Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experiences – Dr. David Luke

This zoom talk is a psychonautic scientific trip to the weirdest outposts of the psychedelic terrain, inhaling anything and everything relevant from psychology, psychiatry, parapsychology, anthropology, neuroscience, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, biochemistry, religious studies, cultural history, shamanism and the occult along the way.

This talk is a psychonautic scientific trip to the weirdest outposts of the psychedelic terrain, inhaling anything and everything relevant from psychology, psychiatry, parapsychology, anthropology, neuroscience, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, biochemistry, religious studies, cultural history, shamanism and the occult along the way. Staring the strange straight in the third eye this eclectic collection of otherworldly entheogenic research provides a ragtaglledy scientific exploration of syanaesthesia, extra-dimensional percepts, inter-species communication, eco-consciousness, mediumship, possession, entity encounters, near-death and out-of-body experiences, psi, alien abduction experiences and lycanthropy. Essentially, its everything you ever wanted to know about weird psychedelic experiences, but were too afraid to ask…

Dr David Luke is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich, UK, where he has been teaching an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience since 2009, and he is also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London, and Lecturer on the MSc Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology for Alef Trust and Liverpool John Moores University. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including ten books, most recently Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2nd ed., 2019). When he is not running clinical drug trials with LSD, conducting DMT field experiments or observing apparent weather control with Mexican shamans he directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the Institute of Ecotechnics, London, and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He has given over 300 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages; and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites. He lives life on the edge, of Sussex.

Fairy Tales from Papua New Guinea – Zoom Bedtime Stories from Viktor Wynd

Let Viktor Wynd share a nightcap with you, tuck you into bed and tell you Fairy Tales to send you into a deep sleep of strange dreams. Be warned these are not the Ladybird or Disney versions and may not be suitable for the tenderist ears.

This evening Mr.Wynd will choose some of his favourite tales picked up on his travels across Papua New Guinea. Strange, Wondrous Tales full of magic, of talking creatures, spirits, witches, shapeshifting and anthropophagi

Viktor Wynd, proprietor of London’s eponymous (nay infamous) Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & UnNatural History has spent the last twenty five years telling stories to audiences across the globe. Fascinated by traditional fairy tales his repertoire includes tales from The Brothers Grimm, The Arabian Nights, Scandinavia, Russia, Italy, France, Ireland, Africa, Papua New Guinea & North America – so far.

The Marquis De Sade & The Avant-garde: Illustrated Zoom Talk by Alyce Mahon

The Marquis de Sade’s status as an icon of free and subversive expression was largely bestowed on him in the twentieth century. Then, his appeal went beyond the orgiastic tableaux he crafted in his libertine novels and a broader sense of his ‘philosophy of the boudoir’ was seized as a radical voice for the avant-garde’s engagement with sexual desire and social politics. This talk will consider why Surrealist artists such as Man Ray, André Masson, Hans Bellmer, Toyen and Leonor Fini claimed the Marquis de Sade as “a hero of love, of generosity and of liberty”, and how they brought the Sadean imagination into play in their art.

Speaker: Alyce Mahon is a Professor of Modern & Contemporary Art History at the University of Cambridge, England. She is the author of Surrealism and the Politics of Eros, 1938-1968 (Thames & Hudson, 2005), Eroticism & Art (Oxford University Press, 2005 and 2007) and The Marquis de Sade and the Avant-Garde (Princeton University Press, 2020), as well as numerous journal, book and catalogue essays on Surrealism and its dialogue with eroticism and gender politics. She also works with major museums on Surrealist exhibitions and was the guest curator of Dorothea Tanning, Behind the Door Another Door, the first major retrospective exhibition of the American Surrealist Dorothea Tanning (1901-2012), for the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (Oct. 3, 2018 –Jan. 7, 2019) and the Tate Modern, London (Feb. 27–June 6, 2019), and the head advisor for the first survey show of Argentine-Italian Surrealist Leonor Fini (1907-1996) in the United States, titled Leonor Fini: Theatre of Desire 1930-1990 and on show at the Museum of Sex, New York (Sept. 28, 2018-March 4, 2019). Her talk will focus on her new book on the Marquis de Sade and the Avant-Garde and her longstanding interests in the dynamics between art, sex, and politics.

