Monday, July 11, 2016

Magical Lodges

I've been reading "The Place of Mingled Powers: Spiritual Beings in the Magical Lodge" by John Michael Greer, and one of the parts that stood out to me was an offhand comment that the lodge system developed because Western Occultists, by and large, don't have dedicated spaces.

This strikes me as a significant lack. If you look at the history of modern occultism (starting probably with the Renaissance, because earlier it would have been called something different), we see that it generally did not favor large groups, large workings, or have any societal support whatsoever. Those three facts alone sort of necessitate against having a large or permanent space.

Mr. Greer also notes Occultism is, by and large, a part-time activity for most occultists. This is starting to change a bit, but for the most part, occultists have another profession or vocation, and occultism is sort of a side interest. This also does not lead one to having a permanent space.

I know there are older spiritual traditions that have large magical sites, especially where magic and religion blur: Tibetan Monasteries, Shinto shrines, Hindu temples. In the West, we've drawn a fairly stark line between magic and religion, and our closest would probably be the theurgic churches and monasteries of the older branches of Christianity: Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Coptic. Those sites can be useful to western occultists, but are far more geared toward religion than magic. Examples abound: Ladakh for instance, or Meteora.

Also in the past, we have the famous example of an attempt at an occult monastery is, of course, the Abbey of Thelema. Aleister Crowley famously envisioned a world-wide focus for magical practice and devotion in Cefalù, Sicily, Italy. It lasted only three years.

I've heard of at least two permanent spaces for occultists cropping up. One is the New Alexandrian Library, which I'm assuming may have already outgrown it's space, and its only been open this year. The other is the Pittsburgh Witch House, which I'm given to understand will have both study and ritual space, and act as sort of a 'monastery' for occultists. From their site: "Part art collective, part temple, and part clubhouse."

Do you know of any permanent magical spaces or monasteries cropping up around full-time occultists or magicians?

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