When do two days feel like a week? When it’s a symposium on Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult that explores the creative human mind. This three day event of which I could only attend two released long tendrils of raw energy like a Tesla coil. I spent most if not all of my time at this seminal and I now feel historic event bathed in electric mind food. An exquisite feeling of oneness and purpose shrouded the beautiful Candid Arts space that held this remarkable event. Psychoanalysts, artists and magicians together, engaged, turned on, tuned in and totally committed. I felt the Earth move. Indeed, I feel as though I will be processing all that transpired for the rest of my life. The brain, as Robert Anton Wilson once said, is the most underrated of the sex organs. My brain became wet with the cum of ideas, instances, emotion, enlightenment, wisdom and pure unadulterated nourishment. Panel after panel, speaker after speaker, conversation after conversation, my heart brain bloomed under the pummeling, consistent injections of industrial strength interactions. From the get go both Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson were warm and welcoming to me personally. I found this simple and yet touching openness indicative of the entire event.
The whole space was filled with some of the most beautiful, arresting, magickal and powerful art I have ever seen; Austin Osman Spare, Val Denham, Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE and Jhonn Balance to name but four. The presence of the great publishing houses Timeless, Scarlet Imprint and Fulgur only heightened my senses which touched on the delirious. Good fortune allowed me to meet Robert Ansell of Fulgur Limited. We chatted with pleasure and shared similar resonance regarding our shared love of the book Magic, Words & Numbers by Stuart Holroyd. I was sadly unable to be there on Sunday for his talk Androgyny, Biology and Latent Memory in the Work of Austin Osman Spare, but was humbled and thrilled to engage with both Austin and Robert in a sublime meeting and viewing. There was much to see, feel and engage with. Within the first minutes I had purchased a fine print of Val Denham’s magnificent portrait of Marjorie Cameron. I chatted with the head of Timeless, the publisher Xavier Laradji (who is also a member of the mighty experimental industrial noise power electronics group Bloodyminded) and told him how much I loved his publishing house. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
On Friday 6th of May the symposium was opened by Katelan Foisy with a stirring reading of her finely crafted Invocation of the Spirits of London which chronologically recognised and name checked the slow and layered evolutionary climb of London through poetic spiritual resonance. During one of the first panels of the day Peter Grey of Scarlet Imprint spoke of shadows. While he spoke to the capacity audience I was strangely aware of an underlying subliminal soundtrack of other voices speaking while he delivered his own superb paper called Fly the Light (which I highly recommend you read). The final lines of his piece resonate deeply with me; “A magician knows that when you are being shown something – the function of the body of surfaces – it is because something else is being concealed. A trick, a prestige, from praestringere – to blunt the sight or mind. What is being concealed is the ultimate illusion, the removal of the world itself and its living systems.” I met him afterwards and told him of this bizarre occurrence of under scoring voices. I am not prone to persistent audio hallucinations but on this one particular instance I perceived waves of voices. However, I ruminated afterwards upon my own autism, which has on very rare occasions supported auditory modulation disorder and the occasional surreal hyper-processing of auditory stimuli. We exchanged views on the state of technology and its human farming beginnings as exemplified in the book IBM and the Holocaust. Scarlet Imprint is a fine publishing house and is certainly worthy of your investigation. I purchased Peter’s Apocalyptic Witchcraft which he kindly signed for me. Khi Armand (a gifted and multi-disciplined ‘root doctor’ and spirit worker who specializes in Hoodoo Rootwork, Brazilian Quimbanda and Curanderismo) delivered the provocatively entitled Before and After; Devouring Tigers in the Houses of Darkness. Khi’s paper explored initiation as both an unavoidable and necessary aspect of the human experience and, being so, a required and regulated experience within traditional cultures around the world.
