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z2square200Zero Equals Two is a blog on magical news and culture sponsored by U.S. Grand Lodge, O.T.O. A diverse collective of contributors comb the worlds of magick, art, science, history, philosophy, and more every day for articles and events of interest to Thelemites and other modern free-thinkers and explorers, collecting them on this blog for your enjoyment.

Recent posts

  • San Francisco Church Celebrates the Beyonce Mass

    Vice has posted a “Broadly” episode regarding a San Francisco church that celebrates a “Beyonce Mass.” Well, hey, as incredible news outlets have long reported that Mrs. and Mr. Carter are both members of the Illuminati AND OTO this is something we should fully support, yes? No?

    Vice’s squib says:

    “Beyoncé is undeniably the most powerful force in pop culture. So it makes sense that someone decided to bring her music and philosophy into church, where it belongs. Broadly recently attended a jam-packed Beyoncé Mass held at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, which was organized by reverend and theologian Yolanda Norton, who teaches a class on Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible where she uses the pop idol’s songs to interpret biblical scripture through a black feminist lens.”

    Check it out yrself. Use yr own ingenium to decide whether a whole hearted “Hallelujah” or “Balasti Ompeda” is warranted. Hell, I thought Lemonade was excellent art music – right up there with Lee Dorsey’s Yes We Can written and realized by the great late Allen Toussaint.

  • The Feast of Saint Elias Ashmole

    Today, May 18, is the Feast of Saint Elias Ashmole, who died in 1692. Born May 23, 1617, Elias Ashmole was a celebrated English antiquary, politician, officer of arms, astrologer and student of alchemy. According to the Invisible Basilica, “Ashmole was a late but ardent student of John Dee, whose manuscripts he possessed, and an apologist for Rosicrucianism. Some historians believe that Ashmole was the actual founder of Speculative Freemasonry, and that he based the fraternity on ideas from Francis Bacon’s ‘New Atlantis.’”

    In 1660, Charles II granted Ashmole the offices of comptroller of the excise and Windsor herald. That same year, The Accomplisht Cook was published by Robert May. The book contains recommended bills of fare for holidays as well as monthly suggested menus. Here’s one for the month of May.

    A Bill of Fare for May.

    1. Scotch Pottage or Skink.
    2. Scotch collops of mutton.
    3. A Loin of Veal.
    4. An oline, or a Pallat pye.
    5. Three Capons, 1 larded.
    6. Custards.

    Scotch CollopsScotch Collops of Mutton.

    Take a leg of mutton, and take out the bone, leave the leg whole, and cut large collops round the leg as thin as a half-crown piece; hack them, then salt and broil them on a clear charcoal fire, broil them up quick, and the blood will rise on the upper side; then take them up plum off the fire, and turn the gravy into a dish, this done, broil the other side, but have a care you broil them not too dry; then make sauce with the gravy, a little claret wine, and nutmeg; give the collops a turn or two in the gravy, and dish them one by one, or two, one upon another; then run them over with the juyce of orange or lemon.

    To make an excellent Pottage called Skinke.

    Take a leg of beef, and chop it into three pieces, then boil it in a pot with three pottles of spring-water, a few cloves, mace, and whole pepper: after the pot is scum’d put in a bundle of sweet morjoram, rosemary, tyme, winter-savory, sage, and parsley bound up hard, some salt, and two or three great onions whole, then about an hour before dinner put in three marrow bones and thicken it with some strained oatmeal, or manchet slic’t and steeped with some gravy, strong broth, or some of the pottage; then a little before you dish up the Skinke, put into it a little fine powder of saffron, and give it a warm or two: dish it on large slices of French Bread, and dish the marrow bones on them in a fine clean large dish; then have two or three manchets cut into toasts, and being finely toasted, lay on the knuckle of beef in the middle of the dish, the marrow bones round about it, and the toasts round about the dish brim, serve it hot.

    Learn more about Saint Elias Ashmole:

  • Buh Bye Celestia!

