Course Code HUMA3080
Course Title Neo-paganism & the Modern Occult
Effective 2004 - Semester 1
Faculty Faculty of Education and Arts
Unit Weighting 10
UnderGrad/Postgrad UNDERGRADUATE
Teaching Methods Lecture Tutorial

Brief Course Description Provides an introduction to studies of the revival of occultism in the western world (c. 19-20th Centuries), initially through the focus on ancient systems of belief in Greece, Rome and Egypt that establishes connections to 'modern' belief systems. The course involves study of major occult and esoteric philosophies as well important individuals involved in the resumption and also (re)invention of esoteric beliefs and practices. We shall examine how and why systems such as theosophy, spiritualism, and related structures evolved as responses to historical and social environments and historical events. The evolution of neo-paganism in contemporary society, its personal and public ramifications, will also be examined.

Contact Hours 3 hours per week or equivalent

Course Objectives Upon completion of this course, students will be expected to demonstrate:

  1. An objective, introductory knowledge of a number of belief systems and the individuals associated with them, from the 19th-20th Centuries;
  2. 2. Interpretive skills appropriate to comprehend the philosophy and practice of the systems under examination;
  3. 3. Familiarity with philosophical, theoretical and social debates about the systems under examination;
  4. 4. Communication skills, especially those involved in writing analytic essays at advanced undergraduate level.

Course Content The course involves study of the 'modern' revival of occultism in the western world (c. 19-20th Centuries). It begins with the origins of the western magical tradition. The various distinct categories of belief, including the Golden Dawn, the Theosophical Society, related areas such as spiritualism, witchcraft and neo-paganism are then studied in appropriate detail. Leading individuals such as Madame Helena Blavatsky, Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardener are considered in light of their contributions to the occult revival, as are more recent neo-pagans, such as Margot Adler. The emphasis on the role of women in neo-pagan practice and the related academic debates, particularly among feminist scholars, indicate the relevance of these movements to Gender Studies. The course also examines the socio-economic and historical factors behind the various movements (such as impact of World War I on the rise of spiritualism in Britain). In addition, students explore the reception of the systems via a series of conduits, such as the media and, more recently, the internet.

Assessment Items A minimum of 80% attendance is expected in this course.
1. Three tutorial papers or equivalent of approximately 1000 words each 20% each
2. One major essay of approximately 2000 words 40%

Assumed Knowledge Nil

Activity Day Time Room Comments
Semester 1 - 2004
Lecture Tuesday 15.00 - 17.00 [O_LT1]  
and Tutorial Tuesday 13.00 - 14.00 [O_CN1:1.06]  
or Tuesday 14.00 - 15.00 [O_CN1:1.06]  
or Tuesday 14.00 - 15.00 [O_CN2:1.08]  

HUMA3080
NEO-PAGANISM AND THE MODERN OCCULT

Rosaleen Norton, 'Individuation'

Dr Marguerite Johnson
ph: 43484058
e-mail: Marguerite.Johnson@newcastle.edu.au
Consultation times: Tuesdays 11-1
(other times by appointment)

COURSE PROGRAM

WEEK & DATE LECTURE TOPIC TUTORIAL TOPIC
1/ 24 Feb An Introduction to the Course Definitions No Tutorial
2 / 2 March The Origins of the Western Magical Tradition No Tutorial
3 / 9 March The Theosophical Society
Case Study: Madame Helena Blavatsky
No Tutorial
4 / 16 March The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn The Theosophical Society
5 / 23 March The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn No Tutorial
6 / 30 March Aleister Crowley and the Magic of the New Aeon The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
7 / 6 April No Lecture Students are requested to undertake preparatory reading on spiritualism No Tutorial
8 / 27 April Spiritualism Case Study: Helen Duncan Aleister Crowley and the Magic of the New Aeon
9 /4 May Gerald Gardner and the Rise of Modern Witchcraft Spiritualism Case Study: Helen Duncan
10 / 11 May Modern Witchcraft in Australia
Case Study: Rosaleen Norton
No Tutorial
11 / 18 May The New Age Movement Gerald Gardner and the Rise of Modern Witchcraft
12 / 25 May The Rebirth of the Goddess Modern Witchcraft in Australia Case Study: Rosaleen Norton
13 / 1 June Neo-paganism, the Modern Occult and Popular Culture The Rebirth of the Goddess
14 / 8 June Conclusion to the Course No Tutorial
15 / 15 June No Lecture - Major Essay Due 5 pm No Tutorial

COURSE INFORMATION

BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS!

