David Keenan is the critically-acclaimed author of five novels, the cult classic This Is Memorial Device (Faber & Faber), For The Good Times (Faber & Faber), which won the Gordon Burn Prize 2019, The Towers The Fields The Transmitters (White Rabbit), Xstabeth (White Rabbit) and Monument Maker (White Rabbit), the latter a 900 page monolith released in June of 2021. He is also the co-designer, alongside the illustrator Sophy Hollington, of his own tarot deck, the Autonomic Tarot, published by Rough Trade Books.
Topics covered in talks include the mechanics of fiction, how to write, the importance of faith and awe in the arts, the re-enchanting of the world through literature, channeling inspiration, violence, heroism and masculinity, as well as post-punk, Industrial and DIY music strands (he worked as a music journalist for 25 years).
He is also available for tarot readings, both one-to-one and groups, as well as tarot and magickal talks and workshops.
Magic is Real
The acclaimed novelist David Keenan has been a student of world religion, spirituality, magick, ritual and the occult for over three decades. In this talk he brings all of his experiences as a magician using literature, music, poetry and ritual in order to move beyond language and enter the magic of the moment. Enlightenment is not something that happens up ahead, in time, Keenan insists, it is not something that has to be earned or qualified for, in fact it does not exist in the world of ideas at all, really. Ideas change, and they come and go, ideas do not remain, what remains is the impossible magic of the moment. Talking about his own moments of profound spiritual transformation, as well as the positive – and negative – experiences of working within various initiatory traditions – from membership of an esoteric Sufi sect through a key role in the Ordo Templi Orientis (aka Aleister Crowley’s re-formed OTO) – David describes his own path to enlightenment without ever falling back on cliched supernatural explanations or demanding any level of belief in any particular system whatsoever. Magic is real, he insists, and is open to everyone right now, and it means much more than simply trading one set of beliefs for another. It involves a profound surrender of everything you believed yourself to be, a surrender that Keenan believes was facilitated, finally, by his deep engagement with writing fiction.
Tarot is Alive
David Keenan has been a student of tarot for three decades and has been reading the cards for groups and individuals as well as running tarot workshops all around the globe. For this talk, which can be a workshop or based around a night of individual readings, Keenan walks you through his own explanations for just how tarot works, how it requires no supernatural explanation whatsoever, how it is not ‘predictive’ in the traditional sense in which it is read, but how it speaks to possibility and the moment. The cards can also be very powerful ways of exposing and dissembling limited ‘identities’ that prevent full participation in the magic of the moment. Alongside the illustrator Sophy Hollington, Keenan designed his own tarot deck, the Autonomic Tarot (Rough Trade Books) and as part of the talk he discusses how his understanding of the tarot was enlarged by making and reading from his own, highlighting what particular cards often signify, as well as his experiences of the undeniable magic of the deck across the years. Drawing on poetry, literature, painting and music, he re-frames the tarot in a totally new way that speaks directly to the modern experience.