Video: The Divine Feminine: A Modern Genealogy

October 26, 2021
The Divine Feminine
A discussion with Joy Dixon took place Oct. 4.

Fellows Hadi Fakhoury and Mimi Winick for a discussion with Joy Dixon (University of British Columbia) of her first book, Divine Feminine: Theosophy and Feminism in England, along with her new book project tentatively titled, Sexual Heresies: Religion, Science, and Sexuality in Modern Britain. Among other things, the discussion will explore a genealogy of the concept of the “divine feminine” in modern esotericism, and its intersection with questions of politics, religion, sex, gender, and sexuality. This event is the first in the CSWR’s year-long series on “The Divine Feminine and Its Discontents.”

Joy Dixon is an Associate Professor of History at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, whose work explores the multiple ways that religion and sexuality intersect, from evangelicalism to esotericism.

Hadi Fakhoury is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions. His project focuses on the 20th-century French scholar of Islamic theosophy, Henry Corbin.

Charles M. Stang is Professor of Early Christian Thought and Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School.

Mimi Winick is a scholar of 19th and 20th century Anglophone literature and religion and a postdoctoral fellow in Transcendence and Transformation at the Center for the Study of World Religions.



SPEAKER 1: Harvard Divinity School.

SPEAKER 2: The Divine Feminine, a modern genealogy. October 4, 2021.

CHARLES STANG: Good evening and welcome. My name is Charles Stang and I have the privilege of serving as the director of the Center for the Study of World Religions here at Harvard Divinity School. Welcome to this evening's event, the first in a new series on the divine feminine and its discontents.

This series is part of a wider initiative the center has just launched on transcendence and transformation or TNT for short. The initiative supports two other series one on psychedelics in the future of religion and another on nosiologies transcendence and transformation today. If you're interested in learning more about the initiative or these different series, please visit our website and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

You might also want to catch the launch event we had two weeks ago in which I introduced the initiative and our five TNT affiliates each spoke of their individual and shared research projects. That video is now available on our website. But this series on the divine feminine will be led by my colleagues, Hadi Fakhoury, and Mimi Winnick, who are two of the four postdoctoral Fellows in the TNT initiative. I'll introduce them both shortly.

In the future it is they rather than I who will host most of the events in this series. But I couldn't resist the chance to host Professor Joy Dixon for our inaugural event. Joy is no stranger to the center. She participated in our 2018 conference theosophy and the study of religion. Prompted by the revelation that this very center was founded by a generous gift from a circle of theosophy based in New York called, The Order of The Living Christ.

Joy's paper from that conference along with six others will soon appear as part of a roundtable discussion in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Joy Dixon is associate professor in the Department of History at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

She quite literally wrote the book on the Divine Feminine, here it is. Published in 2001 from Johns Hopkins University press. And it's subtitled theosophy and feminism in England. It's a brilliant study of the relationship between alternative or esoteric spirituality and the feminist movement in England.

She examines the Theosophical society's claims that women in the East were the repositories of spiritual forces which Englishmen had forfeited in their scramble for material and imperial power. Theosophists fists produced arguments that became key tools in many feminist campaigns.

Many women of the Theosophical Society became suffragists to promote the superspiritualizing of politics, attempting to create a political role for women as a way to quote sacrolize, the public sphere. Joy also shows that theosophy provides much of the framework and the vocabulary for today's new age movement.

Many of the assumptions about class, race, and gender, which marked the emergence of esoteric religions at the end of the 19th century continue to shape alternative spiritualities today. Drawing on her extraordinary first book, Joy will be offering some reflections on the genealogy of the concept of the divine feminine.

But she will also be bringing us into her new book project tentatively titled, Sexual Heresies. Religion science and sexuality in modern Britain. And that explores the impact of the new sciences of sexuality and the new understandings of sexual identity on religion and religious experience from liberal modernism to the new orthodoxies of conservative Catholicism and modern evangelicalism.

With questions from Hadi, Mimi, and myself, we hope to have a lively discussion with Joy about the divine feminine in modern esotericism and its intersection with questions of politics, religion, sex, gender, and sexuality.

We have an hour and a half to get to this evening. I will soon disappear from the screen and joy will appear. She will speak for about 30 minutes and then Hadi, Mimi, and I will join her to pose questions that we hope will lead seamlessly into a lively discussion.

So very briefly let me introduce my colleagues who will be organizing this series and an in-person reading group to accompany. Mimi Winnick, forgive me, Mimi. Mimi Winnick is one of our four TNT postdoctoral Fellows. Mimi was here last year as a research associate in the Women's Studies and Religion Program and she stayed on to take part in this new initiative.

She received her PhD in English literature from Rutgers University. And her research for TNT focuses on how prose literature fosters sustained experiences of transcendence and transformation both in individuals and in communities of readers.

Hadi Fakhoury is one of our other postdoctoral Fellows, originally from Beirut. Hadi comes to us by way of Montreal where he did his PhD in McGill's school of religious studies. Hadi's research has two loci. First the relationship between philosophy, and religion in the thought of the German philosopher, Friedrich Wilhelm, Joseph Von Schelling.

And second the philosophy and spirituality of Henry Corbin. The influential 20th century French scholar philosopher and comparative theologian on whom Hadi and I are organizing a conference in May of 2022, entitled Adventures in The Imaginal. So thank you Mimi and Hadi for leading this interesting series. Right now I'd like to invite Joy to take the stage, as it were. Joy.

PROF. JOY DIXON: So I want to start with an article that was published in 2017 on called everything you need to know about the divine feminine, which could save me a great deal of time and energy if we just all read that.

But I want to focus on some of the arguments and claims that come out in that article as the way of thinking about the themes that I'm developing. And the article featured two contemporary practitioners some of you may be familiar with them. Gabriela Herstik, who is described herself as an eclectic witch.

One of the founders of the Kink Coven which is dedicated to sexual magic and ritualized BDSM online. Also the author of the Inner Witch, a modern guide to the ancient craft which was published in 2018.

The other interviewee is Edgar Fabian Frias, a non-binary queer indigenous and Latinx artist and the co-editor of divine feminine consciousness zien. In creating a modern analogy for the idea of the divine feminine, I'm not trying to trace a linear story that connects the iterations of the idea in this article back to Levitsky or to any of the other traditions that I discuss here.

And I won't actually be talking in detail about the way for example, that Isis or Demeter or the Virgin Mary have a role in ideas about The Divine Feminine. What I'm interested in doing is putting my comments about the idea of feminine divine into the context of what the historian Laura Dion has called a queer critical history.