Deanna Petherbridge on Witches & Wicked Bodies: An Illustrated Zoom Lecture

The presentation Witches & Wicked Bodies provides a rich survey of images of European witchcraft from the ancient world to the present day. Witches, even in biblical and classical times were predominantly women and the misogynistic narratives of their wickedness and lewdness propounded by clerics in books such as the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches),1486 resulted in enduring stereotypes that were imaginatively re-invented by artists over the centuries. Unlike the disturbing historical accounts of witchcraft and the cruel punishments of the accused by burning and drowning, the visual images of prints and paintings are horrific and mysterious, but also sexually titillating, bizarre and often ribald. They range from hideous and jealous old crones devouring babies or wreaking destructive havoc through storms and fire to beautiful nude witches flaunting their sexuality and bewitching men, or, together with their hideous ancient mentors, stirring cauldrons of potions made from the fat of dead infants and flying up chimneys on broomsticks to participate in black masses and sex with devils. Historical artworks presented female witchcraft as a dangerous inversion of the patriarchal and religious world order, but contemporary artists have challenged these assumptions.

Deanna Petherbridge CBE is an artist, writer and curator. Her practice is drawing-based (predominantly pen and ink drawings on paper), although she has also produced large-scale murals and designed for the theatre. Her publications in the area of art and architecture are concerned with contemporary as well as historical matters and she has concentrated on writing about and promoting drawing. The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice, 2010 followed years of teaching and is hailed as a seminal text for practitioners and the general public. Her curated exhibitions include The Quick and the Dead: Artists and Anatomy, 1997, Witches and Wicked Bodies, 2013, Artists at Work, 2018. She celebrated a retrospective exhibition of her drawings at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester (2016-2017) accompanied by the monograph Deanna Petherbridge: Drawing and Dialogue, 2016. Her recent drawings are concerned with the stirring social issues of the times, including war and forced migration, environmental destruction and the pandemic. Her large-scale triptych The Destruction of the City of Homs, 2016 was on display at Tate Britain during 2019 – 2020.

Image: Henry Fuseli (1741-1825), The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches (detail), 1796, oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Freud’s Pandemics: A Live Zoom Lecture with Professor Brett Kahr

Sigmund Freud died in the autumn of 1939, literally eighty years before the outbreak of the current coronavirus pandemic.

Although Freud did not have to navigate this chilling global crisis, he did survive the First World War, the so-called Spanish Flu, and, also, the deadly Nazi occupation of Austria. In consequence, he might well have had some important lessons to bequeath to us on how we might remain robust during these terrifying times.

In this special webinar, Professor Brett Kahr, a long-standing Trustee of Freud Museum London and author of several books on the father of psychoanalysis, will explore how Freud handled his own life-threatening challenges, how he remained creative and productive throughout illness and war, and how he forged a community of supporters who protected and enriched him and whom he supported likewise. Professor Kahr will also consider how Freud’s theories, especially those of the early 1920s – a full century ago – can help us to understand the widespread prevalence of denial and disavowal of the traumatic reality of our present-day lives.

Speaker: Professor Brett Kahr is Senior Fellow at the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology in London, as well as Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis and Mental Health in the Regent’s School of Psychotherapy and Psychology at Regent’s University London. He also holds the post of Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University, linked to the Centre for the Study of Conflict, Emotion and Social Justice. Kahr first worked at the Freud Museum back in 1986, and, subsequently, he became one of the museum’s Trustees. His books include Life Lessons from Freud; Coffee with Freud; and, most recently, Dangerous Lunatics: Trauma, Criminality, and Forensic Psychotherapy (newly released by Confer Books). He is currently completing an intellectual biography of Freud for the “Routledge Historical Biographies” series.

