Tag Archives: occult

Why we need the dark imagination. Me + Sarah Maria Griffin on AEWCH 93

10 Dec
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AEWCH93TitleCardFriends,
Let’s enter the mystery together: You, me, and dark science fiction writer Sarah Maria Griffin. Let’s talk about violence and evil and owls. Let’s think about David Lynch’s uncanny power, and how magic works, how horror works. Let’s approach the paranormal, the dreadful, the uncommon.
Sarah is the author of multiple books, most recently the excellent novel, Other Words For Smoke, about a brother and sister encounter the sinister and strange forces in their aunt’s house. The book just won the Eason Teen/Young Adult Book of the Year 2019 here in Ireland. Her previous novel, Spare And Found Parts chronicles a post-apocalyptic world with a hopeful girl at its center, trying to move humanity forward while her machine heart ticks away.
Sarah and I had a profound and potent conversation, and after we finished the episode, we continued to talk about the entire world, and love, and fortune. And then all the lights on my block switched off. Now that’s a powerful connection!
This is one of my favorite episodes of AEWCH ever. As Sarah says at the end, we “move immediately past…small talk.” Couldn’t ask for anything more.
So excited to share it with you!
We discuss:
  • Magic, the paranormal and why they’re so troubling for people
  • Twin Peaks as evil and threat and occult power
  • Horror is No-One-Believes-You, Fantasy is We-All-Knew-This-Was-Real-Even-Though-You’re-Just-Learning-About-It
  • Why investigating mystery can fuck you up
  • Not-knowing as an act of compassion
  • Sarah’s leap in style and vulnerability in writing
  • Following desire and characters
  • The unendingness of Hell
  • Why questions are always appropriate tools
  • The tarot as anatomy (and why it gives us unsolicited dick pics sometimes)
  • What a world of caring about subjectivity looks like (and why Freud got that right)
  • Why there is no metric for violation or resilience
  • Fiction as a generator of compassion and empathy
  • The importance of speaking poetically
SHOW NOTES
• For more on Sarah, read her entertaining and thoughtful one-year memoir, Not Lost: A Story About Leaving Home. Here are here contributions to the legendary Irish lit magazine, The Stinging Fly. And here’s Sarah talking about empathy.
TP• I’m sure you’ve all seen Twin Peaks, but have you seen the newest season? It’s utterly terrifying and completely challenging. It is a true act of occult intensity. The episode we talk a lot about it Part 8. 
• Sarah mentions the eclectic and wonder-filled story collection Her Body And Other Parties by the great Carmen Maria Machado. She also gives a shout out to Leslie Jamison’s poignant collection of essays, The Empathy Exams.
James Tate was a Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning poet. He was an infrequent but happy friend of mine, as well. He died in 2015.
• If you’re American, you’ve probably heard of the spooky immersive theater experience, Sleep No More. If not, check it out.
• I really love the episode I did with experimental punk musician and author Tim Kinsella – AEWCH 43. He’s a hero of mine, and I feel blessed to have had the conversation. I posted a playlist on spotify of Tim’s music to go along with that episodes. It demonstrates his breadth and strangeness and inventiveness as an artist.
KD• A couple of first lines come quick on each other’s heels. First, I mention the first line of Sarah’s novel, Spare And Found Parts: “Just under the surface of the waves where the ocean met the land, a hand without a body reached for someone to grab it.” And then I mention the chilling first line of Kathryn Davis’s novel, Hell. “Something is wrong in the house.”
• Want to read Alejandro Jodorowsky on the tarot? Read his book on it, co-authored with Marianne Costa.
• I mention, briefly, a man who was harassing Sarah and other women in Ireland, and how she was compassionate in her response. For a quick summary of what happened, here’s an article in the Irish Times about it.
• There’s a great book by anthroposophist and inkling Owen Barfield on the move away from poetics and towards flat literalism. It’s titled Poetic Diction: A Study In Meaning.
Until next time,
XO
CH
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Rel@tionships: Writer and digital lit theorist Joanna Walsh on AEWCH 84

