ABSTRACT

I always thought of Paganism as being a form of anti-establishment activity … My entire life has been about goading, prodding, and exposing the pus-lled underbelly of the established social status quo. (Genesis Breyer P-Orridge 2001: 122)

Several years ago, working with sociological ideas relating to secularization and sacralization – particularly those related to “the cultic milieu” articulated by Colin Campbell (1972) – I developed a theory about what I had begun referring to as “occulture” (Partridge 2004, 2005). I had come across the term in George McKay’s excellent Senseless Acts of Beauty (McKay 1996: 51-2; see also Partridge 2004: 67-8). I was fairly sure that the term predated McKay’s casual comment, but couldn’t quite remember where I had heard it before. I was aware that it had begun to gain some currency within the occult community in the late 1980s. I was also aware of a small festival simply entitled “Occulture” that had been established in Brighton, England in 2000, in order – so Justin Hankinson, one of the organizers, told me – “to protect the rights and interests of people working in the esoteric domain”. When I asked Hankinson about the origin of the term, he suggested that it was most likely to have been coined by Genesis P-Orridge (Neil Andrew Megson), the founder of the experimental ritual magick network ee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY). I immediately realized that this was where I had come across it before.