The second panel gave me much joy. Val Denham, Langston Khan and Graham Duff delivered their fine words on subjects as diverse as art, dreams, archetypes and Jhonn Balance. I thoroughly enjoyed Graham Duff’s excellent paper Sublime Fragments: The Art of Jhonn Balance. It was both riveting and funny. His comment when he saw how dark the slides were and then came out with the classic line about it all being about the occult anyway made me piss my pants (No Graham, you did not peak early with the arc of your delivery, it was all equalized in the mix.) His crushed blue velvet suit was the cherry on this luscious balanced cake of mind food. His stanzas delivered regarding Coil are probably the finest I have ever heard on the group. Each and every panelist expounded their work with eloquence, gusto, charm and heartwarming aplomb. Val Denham’s paper Proclaim Present Time Over (its title taken from a story by William S. Burroughs who in turn took it from a poem by Brion Gysin) embedded and raised in my mind what I felt was a very important question to ask the panel later on. Like Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey in the scene where he leaves Discovery One in an EVA pod to investigate another monolith discovered in orbit around the planet, I found myself pulled into a vortex of coloured light, racing across vast distances of space, viewing bizarre cosmological phenomena and strange landscapes of unusual colours with only a strong cup of coffee and a full English breakfast fueling me.
It was at this point I thus spake. I watched the words form in my mouth as I uttered a question to the panel. “Why do we dream?” I ventured forth and asked why do humans produce DMT? Several speculative and yet untested hypotheses suggest that endogenous DMT is produced in the human brain and is involved in certain psychological and neurological states. It was first synthesized in 1931 by Canadian chemist Richard Helmuth Fredrick Manske (1901–1977). In DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Dr. Rick Strassman he states; “I was drawn to DMT because of its presence in all of our bodies. Perhaps excessive DMT production, coming from the mysterious pineal gland, was involved in naturally occurring “psychedelic” states. These states might include birth, death and near-death, psychosis, and mystical experiences. Only later, while the study was well under way, did I also begin considering DMT’s role in the “alien abduction” experience.” I then asked if anyone dreamed in colour. I do. Val and some audience members stated that they did. Behind me Jesse Hathaway Diaz said that he had been diagnosed with a rare condition that made him go into dream states at least thirty times. I was astounded to learn of such an amazing and yet challenging state to be in. He very kindly showed openness and candour clarifying for me on Facebook the issue at hand; “For the record, rapid rem Narcolepsy doesn’t guarantee dream recall, but it does mean that I enter dream state much faster than other people, so the potential is there. Average night is around 8-10, sometime upwards of 20-30 on rarer occasions.” Why indeed do we dream? My question remains unanswered. As Henry David Thoreau once said; “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.” The showing of Carl Abrahamsson’s sublime super 8 dreamscape Sub Umbra Alarum Luna was a fitting and wonderful night cap to a day filled with wonders.
On Saturday 7th May saw the first fascinating panel of Steven Reisner and Jesse Hathaway Diaz. I was honoured to share a table at The Charles Lamb with Steven Reisner. He has been selected to receive the APA Division of Psychoanalysis 2017 Leadership Award and is campaigning to become APA President. I sincerely hope he is nominated. His wisdom, strength and perception are mighty. His paper On the Dance of Occult and Unconscious in Freud was filled with treasure that drew a call from the audience to repeat his deep quote source that showed Freud was not so against the occult after all. Indeed, Freud believed in telepathy and experimented in this field. Jesse Hathaway Diaz‘s excellent Diviner and Divined: The Mechanics, Manipulation and Mutability of Fate was a stunning mercurial liquid stream of quicksilver knowledge delivered at river speed. He is also a folklorist, diviner, artist and performer living in New York City. With initiations in several forms of witchcraft from both Europe and the Americas, he is also a lifelong student of Mexican Curanderismo, an initiated olosha in the Lucumí orisha tradition, and a Tatá Quimbanda. Indeed, a call to slow down was made and his bubbling and vital energies changed gear to pull back and open up a pivotal and important point for me. One slide of his paper was entitled “Triangulating the Soul”. It became for me the overwhelming profile glyph of the entire event. The soul of the creative human mind had indeed been carefully organised and laid out within the three connected and interconnected subjects of psychoanalysis, art & the occult. His slide had punctured home within me this remarkable and auspicious alignment of disciplines, crafts and skills into one cohesive whole.