24 Sep
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AEWCH84TitleCardFriends,
We have so many inherited metaphors about love, relating, and intimacy, that even the thought of new narratives about them makes us uncomfortable. Well, good. Let’s be uncomfortable. To that end, I spoke with writer and literary & digital theorist Joanna Walsh, whose work explores the contours (and corners and failed uploads)( of love and intimacy, and relationships.
When I read Joanna’s book of stories Vertigo, a few years back, I knew I wanted to talk with her. Joanna’s fiction has an intense and even at times relentless quality of repetition, of observation. It’s the sort of fiction that gives you the sense that you are not just engaged with the efforts of a great writer, but a great thinker too. The conversation is, as usual, wide-ranging, but we stay close to the idea of how we relate to one another and why our old ideas of relating are not enough to describe our experiences.
Talking with Joanna is a dizzying experience because she is so brilliant, so learned, and able to articulate so many profound truths in clear, concise language. I’m honored to have gotten the chance to spend time with her. Three good places to start: her book of short stories, (which she reads from), her novel, Break.up: A Novel In Essays, and her book of pornographic fairy tales Grow A Pair.
We discuss
  • How intimacy is formed
  • How the I is composed by others
  • Tension in fairy tales
  • Why we have sex to masturbate
  • Theorists with bad ethics
  • Experimental writing as a way of relating
  • “Emotional logic problems”
  • Living in tension
  • The emotions women are “supposed” to feel in their assigned roles
  • The occult bodies and technological intervention
  • What the internet gives, what the internet takes away
  • Watching porn in clips instead of a whole movie
  • Who we are in our normal lives (and how that contains our creative and erotic life)
And in addition to the conversation, Joanna also reads her entrancing story, “Vagues”!

 

Is God powerful? Is He lonely? I talk theology & loneliness with Padraig Ó Tuama on AEWCH 81!

20 Aug

 

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AEWCH81TitleCard
Friends,
We talk so much about the occult on this show – about angels and esoteric philosophies, about magic and materialism – but I don’t get a chance to talk about God often. Which is why I invited writer, theologian, and peace maker Padraig Ó Tuama onto the show.
Padraig is the author of several books, including In the Shelter: Finding Welcome In The Here And Now and Sorry For Your Troubles . He also served as the leader of Ireland’s peace and reconciliation committee, the Corrymeela Community, for seven years, which resulted in the book Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community.
That time, and his huge body of experience dealing with deep divisions and aggressive oppositions, serves as the foundation of much of our talk, which circles around conflicts and how God, power, and powerlessness mediates them.
This is an episode unlike any other, and I’m so happy to share it with you.
We talk:
  • Whether or not we should pray to God or ourselves
  • The good and boring versions of Superman
  • Seeking, wielding, and letting go of power
  • The economy of victimhood
  • How to resolve conflict with fascists (potential and otherwise)
  • Keeping an eye on who’s exploiting every conflict
  • Brexit and the British Border (Padraig’s better name for the “Irish Border)
  • Taking an interest in what people value in every situation, and the erosion of that interest
  • Loneliness and confidence
And Padraig also reads his beautiful poem “Day of the Dead”.
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The moral of the story is… How Aesop confronts empire, with Carlo Gébler on AEWCH 78!

