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Strange Attractor presents Towards a Progressive Magic

A night of magical resistance with Dr Amy Hale (Atlanta, US) & Hawthonn (Leeds, UK).




As the world takes an awkward lurch towards right wing authoritarianism, underground and fringe cultures, organisations and scenes are becoming increasingly attuned to the attempts by radical right wing groups to infiltrate and coerce their members.

Tonight's presentations discuss how, and why, contemporary magical cultures have become attractive territories for recruitment and expansion by far right organisations. We will also learn to recognise such entryism in action, and how to stop it.

The talks will be followed by a live ritual musical performance by Hawthonn (Layla & Phil Legard) in their first London appearance.


AMY HALE: Is A Progressive Magick Even Possible?

Identifying Barriers, Dismantling Frameworks

Modern occult practice, for many, relies on structures, ideas, values, and aesthetics that are inherently linked to conservative and reactionary thought.  Examples of this are the valorisation of tradition, the idea of an initiated spiritual elite and the notion of a highly-ordered Neoplatonic universe, where everything is in its right place – including people and cultures.

These conservative traits create opportunities for activists to use the social mechanisms of occult subcultures – for example festivals and conferences, book publishing, the music and fashion industries – to promote radical political and cultural agendas without people even noticing that it has happened.

This presentation will help to identify some of the frameworks and assumptions present in occult subcultures that allow for entryism by far right political organisations. I will discuss how ideas of tradition and “nature” are exploited, and how the discourses of “free speech” are deployed to create and justify platforms for radical, intolerant politics in an occult milieu.


 As esotericists we often believe that we have stepped beyond 'mere politics' – that our minds are turned to a higher world, which has little relation to the mundane – despite, paradoxically, believing that our magical actions influence the phenomenal world.

Yet many contemporary scholars of esotericism and religion analyse the currents of occultism, paganism and the New Age as socially constructed phenomena: elaborate mythic structures enforcing certain norms, beliefs and practices, while justifying themselves through appeals to authority, lineage and experience, even science and rationality.

Such historiographic or sociological approaches have been accused by many practitioners of base reductionism, undermining the authority of their particular traditions. Yet, what if practitioners of esotericism were to accept – or at least entertain for a moment – a constructivist, rather than transcendentalist, paradigm?

We posit that such an acceptance can lead to another form of practice, which acknowledges the way in which esotericism is inseparable from the historical, social and economic fabric of our lives and which – rather than denying the viscerality of ritual and experience – uses them as tools to question the traditions and assumptions of the esoteric worldview, leading to a fluid and reflexive ‘critical magick’.

HAWTHONN: live ritual music performance


Later Event: 1 June