A historicism practice that is not tethered to the habits of tracing back what we think we already know about the sexual past. And the search for the divine feminine in the singular is connected in complex ways with project that tends to emphasize what is essential or universal and to de-emphasize what is portrayed as contingent and accidental.

And I just want to shout out to Mimi Winick here that I think there is some really interesting overlaps between some of the themes that come out here and what she has called scholarly enchantment. And I hope we'll have a chance to talk more about those overlaps in the Q&A.

So my goal is actually to focus precisely on those contingent elements. On the ways that the divine feminine emerges into practices, and beliefs, and movements, and the way that ideas about the divine feminine actually structure the possibilities for different kinds of participation in those movements.

So I'm going to start with three short passages from the article on to use those as markers for some of the themes that I'll be returning to over the next 25 minutes or so. The first theme that I want to trace out is this idea of the gender binary.

The idea that the feminine exists as the opposite of and in relationship to the masculine. And to trace out the ways that, that formulation gets embedded into a heteronormative framework. And you can see here in this first quotation which comes from Herstik that emphasis on polarity and opposites.

We all have a polarity within us, she writes. That of the masculine, the active, the force, and the feminine, the receptive, the form. And we experience these through periods of action and periods of rest and integration. The divine feminine is the creative and life giving energy within all of us that gives form to that which we care about and put our energy into.

The second theme once we've established the idea of a gender binary in which the male, and female are posited as opposites is the question of the relevance or otherwise of the gendered and sexist body. Of how or when differently bodied people fit into this scheme.

And I think it's interesting that in this particular case, what you see is an explicit rejection of that claim. Herstik adds, this is not biological and not something attached to motherhood. The divine feminine is a way of aligning with the vibrant love of the universe and channeling that through your body into creating, connecting, or loving.

And it's accessible to everyone because no matter what we all have a body. And then finally to move on from that, to think about the different ways that some of the traditions that use the idea of the divine feminine.

Actually end up with a kind of undoing of the binary itself, which raises the question of what is the binary for, to what ends can it be mobilized. And my thoughts here are guided by Susan Strikers question in the introduction to the transgender issue of GOQ journal. The argument that we need to interrogate how bodies mean.

And I think that question of how the body means and how different kinds of bodies mean is really interesting to put into play in this conversation about the divine feminine. And so the final quote from bustle this one from Frias. There is no one way to describe what's feminine as it means vastly different things to different people of different cultures and identities.

And it's harmful to see the sacred feminine as only residing with people who were assigned female at birth or as only encompassing specific traits. So those are the questions and themes that I'm going to be exploring. And what I want to emphasize is the way that there are so many multiple ways of putting those different themes together and producing radically different kinds of results.

So with that general framework and those themes in mind, I want to take us back a century and a half and to start with H.P. Blavatsky pictured here, perhaps in one of her most iconic and famous images. And her magnum opus, the massive two volume, the secret doctrine which first appeared in 1888.

Blavatsky for those of you who aren't familiar with her was a contradictory and enigmatic figure. She was born in the Ukraine in 1830 one of an aristocratic Russian family. She traveled widely and claimed to have spent at least some time studying occultism in a Tibetan monastery.

She co-founded the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875. And in 1879 traveled with her colleague Henry Steel Olcott to India, where they established the organization's new world headquarters. In her public performances, Blavatsky continually played with and off of late Victorian conventions of gender, simultaneously claiming spiritual authority and a masculine mode and spiritual power as a woman.

The two volume secret doctrine was Blavatsky most ambitious attempt to convey the ancient wisdom that had been imparted to her by the mysterious Mahasters or Mahatmas in Tibet. Expressed through a symbolic language that her followers put it revealed and revealed ancient beast view of the physical universe, as a manifestation or externalization of the absolute.

The story of the physical universe according to Blavatsky secret doctrine was the story of the progressive unfolding of spirit into matter. And this unfolding took place through two primary mechanisms, both critical to the late Victorian social world.

On the one hand and the one we're most interested in today, a gendered dichotomy which was embedded in a process of inbreeding and out breathing. And on the other hand, a racialised cycle of incarnations through which spirit descended into matter and moved through a complex series of races and sub races.

And I would be very happy to talk more about these ideas of race and the way that race operates in eceteracism for the moment I'll just emblematic is that by the illustration of the evolution of route races that you can see here on the slide. And we can certainly come back to that if people are interested.

So Blavatsky among many other things critiqued what she described as cephalic and patriarchal Christianity. And she noted that Protestantism in particular had denied the feminine side of divinity. But she didn't herself tend to invoke the idea of the divine feminine directly. It doesn't appear as a phrase for example, in either the secret doctrine or the two volume Isis' unveiled that preceded it.

But she did make a gender binary a central organizing principle of cosmic development. And I know that some of you in the reading group have recently read the chapter from divine feminine on the divine hermaphrodite and the female Messiah. And so some of this next bit will be familiar to you.

So in this gender dichotomy in breathing and out breathing. Blavatsk's points is in her words that humanity is dual. That both the masculine and the feminine principles have a vital role to play in the development of the cosmos.

The universal divine principle was both sexless and formless. It was she wrote neither father nor mother. Coming into manifestation, this absolute spirit creates itself as a series of oppositions. Positive and negative, spirit and matter, masculine and feminine

but at the same time, she always emphasized that this duality was temporary and imperfect and that it would disappear in the millennia to come as humanity ascended the spiritual arc and both sexual difference and sexual intercourse were dispensed with.

On an individual level, the higher self or unconditioned soul was understood to be neither male nor female, occupying the bodies of men and women in turn through numberless lives. Gradually beginning to manifest the highest qualities of both culminating in the emergence of the spiritual androgen or the divine hermaphrodite.

And all of this was taught in a highly symbolic language, which lent itself to multiple and competing interpretations. And I'm giving you just a brief example of that in this passage from the second volume of the secret doctrine, the volume subtitled anthropogenesis.

You can see in the full page that I've reproduced on the left hand side of the slide a discussion of the kind of racialised dynamic that I referred to a moment ago, here linking indigenous Australians to the lost continent of Lemuria.

But the larger passage that I've reproduced gives you a sense of the complexity of her ideas, but also of this emphasis on a move from the sexless to the bisexual, and androgynous, and only very late in development of the two sexes as we understand them today.

So for Blavatsky, we have a gender binary, but it's a temporary mechanism of manifestation expressed through a temporarily sexist body. And so the divine feminine for Blavatsky is also a temporary manifestation destined to be reabsorbed into sexless spirit.

All that said as I noted a moment ago, these were ideas that could be interpreted in various ways. And it was also possible to take these same philosophical materials and reassemble them to different ends in which the divine feminine became the goal of spiritual evolution.

