Event Details

Thursday, 14 August 2008
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
UQ Location:
Social Sciences Building (St Lucia)
Event category(s):

Event Contact

Dr Helen Farley
Org. Unit:
Historical and Philosophical Inquiry

Event Description

Full Description:
This presentation will begin by exploring the idea of polar opposites in modern Western magic.

Traditionally black magic is considered ‘evil’ or ‘negative’ and white magic
‘positive’, but in recent times it has become more common to refer to the magic of the Left-Hand and Right-Hand paths respectively.

The first part of this presentation will explore the nature of the 20th magical revival (with reference to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and
Aleister Crowley etc.) Nevill will then draw on this context to discuss the magical cosmology and beliefs of Australia’s most famous witch, Rosaleen Norton (1917-1979).

During the 1950s and ‘60s, Rosaleen Norton was well known in Sydney as ‘the notorious, Pan-worshipping Witch of Kings Cross’ and was portrayed in the popular media as a wicked bohemian figure from Sydney’s red-light district.

Norton’s provocative ‘pagan’ art, exhibited first at the University of Melbourne Library in 1949 and later in the Apollyon and Kashmir coffee-shops in Sydney’s Kings Cross, plunged her into ongoing legal controversy.

Frequently accused by tabloid journalists of being a Devilworshipper, Norton was a pantheist and practising witch who paid homage to a range of ancient pagan deities associated with the primal forces of Nature and the Underworld. The latter included Pan and Hecate, to whom she dedicated her ritual altars.

However, in addition to being a pagan ritualist, Norton was also a natural trance artist. She began experimenting with self-hypnosis in 1940,
at the age of 23, and as a result of her visionary explorations of trance states began to portray a wide range of supernatural beings in her paintings and drawings.

Nevill Drury’s most recent publications include The New Age: the History of a Movement (Thames & Hudson, London and New York 2004), Magic and Witchcraft: from Shamanism to the Technopagans (Thames & Hudson, London and New York 2003) and The History of Magic in the Modern Age
(Constable, London 2000). He also co-authored Fire and
Shadow: Spirituality in Contemporary Australian Art (HarperCollins, Melbourne 1999).

Directions to UQ

Google Map:
To St Lucia Campus, UQ Ipswich, and UQ Gatton.

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