Keynote Speakers 2017
Ivo Dominguez, Jr
The Future is Esoteric, Exoteric, and Secular
In the last several decades there has been a rapid increase in the size of the Pagan community and in its diversity of beliefs and practices. This is not the first time in Western history that there has been a resurgence of a focus on and interest in the mysteries, occult philosophy, and magic. In the past these waves have risen and then subsided. There are good reasons to believe that at this juncture in history that this wave will do more than simply subside. It is my position that we have crossed a critical threshold that will result in the Pagan community becoming a continuing feature within the context of broader cultures rather than being a transient movement. It is as if the seeds of certain ideas, cast into the winds and seas of history, have found their way to an island that is fertile of soil but barren of life. This island of unmet needs and inchoate longings for a world full of spirits and wonder is now growing green. With each generation, the land is filling with new life that is diversifying and evolving to fill every niche. The work of the next several decades is the cultivation of esoteric, exoteric, and secular approaches to paganism. It is my contention that unless all three of these expressions of Paganism are tended, we will subside. If these three are embraced, then we will flourish.
Ivo has been published in numerous periodicals and is the author of Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans: Using the Planets and the Stars for Effective Spellwork, Rituals, and Magickal Work; Casting Sacred Space: The Core Of All Magickal Work; Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine; Beneath the Skins. His next book is Keys to Perception: A Practical Guide To Psychic Development.
The Forest or the Temple?: Pagan Paradigms of Resistance and Resilience
As far back as the 1950s when contemporary Witchcraft began its emergence we start to see the first seeds of contention about what the role of Witchcraft is going to be in relation to the greater society, a debate that has continually asserted itself with respect to notions of the development of a wider Pagan movement. Is Paganism’s great power going to be realized as a fully integrated institutional voice working within societies that value religious pluralism and tolerance, or can Paganism wield more power to change as a wild, uncompromising voice from the margins?
This address will explore the history of the dynamic tension between arguments for and against Paganisms’ cultural and societal integration, and the recent upsurge in debates about these various strategies. I will discuss perceptions of the role that institutions may play in supporting the growth and development of Paganism, and also the critiques of institutions by people who feel that they undermine the potential for a true Paganism driven by notions of resistance and change. Is there room for a multiplicity of voices and approaches in the Pagan future?
Dr. Amy Hale is an Anthropologist (PhD Folklore, UCLA) who specializes in contemporary esoteric and Pagan history and culture. She has co-edited 3 books and has written over 30 chapters and articles ranging in topic from modern Druidry to the politics of the British Earth Mysteries movement. She is a former co-editor of the Journal of the Academic Study of Magic and sits on the editorial boards of the Black Mirror Research Network (Arts University Bournemouth) and Correspondences Journal. Dr. Hale has been a featured speaker for the Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle, the Occult Humanities Conference at NYU and I:MAGE in London, and is the incoming Co-Chair of the Contemporary Pagan Studies Section for AAR. In her day job she is a consultant and curriculum specialist for the Higher Education sector.