I've pictured here on the slide the woman who was probably the most prominent exponents of this idea in late 19th and early 20th century Britain, the theosophy and feminist Frances Swiney. Who reworked Blavatsky symbology to make the feminine rather than a sexless absolute both the starting point and the ending point of cosmogenesis.

Jessica Albrecht has recently compared Sweeney's symbology to Blavatsky in a detailed way and concludes that for Swiney the first known symbol in the world she argued was the emblem of the mother. Figure 1 on the slide, on the image on the right hand of the slide the cosmic circle and center of life.

An illustration of the fact that for Swiney all life spiritual as well as physical begins as female. Swiney argued that the masculine was only a temporary and transitional phase, between the eternal feminine cause and the eternal feminine effect. For Swiney there was only one real sex, the feminine.

Men were simply she argued imperfect women, both physiologically and spiritually. And in making this argument Swiney was drawing on a wide range of sources from contemporary biological and sociological work to cabalistic Judaism, Vedanta and nosticism.

For my purposes I want to point out the extent to which Swiney's image of the divine feminine has a real resonance with what the historian Thomas Licker has called the one sex model. A model of sexual difference that was dominant in pre-modern understandings of physiology. One in which the sexes were not understood as opposite, but as more alike than different.

So where physiologists from the ancient Greeks on had understood men as the one sex and women as imperfect versions of men. Swiney flipped that idea on its head. She also rejected the link between sexual difference and sexual reproduction, arguing that in a eugenic reformed society in which women were no longer exposed to what she called racial poisons, by which she meant everything from alcohol and nicotine to sperm.

Women would reproduce pathenergetically and men would effectively disappear. So Swiney's divine feminine thus emerges directly out of her rejection of the gender binary and her simultaneous conflation of eugenically superior feminine body with maternity and reproduction. And again these ideas of race and racial purity continue to structure many of these arguments.

I want to turn now to a later generation of the osophisits under the leadership of Annie Besant who became head of the Theosophical society's. Esoteric section after Blavatsky's death and President of the society itself in 1907.

As we move into the 20th century, philosophists continue to grapple with the spiritual meanings of sex, of a sexually differentiated body and of gender. In Besant's Theosophical Society the question of whether and how the sexed body mattered was at issue from the very beginning.

And in order to demonstrate that I'm going to use some examples from a theosophical form of speculative masonry known as the universal order of Co-freemasonry, which was an esoteric Masonic organization that used theosophical principles.

And importantly admitted both men and women on equal terms. So in co-masonry, the argument that I want to make is that the rituals that were worked simultaneously ratified sexual difference and collapsed or denied those same differences.

So you have a continual back and forth between the sexual binary on one hand or the gender binary and the undoing of that binary as the key to the ritual work that's being done. I'm quoting now from Edith Ward who you can see among this group of English Co-masons on the very far right hand Side of the slide.

Edith Ward writing in the Journal of the organization the Co-Mason in 1909. Had this to say. The human race needs both sexes for its full expression. Alike in the home, the world, and the large. It is neither the rights and ceremonies, nor the titles and banquets that attract women to masonry.

But a recognition that here is an established channel through which the water of spiritual life may yet flow freely. For the life of the spirit which is unity must tend in its outpouring to draw men and women together not to separate them.

The perfected humanity must needs be the blending of that which is best in both man and woman. So in a complex way here, almost in the course of a couple of sentences Ward simultaneously recognizes the spiritual importance of the existence of a gender binary. But at the same time and in the same paragraph she calls for its undoing.

So there was this curious emphasis on both the irrelevance and intense relevance of sexual difference at the same time. And the Co-Mason Elizabeth Severs makes a similar kind of point in 1911. Arguing that with the initiation of women as masons, men and women together, she put it could work for the glory of the great architect of the universe and the raising of the temple of humanity.

Men alone could never rare that temple. By depriving themselves of the help of women they were attempting and impossible task. Crippled and with one wing only, they were attempting to soar into the infinite.

For male and female created he them for mutual support and cooperation in all work and labor, while our humanity endures and sex distinctions are necessary and in consequence persist. It required that Severs argued, both the swift intuition of the woman and the ratio situation of the man to quicken the approach to the veil of Isis.

So again we find this tension between an emphasis on the necessity and the importance and the valorization of both extremes or both opposites of the gender binary, which provides a context for the celebration and ritual use of the divine feminine. And also its undoing, which returns us to that understanding of a sexless absolute.

So as I mentioned before, we have a kind of complicated situation in which gendered and sexist bodies are simultaneously crucial and irrelevant to the ritual work, that's being done. And I think these kinds of tensions become even more apparent as you move into more explicitly ceremonial and ritual magic contexts. Movements like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

And even more clearly in some of the movements which I will go on to talk about in a moment that developed out of the Golden Dawn. Movements like Deon Fortune, society of the inner light, and Aleister Crowley's Dilemma.

Whether the Golden Dawn itself taught sexual magic, it remains a matter of dispute. But it seems clear that the use of sex within magical practice was at least discussed in that context. In a modern context, the explicit use of physical and genital sexual acts to create magical effects seems to have appeared for the first time in the work of Pascal Beverly Randolph, who I picture here.

A free Black man born in New York City in 1825, who went on to become a celebrated trans-medium and a clairvoyant, and less publicly began to experiment with sexual magic. According to Randolph's biographer, John Patrick Devaney.

Randolph viewed sexual desire as a fundamental force. And characterized male, and female as complementary electromagnetic forces. Celebrating the magical possibilities that were available in heterosexual sexual intercourse properly understood even while condemning non-reproductive forms of sexuality.

And I stopped for a moment to talk about Randolph precisely because his approach is very explicit about the ways that bodies mean in occult and spiritual terms. And we can see how both the gender binary and the sexist body are central to his approach.

So at this point, I'd like to move on to explore briefly these ideas in the work of Dion Fortune pictured here. One of the most influential figures in 20th century British occult circles. She was a writer, an occultist and ceremonial magician, and the founder of what is now the society of the inner light. A mystery school within the Western esoteric tradition.

And her clearest explanation of these themes comes in the book whose cover I picture here esoteric philosophy of love and marriage. And she notes there that when the esotericist uses the term sex, what is really being referred to as a notion of the life force. A kind of energy which she described as of an electro-hydraulic type. A radiating and magnetize vibratory energy similar to electricity, to which it is very closely related.

And Fortune went on to and I'm quoting from her here to argue that this energy radiates from the great first cause and is therefore divine in its nature. As an aside like Blavatsky, Fortune tended to characterize this first cause as sexless and gendered.

