Tom McArthur speaker for the Centre For Pagan Studies

Tom McArthur – Speaker

Tom McArthur Speaking on the Greek Magical Papyri

Topic: An Introduction to the Greek Magical Papyri

Date: 9th August 2020

Time: 16:00 UK time

About Our Speaker: Tom McArthur

Tom is a Classicist and a witch. He started practicing magic as a child and as he grew up, so did his practice. A Gardnerian initiate of 2 years, Tom’s approach to magic is experimental, but with a strong grounding in traditional practices. He studied Classics at Durham University, where he did his dissertation on the Greek Magical Papyri. His other interests in Classics include Latin pedagogy, Neoplatonism, ancient religion, and cultural identity. He is currently working as a Latin teacher and will soon begin a PGCE at Cambridge University. When Tom is not working on Classics or practicing magic, he is likely to be found involved with theatre, reading, or walking his dogs.

About the Talk:

This talk aims to introduce the Greek Magical Papyri to modern practitioners, providing a grounding in some of their key concepts, so that practitioners are able to go on and start exploring the texts on their own.  

Tom will begin by giving some historical and literary context to the texts, before giving an in depth discussion of the magic in the papyri: what it is used for, how it works, and how it fits into the wider western magical tradition. Tom will then take a closer look at the view of the gods in the papyri, exploring syncretism with a close reading of one of the spells. There is then some comic relief in an exploration of the ‘joke spells,’ showing the human, sometimes ridiculous, side of these ancient magicians. Tom then explores two important entities in the papyri, the paredros or assistant spirit, and the personal daimon, the ancestor of the Holy Guardian Angel. Finally, Tom explores how modern magicians can work with these texts, giving examples from his own work, looking particularly at statue ensoulment. Finally, one of the most famous modern rituals adapted from the papyri,  Aleister Crowley’s Bornless Rite, is explored in light of its original source material. 

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