Shadow over Ilkley: Modern Magick on the West Yorkshire Moors
“All those dark Victorian cellars and storm-blasted moors seemed to create a hotspot for UK magick at that time…” – Peter Carroll
The moors of West Yorkshire have plenty of antique folklore: giants, fairies, apparitions, and hermits have been enduring fascinations, particularly since health-tourism sprung up around towns such as Ilkley, where the Romantic imagination still cast its shadow over the mind of those seeking the novel therapies of hydropathy.
However, in this talk Phil Legard turns from the myriad tomes on local folklore and their well-inscribed tropes, and towards more contemporary manifestations of the weird on the moors: to UFOs, the Great Old Ones, cloaked spectres, entheogenic witches sabbats, serpentine goddesses, and the adventures of chaos magicians, psychic questers, pagans, and neo-antiquarians amidst the gorse and standing stones.
Phil’s account of Rombald’s Moor in contemporary occulture draws draws extensively on the zines and small press publications of the 80s and 90s to describe a contemporary landscape of enchantment in the heart of Yorkshire.
Dr Phil Legard is a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, whose interests lie at the intersections of esotericism and music – particularly in terms of contemporary musical practices and subcultures. He recently completed his PhD thesis, which employed autoethnographic methods to explore creative seekership, musical practice, and occulture. He is also co-author of An Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magicke, with Al Cummins (Scarlet Imprint 2020).
Curated & Hosted By:
Dr. Amy Hale is an Atlanta based writer, curator and critic. She has a PhD in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA and has written about topics as diverse as psychogeography, occult performance art, Pagan religious tourism, color theory, and extremist politics in modern Paganism. She has written widely on artist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun, notably the biography Ithell Colquhoun: Genius of the Fern Loved Gully (Strange Attractor 2020) and is currently editing a selection of Colquhoun’s esoteric essays for Strange Attractor (2024) and an edition of Colquhoun’s erotic art and sex magic for Tate Publishing (December, 2023). She is the editor of Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses (Palgrave 2022) and has contributed essays for Tate, Ignota Press, Burlington Contemporary, Correspondences Journal, Camden Arts Centre, Art UK, Arusha Galleries, Heavenly Records and Spike Island, Bristol. She is currently a curator and host for the internationally loved Viktor Wynd’s Last Tuesday Society lecture series and is an Honorary Research Fellow with Falmouth University in Cornwall.
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