But at the same time, sex as it is manifested on the physical plane is a really important expression of this divine life as it is channeled through the physical body. And because of that, because it's divine life. She argued that it was not to be used for personal pleasure but for what she referred to as the race.

This is the essence of sex life and the right secret of the right use of the sex force, she wrote. It is not ours it belongs to the race. And there were as we can see important connections here between the goals of early 20th century occultism and some kinds of eugenic ideas and certain parallels that we might want to explore between the occult idea of human perfection and the supposed eugenic perfection of the race.

But here I want to focus on the ways that just as sexual desire was only one expression of the divine life, so too physical sexual difference was only one expression or manifestation of this larger cosmic polarity.

The sex forces in their higher aspects Fortune explained, are powerful regenerative agents. These aspects were for her entirely divorced from their physical function and were of the mind and for the Spirit.

In their higher aspects the notions of male, and female were part of this larger cabalistic pattern of cosmic equilibrium. Positive and negative forces that worked together and had to work together to produce balance and harmony in the universe.

Just as electricity flowed in a circuit, so the life force flowed from the divine through individualized forms and was ultimately reabsorbed by the divine as cosmic force. So the esotericist who desired to work with this force could channel and manipulate it in particular ways. And you can see this passage reproduced on the slide. This is Fortune again from the esoteric philosophy of love and marriage.

The life force that is flowing out from the divine through the positive or male individual instead of radiating into free space after its work in the machine of his organism has been done, will flow back to the divine through the negative or female individual.

At the point of junction between the two units, the force can be tapped and rendered available for creation in the matter of the plain upon which the union is being effective. This is the essence of the esoteric teaching concerning the sex function.

And there's a great deal of debate about the extent to which this is something that happens on the physical plane as actual sexual contact. Most commentators seem to think for Fortune it doesn't. But it clearly makes a male, and female masculine and feminine polarity necessary to the working of this kind of magic.

And this is what Fortune calls the device of cosmic sex or polarity. Gendered polarity is precisely what makes this kind of magic possible. And the result is to embed a heterosexual dyad at the center of this particular version of the Western magical tradition, conflating sex physical body with the cosmic polarities of the divine masculine and the divine feminine.

Into a quote. Fortune again here she says, "We are equipped with physical bodies in which the configuration of the generative organs determines the part we shall play in the polarity of life. We are born male or female, she concluded. And have to abide by the decision of our conception the phenomena of the hermaphrodite and the homosexual being regarded as pathological by the esoteric as well as by the esoteric scientist."

So for Fortune, cis-gendered, reproductive, heterosexuality was nature's aim. Same sex. Sex, for example could she noted be used for occult ends but that came at a terrible price. In those cases, she argued and I'm quoting fortune again here two streams of force of the same type are called forth and naturally find no channels of return. As the vehicles are both of the same polarity.

These forces are therefore available for magical purposes, hence the extensive use of what are commonly called obscene practices as one of the easiest ways of obtaining power. The price paid however and, this is Fortune again. Is that the person. So experimenting shall give himself over unreservedly to evil.

Which brings us to this gentleman Aleister Crowley, the great beast 666, whose teachings on sexual magic gave him the reputation of being the quote, "wickedest man in the world." Which was a newspaper headline describing him.

The sexual magic that Crowley practiced was based on and an elaboration of the teachings of the ordo template orients, so the OTO, which included the use of masturbatory techniques in its eighth degree of heterosexual sex in the ninth degree.

And Crowley added to this an 11th degree which involved anal sex performed with both men and women. The magical rites in Crowley's practice included the charging of mental images with sexual energy. The production and consumption of an elixir, which consisted of a mixture of male, and female sexual fluids, that could be used to anoint and empower magical objects.

As was the case for Dion Fortune many of these magical operations were dependent on and exploited the possibilities of a gender binary. And I'm quoting here from Manon Hedenborg's and White's work on Crowley and the Lima and Western Asset terrorism and femininity more broadly.

She characterizes Crowley's as a heteronormative cosmology. And as she writes several of Crowley's most important texts, put forth a gender polar cosmology and theory of magic in which masculine and feminine constitute ontological complementary opposites.

The notion of gender polarity as central to magical work is reflected in several of Crowley's most important magical texts. So we might look, for example to his nostic mass, wiber 15 from 1913 in which the priest and priestess are ritually identified with the divine masculine and the divine feminine principles.

And in an act of symbolic heterosexual intercourse, an act of symbolic heterosexual intercourse is the center of that particular magical rite. Parolees they are magica dedicated an entire section. Section 9 of the course of the moon and her influence to the magical use of menstrual one.

Certain kinds of sexual magic could only be completed with women's involvement as for example, in the production of the elixir. So Crowley's characterization of male, and female bodies and of their sexual fluids replicated familiar gender dichotomies. Active and passive, design and material, creative and receptive.

But as much as his sexual magic depended on gender polarity for its efficacy, Crowley himself was also intent on undermining or undoing that polarity. Like Fortune, Crowley taught the interchange of opposites. In his words that albeit man is active and woman passive yet man is peace and woman power. And this is called the hermetic paradox.

So many of Crowley's rituals simultaneously depended on and undid the binary conception of gender at the same time. And interestingly, that same dynamic appears in the account that Crowley offers of himself in his autobiographical confessions. Here speaking of himself in the third person.

He writes there is a sort of hermaphroditic in his physical structure. And this is naturally expressed in his mind. And he portrays himself as in his words, a complete human being who can understand things that were unintelligible to men as such and to women as such.

And so he presents himself as both man and woman at once, claiming that he has been able to formulate a view of existence which combines the positive and the negative, the active and passive, in a single identical equation.

So therein Crowley's work we have yet another constellation of the relationships between the gender binary, the sex body and divine energy. One in which the divine feminine is both crucial and capable of being superseded and appropriated by Crowley himself.

We're doing a kind of whirlwind tour here. My final example comes from the same period but gives us yet another profoundly different configuration of the relationships between those three themes that I started with. The gender binary, the implications of the body and the possibilities of the undoing of the binary.

And this is a group that called themselves the ethnic Union. Ethnic in a sense which appears to be linked not to ethnicity, but to ideas of the aesthetic or the ethereal. And that group was founded in 1912 and was dedicated to liberating men and women from what the organizers described as the sole murder of sexual difference.

In 1916 some members of the ethnic Union founded the journal uranium as a way of promoting and discussing their varied ideas. And the journal has been characterized in various ways. It's sometimes talked about as one of the very early trends, writes, international journals that we know of.

The journal was a complex mix of press cuttings, stories of girls who lived as boys and vise versa, or of women's achievements in business or academia, of male, and female impersonators and early stories of what were called a change of sex. Along with book reviews and other editorial matter.