    As will be detailed in a book being researched by Dr. Richard Kaczynski, in the 19th century, the United States was a hot bed of diverse new religious movements that often manifested in communities populated by adherents. Some like the Oneida community in upstate New York were wildly utopian practicing communal living and free love — and making handsome flatware to boot! Others tended toward panicked millenialism, positing imminent End Times. Funny how some things never change! Here’s the account of the movement that set up the community of Celestia, deeded the land they bought to God, and his heir, Jesus. It’s an interesting and, as usual, cautionary tale that members of current new religious movements might find instructive.

    Read the piece:

    Thanks to Soror Amy for the tip!

  • Eros, Sexuality, and Embodiment in Esoteric Traditions Conference

    The Seventh International Conference of the Association for the Study of Esotericism will be held May 24-27, 2018 at Rice University, located in Houston, Texas.  The Conference theme is Eros, Sexuality, and Embodiment in Esoteric Traditions. Friday May 25’s speakers will include Dr. Richard Kaczynski speaking on From Ceremony to Sex: Examining Aleister Crowley’s Transition from Ritual to Sex Magic and Gordan Djurdjevic speaking on Mysteries of the 156 Current: The Convergence between Magic, Eros, Body, and Feminism in the Work of Amodali.

    Conference Schedule 


    Thursday 24th

    4:30 pm [Humanities first floor] on-site registration starts

    5:15-6:45 pm [Humanities Courtyard] Reception

    6:45 pm [KMR] Welcoming remarks

    7:00 – 8:30 pm

    KMR Plenary session Keynote 1

    Amy Hollywood, Harvard Divinity School

    Angelic Love: Swedenborgian Bodies in Henry James’ The Wings of the Dove

    Friday 25th

    Session 1: 9:00-10:30 am

    [1A] Hum 119 Esotericism and Embodiment in the Visual Arts

    Presider: Amy Hale

    • Sandra Pryor: Eros and Archetypes, Embodiment and Spirituality in Esoteric Tarot
    • Melinda Weinstein: Cezanne’s Noumenal Bodies
    • Colette Walker: Art, Esotericism and the Body: Johannes Itten and Mazdazan Practices at the Bauhaus

    [1B] Hum 117 Veiled and Unveiled: Luna, Venus, and Their Lovers

    Presider: Aaron French

    • E. Warlick:Luna on Top: The Chemical Wedding and its Transformations
    • Tom Willard: Alchemy and Mythology: The Case of Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens
    • Joscelyn Godwin: Venus Unveiled: From Alchemy to Irony

    [1C] KMR Extraterrestrial Love, Sex, and Desire

     Presider: Jeff Kripal

    • Cathy Gutierrez: From Comets to Castration: Alien Agency in Heaven’s Gate  
    • Christa Shusko: Red is the Color of My True Love’s Planet: Fin de siècleMartian Romances
    • Elizabeth Lowry: These Lovers Are Out of this World: Contactee Narratives and Sex Positive Discourse

    Session 2: 10:45 am – 12:15 pm

    [2A] KMR Magics of Sex and Generation

    Presider: Della Campion

    • Susan Johnston Graf: What George and W.B. Yeats Were Up To: Sex Magic, Babies, and the Golden Dawn
    • Richard Brzustowicz: Arthur Edward Waite’s Erotic and Sexual Esotericism
    • Richard Kaczynski: From Ceremony to Sex: Examining Aleister Crowley’s Transition from Ritual to Sex Magic

    [2B] Hum 117 Women, Magic, Power

    Presider: M.E. Warlick

    • Geoffrey Redmond: Women in Chinese Divination and their Confucian Suppression
    • Michele Olzi: The Aeon of the Mother: Sex, Magic, Satanic Feminism, and Gnostic Contaminations in the Work of Maria de Naglowska (1883-1936)
    • Gordan Djurdjevic: Mysteries of the 156 Current: The Convergence between Magic, Eros, Body, and Feminism in the Work of Amodali

     [2C] Hum 119 Literary Esotericisms

    Presider: Tom Willard

    • Christopher Senn: Comic Books as Occult Tools and Ritual Spaces: The Pop Magic of Grant Morrison
    • Tim Grieve-Carlson: E.B. Du Bois Between Worlds: Embodiment and Esotericism in The Souls of Black Folk
    • James Cochran: “And I will again become your special comrade:” The Queer Magic of Jack Spicer’s Poetics

