First Hermetic International Film Festival

Venice, Italy

” A truly unique film festival overtly dedicated to the domain of Hermetica: The Unorthodoxy underlying the mainstream intellectual history, the neglected Heterodoxy rooted in our cultural legacy, the eternal search for understanding the Inexplicable, the everlasting fascination for the Supramundane, the timeless allure of the Supernatural.”


Vixen Tor: a one-day symposium celebrating the fierce women of folklore

 Saturday 20 June, Exeter Phoenix (Studio 74) 10.00 am – late.

Talks and workshops from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm, followed by a live performance of Circle of Spears production ‘Witch’ at 7.30 and then a film screening.

Current line-up includes a presentation on the Dartmoor legends of Vixiana and Vixen Tor, a workshop by doula Jemma Nicholls on Childbirth and Charms, wise women/botanical lore storytelling with Lisa Scheidenau, a talk from folklorist Icy Sedgwick  and music from Inkubus Sukkubus. More participants to be announced shortly. Anyone wishing to submit a proposal for a presentation should contact as soon as possible

Magical Deceptions

An event by Magic and Esotericism research group member Professor Brian Rappert:

Dates: 2 & 9 February 2020
Time: 18:30-20:30
Location: Ashburton Arts Centre
15 West Street
TQ13 7DT Ashburton

Join Brian Rappert in his latest interactive performance of trickery:

We will use the play of secrecy, disclosure and deception in magic to discuss the role of secrecy, disclosure and deception in art, science, war, and daily life. I hope to promote a spirit of curiosity and wonder about how we manage to live together in the world today…

Max 12 in the audience: this is an intimate affair!
This isn’t a children’s show – suggested minimum age 15.

Event Calendar 2020

A list of conferences and talks that may be of interest.
Feel free to email the list if you have an event that is not on the list.

December 2019

17th-18th- London Institute of Ismaili Studies, “Esoteric Cultures of Scripture:

21st-31st – Boscastle – Museum of Witchcraft and Magic winter opening dates – 10.30 – 16.30

January 2020

2nd-3rd -Boscastle – Museum of Witchcraft and Magic winter opening dates – 10.30 – 16.30

February 2020

2nd and 9th– Ashburton Arts Centre- Magical Deceptions- 6:30-8:30

3rd and 17th: “Magic in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim East: ongoing research and case studies,” Institut d’études de l’Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman:

March 2020

1-3- l’Université Hébraïque de Jérusalem – Magic in Late Antiquity : Objects, Texts and Contexts (colloque)CFP and details

6th – University of Worcester, Worcester – Enchanted Environments SymposiumCFP and details

12th-13th – University of York, York – Threshold, Boundary, and Crossover in FantasyCFP and details

27th – Open University, Milton Keynes – Mind, Body, Magic: Sensory And Emotional Approaches To Magic In The Roman World program: –

27th-29th– University of South Carolina– “Islamic Occult Studies on the Rise”

April 2020

20th: “Magic in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim East: ongoing research and case studies,” Institut d’études de l’Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman:

May 2020

4th: “Magic in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim East: ongoing research and case studies,” Institut d’études de l’Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman:

June 2020

6th-7th – London – Magickal Women Conferencedetails

20th- Women and Witchcraft: part of the Vixen Torre Festival. Contact the following address for further information:

26th- Art of Deception: Performance Magic, Literature and Culture. Portsmouth University. CFP and details:

July 2020

30th-31st – Leeds Beckett University, Leeds – Folk horror, folklore and fantasy, enchanted environments, literature and scienceCFP and details

August 2020

23rd-29th – University of Otago (NZ) – Esotericism in a global context – CFP and details

September 2020

6th – Exeter Corn Exchange, Exeter – Magic, Witchcraft and the Mysteriesdetails

October 2020

29-31- Sofia, Bulgaria IEFSEM- “Between the Worlds: Magic, Miracles and Mysticism” details


Dates: 23rd October – 2nd November 2019  Times: 6:30pm & 8:30pm  Price: £17.50
Location: Knightshayes, Tiverton, Devon EX16 7RG

“FOUR OF SWORDS, in collaboration with THE WELLCOME TRUST, EXETER UNIVERSITY and the NATIONAL TRUST, is honoured and proud to announce a brand new show for Autumn and Winter 2019!

DOCTOR DRACULA is another immersive theatre production, drawing on a variety of sources and examining how the symbolic role of blood connects with a cutting edge, medical understanding of blood in the 21st century.

This is a little different from our previous shows. It is not a straight adaptation of the Dracula story. Instead, story vignettes from classic vampire stories will draw the audience back-and-forth through time. Medieval blood-letting and grave-robbing will be contrasted with experiments in parabiosis, blood transfusion, and autovampirism. Misunderstood blood conditions such as haemochromatosis and haemophilia will be highlighted. The show will be playful and irreverent, but also scary, unsettling and deadly serious!”