What's striking to me is how unusual it was and it's clear and unambiguous rejection of what the contributors called duality or sexual and gender difference. And you can see here I've reproduced their editorial statement which appeared in most of the issues of the paper, which argued for the transcendence of sexual and gender difference.

And the last lines there conclude that if the world is to see sweetness and independence combined in the same individual, all recognition of that duality must be given up. For it inevitably brings in its train the suggestion of the conventional distortions of character which are based on it. There are no men or women in Urania, All Eisin hos angeloi Angelo but they are like angels which is a quotation from the Gospel of Mark.

The prime mover behind Urania and probably its main contributor was the feminist activist and writer Irene Clyde, the pen name of Dr. Thomas Beatty, a legal scholar. And from 1915, the legal advisor to the Japanese foreign office.

Quite, which seems to be the preferred version of the South here. Was a vegetarian, a physicist, and a ashintoist, according to notes for an autobiographer called Sketch, I'm quoting here. From earliest days they adored beauty and sweetness. Considered ladies had both as well as persistence and tenacity, therefore longed passionately to be a lady and have continued to do so.

But the idea of the lady is here strangely not a biological or a physical one. Precisely because the journal was resolute in its opposition to what it called pseudo-scientific determinism. A kind of materialism in which the Spirit is conceived as a function of the body and its character and energies as determined by the nature of the bodily frame.

And that passage comes from an article published in 1930, that they called the Slimy Enemy. The editors argued passionately against what they call the enslavement of the spirit to a purgatory of physiology.

The journal and its editors rejected sexed embodiments itself, structuring that rejection around a series of linked oppositions male, and female, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. And in the slide you see here the first story a keldy manuscript, which comes from 1935.

Gives us a reworking of the Genesis story from the Hebrew Bible in which what is called Queen God literally in this case, the feminine divine. Discovers that the androgynous beings she had created each one both male, and female have effectively thrown themselves out of the Garden of Eden.

By establishing a gender binary, in which men are strong and women are pleasant and a gender hierarchy in which the masculine rules over the feminine. Around the same time, Irene Clyde published a book in 1934 called Eve's Sour Apples, which provides us with another exploration of those same themes.

Clyde central argument was that the essence of sex and its double character as sexual difference and heterosexual intercourse was as she put it with capital letters, only domination mastery and possession. So there's a kind of inherent domination in heterosexual sex for Clyde.

Sex Clyde wrote is the seal and sacrament of a moral canker. The very idea of sexual difference produced a truncated version or two truncated versions of the human, either male or female, active or passive, valor or beauty.

With its stays and trousers, she wrote the child puts on a mental deformity of which all later vise is only the natural development. In the conclusion to a text published under Thomas Beatty's name, a legal text called international law and Twilight, which was published in the wake of the rise of fascism and militarism in Japan as elsewhere.

We get a call for the dethronement of the masculine. And I think it's interesting to explore the resurgence of some of these ideas about the divine feminine in the 1930s in the context militarism, fascism, and so on. And we can talk more about that in the Q&A if people are interested.

So on the last page of international law and Twilight, we find this passage. Masculine violence has brought about its inevitable catastrophe. Many men display in the highest degree the feminine excellencies.

And in the establishment of peace and harmony and the quelling of arrogance, the recording of worldwide acclaim to the feminine as super eminent is the only possible path behind the freedom and behind the dictator's flows serenely the eternal tide of loveliness.

And in this case, we have a rejection of the gender binary, a rejection of the sex, and gender body but nonetheless, salvaging of the divine feminine from the wreckage. So what I hope I've demonstrated is that there are very many ways in which those themes of the divine feminine in its relationship to the gender binary to the sex body, to the undoing of the binary can be consulated.

And here I've tried to focus on the ways that esoteric traditions allow us to explore the question from Susan Stryker that I started with. The question of how bodies mean, in this case, in ritual and magical contexts.

And I think we could also ask similar kinds of questions of a whole range of different esoteric movements. We could ask them of contemporary witchcraft, for example, as it emerged in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. In the work of Gerald Gardner, where we find the celebration of the goddess as a symbol of nature. And an emphasis on the need for both male, and female energy to do ritual work.

Or we could look to feminist versions of Diana Wicca, which promote the goddess as a symbol for women's liberation. And at the same time use, those ideas to authorize particular kinds of inclusions and exclusions. For example, the exclusion of men and in some cases of trans-women as well from ritual work.

And we could talk, for example, about the conflicts that arose at pantheon in 2011 and 2012 around precisely those issues in the attempt to confine Lilith rituals to so-called genetic women. All of which raise again, I think the question of how the body is believed to map onto the cosmic forces represented by the divine feminine.

And the inclusions and exclusions that are authorized. The political and cultural work that can be authorized by that particular mapping. So I've been talking for a long time. I'd be very interested to hear from Mimi, and Hadi, and Charley their reactions to some of this material and also to hear from the audience your responses and reactions. Thank you.

CHARLES STANG: Thank you so much, Joy. Wow that was a whirlwind and I have so many questions. But I know that Hadi and Mimi have them as well. And I'm monitoring the Q&A and see there's some good questions coming in too. So I'm going to hold my tongue. Mimi why don't you kick off the discussion please.

MERLY MIMI WINICK: Yes. Joy thank you so much for that fascinating tour of the divine feminine and it's repeated, emphatic construction, and undoing in all these cases from theosophy and feminism through potentially a nascent, trans-activist journal of the teens, 20s and 30s, into even it sounds like a internationalism, a kind of political activism at the end there through Clyde and Beatty's legal writings.

So I wanted to start with this really compelling dynamic that you've traced in these various contexts and pointed us to how it still manifests in various forms of Wicca. In radical feminist and feminist spirituality contexts. Really taking us through to the present day.

As you say these exclusionary and sometimes inclusive ways. And so I guess my first question for you is to taking this simultaneous emphasizing and undoing of what you refer to following these historical figures as the duality, the gender binary.

Could you talk a little bit about-- a little bit more about the power or potential you see in that. Obviously there are practitioners who see a sort of magical potential in that dynamic of constructing and undoing or emphasizing and undoing. And then these early feminist practitioners seem to be invoking it perhaps in a related way to the magical practitioners.

And then I'm intrigued too by this third concept of the political sphere beyond feminism to internationalism that you brought up. So certainly if you want to take any of those or any combination of those. And tell us a little bit more about that dynamic.

PROF. JOY DIXON: Well, that's a great question. There's a lot a lot there. And I guess a couple of things that come to mind. One is that one of the things that I find really fascinating about the is that there's so much contingency involved. That you can line up all of these different things but you can't predict the politics that are going to come out of them.