Lynne Hume. Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia. Melbourne: 1997.

Ronald Hutton. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: 1999.

ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT:
Please read the information in the section entitled 'Writing at Tertiary Level' 7 and consult the attached material taken from the University of Newcastle's website.

ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES (THAT MAY AFFECT ASSESSMENT):
For PROGESSIVE ASSESSMENTS you must apply for 'Notification of Adverse Circumstances (that may affect progressive assessment).' Forms and details are available on the University of Newcastle's website. Extensions will NOT be granted unless one of the above forms is completed. Extensions will only be granted after the Course Co-ordinator discusses the application with the Head of School.

ATTENDANCE:
A minimum of 80% attendance is expected in this course. It is the student's responsibility to attend classes as required. For this course tutorial attendance is compulsory. This course requires that students attend every tutorial. A roll will be kept to assess attendance and students may not miss more than one tutorial without (a) speaking with the Course Co-ordinator or (b) submitting the 'Notification of Adverse Circumstances' form. Failure to do so may result in exclusion from the course.

PENALTIES FOR LATE SUBMISSIONS:
It is the student's responsibility to submit required work on time. Any late submissions without 'Notification of Adverse Circumstances' will receive a 10% deduction from the original mark. Work that is not submitted after one week of the due date will not be accepted.

RESPECT:
In tutorials we must all agree to respect each other's point of view and opinions. While we may disagree or debate issues, personal attacks and/or deprecating remarks will not be tolerated. This classroom will be a secure place to discuss ideas. AND REMEMBER, PLEASE LISTEN TO THE VIEWS OF OTHERS AND DO NOT TALK OVER PEOPLE!


CRITICAL READING:
All readings are in Short Loans. While I have listed many critical texts for each assessment topic, you are (obviously) not expected to read them all. However, for an understanding of each text that is not of a superficial nature, you are encouraged to consult at least two critical texts per assessment topic.

SOME ADDITIONAL ADVICE AND REQUESTS:

The University's e-mail system is not for 'forwards' and other non-academic material.

Please check the Blackboard site for this course and your Student Mail on a weekly basis!

Please refrain from discussing serious, in-depth individual matters concerning the course, essay topics, and especially extensions,* etc with the Co-ordinator immediately before or after the lectures, on the way to tutorials or during the lecture break. I am always happy to chat during these times but I cannot provide quality advice that will be of significant benefit under such circumstances. More effective advice can be provided by consultation or e-mail.

* Requests for extensions must be in writing.

ASSESSMENT INFORMATION

TUTORIALS:

1. Three tutorial papers or equivalent of approximately 1000 words each 20% each

Tutorial papers can be written in point-form using headings or in essay-format. Either style must be accompanied with formal endnotes or footnotes and a bibliography. Please see the attached material on CORRECT and EXPECTED referencing for this course. Endnotes/footnotes, bibliography and quotations do not count toward the word limit.

You must have written the paper beforehand, bring it to the tutorial, make contributions to the discussion, then submit the paper to the tutor at the end of the class for assessment. Assessment is based on (a) the quality of the written work and (b) contribution to the class discussion. Even when you are not presenting an assessable paper, you will be expected to have done some preparation and be willing to contribute to the discussion.

MAJOR ESSAY:

This must be written in formal essay format and must be accompanied with formal endnotes or footnotes and a bibliography. Please see the attached material on CORRECT and EXPECTED referencing for this course. Endnotes/footnotes, bibliography and quotations do not count toward the word limit.

Please ensure that your name, student number, topic and word count (excluding quotations) are clearly printed on the front of every assignment!

Exceeding the word limit by more than 10% will result in a 10% penalty!

YOU MAY NOT ATTEMPT AN ESSAY TOPIC ON A CHOSEN TUTORIAL TOPIC!

If you wish to have the major essay returned during the semester break, please attach a stamped, self-addressed envelope to you work.

ASSESSMENT / GRADING

CRITERIA

What I'm looking for when assessing work in this course

TUTORIAL PAPERS:

THE MAJOR ESSAY:

Please submit the major essay to the secretarial office in the School of Humanities.

