Hail Eris! Discordia in Sheffield

When Sheffield-based Notwork 23 held their recent Catch23 festival, there was bound to be a strong Pact presence. Dave Lee was one of several with a part to play in the opening ritual centring on a double invocation of Eris and Horkos, the Goddess of Discord and the God that makes you keep your promises, becoming a heady affair of invocations of all the Colours of Chaos.

Soror Brigantia and Kite had planned on attending simply to enjoy not organising anything this time, as did other Pact people in the locality, but … ya know … Hail Eris and we got roped into the ritual too. Inclusiveness, appreciation of variety and passionate magical expression drove the ritual point-first into the Festival and pegged the whole fiercely sunny day firmly as we went on to experience- well …

There was a room dedicated to talks and workshops. Personal favourites included Dave Lee and musician/magician George Rogers collaborating in the working “From SNAFU to FUBAR, a working against the global war machine;” Ian (Cat) Vincent drawing on his vast experience for the workshop “Defence Against the Dark Arts” and the gong bath. That was an unexpected treat for someone who’d never bathed a gong in his life.

And that Kite guy was a late substitute speaker, giving a hot sweaty audience a rehash of how You Are The Experiment.”

Meanwhile, there was music going on everywhere, all day and late into the night, with a vast and strange variety from plain acoustic bands to Discordian musical happenings. There was a beautiful, mellow – if overwhelmingly hot – atmosphere, and we wound up talking all night with a succession of great folks we’d never met before.

Gotta admit it, we were jealous of Sheffield at this point. So well done to Notwork 23 and all the other disorganizations involved with putting this event together at the Yellow Arch Studios in Hipster Central, Sheffield. Special shout to Anwen Burrows, without whom- well, gods only know. Hail Eris!

Transformations Event Special!

I’m still knackered from the shindig. The Illuminates of Thanateros had an open Moot with added friends and allies. There was magic, learning, comradeship, inspiration, all you could hope for from an intimate yet broad gathering of magicians of many stripes. Chaos Magic, Thelema, Satanism, Discordianism, necromancy- what a mix, all playing together nicely in exemplary style.

The Transformations event, organized by the IOT, happened one day at the beginning of the first decan of Leo, the Cardinal phase of Fixed Fire. This is a decan of fierce vision, knowing what you want and how to get it, and unhesitatingly going out and doing it. The weather on the day proved every bit as hot and fiery, a further good augury for the event itself.

However the proceedings began the night before, courtesy not of the IOT but of the Ordo Templi Orientis and The Satanic Temple (London & UK), who arranged a sort of ecumenical welcome ritual — in the grounds of the Temple Church off Fleet Street, a monument to the Templars overseeing our joined-up magics. We celebrated with a small libation of Jägermeister, whereupon a gentleman arrived to tell us politely that they didn’t mind us holding a Satanic ritual but alcohol was not allowed. So after a tour guide description of the venue, we departed for the next ritual phase: bowling.

Alas, I had to miss the bowling, having a busy tomorrow to prepare for, but I’m told it was … erm, entertaining. At least I got to chat to some new friends first.

The Transformations event itself was well-attended, including some from the night before. The British Isles Section Head of the IOT, Soror Brigantia, opened proceedings with a discussion of Inward and Outward Transformations (I-O-T, geddit?) and a short puja to Ma Kali, for obvious reasons.

Another goddess present was Eris, who manifested herself in the timetable, necessitating a number of late alterations. But it all worked out in the end. Hail Eris!

For what followed, some names I cannot name, but Dave Lee, the Kite, Nikki Wyrd, Julian Vayne and guest speaker Jake Stratton-Kent were among those who wowed everyone present with a wide range of powerful presentations. Soror Wry managed not only to single-handedly manage the bonding ritual of the catering, but also a totally kick-ass ritual with no fewer than eight — count ’em — eight goddesses. As to what happened; well, you had to be there.

Bonding happened. There was overall a warm, friendly and appreciative atmosphere usually the mark of more internal gatherings. Members of orders and such will know what I’m talking about here. I made so many friends this day, including Zeke Apollyon of TST, who scouted us out a bar which we could take over to celebrate the awesomeness of the day. There was much networking, for it looks like the magical network is the new magical order.

I reckon there’s been a Long Dark Night of much of British life (the austerity economy dragging us down) but our occultisms seem to be picking up interest and vibrancy again. The consensus on our event is that there should be more like this, and I look forward to seeing how these various magical colleagues manifest future gatherings.

The conspiring has already begun. For example, as we heard on the day, Rob Rider Hill is running a “Salon du Voile” under the name Crucible Hermetic. Sef Salem of the OTO runs the Occult Conference from the Visible College. Cat Vincent and friends are organizing another Festival23. And Julian Vayne & Nikki Wyrd have just sat down after Breaking Convention. Search for these online and join in with this resurgence of interest in all things magical.

And of course, the British Isles Section of the Illuminates of Thanateros will be hosting more events too.

May you be transformed, and through you, the world.