PAEAN organizes online conference that focuses on variety of topics around the subjects of Paganism and Witchcraft and occurs every half a year. The online conference is a platform in which scholars, pagans and non- pagans can engage in, includes, among other things, an inter-religious dialogue that will hopefully increase learning, understanding and developing from the combined discussions.
We are proud to present the programme of the fourth online international conference:
Pilgrimage in Europe:
Ancient and Contemporary Pagan Pilgrimage Practices
Wednesday, June 28 at 6 PM - 9 PM UTC+02
Arrival/log-in - 18:00 CET
Opening remarks by Morgana Sythove, international coordinator of PFI, Pagan Federation International
Opening remarks by Dr Lila Moore, PAEAN academic adviser in 2016
Dr Thomas Clough Daffern presents a Tour De Force of Pilgrimage in Europe: Ancient and Contemporary Pagan Pilgrimage Practices
Dr. Thomas Clough Daffern is a British-Canadian philosopher, historian, and religious studies specialist. He was awarded his PhD from the University of London for a thesis which explores the history of the search for peace, and which proposes a new field of historiography, Transpersonal History. More recently he has developed the Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions as a teaching aid for use in schools and universities. As a member of OBOD and as Peace Officer to the Council of British Druid Orders, he was awarded the Mount Haemus scholarship in 2010. He founded and runs the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophe and is the chair of the Stonehenge Truth and Reconciliation Commission, calling for the creation of a Spiritual Pilgrimage centre near Stonehenge for wandering pilgrims.
Dr Daffern is a prolific writer and an author of numerous articles and books. More details can be found on his blog. here: https://thomascloughdaffern.wordpress.com/about/
What is mankind? A being in process, a being on pilgrimage; a happening, not a destination. The history of mankind is the history of our journeys: Homo Neanderthalis, Homo Sapiens, the first farmers, the builders of Stonehenge, Avebury and the Temples of Malta…. The history of European humans is a history of journeys, voyages, pilgrimages. In all religious traditions known to humanity, pilgrimage is important – journeying to sacred sites, temples, shrines, secular festivals, whether manmade or natural landscapes. In later religions of the Book (Judaism, Christianity, Islam etc.) Pilgrimages are also important, and are embedded in the original founding protocols of the faiths. Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Mahavira, Pythagoras, Jesus, St Paul, Mohammad, Guru Nanak – all were inveterate travellers and voyagers. Indeed, the fact of having travelled widely is probably one of the chief causal features of the religious mind. Druids in Europe, like Prophets in the Middle East, travelled widely, with safe conduct, across the tribal landscapes of Celtic Northern Europe. Pagan philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Pyrrho and Parmenides likewise journeyed far and wide, and in their journeying, became wiser. When Christianity became the dominant religion of Europe and replaced its ancient pagan faiths, pilgrimages nevertheless remained embedded in the mental landscapes. Ostensibly Christian pilgrimages to places such as Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostella, Iona, BardseyIsland, in fact incorporated many pagan practices and features. So too in Islamic European communities, whether from the Balkans, Andalusia or modern Birmingham, the pagan roots of Islam in ancient Arabia nestle beneath the veneer of religious orthodoxy. The same in European Judaism, and the spiritual roots of modern Zionism – the journey home, the journey to the “promised land” – but where is it, finally? Who is it for? Can it be shared with the “other”? A pilgrimage is a microcosm of a human life journey, and represents an initiatic path. Coded into esoteric traditions such as freemasonry or Sufism or the Qabalah, the idea of the “way” becomes a metaphor for a formless path that leads from here (temporality) to eternity (heaven). […]
Nowadays the modern rock band “goes on the road” just as did the ancient troubadours of Provence, singing their gnostic ballads of love. Where is Europe itself going? What is the direction of our contemporary pilgrimage? Our whole continent is full of refugees, wanderers, homeless people – journeying towards the unknown, journeying away from, away from wars, horror, killing… Can Europe herself find a road? A direction? How can we journey towards peace, and what will peace look like, when we get there ? What light can be shone on this question by re-examining the ancient pagan roots of European civilisation? Europa herself – the first wanderer, is it not She whom we still search for? The wronged princess, the lost Goddess of the Collective imagination? […]
Academia itself is a pilgrimage, designed by”we scholars” as a journey of ascent “by degrees”. The intellectual journey of mankind is still underway, and it is imperative to share maps, get some sense of a common direction, and cease from our mutual killings and destructions. We need to embed peace into the pilgrimages of all faiths, and link arms towards that common goal. Modern pagans, philosophers and Druids, with their historical eclecticism and tolerance of all paths, have a responsibility to pioneer this process.
