becoming a paid subscriber.
In the meantime, if you need something to read, this is a good opportunity for you to catch up on some of my recent articles:
Here is a revision of an old essay from last year, which explores the concept of “feral innocence” in metamodern art.
Here is an essay that explains how I am using the term “metamodernism,” and why it matters.
Finally, this essay explores Greg Dember’s eleven metamodern methods in the arts and how they compare with Antoine Faivre’s 6 characteristics of an esoteric spirituality.
Speaking of Dember, I will still be publishing the podcast featuring the co-blogger, songwriter, and cultural theorist by the end of this month, so stay tuned for that.
Lastly…well, I need some way to alleviate my guilt for not being superhuman enough to do all the things. So, I’ll be sharing a video I initially made for paid subscribers to all subscribers, as a treat.
It is a timelapse of me painting a map of the fictional country of Palladis and its surrounding areas. Palladis is the setting for a graphic novel that I am working on, titled The Singular World, which explores themes of post-colonialism, technocracy, and inter-cultural allyship. It also features a non-binary main character, which I’m excited about, cos, y’know, I’m nonbinary…
Stay tuned for the video, which will be published before the week is out.
Anyway—hopefully you won’t miss my writing too much these next few weeks! If you end up feeling a bit itchy, check out my list of recommended Substacks to see what some of my favourite creators are up to.
Scout Reina Wiley