GRADING SCALE: Fail Below 50 FF Pass 50-64 P Credit 65-74 C Distinction 75-84 D High Distinction 85-100 HD

TUTORIAL QUESTIONS:

Value: 20% each
Word Limit: 1000 words each
Please choose THREE of the following:

Topic 1: Week 4 / 16 March: The Theosophical Society: Case Study: Madame Helena Blavatsky
Discuss the main occult / mystic beliefs of Helena Blavatsky.

Topic 2: Week 6 / 30 March: The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Outline the main magical / occult traditions that influenced the creation of The Golden Dawn. (You could consider one or more of the following: Hermeticism; the Kabbalah [especially the Tree of Life]; Egyptian magic).

Topic 3: Week 8 / 27 April: Aleister Crowley and the Magic of the New Aeon
What do you regard as the meaning of Aleister Crowley's 'Law of Thelema': 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.' (The Book of the Law).

Topic 4: Week 9 / 4 May: Spiritualism Case Study: Helen Duncan
Define the term 'spiritualism' and discuss Helen Duncan as a practitioner.

Topic 5: Week 11 / 18 May: Gerald Gardner and the Rise of Modern Witchcraft Discuss the implementation of ancient pagan rituals in the witch ceremonies initiated by Gerald Gardner.

Topic 6: Week 12 / 25 May: Modern Witchcraft in Australia Case Study: Rosaleen Norton
Define and analyse the occult beliefs of Rosaleen Norton.

Topic 7: Week 13 / 1 June: The Rebirth of the Goddess
Discuss the reasons behind the Rebirth of the Goddess in the United States and Britain during the 1960s and 1970s.

ESSAY QUESTIONS:

Value: 40%
Word Limit: 2000 words
Due: Week 15: 5pm. Please submit the major essay to the secretarial office in the School of Humanities.

Please choose ONE of the following:

Topic 1: The Origins of the Western Magical Tradition
Discuss and analyse the major components of early Western occultism and mysticism with the aim of establishing the influences on contemporary neo-paganism and occultism.

Topic 2: The Theosophical Society
Identify the main elements of Eastern religion, philosophy and / or mysticism utilised in the formation of the Theosophical Society.

Topic 3: The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
'The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was founded in London in 1888 by three Rosicrucian Masons. For the first time men and women worked together as equals in magical ceremonies whose purpose was to test, purify, and exalt the individual's spiritual nature so as to unify it with his or her "Holy Guardian Angel."' (M. K. Greer, Women of the Golden Dawn, p.1).

Assess this statement by Greer with particular attention to the reference to the significant role of women in The Golden Dawn.

Topic 4: Aleister Crowley and the Magic of the New Aeon
Discuss and analyse what Aleister Crowley understood by the Aeon of Horus.

Topic 5a: Spiritualism
Discuss the historical influences upon the rise of spiritualism in Britain.
or
Topic 5b: Spiritualism
Explain the role of women in spiritualism in Britain. Why were women involved in spiritualism?

Topic 6: Gerald Gardner and the Rise of Modern Witchcraft
Assess the major contributions of Gerald Gardner to the rise and organisation of modern witchcraft.

Topic 7: Modern Witchcraft in Australia Case Study: Rosaleen Norton
Discuss the artwork of Rosaleen Norton as an expression of her occult beliefs.

Topic 8: The New Age Movement
To what extent is the New Age Movement a multifaceted but nevertheless a globalised occult movement?

Topic 9: The Rebirth of the Goddess
To what extent is the Goddess Movement a feminist response to patriarchal religions?

Topic 10: Neo-paganism, the Modern Occult and Popular Culture
Analyse the treatment of occult per se in one form of popular culture (e.g. film; television; the print media).

READING:

The Origins of the Western Magical Tradition:

Howard, M. Sacred Ring: Pagan Origins of British Folk Festivals and Customs. Chieveley: 1995.

The Theosophical Society and Helena Blavatsy:

Blavatsky. H. P. Isis Unveiled: Collected Writings, 1877. Vols. 1-2. Wheaton: 1972.

Blavatsky. H. P. The Key to Theosophy. Pasadena: 1972.

Blavatsky. H. P. The Secret Doctrine. Vols. 1-3. India: 1979 [1888].

Murphet, H. When Daylight Comes: A Biography of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Wheaton: 1975.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn:

Greer, M. K. Women of the Golden Dawn. Vermont: 1995.

Howe, E. The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order, 1887-1923. London: 1972.