The Evolution of the Networked Pilgrim: Virtual and Novel Pilgrimage Practices in Online/Offline
Fiction Writing as a Form of Pilgrimage in an Invented Religion
Carole Cusack’s (2010) model of “invented religions”—religions which eschew conventional strategies of legitimation to embrace a self-consciously imaginative or “fictional” character—offers a powerful descriptive paradigm for many Pagan groups. While there have now been a number of studies on invented religions as a category, they have not yet been examined with reference to pilgrimage practices, because they generally lack any strong connection to physical locations. This paper argues that, in the absence of such foci for conventional pilgrimage, the goals of the pilgrimage process find alternative expressions in “invented” contexts. This case study examines online fora and e-mail lists, as well as published novels, written by Filianists—a British NRM with historical links to the Pagan movement—to show how individual devotees’ writing of self-consciously fictional accounts of imagined locations functions as an alternative form of pilgrimage, both permitting entrance to an imagined anti-structural space and contributing to the formation of new structures as the sharing of such accounts online transforms a personal, introspective act of imagination into an opportunity for the building of Turneriancommunitas. The resulting picture outlines a practice that fulfills the functions of physical pilgrimage in traditional religions, but that challenges some key definitions of the act, most especially the emphasis on motion argued by Morinis (1992) and Coleman and Eade (2004). The activity of Filianist writers is shown in many ways to draw more on the genre of journalistic and academic description of pilgrimage than on the model of pilgrimages themselves, utilizing the inherent staticism of “the gaze of the analyst” as a means of exploring and reaffirming central aspects of the group’s Traditionalist metaphysics and social critique, thus confirming aspects of the globalization theories of Meyer and Geschiere (1999) as well as Swatos (2002) as applied to pilgrimages by those authors. In conclusion, this study affirms that pilgrimage is a valid category for understanding the practices of invented religions and provides a framework for understanding how the psychospiritual functions of pilgrimage may, in that context, manifest contrastively to the practices of conventionally legitimated religions.
Keywords: invented religion, pilgrimage, NRM, Cusack, Filianism
Race MoChridhe (MTS, Nations University) serves as an adjunct instructor at Cherry Hill Seminary (Columbia, SC, USA) while conducting independent research on topics at the intersections of Traditionalism, feminist thealogy, and New Religious Movements. His engagement with Pagan Studies has included authoring several entries on modern Paganism for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions, responding to Ethan Doyle White’s work on Wicca for The Religious Studies Project, and organizing panels for the Minneapolis Pagan Pride Day. In addition to his academic work, he is an Ovate in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and a regular contributor to several Druidic magazines in Europe and North America.
The Serpentine Love Field: The Pilgrimage's Tech-Noetic Trail of Initiation and Communitas
Dr Lila Moore
The serpentine love field is a digital art work based on a networked rite, i.e., cyber ritual that coincided with the annual ceremony of the Holy Snakes of Mary that takes place on the island of Kefalonia in Greece. The piece is the result of a pilgrimage experience at the ceremony, on location, and during ritualistic activity in cyberspace. The actual ceremony entails the gentle interaction of local people and pilgrims with local snakes. According to the regional lore, the snakes bestow their healing and auspicious powers especially on those who wear them as bracelets. The talk presents the pilgrimage experience as an initiatory rite. It traces the pilgrim's trail which is mediated by the serpents that open the gateways between the realm of the elements of Earth and the noetic realm of the immaterial cosmic 'nous.' The encounter with the healing serpents unfolds a three-fold trail involving the stations of ordeal, liminality and communitas. The interrelation between offline/online processes reflects the different realms and the three stations on the three-fold trail through which the pilgrims pass and transform. The tech-noetic trail is a navigation device utilized to access an ancient and evolving multi-dimensional field.The concept will be partially narrated as the account of a pilgrim together with images from the serpentine love field. The topic of this talk is based on research and practice in the interdisciplinary field of technoetic arts, noetic sciences, networked performance and ritual, spiritual art and film, anthropology and consciousness studies. The serpentine love field can be activated on the Sedition Platform.
Keywords: pilgrimage, networked performance, technoetic arts, ritual, communitas, Holy Snakes of Mary
Dr Lila Moore is the founder of the Cybernetic Futures Institute (CFI), a networked platform and online academy for the exploration and study of technoetic arts and consciousness with an emphasis on the spiritual in art and film. She is an artist film-maker, screen choreographer, networked performance practitioner and theorist. The CFI is based on her post-doctoral project at Planetary Collegium of Plymouth University (2014-2015). Dr Moore holds a practice-based Ph.D. degree from Middlesex University in Dance on Screen (2001) and an M.A. in Independent Film and Video from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. She has been teaching B.A. courses in Film and Spirituality, Film and Ritual as well as The Spiritual in Art as part of a BA in Mysticism and Spirituality at Zefat Academic College. She also teaches online courses via the CFI and leads online/offline courses and masterclass in London UK and Kefalonia, Greece. She has presented her work internationally in academic conferences, cultural organisations, art galleries and networked platforms.
Closing Speech - 20:45