    Session 3: 1:30-3:30 pm

    [3A] KMR Performing Esoteric Sexuality

    Presider: Joscelyn Godwin

    • Keith Schuchard: Gender Shifting in the Sifting Time: A Moravian Twist on Kabbalistic Homoeroticism
    • Elizabeth Abbate: “Heiros gamos” in Tippett’s Opera The Midsummer Marriage: Explorations of Embodiment and Transformation
    • Aaron French: Revival of the Mysteries: Esotericism and the Re-enchantment of the Arts
    • Kendra Leonard: Haunted Scores: Music and Ghosts in Early Cinema

    [3B] Hum 117 Yoga, Eros, Embodiment

    Presider: Gordan Djurdjevic

    • Ben Joffe: University of Colorado, Boulder Tantric Sex for Everybody? Reflections on the Contemporary Transmission of Karamudra or Tibetan Buddhist Sexual Yoga Practice
    • Keith Cantu: The “Mystic Anatomy” of Theodor Reuss
    • Nicholas Collins: Love in the Time of Mechanized Petrifaction: Eros and Ananda in Klages and Aurobindo
    • Massimo Introvigne: Embodiment Yoga in Manhattan: Ronit Singer and the Oneness Center 

    [3C] Hum 119 Eros and Magic before the Renaissance

    Presider: Nell Champoux

    • Anne Parker: Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermons on the Song of Songs: Encounters with Phantasms of the Erotic Word
    • Minji Lee: True Knowledge of God Obscured in Mind and Body: Hildegard of Bingen’s Medical and Religious Understanding of Adam’s Fall
    • Claire Fanger: Recuperating the Adamic State:  Medieval Theurgy and Cultivated Dreaming

     4:00 -5:30 KMR Plenary session

    Rockwell Lecture and Keynote 2

    Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR

    Sacred Sexuality in Some Contemporary Esoteric Groups:

    From Early 20th Century Origins to MISA

    Saturday 26th

    Session 4: 9:00-10:30 am

    [4A] Hum 119 Divine Bodies, Gnostic Bodies

    Presider: Arthur Versluis

    • Mark Roblee: “Those destined to be gods must first become human”: Embodied Divinity in Late Antique Theurgy
    • Shannon Grimes: Zosimus & Theosebia: An Erotics of Alchemical Pedagogy
    • George Sieg: Their Own Body They Defiled: Amorous Archon(tic)s and the Origin of the Gnostic World

    [4B] Hum 117 Theory and Method Goes Erotic

    Presider: Anne Parker

    • Geoffrey McVey: An Erotic Epistemology: Giordano Bruno and the Desires of Scholarship
    • Sam Stoeltje: Re-Writing Descartes with St. Teresa’s Arrobamiento
    • Jenna Danchuk: Women’s Ways of Knowing: Interrogating Essentialisms in Feminist Witchcraft and Goddess Culture

    Session 5: 10:45 am -12:15 pm

    [5A] Hum 119 Contemporary Occultisms: Myth, Innovation, Authentication

    Presider: Melinda Weinstein

    • Amy Hale: Cornwall as a Site for Discourses of Authenticity in Contemporary Witchcraft
    • Amodali: The Harlot that Shaketh Death – Aleister Crowley’s “Babalon” as a Source of Innovative, Erotic, Phenomenological Models in Contemporary Esoteric Practice
    • Benjamin Mayo: Drinking at Mímir’s Well: Marie Cachet and Varg Vikernes’ Remembering and Reorienting Paganism through the Revival of Neanderthal Religion 

    [5B] Hum 117 Esotericism and Vampirism: The Case of the Temple of the Vampire

    Presider: Cathy Gutierrez

    • Gordon Melton: The Development of the Vampire Metaphor in Western Esotericism
    • Joseph Laycock: “The Only True Vampire Religion”: The Temple of the Vampire, the Free Market, and the Cultic Milieu
    • Respondent: Massimo Introvigne

