Thursday 15 September 2011

Back to Magic School: Witchcraft and Magic

Lecturer and folklorist Ken Rees is running two courses looking at witchcraft and magic this autumn.

Mythology, Folklore and Witchcraft

This programme looks at the new paganism, the contemporary revivals of witchcraft and druidry, Goddess spirituality and environmental concerns. The course will focus on:
  • Continuities between spiritualities of the past and renewed interest in them today as reformulated for modern life
  • The return of the Goddess - the role of spiritual feminism
  • The new paganism and the varieties of witchcraft emerging over the past 50 years including the Wicca, traditional witchcraft and hedge witchcraft. Emergent druidry, and especially its links to sites such as Stonehenge, will be explored
  • Mystical ecology - ecopaganism and the rebirth of the tribe.
These topics will be critically evaluated throughout the course using the tools of the social sciences.

The course begins on 22 September and lasts for 10 weeks, every Thursday evening from 7pm to 9pm, at Hortensia Centre, Hortensia Road, London SW10 0QS.

Fees are £124/£93 discount rate/Conc. £38. For more information call 020 8671 6372 and to book a place call 020 7573 5333/5277 quoting course code: 11EHC005-01. You can also email or visit

The Magical Consciousness

This course looks at the long and honourable tradition that has existed across cultures of alternative ways of thinking and being to the dominant paradigm of Western rationality. These ways of knowing have been expressed in many forms, including Renaissance Hermeticism, the Rosicrucian enlightenment as well as the various angelologies deriving from the Judao-Christian matrix.

Such perspectives can be summed up by the term 'the magical consciousness' and have their underpinnings in symbolic discourse, mythology, Neo-Platonism and Gnosticism. Alchemy, the Jewish kabbalah and theurgy, for instance, all ultimately share similar philosophies of magic that had innumerable devotees throughout the ages and have never fully died out, only being partially submerged by the tides of scientific thinking and Western rationality.

Increasingly, the 19th and 20th centuries saw a revival of interest in such traditional thought forms and practices informing esoteric spirituality. This has found its expression in a variety of cultural phenomena including groups, lodges and schools of which examples will be given.

This course runs from 27 September to 1 November, every Tuesday evening from 8pm to 10pm at The Mary Ward Centre, Queen Square, London WC1N 3AQ. Fees are £44/£15. For more information call 020 8671 6372 and to enrol call 020 7269 6000/6005 quoting course No: 436.

For more information email: or visit

The image is a depiction of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life -

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