Hutton, R. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: 1999.

Aleister Crowley and the Magic of the New Aeon:

Crowley, Aleister. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography. Edd. J. Symonds and K. Grant. London: 1969.

Crowley, Aleister. Magick. Book 4. Edd. J. Symonds and K. Grant. London: 1973.

Crowley, Aleister. The Magical Diaries of To Mega Therion. Ed. S. Skinner. Jersey: 1979.

DuQuette, L. M. The Magick of Thelema: A Handbook of the Rituals of Aleister Crowley. York Beach: 1993.

Hutton, R. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: 1999.

Spiritualism:

Barrow, L. Independent Spirits: Spiritualism and English Plebeians, 1850-1910. London: 1986.

Doyle, A. C. The New Revelation. London: 1918.

Gaskill, M. Hellish Nell: The Last of Britain's Witches. London: 2001.

Oppenheim, J. The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850-1914. Cambridge: 1985.

Owen, A. The Darkened Room: Women, Power and Spiritualism in Late 19th Century England. London: 1989

.

Winter, J. M. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: 1995. Ch. 3.

Gerald Gardner and the Rise of Modern Witchcraft:

Gardner, G. Witchcraft Today. London: 1968.

Hutton, R. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: 1999.

Modern Witchcraft in Australia Case Study: Rosaleen Norton:

Drury, N. The Witch of Kings Cross: The Life and Magic of Rosaleen Norton. Alexandria: 2002.

Hume, L. Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia. Melbourne: 1997.

J

ohnson, M. 'The Witch of Kings Cross: Rosaleen Norton and the Australian Media.' Newcastle: 2002. http://www.newcastle.edu.au/services/library/collections/archives/int/rosaleennorton.html

The New Age Movement:

Barkan, L. The Gods Made Flesh: Metamorphosis and the Pursuit of Paganism. New Haven: 1986.

Hopman, E. E and L. Bond. People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out. Rochester: 1996.

Howard, M. Sacred Ring: Pagan Origins of British Folk Festivals and Customs. Chieveley: 1995.

Hume, L. Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia. Melbourne: 1997.

Hutton, R. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: 1999.

Millikan, D. and N. Drury. Worlds Apart? Christianity and the New Age. Crows Nest: 1991

.

Pearson, J, R. H. Roberts and G. Samuel (Edd.). Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World. Edinburgh: 1998.

Pearson, J. A Popular Dictionary of Paganism. London: 2002.

The Rebirth of the Goddess:

Barkan, L. The Gods Made Flesh: Metamorphosis and the Pursuit of Paganism. New Haven: 1986.

Hopman, E. E and L. Bond. People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out. Rochester: 1996.

Hume, L. Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia. Melbourne: 1997.

Hutton, R. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: 1999.

Pearson, J, R. H. Roberts and G. Samuel (Edd.). Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World. Edinburgh: 1998.

Pearson, J. A Popular Dictionary of Paganism. London: 2002.

Starhawk. Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex and Politics. London: 1990.

Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. 10th Anniversary ed. San Francisco: 1989.

Neo-paganism, the Modern Occult and Popular Culture:

Johnson, M. 'The Witch of Kings Cross: Rosaleen Norton and the Australian Media.' Newcastle: 2002. http://www.newcastle.edu.au/services/library/collections/archives/int/rosaleennorton.html

Witches, Pagans & Heathens in the Media: http://www.witchvox.com/media

Pagan Awareness Network Inc. Australia: http://www.paganawareness.net.au/index.html (This contains newspaper (Accounts of a 'Witch Hunt' in Victoria beginning 11-6-2003)

The following three articles are from InfoTrac Web: Expanded Academic ASAP:

Frankfurter, D. 'Ritual as Accusation and Atrocity: Satanic Ritual Abuse, Gnostic Libertinism, and Primal Murders.'

Cookson, C. 'Reports from the trenches: a case study of religious freedom issues faced by Wiccans practicing in the United States.'

Dawson, L. 'Anti-modernism, modernism, and postmodernism: struggling with the cultural significance of new religious movements.'

The Central Coast Library has the full-volume set of Man, Myth and Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown. Ed. R. Cavendish. New ed. New York: 1997. Volumes begin at RQ133.03 MANM 1995 v.1. This is a valueable resource, so make use of it!


Writing at Tertiary Level

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Posted 4 May 2005