Ashburton Arts Centre Events

Magic: Who Cares?

Truth and Deception                              Belief and Incredulity
Secrecy and Revelation                         Regard and Distraction
Cooperation and Conflict                        Hope and Gloom

Join Prof Brian Rappert in this highly interactive, online event that uses magic as a method for exploring how we act toward one another in everyday life, the workplace, politics and beyond.  We will ask how we can care for each other in these demanding times through the power of illusion.  Some of the bewitching will take place through your very hands!  The effects are all new, so feel free to join in the fun if you have been to one of Brian’s previous sessions at the Centre.

Sunday 9 August 2020
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Also on Sunday 16 August 2020
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

‘Mystery, Science and the Divine’

University College London

Summer School in Ancient Philosophy

Monday 13 July to Friday 17 July 2020

The UCL Ancient Philosophy Summer School is offering exceptional one-week intensive courses this summer at opportunity-cost prices (£120) .

  • The one-week intensive courses will be available online for the first time and accessible from any part of the world.
  • There will be video lectures as well as discussion time with excellent tutors
  • Participants will be provided with all materials and have the opportunity to talk about the ideas with other participants as well as the tutors
  • The course on ‘Mystery, Science and the Divine’ is being developed and will be actively guided by two tutors specialised in Ancient Philosophy, Late Antiquity and Medieval Philosophy

Some of the questions that will be tackled include:

  • What are the origins of rationality?
  • Why were the deeper teachings of philosophical schools (e.g. Plato and Stoics) made accessible only to the ‘initiated’?
  • Why is the divine so important for the ancients?
  • Why did specific philosophical schools deal with magic, alchemy and astrology?
  • How is the notion of ‘divine’ associated with philosophy and the occult arts?
  • What kind of impetus was given to philosophy and science by the occult arts?
  • Was magic and astrology really irrational during ancient times?

For further information on the ‘Mystery, Science and the Divine’ course please contact: or

Visions as practice in practice-based research

A presentation by Sarah Scaife given to the Exeter University Magic & Esotericism Research Group on 27 May 2020. This work was catalysed by Dr Emily Selove’s presentation, Dangerous Books, to the same research group on 3 April 2020. Scaife was intrigued by Selove’s reference to a spell involving “a slave girl”, which relied on the intimate interior of a woman’s body as a site of magic. This brought to mind Bernini’s sculpture of a woman who began to experience religious ecstasy during almost a year of ill-health, The Ecstasy of St Teresa, and links to Scaife’s own practice-based research. The PDF shared here is the Notes view of her 30 minute presentation:


Sarah Scaife’s profile can be found here:


Truths and lies
Concealment and revelation
Chaos and oder
Why not?

These are challenging times. How we communicate, how we look at one another, and how we perceive our everyday surroundings are radically shifting from day to day. Join in with Professor Brian Rappert in using magic as a method for reflecting on our altered experiences. In this highly interactive, on-line event, some of the magic will take place in your very hands! And who doesn’t need a bit more magic in their lives these days…

Magic in an Age of Pretence isn’t an ordinary magic show! Instead of a magician set apart from the audience, this show consists of using the play of secrecy, disclosure and deception in magic to generate discuss the role of secrecy, disclosure and deception in art, science, war, and daily life. Find out more about Brian Rappert here:  h

Instructions for taking part found here:

A (somewhat belated) look at the 2nd Issue of Hellebore.

Hellebore is a folk horror and occult zine, whose editor Maria J. Pérez Cuervo and art wizard Nathaniel Winter-Hébert compile tantalising morsels for a wide but discerning audience. Contributions include short academic discussions, personal curios and art pieces. The zine is stunning and, with just two issues out so far, establishes a strong visual identity.

This second issue, aptly released on Beltane, May 1st, is devoted to Wild Gods. Maria writes in the editorial: ‘I wanted it to focus on rites of fertility, divine ecstasy, and ritual madness. But The Wild Gods Issue took on a life of its own. You’ll find themes of rebellion, opposition, and self-discovery, for these are the things that The Wild Gods embody.’ And these are, perhaps, the things that we as readers need in these uncertain times. Contributors include: Joe Gough, Occult Part and Richard Wells for art, and Melissa Edmundson, Ruth Heholt, K. A. Laity, Alan Moore, John Reppion, Katy Soar and yours truly for words.

The pieces in the Issue range from the epicurean worship of Pan in the Buckinghamshire countryside to the ride of the Wild Hunt in Norfolk, but what struck me most acutely was the sheer presence of all the pieces, their rootedness in the physical and emotional landscape of folklore and faith. All contributors offer accessible, but rigorously informed accounts of Wild Gods in their various forms, that are, to a one, a pleasure to read. On a personal note, Hellebore ticks a crucial box – consistent footnotes – which shows it is not a casual publication.

Behind the scenes, the process of submission is clear and straightforward. Working with Maria on edits to my piece was a true collaborative effort, with the final product being delightfully augmented by the sensitively-chosen visual material. The piece on the Sorcerer of Trois-Frères, that had me yowling at French archaeological field reports in the writing, was transformed into a coherent and engaging narrative.

You can support Hellebore and its contributors by buying the zine:
or following it on social media: @heleborezine

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.”