Woah. That was intense.

Yesterday I was in London for the first-ever Magickal Women conference, heroically organised by Sue Terry and Erzebet Barthold. The first but surely not the last, because it was a triumph.

It hardly needs saying that 300 occultists in the same place at the same time makes for a full-on experience.

With speakers, workshops and masterclasses on most topics you can think of, it included no fewer than four talks on women occultists associated with the Surrealist movement. To my surprise and delight, only one of those talks repeated any of the usual academic-ignoramus trash talk about André Breton. (And if you follow this blog, you’ll know that’s a remarkably low percentage of academic ignoraminosity.)

Sigil to prevent burnout, created by Laura Tempest Zakroff and her students
Sigil to prevent burnout, created by Laura Tempest Zakroff and her students I have a feeling Sue and Erzebet might be needing it.

In her opening speech, Sue Terry hoped that by the end of the day everyone would have had fun, met new people, and learned three things they didn’t already know. I did all of that and more, so here’s my pick of the top three things I learned:

  • European prehistoric artworks use 32 basic symbols, and you can use them too for your own sigils (from Laura Tempest Zakroff)
  • Women’s magickal practices are conditioned by material property rights, and today’s housing crisis is changing the way young women practise (from Christina Oakley Harrington)
  • Even the dreariest conference centre meeting room can become a space of altered consciousness if a wonderful artist puts her mind to it (from Sara Hannant)

But there was lots of other amazing stuff all day – far too much to list everything here.

The conference organisers hinted that there’s a conference-based book in the pipeline. I certainly look forward to that.

Although if the index turns out to include an entry for “Breton, André, Pope of Surrealism”, I will get bitey.

Sigil to prevent burnout created by Laura Tempest Zakroff and her students, licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0.

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