UK: Welsh Occult Conference – News, Paganism, UK, USA, Witchcraft, World
WELSHPOOL, Wales – The Welsh Occult Conference has become a staple of the British occult calendar: an annual event that many regard as a jewel in the crown of esoteric conferences.
Held in the border town of Welshpool at Town Hall, the 2022 conference on May 14 rebounded from last year’s covid cancellation at full force. It was a one day event with a wide range of talks, as well as booths. Its stated aim is to promote the study and practice of occultism in Wales.
This year’s program began with conference organizer Sian Sibley’s talk on “Survival Witchcraft – Prevent, Protect and Nurture”. This was followed by a lively talk by Alyster Austin, aka The Kite, on “The Role of Chaos Magic in the Western Magical Tradition“, who discussed the history of chaos magic in the UK and beyond.
The third lecture featured Cristina Pandolfo, who also had a booth at the event selling her herbal preparations, on “Traditional Herbs in Italian Witchcraft”. It was a fascinating look at psychotropic drugs and medicinal preparations, and after learning about it, there was the option to go and buy rue, sage, verbena and other featured herbs at the stand of the plant.
Next was Robert Anderson Plimer on the “current Ophidian”. Plimer’s speeches are always illuminating and popular, and this one was no exception.
Welshpool has many cafes and pubs, and we chose the Royal Oak for lunch, a former coaching inn now converted into a hotel: we spoke to a guest who was attending the conference and she highly recommended this establishment as resort.
After lunch Druid Kris Hughes gave a fun and informative talk on two stalwarts of the early esoteric scene in Wales, Iolo Morgannwg and William Price.
Iolo Morgannwg is revisited by scholars and his somewhat sleazy reputation as a forger is revisited in light of his exceptional creativity. Dr. Price, a Chartist, feminist, philanthropist, and neo-druid, started a worker program where patients gave him a ha’penny and he treated them for free. He was also known for conducting the first historically recorded cremation of his infant son. Price may have inspired a young man named Aneurin Bevan to create a more widespread healthcare scheme and so we could thank Dr Price not only for the widespread practice of cremation but also for the NHS.
David Rankine then spoke about the magical origins of grimoires, examining the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Arabic and Jewish roots of some of the magical practices and entities found in grimoire magick. He commented on Spanish influences, noting that Spain was not given enough credit for its role in the history of the grimoire tradition.
In the late afternoon, Jake Stratton-Kent gave a talk on “Magic in the 21st Century”, considering some leading practices, and the talk ended with a talk by Cath Thompson on “Initiation stellar: the astrological relationship between Venus and the sun.”
Thanks were extended to Cat Salter, Nerodia Jones, Cera George and Lucy Greenwood who helped Sian organize this event. Comments on social media included ‘loved every minute’, ‘fabulous day’ and ‘lovely atmosphere’.
Details will be released in time for WOC 2023, but if you’re in the UK and additionally want to make the most of the beautiful Welsh borders, a place that also has a long history of legends, myths and practices magic, you might consider booking for this event next year.