So you can find radical inclusive versions that are very much about ratifying that distinction between masculine and feminine, and you can also find conservative deployments of exactly the same process. Simultaneously there's no guarantee that undoing that binary is going to have a progressive or conservative political impact.

It is also interesting to me the Urania example is one the Frances Swiney in some ways context of the First World War and moments of a rise of militarism. Somebody I don't talk about in today's talk but that I've worked on in other contexts would be the Union psychologist Esther Harding, who writes women's mysteries.

Write at the same time that fascism is rising and for her it's a very anti-fascist movement to reclaim the power of the divine feminine. It's fascinating how that image can do so many different kinds of work in so many different contexts. So that's one thing that I would say.

And in terms of internationalism. Again, it authorizes particular kinds of alliances, but also new kinds of hierarchies. And that's one of the things that's so fascinating about theosophy, for example, which in one sense has a profoundly anti-imperial function because of the ways that it sees the East rather than the West as the source of the ancient wisdom.

But at the same time it ends up re-inscribing particular kinds of hierarchies through that very division. And you could make a similar case for example, from in International Law and Twilight, you get a really interesting discussion of the failure of Japan, which had been a feminine ideal. It had looked like a society that was more open to femininity.

But when Clyde Beatty gets there and discovers the ways in which gender actually operates in Japanese society and watches the rise of militarism as we move toward the Second World War, there's a undoing of that orientalism image of Japan as an ideal, as a kind of iteration of the feminine.

So there are all of these really interesting complexities in terms of how international relationships get imagined through these spiritual relationships. And the way gender and ideas about race play into that as well. I think I've lost track of part of your question at this point.

MERLY MIMI WINICK: I felt like a very thorough response actually. So thank you so much for taking us to that specific Japanese context of Clyde at the end is fascinating. And the butting up against of the idealized and then the contingent real experience. Thank you.

I think Hadi, I know we were talking a little bit about some of these themes of politics earlier. So maybe I'll--

HADI FAKHOURY: All right. I'll pick it up over here. Thank you very much, Joy for your presentation fascinating material one thought that struck me while you were presenting is just the prevalence of the intertwining between the sexual and the spiritual.

And of course in your work you focused on esoteric movements mainly, but in the introduction of your work you do make the case that you do point out and of course we know that similar kind of configurations can be found in mainstream religion.

So this seems to be just a permanent theme in spirituality and religion. And my question has to do a little bit with that. So I'll ask the question that has-- it's probably two questions combined and one and you can pick it up and answer it the way you want.

So you your work shows as I've just mentioned the deep inter-twinment between spirituality and modern political movements. On page 232 in your book, you write what relationship does spirituality have to modern political life? You raise that question. And you answer.

And so far as feminism or socialism has been construed as a modern political formation. It has been implicitly characterized as a secular formation. And you go on to add both enlightenment discourses of modernity have tended to map the opposition between the sacred and the secular as an opposition between the traditional and the modern.

The result has been to make it difficult to perceive those moments when a progressive politics such as feminism has been founded on and grounded in claims that are as much spiritual as political and economic, which I found this was wonderful.

And my question is this is insofar as you situate the spiritual as a social and cultural factor on an equal standing with the political and the economic, your work not only blurs the distinction between modern, traditional, sacred, and secular but also between private and public.

So religion as it emerges in your work, doesn't exactly conform to William James's definition of religion which you cite that is the feelings and acts experiences of individual in their solute. On the contrary, religion very much seems to have a reality and force outside of subjective consciousness.

It is a social and political process. And yet in your introduction, you describe the religious conception, spiritual conceptions as imaginary entities, which you continue that nonetheless have had very real effect.

And you later add that you are interested in spirituality only insofar as it is a cultural formation. All right. This has been a long introduction to the question, I'm going to circle back quickly on it. so I'll make a last point is that you do point out in your book and in the chapter from your forthcoming book that all of this work transforms our understanding of the process of secularization by showing precisely how the spiritual has been enmeshed in these political processes.

So I was wondering if there seems to be an implicit understanding of religion and spirituality in your work that emerges from your reworking of the classical theory of secularization. And I was wondering whether you could say something a little more about that. I have more I can ask you about that maybe you can start there. I'll just leave it there.

PROF. JOY DIXON: This seems like a perfect opportunity to have a little bit of back and forth. And I certainly don't have, by any means the last word on it. There are a couple of things that I would say. One is that I think this is where I feel that I wrote that book 20 years ago. And I would no longer say that in those terms.

I think partly because the debate has moved on in really interesting ways. And it's moved on in a couple of ways. One is that I think when I started this work, people really did assume that Britain after about 1780 was a secular society and there was no meaningful history of religion to be written except the ones that you might have a book on evangelicalism or something, but even that's gone by 1850.

And that is just no longer true. And it's an amazing efflorescence of work in the history of religion and in Britain. And Britain, I think is particularly prone to this because for so long it's been understood as the paradigmatically secular modern society.

It's the place where the industrial revolution happened first, for democratization happen first. It was supposed to be the place that became entirely secular first. And we are now just seeing that nobody could make that argument with a straight face anymore.

And so we've had all of these really wonderful studies that pushed the timing of secularization back into the 20th century. Callum Browns, the death of Christian Britain which dates it to 1963. And this very precise way with the invention of the pill. And sexual women no longer needing to conform to particular kinds of demands of sexual respectability.

You have all these ideas of specularity. So I think the whole debate is so much more interesting now than it was when I was originally working on this material. The other debate that has really changed. And this is something that I'm still trying to get my head around is the whole question of what we mean by the real.

And how the notion of the real intersects with understandings of religion. And I can think, for example of Amy Hollywood's work on distinction between the real and the true. I think of Robert Austen's work most particularly his recent the history of presence.

A book that I know is familiar to Charlie, that I've just started working my way through Josephson Storms, Better Modernism in which he talks about the sort of sterility of these arguments about the realist and anti realist approaches and how those are no longer useful ways of thinking about how we divide up.

I would argue and I'd be really interested to know if other people agree. That we're moving right now through a kind of historiography moment of shift that is similar to the one that we saw in the late '70s, early '80s as we moved from social to cultural history.

And I feel like we've had a whole generation in which social constructionism has been more or less the common sense of the field. And I don't think that's true in the same way anymore. You have all of these new histories of cognition that have a particular impact in the history of religion.

My own colleague Edward Slingerland is doing a huge project with the Templeton Foundation, around these histories of cognition and the way that they rethink our understanding of religion. All of the new work on the ontological turn in history that we've rather belatedly picked up from anthropology.

