Workshops and Talks

Book me! I am a fun workshop presenter, I sign books, I teach stuff, and I make people laugh and learn at the same time. Here are topics I’m currently interested in presenting. If you’re pining for something you don’t see here, we can discuss the possibilities.

These presentations run from one to three hours. Please contact me for arrangements. I would be happy to get a press kit or more information to you. I live in the vicinity of New York City and can most easily travel locally but, hey, you never know…

Talks on Divination and Psychic Arts

Introduction to the Tarot
What is the tarot, where does it come from, and how does it work? (1 1/2 to 2 hours)

Tarot Interactions
Based on material from my book of the same name. What is a tarot interaction? How do cards interact with each other? What is the language cards are speaking? Bring your deck! (2 hours)

Becoming Psychic
Many people struggle with being more intuitive, psychic, or perceptive. In fact, most people see themselves either as “headblind” (not at all psychic) or too psychic–flooded with unwelcome perceptions that can be debilitating. This class is designed to help anyone be more psychic while also being able to manage the ability. We will talk about the barriers to being psychic and ways to overcome them. We’ll discuss specific techniques, both in a situation when being psychic is called for (like giving a reading) and on your own. We’ll delve into how using a divinatory tool such as tarot can help. (1 1/2 to 2 hours)

Talks on Ritual & Magic

 

Spellcasting 101
(1 1/2 or 2 hours) What is a spell? How does it work? How do you create spells to achieve goals? How do you know if you should or could do a particular spell for a particular reason? Let’s dig in and get magical! Based on material in my books, Magical Power for Beginners, and The Way of Four Spellbook.

The Structure of Spellcasting
Parts One through Three below can be presented as individual workshops, or as two or three parts of one and one-half or two hours, or as a day-long intensive.

Both for beginners to magic and to those who wish to fine-tune their craft. What makes a spell work? What impedes its progress? What are the preconditions for a spell to succeed? How do the magician, the target, the goal, and the Gods affect a spell? Magic is an integral part of many of our lives, yet much of the magic we do is left unanalyzed. By looking closely at what does and doesn’t work, we can improve our spells. Based on material in my books, Magical Power for Beginners, and The Way of Four Spellbook.

Part One: Magical Power
(1 1/2 or 2 hours)–Covers the nature of magic, sources of power, and raising power. Different power-raising techniques are covered.
Part Two: The Structure of Spellcasting
(1 1/2 or 2 hours)–Covers constructing spells to take advantage of power sources, the basic outline of spells, building spells around an outline, deciding when to do spells and when not to do spells, and disposing of spells.
Part Three: Putting Spells Together
(1 1/2 or 2 hours)–When Part Three is scheduled at an event, Part Two will close with homework, allowing students to come back to Part Three with their own proposed spells. We’ll go over various spells brought by students for discussion and figure out what will work and why, and how to tinker to improve spells. (Prereq.: Part 2)

The Structure of Wiccan Ritual
A discussion of the underlying structure that permeates and creates the Wiccan circle. Each step of ritual — calling the quarters, casting the circle, cakes and wine — has a reason for being there, and for being before the next step and after the previous one! This talk is based on material in my book The Elements of Ritual.

Preparing for Ritual
Before ritual can begin there are all manner of factors to consider, and all manner of preparations to be made. After considering the location, size, experience, and purpose of the rite, you must prepare everything from fire safety to spiritual readiness. This talk discusses virtually every pre-ritual step in depth, and is adapted from my book The Elements of Ritual.

Talks on Wicca and Paganism

Who are the Gardnerians and Why are They Nekkid?
This is an introduction to the first Wiccan tradition to reach North America. Less visible today than 30 years ago, Gardnerian Wicca remains incredibly influential in the history of Wicca and modern Paganism. Gardnerians are controversial, sometimes condemned, sometimes dismissed, sometimes admired, and sometimes despised. Known to keep secrets, many wonder what they have to hide. Known to engage in controversial practices such as skyclad worship, many wonder what’s going on in those circles anyway! This workshop introduces the basic history, outlines the major controversies about that history, and directly addresses the misconceptions and questions about the tradition and its practitioners. Lively, interactive, and blunt.

Starting a Pagan or Wiccan Group
This will cover many of the issues that arise in a group’s first year or so of existence. Topics will include, contact, screening and networking, safety, a syllabus of classes for beginners and others, book lists, projects, and group dynamics.

Talks on the Elements

The Elements of Ritual
How are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water present in the Wiccan circle? What meaning do they have in the ceremony? How does our understanding of the four elements improve our understanding of ritual? This talk is based on material in my book The Elements of Ritual.

The Way of Four 
What are the four elements? Where do they come from and why are they so important to occultists? What part do they play in our personalities and day to day lives? This talk is lively, with lots of questions and answers as we each discover the parts of ourselves that are earthy, fiery, watery and airy. This talk is based on material in my book The Way of Four.

Talks on Gods and Myth

The Nature of Deity–Who or What are Gods? 
How can we understand deity? Are gods merely aspects of The One? Are gods beings with thoughts and feelings? A down- to-earth discussion that even the non-metaphysical can appreciate. The talk reviews major types of Pagan theology (monism, henotheism, hard and soft polytheism, and more) and the major god-concepts within modern Wicca and Paganism.

How to Worship the Gods 
How are Gods approached? What is the “worship bargain?” How do we relate to, and form relationship with, deity? What kinds of deity relationships are possible? This workshop can work well as Part II of “The Nature of Deity” or it can stand alone.

Snow White, the Wicked Witch, and Female Power
This discussion applies an understanding of ancient mythology and archetypal imagery to one of the best-known fairy tales in the world. In his cartoon classic, Walt Disney captured an essential image of women and witchcraft in Western culture. We examine what Snow White and the Wicked Witch tell us about cultural views of female goodness and female evil, female sexual emergence, and female magic. Not for women only!

The Hero’s Journey in The Rocky Horror Picture Show
When The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released as a midnight movie in 1976, it created an unprecedented and startling cult phenomenon. Not merely the product of a sex- and drug-crazed era, Rocky Horror embodies mythic truths as powerfully as any ancient hero tale. This discussion will examine Rocky Horror’s images and symbols, and compare them to to examples from ancient Pagan myth. We hope this presentation will be as fun as its source material, while showing the serious side that has captured two generations of fanatics.