     Session 6: 1:30-3:30 pm

    [6A] Hum 119 Platonic Perfections: Subtle Bodies and Idealized Sex

    Presider: M.E. Warlick

    • Simon Cox: Subtle Incarnation and the Body of Light in Renaissance England
    • John Crow: Against Sex and Marriage: Blavatsky’s Arguments for Celibacy and Chastity Being at Occultism’s Core
    • Allison Coudert: Eros, Sexuality, and Embodiment in the Work of Frances Swiney
    • Della Campion: Gynecological Goings-On at Oneida: God, Sex and the Question of Parity

     [6B] Hum 117 Esotericism and Health

    Presider: Claire Fanger

    • John MacMurphy: From Healing to Sexual Mysticism: Embodiment Through Kabbalistic Praxis
    • Holly Folk: Glandular Theory: The Spiritual Physiology of Rosicrucianism
    • Christa Shusko: Astrology, Health, and Eugenics: Eleanor Kirk’s The Influence of the Zodiac Upon Human Life
    • Mark Lokensgard: The Body, Spirit Incorporation and Illness in the Practices and Teachings of Edgar Cayce and Chico Xavier

    4:00 – 5:30 pm Hum 117 Plenary session

    Keynote 3

    Arthur Versluis, Michigan State University

    Eros and the Future of the Esoteric Humanities

    Sunday 27th

    Session 7: 9:00-11:00 am

    Hum 117 Esotericism in the Classroom, a Round Table

    Presider: Claire Fanger

    • Amy Hale: Occult Cultures and Speaking Their Language: The Strategic Deployment of Esotericism in Curriculum Development
    • Nell Champoux: Teaching the Theological Fringe
    • Jeff Kripal respondent

    Plenary Speakers:

    Angelic Love: Swedenborgian Bodies in Henry James’ The Wings of the Dove
    Amy Hollywood, Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies at Harvard Divinity School.

    Amy Hollywood’s work has explored the place of mysticism (or “enthusiasm”) in relation to philosophy, psychoanalysis, and theories of gender, along the span of Christian history from medieval to contemporary. She is co-editor, with Patricia Beckman, of the Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism (2012), and author of The Soul as Virgin Wife: Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart (1995), Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History (2002), and Acute Melancholia and Other Essays: Mysticism, History, and the Study of Religion (2016).

    Sacred Sexuality in Some Contemporary Esoteric Groups: From Early Twentieth Century Origins to MISA
    Massimo Introvigne, Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), Torino, Italy

    Massimo Introvigne is an Italian sociologist and director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements.  His academic interests encompass a broad array of religions and new religious movements and their influence on popular culture. His numerous groundbreaking publications have appeared in Italian and French as well English. Books include Il ritorno dello gnosticismo (1993), Les Mormons (1996), The Unification Church (2000) and most recently in English Satanism: A Social History (2016)

    Eros and the Future of the (Esoteric) Humanities
    Arthur Versluis, Michigan State University

    Arthur Versluis is professor and Chair of Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University. A key player in the development of Esotericism as an academic field in North America, he founded the Association for the Study of Esotericism in 2002 and remains a driving force in the organization. He has published extensively on Theosophy and American Transcendentalism. His books include American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions (1993), The Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance (2001), Restoring Paradise: Western Esotericism, Literature, and Consciousness (2004) and American Gurus: From Transcendentalism to New Age Religion (2014).

    You can register for this conference here:

  • Does Sexting Have Implications for Magical Work?

    A recent study in The Journal of Sex Research asks whether sexting is objectifying or liberating. Turns out it’s both!

    Researchers Mario Liong and Grand H.L. Cheng surveyed 361 students in Hong Kong about their body surveillance, body shame, body control beliefs, and comfort with nudity. They learned that while the participants who sext are more comfortable with nudity than their non-sexting counterparts, they also experience greater concern about their physical attractiveness. It’s important to note that this information might not be applicable to individuals who are not Hong Kong students. It also brings up questions about how sexting might affect the work of sex magicians.

    Acknowledging that the data has limitations, Liong says, “For further study, I think we should continue to think about how to reduce the objectifying effect of sexting. I hope that this study can stimulate more thoughts and discussions about the impacts of digital technology on human sexuality and how we can design our future technology to bring about empowerment of gender and sexuality.”

    Are you a sex magician who also sexts? What do you think?

    Learn more:

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