Part III of current course resumes Jan 3, 2014
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Secret History of the Witches III:
Pagans, Conversion, and Culture Wars
in early medieval Western Europe
The 2014 session of Part III goes into tribal and early feudal Europe, especially the status of women in law and custom, how the sexual double standard was enforced, and ethnicity, slavery, and serfdom. We'll look at conversion to christianity (mostly by royal decree) and the repression used to enforce it, as well as resistance from pagan peoples. We'll reconstruct aspects of pagan tradition (sanctuaries, deities, ceremonies, festivals, symbols) from what bishops and missionaries wrote in their attempts to stamp it out, examining their war on pagan culture. We'll examine royal and ecclesiastical laws against pagans and witches, with readings and discussions on women's herbs, knots and contraception, on traditions about spiritually powerful women among the Goths, Czech, Franks, Lombards and others. We'll also discuss the not-so-Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne, his invasions of Basque and Saxon lands, and persecutions of their pagan cultures. Finally we'll look at the sexual politics of witchcraft, marriage, divorce, and the convent around 800 CE.
Read more about what the course covers here.
Norse, Baltic or Slavic traditions will be covered in future courses, since for our timeframe (500-850 CE) the record is slim.
Subscribers to this course will receive the first previews of early volumes in Max Dashu's (unpublished) Secret History of the Witches (see book outline). We'll go into more than will be possible to publish in the print edition.
HOW THE ONLINE COURSE WORKS:
It's conducted through the Veleda listserv, a private yahoo group for subscribers. Articles, images, commentary, discussion, and links to other online resources are sent to you by email. You access these materials at your own pace, at any time convenient for you, and participate in discussion as you desire. Don't worry about schedules or meeting times: there aren't any, except for occasional real-time webcasts of slideshows. There are no grades, no required papers, and no credits for this course. You are invited to contribute your insights, comments, questions, and relevant resources -- but this is up to you.
One month's subscription is $31. (No refunds.) For a reduced rate of $25/month, you can prepay your sub for three months or more (but keep in mind the hiatus from Nov. 1- Jan 3.) Low-income scholarship subs are available; please honor our intention of making the course accessible to women who are truly low income. If you would like to be a Sustainer, sponsoring a low-income subscribe while also contributing toward the Suppressed Histories Archives, you can contribute $50. a month and in thanks, receive a signed poster or print of your choice.
You can join the course at any time. You are not required to sign up for the entire course, but can subscribe month to month, and sign off whenever you want. This session runs from Jan through April 2014.
The webcasts are live slideshows on your computer screen; I show images and comment on them; you are invited to ask questions and comment live. You can either speak via headset mic (if you have one) or phone-in (VOIP) Or you can type in questions/comments via the webcast interface we use. There are computer system requirements to be able to join the webcast. See webcast info link in column at upper left.
All course webcasts are announced via the Veleda listserv. Two or three showings (of the same visual presentation) will be offered to accommodate time zones of all participants. (Other non-course webcasts will also be offered on other topics, by separate one-off subscriptions. Descriptions of these will be linked at Webcast Schedule at the upper left column of this page.)
You get access to all course discussion logs and files, including those for the two previous courses, for as long as you are subscribed. There is a condition for access to the old course logs: Yahoogroups now requires people to create a Yahoo ID and give a mobile phone number to access the web interface where the message logs are stored. You can however participate in the Veleda listserve (through which the readings, discussion, and course business all happen) without a Yahoo ID. The webcasts are run through a different service which has nothing to do with Yahoo.
This video summarizes some of the topics covered in the first two courses.
When it's time for you to renew, use the Subscription link on this page. I'll post it periodically on the listserv. Looking forward to having you join us.
Drummers, dreamers, diviners. Oracles, seers, and prophets. Medicine women, healers, curanderas, and herbalists.
Women who invoke spirit. Rainmakers. Ecstatic dancers, shapeshifters, sky-goers. A global view of female shamans, from chant and sacramental dance to shamanic flight and animal spirits.
View trailer for the double disc video
"Woman is by nature a shaman," says a Chukchee proverb of northeast Asia. Many ethnic traditions say that the first shaman was female. Experience this expansive visual record of female shamans worldwide, from ancient times to the present. We'll look at Saharan and South African rock art, Greek ceramic paintings, Aztec manuscripts, Chinese bronzes, clay sculptures from ancient Ecuador and Iraq, soapstone sculptures from Alaska and ivory from Greenland, and modern photos from around the world. We'll discuss articles, books, incantations, psychic technologies, cosmologies, and video clips about holy women and curanderas. We'll talk about broad patterns and local specifics, about repression by patriarchal lords and colonial masters, cultural resistance and resurgence. More.
The information in this course is based on decades of study and practice,
with profound respect and a desire to foreground the authentic guardians
of the ancient cultural traditions.