Marty Laubach

Marty Laubach is the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Marshall University who studies the sociological processes of knowledge, science, and religion - in particular as they intersect in spiritual experiences. He has been a long time friend of ACE and Chameleons, and an active participant in the Neopagan community. He is one of the founders of the Crystal Serpent (a Bloomington, IN ritual Magick group) and the Bloomington CUUPs chapter. He was an elder of the ELF Lore Family from 1985 to 1992 and editor of the Elven Chronicles newsletter, and has co-organized major rituals (with Bete Cabal) at past WinterStar Symposiums and ELF Fests. He has published articles on a number of issues relevant to American Neo-Paganism including how Neo-Pagans "do" and use experiences of psychism.

Spirits vs Psychology

Many of the practices of the American Neo-Pagan community involve dealings with spirits. These are regarded as separate conscious entities that inhabit a "spirit world" that has a mutual influence relationship with the physical world. Some groups in the community, however, use the terminology and concepts of "spirits" while taking an agnostic or atheist view of them, "psychologizing" the practices through a model that assumes we are only working with separate aspects of our own subconscious. This workshop explores the implications of each approach: If there are spirits, what is their nature and why would they want to work with us? If this is psychology, what are we hoping to get out of it, and is it effective? Please bring your ideas... Marty hopes not only to present some ideas, but to hear how people in our community "do" spirits.

The Methods of Science?

We like to think that spiritual experiences are more than a flight of fantasy, and can tell us something about ourselves and even about the world we live in. Sometimes the experience is so intense that we look for "real world" validation; but when we do, we are either told that we are delusional or we are given some explanation that leaves us with a taste of pseudoscience and psychobabble. This workshop will touch on this idea of validation and the challenge of Crowley's credo "the method of science, the aim of religion," and will explore what science can and can't tell us about spiritual experiences.

















Back to Top