LECTURE: The Arte and Role of Flora and Entheogens in Shape-Shifting
Ritual chanting undulates into a cacophony of whines and howls, echoes between the trees amongst the thicket where the only iridescence looms over clandestine activities like a pale dead eye. Shadows twist and flux becoming something born anew. Throughout history, the utilization of plants as talismans, medicinal cures, or for baneful reasons has been associated with infamy to sorcerers and witches alike, highlighted through tales of pacts with eldritch creatures, bargains with devils and a whole slew of transfigurations as punishments. Very few of these connections occur in literature and lore with as much fervent frequency as those with witches and werewolves. The place of the shapeshifter within most societies often parallels claims of witchcraft and devilry, what social or spiritual phenomena is it that these two concepts are blurred together? Through this presentation, we will explore these historical mentions and applications of shape-shifting by use of plants, oils, devices, and unguents as they have progressed from folktale warnings to avoid the forests at night, to modern animistic cults that employ poisonous practices to better understand the human animal. This presentation will also detail some of the most (and lesser) known plants tied with folklore surrounding shape-shifting, as well as different cultural beliefs, practices, and reasons for changing one’s shape, and becoming more of the animal within.
Biography Vex Blòðstjarna has been a self-taught occultist for over twenty years, focusing on totemic animal spirits and the Norse mysteries. His practice ties indigenous animism from his surroundings in Eastern Washington and from familial roots of Scandinavian hunting rituals. Vex is a tinkerer, Mead-Brewer, distiller, wild crafter and the primitive theurge and skin carver of Ars Feralis. Vex has studied the Prima level of alchemy at the Spagyricus Institute and is an artist of the bones, skins, roots, and flowers of the animal and plant spirits that he venerates, as well as a crafter of Neolithic stone tools. Vex is well versed in runes and other Northern European practices and is a former member of a well-known rune guild, as well as a 2nd degree Mason. Vex likes fire and spending time overlooking the river, exploring the forests and enjoying the company of his four-legged companions.