So all of these are asking new questions about what it means to talk about religion and in what sense is religion real. And so I think a lot of it takes off from the same point that I did of Dipesh Chakrabarti claims in centralizing Europe about the exclusions of the discipline and its choices about what counts as facts, what is empirical.

All of that is I think working itself out in really interesting ways that I don't know yet, where it's going to go. But I think your question speaks to precisely those questions and struggles. And it's going to be really interesting 10 years from now to see where we are with those debates. So I don't know if that's an answer but it's a recognition that that's exactly the right question.

HADI FAKHOURY: Thank you very much. Yeah I'll only add to that you do say in your introduction that as a story and you're not really interested in confirming or disproving what you call the diverse and competing claims that are made about spirituality. And that's not the job of the historian as they're starting to be historian's job is understood.

And yet for me reading it the evidence which you masterfully compiled in the book. Did seemed to point out an interesting cultural phenomenon, you do call it a cultural formation about spirituality and the way it is deeply connected with sexuality, not just the subjective imaginary but as an objective process in cultural life that deserves further explanation, that demands explanation. So thank you very much, Joy.

PROF. JOY DIXON: Thank you.

CHARLES STANG: All right. I think in the interest of time, we should turn to questions from the audience. I'm going to pair to that are closely related and have to do with the date that these various modern esoteric figures and movements have to Indian traditions.

So the first is from a figure very familiar to us. This is from Chauvin Walkie-talkie Varma who's a member of TNT research seminar and a resident of the Center. Chauvin writes, Blavatsky to Crowley and many others from thereon were borrowing extensively from Hindu Tantra.

In particular their understanding of the divine masculine, and the divine feminine, and the importance of bodily fluids. Transmissions of Kundalini yoga is a great example of this borrowing and codification. What are your thoughts on this rich borrowing from Hindu tantra. Bodily practices then being codified in a Western ritual and magical context.

So that's one question. I ask you to hold that in mind and I'll read a second closely related from Preethi Banerjee. Has anyone explored the harm that the co-option of domic spirituality, referred to not explicitly and instead called esoteric to politically push a gender movement by Western white woman.

What harm that has done to those who continue to practice in traditional ways and are then called to answer to these abstractions, rather than focusing on the primordial energies that are not sexist. So you can take up either both together.

PROF. JOY DIXON: Those are both wonderful questions that would require much more time than we have for me to answer them adequately. One of the things that people who work on these individual movements have tended to argue about is to what extent.

How much real knowledge do these people have of traditions like tantra, how much distortion is being imposed on them, to what extent are they being put into the service of ideas that come from contexts outside of them. And I think those are all very important questions.

The two things that I've seen come out in the literature that seem to me to be a really useful way forward. One is recognizing the very important role that say Indian physicists had in actually shaping the way that these ideas emerged and the conclusions people came to around them.

But there has tended in the early writings to be an almost an erasure of that contribution. And we're starting to see much more clearly how very active and how much agency some of these Indian theosophy lists for example, had in the creation of these ideas.

At the same time is a recognition that those are often elites with their own agendas. And that needs to be recognized in a powerful way. I think as well this is a answers this in a very different context.

But I think one of the concerns I have, I think we have to be much more sensitive than we are often about how we talk about cultural exchange and cultural borrowing. And in my own work and Charlie knows this because this is partly the contribution that I made to the Journal of the American Academy of religion roundtable that we did.

Which is looking at the way that contemporary, neo-materialism, and ontological histories borrow from indigenous world views in ways that I think are actually unethical. And that we have to be very careful about those processes and about who's speaking and to what end they're speaking and who they're speaking over.

And so I'm not sure that, that's a direct answer to the question but I think that in both of those cases there we do need to be very aware of the colonial context of much of this. And that needs to be front and center in our thinking about how these ideas get circulated and picked up on what parts of them are getting picked up. And who's getting erased in that process.

CHARLES STANG: Thank you, Joy. I'm going to move to another question from I believe a colleague of yours, Sabina Maglioko. I'm saying your name right? Forgive me if I'm not.

She writes, as an anthropologist and folklorist who studies modern pagan and esoteric movements, I'm interested in how constructions of sex and gender in these alternative movements both mirror contemporary constructions and present powerful models to deconstruct them. How can we understand this push me pull you dynamic and its applications to larger political movements?

PROF. JOY DIXON: Oh, that's another question that we could talk about for a very long time. Again, this goes back to Hadi's question in some ways about the richness of these traditions and the way that they are poorly vocal and that they can be mobilized in all of these very different ways.

And sometimes it's a very contradictory kinds of ends. If you take someone like Crowley for example, you can easily find countless examples of people who would characterize him as misogynist in a profound and thoroughgoing way and unable to be claimed or reclaimed for anything approximating a feminist spirituality.

And then you can find people who argue that that's a complete misunderstanding and a complete misrepresentation. And so you have these texts which are very complicated, which are often highly symbolic.

And you could make the same claim of the Hebrew and Christian bibles or the Quran, I presume. That they have this quality where they don't-- that kind of modernist assumption that you can simply read a set of conclusions off of them is obviously not one that you or I, Sabina or I would endorse.

But I think it's fascinating to me how very rich those conversations are and how so much of them is contested and how much hangs on those contests. So that what can often seem very abstruse abstract points of theological dispute turn out to have all of these really complicated reverberations as people take them up and work with them.

And what we tend to see-- and so I think my goal is to unsettle these conversations to see how when we think of what a particular tradition says or does, we're repressing all of this diversity and all of this conflict and contestation, and trying to uncover that again, is part I think of what I'm trying to do.

CHARLES STANG: OK. I'm going to take another question, but I have to paraphrase it. So forgive me as I do that on the fly. It's an anonymous question. Joy are any of the people that you surveyed today these movements interested in sex as a form of lack of a better word, traveling different realms and that sex is a means of transforming or preparing or supporting the body for such travel.

Another way of putting it would be are they completely avoiding the reality of tantra? Or tantra as a claim about what is real and our modes of access to that real.

PROF. JOY DIXON: Again I think you would find that long disputes about, for example, whether somebody like Crowley actually knew anything-- had a meaningful understanding of tantra, how much or how little his teachings reflect that understanding. I'm not the person to adjudicate that dispute. But certainly--

CHARLES STANG: Hold on maybe we can just take it-- let's just say, take it out of tantra per se. And say, is there a kind of interest in sex as a means of traveling to different realms and that sex is somehow a means of preparing the body or means of making that sort of travel.

PROF. JOY DIXON: Yeah, absolutely. That is very much at the core of Crowley's practice in particular. But what is interesting there I think is that as sex becomes magical, it becomes much less like what our common sense understanding of sex is.

