Jasmine Shadrack & Charmaine Sonnex – Ritual Occultation and the Space between Worlds

Here’s yet another video filmed at last year’s Trans State Conference. This one’s of Jasmine Shadrack & Charmaine Sonnex’s presentation – “Ritual Occultation and the Space between Worlds: exploring the application of the “flow” state in Pagan and Black Metal performance practice.”

The posted description says:

“This presentation examines the concept of the “flow” state and applies it to Pagan ritual workings and black metal performance. The flow state is “the holistic experience that people feel when they act with total involvement” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, p 36). It is a liminal state of consciousness (Turner, 1974), and is induced during ritualistic performance in Pagan and black metal contexts. These disparate praxes reveal through their shared aesthetics, a realm through which transcendental performativity is delivered.

“The transformative powers offered by flow, advances a spiritual engagement with black metal. Pagan symbology when applied to black metal performance leads to adoption of the flow state. Pagan ritual workings are a mental operation where the practitioners raise energy, imbue it with a purpose, and then send it out to its intended target. This work cannot be conducted in an ordinary state of consciousness; an altered state must be realised to craft the singularity of intent necessary (Adler , 1986; Orion, 1995; Starhawk, (1986). Pagan ritual is understood as a form of performance (Butler, 2004; Hume, 1998; Roundtree, 2006) with emphasis on set and setting, and ritual tools considered as props. This staging aides the Pagan as performer to achieve and maintain the altered, liminal state of flow.

“The ways this liminal state performs, demarcates a specificity of engagement within a black metal performance that uses Pagan ritual as a conduit. This means that the value of flow in Pagan ritual is equally as significant in black metal which consolidates the props in Paganism, consuming and excising them into black metal performance as key signifying practices. As it is in Pagan ritual, flow’s singularity of intent becomes the crux of the subject in process; the raising of energy through black metal performance in order to project it out seeks to access the flow state in order to achieve its purpose.”

Jasmine Shadrack is a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at the University of Northampton and is in the final stage of her PhD. She is also the guitarist and front woman in an avant-garde black metal collective, Denigrata. Jasmine’s research explores the ways in which women as performers are engaged with by black metal. The value and impact of this original research lays in its engagement and analysis of its gendered performance; there are few women black metal performers so by foregrounding female subjectivity as a fundamental of the research, her thesis seeks to investigate issues of identity, self-embodiment and musicality.

Charmaine Sonnex is an Associate Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Northampton and is in the final stages of her PhD. Her research interests include Transpersonal Psychology, non-contact healing, Paganism, and spirituality. Charmaine’s thesis includes a comprehensive meta-analysis of the current empirical research into various form of non-contact healing, explores Pagan ritual workings through a psychological lens, and seeks to establish the efficacy of Pagan healing practices through a randomised controlled trial (RCT). This research makes an original contribution to a number of research fields; the meta-analysis is the most recent and comprehensive review of its kind, the application of psychological theory to investigation of Pagan praxis is unique and original as is the application of the RCT method to Pagan healing practices.


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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