Aaron Michael Ullrey

MA Yoga Studies
Sanskrit Language I-IV, MA Thesis Support

Though Protestant Christian by ethnicity, I am professionally confused by South Asian religions, and I am generally confused by the paranormal catalysts that drive religious experiences.

The journey to knowledge and mastery is never complete, guided by questions whose answers create further questions.  Certainties grasped rarely last as new data emerge. Methodologically, I juxtapose textual and historical data to generate insights; insights shape research, distilled into argument; argument supported by evidence is scholarship.  My research archives span Sanskrit, Hindi, and Tibetan language sources affiliated with tantra in  Śaivisms, Jainisms, Buddhisms, and Islams.

My longtime practice of eclectic esoteric traditions East and West informs a rabid curiosity about pragmatic ritual actions­­—i.e., magic rituals—that manipulate the material world and shape human experiences; events in ritual microcosms alter drama enfolding in the world.  Focusing primarily on magic tantras, especially the Uḍḍ-corpus, I translate actions, ingredients, and results to reveal social history, material cultures, and transactional relationship with deities.  Magic rituals exist in all religious traditions, but I primarily focus on Hinduisms and Jainisms; that said, ritual analogues from the Hellenistic world, medieval Europa, and contemporary occultism shape my interpretations.

  • Borkataky-Varma Sravana and A. Michael Ullrey.Living Folk Religions. Routledge 2023.  This co-edited volume explores folk rituals, traditions, and lore around the world.
  • “Diseased Rites: Magic Tantras and Deployed Illness” Religious Responses to the Pandemic. Routledge, 2023. Ill-intentioned sorcerers’ magic operations are a cause of illness, but rites to address this danger confer supernatural health.
  • “Magic Rituals”, Jacobsen Knut A et al.Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Brill, 2023.  An overview of often hostile and sometimes fanstastic ritual operations in Hindu tantras.
  • “Asceticism”, “Bahubali Affair”, “Anup Mandal”, “Digambara and Shvetambara”, “Tirthankara”, “Mahavira”. Religious Violence Today: Faith and Conflict in the Modern World. ABC-CLIO,  Entries introduce key elements of Jainism with a focus on violence.
  • Grim Grimoires: Pragmatic Ritual in the Magic Tantras. UC Santa Barbara, PhD dissertation.

I am available for public speaking, university teaching, professional editing services, and tarot reading. I provide free consultations for tattoos utilizing Tibetan and South Asian scripts.


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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

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