Today I became a full member of the Societas Magica (not to be confused with the Magic Circle), which is an academic society dedicated to the historical study of magic. It was founded in 1994 by Richard Kieckhefer, Claire Fanger and Robert Mathiesen, all of whom have pioneered the serious study of magic and, in particular, ceremonial magic in the Middle Ages and early modern period. I drifted into an academic interest in magic owing to my interest in exorcism and its liturgies, which were often taken over verbatim by magicians. Indeed, exorcism and magic are arguably indistinguishable activities.
Today I have also learnt that I will be a speaker at the University of York’s Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS) on 5 March 2015, when there is a one-day conference on ‘Magic in Intellectual History’. It looks as though I am to be part of a panel entitled ‘Reformation, Religion and Magic’ and my paper is entitled ‘Liturgical Change and Ceremonial Magic in Reformation England’. I am especially honoured to be speaking on the same panel as Prof. Frank Klaassen of the University of Sasketchwan, President of the Societas Magic and one of the foremost scholars of the area.