Reflections on the ESSWE9 Conference
It's now early July, more than a week after the ESSWE9 conference that was held in Malmö, Sweden. As some might have noticed, I had taken some time away from the platform to focus on preparations for this event, as I was not only attending but also presenting. Luckily, this happened on the first day, and I was very pleased that my paper was so well-received. My thanks again to Yves Mühlematter, Christine Ferguson, and Ann-Kathrin Hoffman for their presentations; I enjoyed this panel immensely! My thanks as well to Manon Hedenborg White and her wonderful team of people who organized such a fantastic program! This year's theme was 'practice,' and it was so interesting to witness all the different facets of 'practice' in the keynotes and panel sessions. The various speakers definitely left me with a lot of food for thought. It was an absolute pleasure to see many old friends and to make so many new connections at this conference. I was particularly pleased to finally be able to meet in person many 'online' friends, some of whom I had worked with on my podcast or YouTube channel. While Zoom is certainly a useful tool, nothing beats physical interaction (a real hug!), coffee breaks, eating lunch and dinner together, and of course, the visit to the local pub! I was particularly struck with the high quality of each presentation that I was able to attend, and the lively discussions that came forth afterwards. The program was diverse, and I attempted to experience a little bit of everything. Some of the panel themes this year included: Esotericism and Education (my own panel); Spaces, Bodies, and Artefacts (Julio Cesar Moreira, Tjalling Janssen, Christian Greer & Michelle Oing); Heterosexuality and Queerness in Esoteric Practice (Brennan Kettelle, Shai Feraro, and Tommy Cowan); Art and Esoteric Practice (Hedvig Martin, Augusto Waga, and Emma Sharples); Divination (Michele Hanks, Jeff Howard, Basitaan van Rijn, and Endre Hamvas); Creativity and Occultural Production (Chloe Sugden, Agnes Parmentier, Cavan McLaughlin, and Sarah Perez); and Literary Practices (Kurosh Amoui, Tommy Cowan, Simon Magus, and Sasha Chaitow). Keynote speakers included Linda Woodhead, Sophie Page, and Lawrence Principe. Each and every speaker had something fascinating to share! My only regret is that I could not witness more. I'm happy to say, however, that this conference has inspired many ideas for future projects, collaborations, and interviews, and I'm very excited to jump in again after the summer break. Just a note for those who didn't catch the announcement on the last podcast episode, I will be away for the remainder of July and August, and plan to pick things up again in September. Due to intensive home renovations planned for this period, I will be moving to another, temporary location for several months, but I hope to be able to create a space for recording and other "Rejected Religion' projects during this time. I will keep you posted on things to come! Wishing everyone a relaxing summer!