In the next two panels Katy Bohinc, Olga Cox Cameron, Ingo Lambrecht, Demetrius Lacroix, Charlotte Rodgers and Alkistis Dimech (and her extraordinary paper Dynamics of the Occulted Body) were all delivered with distinction, authority and profundity, creating sublime landscapes of possibly that remain tattooed on the skin of my mind. Special mention must also go to all of the moderators that managed well to supply an even flow of exchanges and connectivity between each of the speakers and members of the audience. Eliott Edge however, literally stood head and shoulders above everyone else and in no small or uncertain way. This multidisciplinary artist, writer and philosopher showed remarkable physical stamina and grace during the symposium. I was stunned by his repeated and consistent efforts in the rigours offered by the venues insanely organised lighting system, which were placed inextricably high near the point where the lights meet the ceiling. Eliot’s regular climbing to turn the lights on and off at numerous points throughout the event to accommodate each speakers personal requests can only be seen as Herculean. The metaphor of mankind climbing the heights of thought to switch on the lights of illumination did not pass me by. Eliot (Odd Edges) is the Executive Director of the institute Collective Anomaly, a venue for the serious exploration of mysticism and the paranormal, supporting alternative scholar-practitioners to teach, write, research and publish.
The coming of the darkness brought a very special and deeply meaningful moment for me personally. Meeting Val Denham personally is the once in a 31 year life changing moment for me which I will never forget. My initial encounter with Val’s exquisite cover art through my 1985 purchase of Some Bizarre‘s ‘If You Can’t Please Yourself You Can’t Please Your Soul’ brings to a close a long and enduring fascination and quest to meet with this much treasured artist. Indeed, I had the very good fortune thanks to Vanessa, Carl and Val to be able to record Silverstar Amoeba. As Val states on Facebook; “How many of today’s bands would dare to perform live without any rehearsal at all or even any idea of songs or even sound checking, relying purely on MAGICK and psychic intuition as an instigator of rock’ n’ roll reality?” Indeed, who would dare? A table dedicated to Vanity Case Records appeared as if from nowhere, offering a large and superb selection of bespoke and quality records (including Val’s new album) This amazing evening gig in the Candid Arts space was ably recorded and documented on my trusty Tascam D40 four track digital recorder. Val Denham has kindly put up a track from the gig onto SoundCloud now streamable here. Many thanks to Gregg Janman at Hermetech Mastering for mastering and resorting the audio. Have a listen to my recording of ‘It’s All A Dream Anyway by Silverstar Amoeba’ at Candid Arts. There be some weird unexplained audio phenomena hiding in this here recording! Carl Abrahamsson’s Live Mix Desk Production is an all encompassing sublime multi-mind cinema.
Sounding like a mutant bluesy hybrid cross of Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle, My Bloody Valentine and a seriously hardcore part spoken word, part outsider psychrockgasm act on acid, this wild and chaotic audio beauty shrine was crowned with Val’s angel like singing and presence. Glasses were smashed, speakers tumbled, darkness cloaking velvet, Carl Abrahamsson’s majestic images projected while the feedback of two days thunderous expositions boomed luxuriantly. This drained and exhausted electronic musician and artist went to bed wired and woke up the next day in a form of transcendental inspirational bliss. On the program and poster for the event Val Denham’s art lovingly gazed out. ‘Venus Castina‘ and the magickal figure therein stares out; gorgeous beckoning eyes, tongue long, luscious and inviting, a golden halo resplendent and luminous, erotic sky and star ravishing. Venus was inherent in all that spoke, acted, loved and touched. Viva the #psychartcult revolution! For more about this event go to Das Unbehagen.