Image: Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus (detail), 1937

Of Ravens, Wolves & People – Professor John Marzluff – Zoom Lecture

Ravens are known to scavenge from wolves and people, but the degree to which they exploit these and other sources of food has not been studied in detail. In 2019, Matthias Loretto and I began tagging ravens in Yellowstone National Park with long-lasting GSM transmitters. After tagging >60 ravens and relating their movements to those of people and wolves, we are gaining an appreciation of their reliance on both providers. I will describe the movements of territorial and non-breeding ravens and relate these to wolf- and human-provisioned foods. I will focus on the exploits of individual birds to emphasize variability. We observed ravens using wolf kills, but their discovery appears more incidental than a result of following or purposeful search. As we begin to quantify the relationship between wolves and ravens we may learn more about their synchrony, but at present it appears to be weak, with discovery of kills occurring during the day rather than after communal roosting. Ravens made extensive use of anthropogenic resources, including direct handouts, waste water treatment ponds, dumps, agriculture, roadkills, and hunter offal. Territorial ravens have extensive knowledge of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and exploit areas in excess of 6500 square miles to obtain their yearly needs.

John Marzluff is James W. Ridgeway Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. His graduate (Northern Arizona University) and initial post-doctoral (University of Vermont) research focused on the social behavior and ecology of jays and ravens. He continues this theme investigating the intriguing behavior of crows, ravens, and jays. His current research focuses on the interactions of ravens and wolves in Yellowstone. He teaches Ornithology, Governance and Conservation of Rare Species, Field Research in Yellowstone, and Natural and Cultural History of Costa Rica.

Professor Marzluff has written five books and edited several others. In The Company of Crows & Raven – with Tony Angell (Yale 2005) examines the often surprising ways that crows and ravens adn humans interact. Welcome to Subirdia (2014 Yale) discovers that moderately settled lands host a splendid array of biological diversity and suggests ways in which people can steward these riches to benefit birds and themselves. His most recent In Search of Meadowlarks (2020 Yale) connects our agriculture and diets to the conservation of birds and other wildlife.

Dr. Marzluff has mentored over 40 graduate students and authored over 140 scientific papers on various aspects of bird behavior and wildlife management. He is a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Team for the critically endangered Mariana Crow, a former member of the Washington Biodiversity Council, a Fellow of the American Ornithologist’s Union, and a National Geographic Explorer.

image By Richard Crossley – Richard Crossley, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26000660

Contemporary Satanic Feminism – Per Faxneld – Zoom Lecture

In this lecture, historian of religions Per Faxneld discusses how contemporary feminists use Satan as an empowering figure, but also how gender equality has been a complicated and contested issue in many Satanic groups.

Satanic Feminism, using Satan as a positive symbol in a struggle to tear down the patriarchy, has roots stretching back to at least the early 19th century. But it’s not just a historical phenomenon – in fact, it’s a tradition very much alive and (still) kicking God the Father in the balls. In this lecture, historian of religions Per Faxneld discusses how contemporary feminists use Satan as an empowering figure, but also how gender equality has been a complicated and contested issue in many Satanic groups.

Per Faxneld is Associate Professor in History of Religions at Södertörn University (Stockholm), author of “Satanic Feminism Lucifer as the Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth Century Culture” and a devotee of weird antiques, ominous music, and sinister sartorialism. He is the author of three monographs, two edited volumes, and numerous articles on Satanism, occultism, and esoteric art. In 2020, Faxneld made his literary debut with “Offerträdet” (“The Tree of Sacrifice”), an illustrated collection of folk horror tales set in 19th-century northern Sweden.

The Philosophy of Monsters: An Illustrated Lecture by Dr Stephen Asma

The category “monster” disrupts the borders and boundaries of what we consider natural, normal, and even intelligible. Our rational systems of order are upended by the monstrous. In this lecture Dr. Asma will examine the role of monsters in cognition and knowledge, the ethical and political uses of monstrosity, the relation to personal identity, and the problem of evil. A philosophical “monsterology” is committed to the idea that we can better understand the human condition by examining what scares us–what makes us vulnerable.

Speaker: Stephen Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he is a Senior Fellow of the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture. Asma is the author of ten books, including The Emotional Mind: Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition (Harvard Univ. Press, April 2019), Why We Need Religion (Oxford Univ. Press, 2018), The Evolution of Imagination (Univ. of Chicago, 2017), On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears (Oxford Univ. Press, 2009) and The Gods Drink Whiskey (HarperOne, 2005). He writes regularly for the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Aeon magazine.

These are extraordinary times and the plague has hit some harder than others, tickets are by donation – if you possibly can £10 is much appreciated, but £2 is also much appreciated. Thank you for your support.