30 Jul
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Friends,
How exciting to welcome fiction writer, memoirist, and Aesop scholar Carlo Gébler to AEWCH to discuss how Aesop’s fables present insight into fighting empire, how the powerful tell their stories, and more!
Carlo is a staple here in the Irish literary landscape. The son of famed Irish author Edna O’Brien and famed/infamous Irish author Ernest Gébler, Carlo was named after Karl Marx and has taught writing for years, including in prisons. He’s written nearly 30 books for adults and children plus plays in total. His latest book, Aesop’s Fables: The Cruelty of the Gods, which is beautifully (and intensely!) illustrated by Gavin Weston, retells 190 (!) of Aesop’s tales, adding humor and amplifying the brutality of each one.
But, as you’ll hear on the episode, Carlo isn’t just retelling these tales for entertainment (though they are extremely entertaining), he sees in them strategies for resistance and hints at how power works. And Carlo reads a few of Aesop’s fables, including “The Clever Lamb and the Wolf”, “The Frogs Who Demanded A King”, “The Flute Playing Wolf and the Dancing Kid”, and my favorite, “The Fox and the Farmer”.
Until next week,
XO
CH
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Conner Habib + Pete Holmes: Seeing the spiritual adventure!

2 Jul

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Friends,
Who better to go on a spiritual adventure with on the podcast than my pal Pete Holmes! There are lots of places you might know Pete from; his stand-up, his spirituality-meets-comedy podcast You Made It Weird, his HBO show Crashing, or his new book, Comedy Sex God. Pete and I have been wanting to record another show since our epic conversation on Petes podcast, and it’s a great and wide-ranging discussion but for me, the big news is that we do a short but totally accessible spiritual experiment to unravel the weirdness of the universe just through paying attention to our own experiences.
We also discuss
  • what toxic masculinity means if no one really has a definition of masculinity
  • identity and certainty
  • whether or not lucid dreaming is good for us
  • just how much free will do we have, anyway?
  • what Louis CK represents to people, especially in his “comeback” set, and why it’s important to think about those representations
  • contending with evil
  • what happens when we investigate our sight
  • death as a project we all engage in
  • the fear of God and how God unfolds through us

For extensive show notes, click here.

XO
CH

 

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The Occult Significance Of Ulysses

16 Jun
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If you’d like my recorded online course, Reading Ulysses With Conner Habib, it’s just $20 for six videos, further reading, and more. Email me at againsteveryonewithconnerhabib @ gmail.com
Happy Bloomsday, everyone! Here’s an Against Saturdays episode on a Sunday!
All about why people who are into the occult and magic should read Joyce’s Ulysses. Actually, why everyone should read it.
XO CH
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Sex & The Occult: Conner Habib talks with Christian occultist and sexuality research Lisa Romero on AEWCH 68!

30 Apr

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AEWCH68 Title CardFriends,

So excited to finally be talking directly about sex and the occult on my show, and there’s no one I’d rather do that with than author and teacher, and Christian occultist Lisa Romero!

Lisa has written multiple (excellent) books on meditation and spiritual development, but the one that drew me to have her on for this episode was her excellent book, Sex Education and the Spirit: Understanding Our Communal Responsibility for the Healthy Development of Gender and Sexuality within Society. It’s a book that looks at sex and sexuality from a developmental perspective, but in a spiritual way, rather than from a materialistic perspective.This episode goes really deep and presupposes your ability to go on the magical mystery tour with us. But there are lots of insights to be had by the secular as well. I hope whatever your belief system is, you’ll stick with it.

We discuss:

  • what sex is, anyway, from a non-materialistic view, especially in the light of the evolution of consciousness.
  • how we all have individuated relationships to sex (and what that has to do with freedom).
  • the scientific definition of sex and why that matters now.
  • how sex and attraction get confusing when different aspects of our being get into conflict with each other.
  • why a Christian occultist approach to sex never takes the form of “don’t do this.”
  • how sexuality gives us the ability to transform our lives and bring our spiritual development forward.
  • the Catholic Church developing its response to sex in response to the Reformation.
  • the problems with the sex positive movement.
  • the four levels of attraction and how they relate to the subtle bodies.
  • displaced sex as a creative process.
  • what anthroposophists can learn from Freud and Lacan.
  • why masturbating men should hook themselves up to the power grid.
  • why Conner doesn’t do or care about “sex magic.”

Show notes are available here.

XO, CH

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