So for example Crowley is very adamant that no kind of personal or desire in the sense that we understand sexual desire cannot play a part in sex as it happens in these ritual contexts. , And some of the people who've done more work on his diaries for example note that as his magical sexual practice became more important his actual sexual life outside of that almost disappears.

That he will have a description of a rite in which it is absolutely ruinous to the right to have personal sexual desire impinge on it. So it's a very, very highly disciplined kind of practice. And I think for somebody like Crowley it's confusing because he's associated with phrases like do what the wealth is the whole of the law.

This idea of freedom and liberation and it's not a liberatory practice in that sense. It's not liberatory in the sense that I think we often think that what sexual liberation means. It's very highly disciplined. It's very narrowly understood in a certain context. Yeah or maybe I'll leave it there maybe there's somebody out there who can say more than I can about that.

CHARLES STANG: OK. Maybe one last question from the audience, and we'll let you go, because I know it's been a long few days. I want to take you up on your invitation to think about enthusiasm for the divine feminine in light of political movements.

And so you pointed to the 1930s obviously, there's a rise of fascism, general militarism against the backdrop of just consistent patriarchy. And I'm not aware of whether the interest in the divine feminine is currently enjoying an upsurge or not, whether it's holding steady.

But I would say I'm currently alarmed by the rise of militarism fascism in general the obstinacy of patriarchy. Do you care to think about whether the divine feminine does have that kind of disruptive or a power to resist. And perhaps think of that in light of the ways in which the divine feminine can also be enlisted for political movements in the other direction. More conservative and repressive political movements. What are your thoughts about the divine feminine now?

PROF. JOY DIXON: I am a bit of a broken record on this. It's always more complicated that kind of thing. But the two examples that come to mind instantly, one would be an Baring's work the dance of the cosmos. This idea she's a Union and is interested in bringing the divine feminine to heal the world in the face of climate change and the political shifts and so on.

There is that part of it, but then there's also a number of interesting debates that I've looked at within contemporary paganism, for example. That ask whether it's time to let go of the notion of the Mother-Earth as divine, for example. Because all we're doing is allowing sexism and misogyny to destroy the Earth because women are still not valued. And therefore making the Earth feminine is a way to devalue it rather than value it.

So I think again it's something that pulls in all these different directions. It provides resources that people can mobilize in different directions in different ways. What's fascinating to me is the extent to which it's hard to predict exactly what kind of valence that that's going to have.

CHARLES STANG: I think maybe we should invite Mimi and Hadi if, they have any concluding comments. I don't think it's fair to put any more questions to Joy. For Joy had to field impossibly large difficult questions. But maybe some thoughts, concluding thoughts if you have any Mimi or Hadi.

MERLY MIMI WINICK: Yeah. I keep thinking about this final example of Urania and Clyde which i so fascinating. And you made this great point about how Clyde had speaking of the appeal of the lady, this figure.

We could see how in moments like that some concept of the feminine that's explicitly not a centralized, but imagined and more varied. . Has this destabilizing effect and we can see how that does seem to be part of a certain political program that could be construed as a historically progressive and that could tie into the movements that I think Charlie was just invoking today.

Versus the much more essential biologically determined pathonogenic, divine female of Swiney. And it's so interesting that those two things co-existed. Then and are still being deployed sometimes with historical consciousness and sometimes not today. And so I find your history there really helpful in terms of this genealogy, but also in terms of these contemporary political and magical practices.

PROF. JOY DIXON: I can't resist. Just throwing in. One of the things that I didn't develop here, but I think is really interesting about that image of the lady in Urania, for example it's also a highly classist image. And it's an image of refinement and aristocratic image.

And there's a really profound aristocratic element to this too, that has to do with class culture. That links into images of Japan and complicated ways. And so much that one could do with that material. So I just wanted to throw that yet another layer of complexity into it as well.

CHARLES STANG: Hadi, any last words?

HADI FAKHOURY: Not particularly, no. I think this has been that last layer of complexity made it.


HADI FAKHOURY: Thinking complex enough. I only want to thank Joy very much for her presentation and participation and fielding all these questions. Thank you very much, Joy.

PROF. JOY DIXON: Well, thank you so much to all of you for this opportunity. It's been wonderful. My last thing I was working on a grant proposal for a new project on evangelicalism and sexuality. So this took me right to the other side of the pendulum. And it gave me some interesting things to think about. So thank you very much for this invitation and this opportunity.

CHARLES STANG: Thank you, Joy. And before we let you go, I just want to acknowledge that we had one question. Someone wants to find your book and I'm afraid to see us CSWR bought up the last three copies that were easily available. So I don't know how long it will take the various online bookstores to replenish their stock. So for those of you who want to order Joy's book, I'm sorry we have--

PROF. JOY DIXON: I discovered there are some PDFs out there that you can Google and find. If you're buying it as an e-book. Do not buy the Kindle one, it's an absolutely unreadable. Google Books has something that you can read, but email me and I will put you in touch with the PDFs--

CHARLES STANG: There you have it.

PROF. JOY DIXON: --out there.

CHARLES STANG: All right. Well, thank you once again, Joy. This was a wonderful way to kick off this series and really gave us a map that will help us, I think plot many of the other presentations and conversations we intend to have. And thank you so much Mimi and Hadi for your wonderful questions.

And again, those of you who are going to follow this series, you will see more of Mimi and Hadi and less of me as the series goes on. I want to remind everyone that well, the next event in the TNT initiative is actually not this series but in the nosiology series on Wednesday, October 13 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM, so middle of the day we're experimenting with different times to reach different audiences.

We'll be hosting well our colleague Giovanna Pompeani will be speaking with Susan Greenwood. And the topic of their conversation will be exploring magical consciousness as a form of knowledge. So very much in nosiology theme.

So, once again let me invite you, if you found this at all interesting and engaging, please follow-- sign up for our newsletter and you'll have a sense of all that we will be offering this year. Joy, it's always a pleasure to see you and to learn from you. I loved your book. I'm absolutely fascinated and a little disturbed by some of the characters in it.

Francis Swiney is really something. Wow. . She's with me for a while but anyway it's a real treasure trove of interesting characters. All right, friends. Goodnight and once again thank you Joy and good luck with all that you have on your plate.

PROF. JOY DIXON: Thank you. I look forward to the future of the series. It looks like it's going to be great.

CHARLES STANG: It's going to be fun.

PROF. JOY DIXON: Thank you.

CHARLES STANG: All right. Goodnight, everyone. Take care.

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SPEAKER 1: Copyright 2021. President Fellows of Harvard College.