Tag Archives: Barry Taylor

AA and D&D, art and reality, conspiracy and curation: Listen to me, esoteric scholar Peter Bebergal + countercultural pastor Barry Taylor talk about the uses of fantasy!

6 Dec

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The world accumulates new fantasies about itself, and as it does, it changes. We develop these fantasies, we curate them, alter them, cling to them, and mark what counts as “reality” by them. Reality is an aggregate of fantasies.

So…what fantasies serve us? How? And who are the best curators?

Well, I’d say two I know are my guests on this episode.

First, occult scholar Peter Bebergal, editor of Appendix N: The Eldritch Roots of Dungeons and Dragons and author of Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural (which we talked about extensively the last time Peter was on the show – back on AEWCH 112 ).

Second, countercultural pastor and artist, Barry Taylor, who is also the author of Sex, God, and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Catastrophes, Epiphanies, and Sacred Anarchies. I met Barry through my friend and frequent AEWCH guest, Peter Rollins. Ive been wanting to have Barry on for a long time, and finally, needing to have discussion of art and fantasy and reality and religion, knew that this was the exact right moment.

We go all over the place in this one. From Dungeons & Dragons to Alcoholics Anonymous, from the problems with Graham Hancock to our acid trips. This is a great episode friends.


I can’t say I’ve read Susanna Clarke’s epic British magic fantasy, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but I trust Peter’s curatorial sense. Since he recommends it, I may go read it now. Let me know if you read it too! If you want a book I’ve read on some of the themes here, read Grant Morrison’s excellent nonfiction book, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us about Being Human.

AEWCH 47 features the psychoanalytic philosopher we talk about quite a bit throughout the show, Todd McGowan!

Peter is also the author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll. And here’s another interview with Peter, on RPGs and Appendix N.

Support Barry’s work via his Patreon! Here’s Barry’s website (you can also get his book from there if it’s sold out on bookshop.org), and a short profile of him in the Guardian. And do follow Barry’s Instagram – @UKBloke – for the great collages he makes and posts almost every day.

Until next time, enjoy your quest!