Mike Jay on Mescaline & Art – Zoom Lecture

Mike Jay is the author of Mescaline – a Global History  – A definitive history of mescaline that explores its mind-altering effects across cultures, from ancient America to Western modernity.

Mescaline became a popular sensation in the mid-twentieth century through Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception, after which the word ‘psychedelic’ was coined to describe it. Its story, however, extends deep into prehistory: the earliest Andean cultures depicted mescaline-containing cacti in their temples.

Mescaline was isolated in 1897 from the peyote cactus, first encountered by Europeans during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. During the twentieth century it was used by psychologists investigating the secrets of consciousness, spiritual seekers from Aleister Crowley to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, artists exploring the creative process, and psychiatrists looking to cure schizophrenia. Meanwhile peyote played a vital role in preserving and shaping Native American identity. Drawing on botany, pharmacology, ethnography, and the mind sciences and examining the mescaline experiences of figures from William James to Walter Benjamin to Hunter S. Thompson, this is an enthralling narrative of mescaline’s many lives

Mike Jay has written widely on the history of science and medicine, and particularly on the discovery of psychoactive drugs during the 18th and 19th centuries. His books on the subject include Emperors of Dreams: drugs in the nineteenth century (2000, revised edition 2011) and most recently High Society: mind-altering drugs in history and culture (2010), which accompanied the exhibition he curated at Wellcome Collection in London. The Atmosphere of Heaven is also the third book in his series of biographical narratives of political reformers in 1790s Britain. It follows The Air Loom Gang (2003, revised edition forthcoming 2012) and The Unfortunate Colonel Despard (2004).

These are extraordinary times and the plague has hit some harder than others, tickets are by donation – if you possibly can £10 is much appreciated, but £2 is also much appreciated.  Thank you for your support.

John Waters In Conversation With Viktor Wynd – Zoom Talk

John Waters in Conversation with Viktor Wynd

Please Note This is a Live Event and There Will be No Recording Available to Watch Later

John Waters has written and directed sixteen movies including Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, Cry Baby, Serial Mom and A Dirty Shame. He is a photographer whose work has been shown in galleries all over the world and the author of nine books: Shock Value, Crackpot, Pink Flamingos and Other Trash, Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs, and Art: A Sex Book (co-written with Bruce Hainley), Role Models, and Carsick. The gift book, Make Trouble, published by Algonquin Books in 2017, features the text, with illustrations, of Waters’ commencement speech delivered at the 2015 Rhode Island School of Design graduation ceremony and was subsequently released as an audio album in 7” single format by Third Man Records. Mr. Know-It –All, The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, was published in May 2019.

John Waters is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Additionally, he is a past member of the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation and Printed Matter, a former member of the Wexner Center International Arts Advisory Council, and was selected as a juror for the 2011 Venice Biennale. In 2017, Waters’ was honored when his “Study Art” series was selected to be featured at the Biennale in Venice. Mr. Waters also serves on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Film Festival and has been a key participant in the Provincetown International Film Festival since it began in 1999, the same year Waters was honored as the first recipient of PIFF’s “Filmmaker on the Edge” award. In September, 2014, Film Society of Lincoln Center honored John Waters’ fifty years in filmmaking with a 10-day celebration entitled “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?” featuring a complete retrospective of his film work.

In 2015, Waters was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the same by the Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA) in May 2016, as well as by School of Visual Arts (SVA) in 2020. In the Fall of 2015, the British Film Institute also honored John’s fifty-year contribution to cinema with their own program called “The Complete Films of John Waters…Every Goddam One of Them.” 2019 brought two more awards, the Locarno Film Festival Golden Leopard and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival Golden Alexander. The French Minister of Culture bestowed the rank of Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters to Mr. Waters in 2015. In February 2017, John Waters was honored with the Writers Guild of America, East’s Ian McLellan Hunter Award honoring his body of work as a writer in motion pictures. “Indecent Exposure”, a retrospective of Waters’ art was exhibited at the Baltimore Museum of Art from October, 2018, to January, 2019, and the Wexner Center for the Arts in, Columbus OH. John Waters was the face of the Saint Laurent fall 2020 menswear campaign, the year before that he was featured along with Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe in the Nike x Olivia Kim commercial.

Photo – Greg Gorman