This process of religious creolization—a term we will explain more clearly in the course of our discussion—continues even now, and a number of previously unknown practices have arisen that combine African Diasporic religious forms with Western esotericism. This process is not entirely new: Brazilian Umbanda, for example, has been heavily influenced by Kardecism, a variety of nineteenth century European spiritualism. What are new, however, are some of the hybrid expressions that have arisen in the last twenty years. In the wake of the ‘occult explosion’ of the Sixties and the ‘New Age’ that followed, syncretic forms of spirituality appeared, blending African Diasporic religions with Anglo-European magical systems such as tarot, qabalah, and ceremonial magical rituals.
Drawing upon primary and secondary sources in anthropology, popular culture, and religious studies, this workshop explores some of the new and eclectic practices on the fringes of Afro-Diasporic religious expression. Two case studies will be examined: the synthesis of tarot and Umbanda Orixá or spirits, and the blending of tarot and qabalah with New Orleans Voodoo.
Christeos Pir (T אריה) is a Bishop of EGC and a Sovereign Grand Inspector General. He has been a member of O.T.O. since 04/04/93, and is Past Master of William Blake Oasis (now William Blake Lodge), past Secretary and Deputy Master of Scarlet Woman Lodge in Austin TX, and past Most Wise Sovereign of Baphomet Chapter Rose Croix. He has an M.A. with a thesis on religion and the supernatural in contemporary Japanese popular culture and a B.A. in Religious Studies. He has been studying and writing about the magical system of Dr. John Dee and Sir Edward Kelley for more than 20 years, and is the author of numerous essays on magical topics. He has led seminars and experimental study groups in various subjects at a number of O.T.O. bodies (including Golden Thread), at NOTOCON, at Ecumenicon/Sacred Space (a national pagan-oriented ecumenical conference), and at several Texas OTO Conventions (TOTOCONs).