CFP: Mind, Body, Magic: Sensory And Emotional Approaches To Magic In The Roman World

Open University, Milton Keynes (UK)

Friday 27th March 2020

The four centuries of the Roman imperial period saw massive shifts in all aspects of life for people across the Mediterranean and northern Europe, including in the ways in which they communicated with the supernatural, as it fostered unprecedented movements of people, objects and ideas. Much work has been done on how these changes affected the beliefs and practices conventionally called religion, but there is plenty of scope for exploring those that both modern scholars and the ancients themselves recognised as magical.

Materials and materiality mattered, but sensory experiences and emotional responses were also important components of Roman magical practice and were integral to the successful and efficacious completion of ritual action. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling were key elements of the ‘doing’ and, in reality, there can be little separation between these concepts if we are to have a holistic understanding and engagement with this part of life in the ancient world.

It is the objective of this conference to develop these ideas and to take them further, into the theoretical fields of sensory and emotional archaeologies in order to help modern scholars to understand the relationships between people, objects, and magical rituals. The physical, emotional, and intellectual sensorium of the ancient world is difficult to access, but recent research has begun to provide toolkits and approaches which may be applied to the study of Roman magic.

The burgeoning field of sensory studies in antiquity has provided fertile ground for discussion and has greatly advanced our understanding of life in the Roman world, and emotional archaeologies may help to advance our understanding of emotional effects of ritual practices. Approaching magical practices in these contexts and/or theoretically focused ways can reveal more of the lived experience of the individuals who performed them in their daily lives but can also illuminate broader questions on the nature of a particular society as it changed over space and time.

The study of ‘magic’ in the ancient has long suffered from scholarly disagreements regarding semantics and, subsequently, definitions of this term. Following on from the framework set out in McKie and Parker (2018) we opt not to provide a single, rigid definition of magic for our contributors and participants to use; we wish to encourage a multi-disciplinary conversation informed, perhaps, by multi-disciplinary understandings of magic. We will, however, expect contributors to be broadly aware of these issues and have reflected on this debate.

We would like this conference to reflect as diverse a range of backgrounds and experiences as possible: in professional terms, we welcome contributions from archaeologists, academics and ECRs, post-graduates, museum professionals, classicists and historians.

We would welcome papers on the following topics:

  • Sensory components of magical rituals (not necessarily limited to the classic five senses).
  • The emotional effects of practicing magic.
  • The interactions between human bodies and physical objects in magical rituals.
  • Issues of ephemerality, temporality, and/or seasonality in sensory or emotional approaches.
  • Experimental and reconstructive approaches to ancient magic.

Organisers: Stuart McKie (Durham University) and Adam Parker (Open University).

Please submit abstracts (300 words max) to Stuart McKie () and Adam Parker () by 30th November 2019.

The Equinox Colloquium at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic


Over the past couple of years, the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic has been devoting attention to the academic study of magic and the occult, most visible in the launch of their Journal, The Enquiring Eye, with the goal to revive the Witchcraft Research Centre that its founder, Cecil Williamson, envisioned the Museum to be.

This September has seen the launch of the Equinox Colloquium, the Museum’s second conference, now accompanying the Annual Conference in Spring.

As the title suggests, the Colloquium covered the Autumnal Equinox (handily falling on the weekend between of the 19th to the 22nd) with research papers, two dramatic performances and a folklore walk. It was a cosy affair and what it lacked in numbers it made up amply in enthusiasm. Speakers from across the UK and from as far afield as California and Queensland have presented on the topic of Accusations and Persecution.

(click image for programme)


The Colloquium coincided with the start of the Banned Books Week, and was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the featured events on their website. To highlight the importance of freedom of speech and the long term stigma associated with books of magic, the Museum staff have created a reading list from banned esoteric texts and invited speakers at the Colloquium to read some excerpts. These readings will be available on the Museum website, released daily during the week.

This series of readings, titled ‘Banned Books at Bedtime’, starts with the talk by Dr Thomas Waters, the keynote speaker at the Colloquium. His presentation of the history of cursed books highlights the worrying shift from historical book curses being employed to protect the texts against theft and misuse to the modern understanding of ‘cursed books’ as a label leading to censure.

On the topic of books, the Colloquium provided the platform for the launch of Dr Waters’ book, Cursed Britain, which he touches upon in his presentation. Furthermore, the event hosted a comprehensive range of texts from Troy Books, a publisher chiefly involved with esoteric and folklore material.

The mix of academic research, dramatic narration of the experience of the accusers and accused (one of the plays explored the Pendle Witches case), involved discussion in the cosy Long Bar and bracing walks along the Boscastle cliffs have made the conference a memorable affair and, hopefully, a staple fixture in the Museum’s calendar.