Well it’s late at night, New York time and I’m floating down to earth after a fabulous evening at ‘The Museum of Morbid Anatomy’ where I just gave a presentation.
I’ve attached a few taster images above, and an outline and description of the event below, and will head off to bed to sleep off the post event buzz. I’ll return tomorrow to write up the event in more depth.
Stripped to the Core on the Road to Madness – Journey of the Shaman, Artist, Magical Practitioner – An illustrated lecture with Charlotte Rodgers and Khi Armand
Date: Wednesday, September 14th
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn
In 1913, Swiss psychologist and physician Carl Gustav Jung embarked on what his biographers have termed an imaginative journey populated by a wide host of characters engaging him in a nocturnal work that would result in, among other things, the recently released tome The Red Book: Liber Novus. Calling it his most difficult experiment, some have found parallels between Jung’s harrowing pilgrimage through the unconscious and the crises experienced by medicine people within indigenous cultural contexts.
These papers explore the journey often taken on the road to becoming an artist, magician, or shaman (or psychoanalyst!), which often entails what modern Western psychiatry deems a psychotic episode or break but in many cultures is known as a rite of passage – the popularly termed Madness Road of the cross-cultural phenomenon known as shaman sickness. In many cultures, initiation is both an unavoidable and necessary aspect of the human experience and being so, a required and regulated experience within traditional cultures around the world. By exploring different spiritual practices in various non Western cultures and the use of art as a necessary expression of transformational magic, these presentations, both visual and verbal, examine how living life on the outskirts of what can be termed the ‘mainstream’ helped develop and strengthen a personal animist and magical belief system, and rather than suppressing inherent spiritual inclinations, strengthened them. By juxtaposing Jung’s mental crisis alongside the initiatory callings of contemporary spirit-initiated shamans in the industrialized West, there is a call for pro-active tending of the gates between childhood, adulthood, and life purpose toward resolving a culture of violence, denial, and separation.
This event is part of a series exploring the intersection, integration and application of psychoanalytic theory, the arts, and the occult, curated by psychoanalyst, Dr. Vanessa Sinclair. Throughout the series, Sinclair hosts a variety of psychoanalysts, psychologists, artists, writers, and occultists from a range of backgrounds and theoretical orientations. Presenters discuss their work, personal experience, and areas of research interest, opening up a dialogue between practitioners in fields of study that rarely have a chance to engage with one another yet often operate in similar and complementary ways.
Khi Armand is an interdisciplinary artist and a spirit-initiated shaman holding initiations in such New World medicine traditions as Haitian Vodou, Afro-Brazilian Quimbanda, and the Unnamed Path. He holds a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University and a Bachelors in Ritual Anthropology from Hampshire College.
Charlotte Rodgers is an animist and magician. She is also a writer, artist, performer and public speaker. She has contributed to many magazines and anthologies and wrote the books, The Bloody Sacrifice and P is for Prostitution: A Modern Primer. She conceived, introduced and co edited A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead (all published by Mandrake of Oxford). The Sky is a Gateway not a Ceiling (illustrated by Roberto Migliussi) published in Italy, is a recently published collection of her work. She has exhibited her totemic, talismanic art work, which incorporates bones. road kill and elements of death, in numerous galleries including London’s Chelsea Gallery and the Bath Royal Institute and has given presentations at Edinburgh and Leicester University.
Vanessa Sinclair, Psy.D. is a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City. She is a founding member of Das Unbehagen – A Free Association for Psychoanalysis, which facilitates psychoanalytic lectures, classes and events in and around New York City. She contributes to various publications including The Fenris Wolf, DIVISION/Review: A Quarterly Psychoanalytic Forum, the Brooklyn Rail, and Eris Magazine.