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Chapter 5 - Occult Ecology and the Decadent Feminism of Moina Mathers and Florence Farr

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 December 2021

Dennis Denisoff
Affiliation:
University of Tulsa
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Summary

In her writings, Vernon Lee at times formulates the spirit of place as a transhistorical, gynocentric paganism, but a number of her contemporaries took on a more explicit consideration of the pagan as a site of feminist self-realization. Chapter 5 turns fromworks about the spirit of moving through place to works addressing another form of movement: actual pagan ritual. Enmeshed within both the London decadent community and New Woman politics, Moina Mathers and Florence Farr were also among the most influential occultists of the pagan revival. These two leaders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn developed ecological models in which human-centred measures of space and time are replaced by an understanding of the self as an evanescent engagement within an occult ecology. Taking a lesson from painter Frederick Sandys, this chapter is not about searching for occult symbols in decadent art or literature. Rather, it addresses the decadent spirit within occult works aimed, in part, at destabilizing modern gender inequality.

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Decadent Ecology in British Literature and Art, 1860–1910
Decay, Desire, and the Pagan Revival
, pp. 140 - 173
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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