Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

First Day at ASE Conference

Today was the first day at the Association for the Study of Esotericism conference at the University of California in Davis.

I left Oakland around 7:30 AM and drove the hour up to Davis. I arrived just on time (with coffee) and met up with my friend Amy Hale. She introduced me to several of her friends that had come as well. I also took the opportunity to meet several people that I had only spoken to online, some over the last fourteen years. I also got to meet John Crow of the “Thelema Coast to Coast” podcast in person and (probably much to the chargrin of some mutual friends) we seemed to get along even though I don’t care for his podcast. :-) Alfred Vitale and I were also finally able to meet in person and I want to sit down this weekend with him to discuss some of his ideas on methodology.

I attended the morning panels on “Issues in Pre-Modern Esotericism” and “Sources and Renewals in Contemporary Esotericism.” Amy presented her paper, “Reigning with Swords of Meteoric Iron: Archangel Michael in Contemporary British Esoteric Culture” at the second panel.

Because of technical difficulties earlier, I was able to see Giovanna Costantini’s presentation “Le Jeu de Marseilles,” which focused on a tarot created by a group of Surrealist artists while they were in hiding preparing to flee France after the Nazi invasion. She had images from this tarot, which only came to light in detail in recent years and some of the artwork is incredible. I’m going to try to track down some of the images.

After lunch with Amy, Fox and Autumn (her two friends), and John Crow, we came back for the afternoon sessions. I attended “Esotericism and the Role of Women” and then we decided to skip the last one in order to chill for a while in a coffeeshop.

In the evening, there was a banquet for the organization. I sat with Amy, Fox, Autumn, John, David and Ellen (owners of Fields Books), Alfred Vitale and his fiancee (?), whose name I now am forgetting but which I think was Ellen as well. We were able to converse amongst ourselves, drinking wine and then circulating a bit, until we left around 10:30 or so to our hotels.

We start again in the morning at 9:10 AM so I am going to crash now and get some rest.