Many thanks to Dr Scott Jeffery for another wonderful conference report in the BASR (British Association for the Study of Religions) Bulletin. Arguably, this year’s Trans-States conference (held 13th-14th September) lived up to its title even more that the original conference in
trans- prefix meaning: across, beyond, through, on the other side of, to go beyond
state: a condition or way of being that exists at a particular time
An unabashed play on words, a ‘trans- state’ is, among other things, a coincidentia oppositorum. An alchemical wedding that defines the fixed place, where boundaries are actively transgressed.
Trans- States conferences are each themed upon a Major Arcana Tarot card. The first was The Hanged Man and focused on boundary-crossing, liminality, and the queering of normativity. The second was The Tower, which broadened its scope to include the shock and awe of revelatory and paradigm-shifting occultural experiences, the impact and implications of anti-structure, of alterations in consciousness, and of the revolutionary aspects of paranormality.
The theme of this conference is The Magician card. The contemporary Tarot Magus is an adept of the mystical arts, but the forebearers of this image are even more firmly rooted in the mercurial archetype of the Trickster. Master of stage(d) magic, sleight of hand, spectacle, and misdirection; everything they do is for show—the Magician is nothing without their spellbound audience. Juggler, gamester, huckster, provocateur, and virtuoso performer, The Magician occupies the streets and avenues, the highways and byways, the thoroughfares and village squares. Places of commerce and community, of trade and treachery, of discovery and deception. Quick-witted, unfathomably dexterous and expertly skilled, The Magician appears to perform the impossible and produce the hitherto unimaginable: making space for the virtual to emerge within the bustling midst of the everyday.
The Art of Deception is the art of technē. It is the art, skill, craft, and means by which practice brings about accomplishments that are quite simply—beyond belief.
This transdisciplinary conference and art exhibition will explore the complex interrelationships between contemporary occulture, deception, persuasion, trickery, manipulation, communication, mastery, craftiness, sleight of hand, commerce, technē, technology, and techgnosis.
To find out more about the Trans- States organisation, visit our ‘About’ page.