Spiritual Heritages of Ancient Europe
We'll retrace what can be reconstructed of goddess reverence, sacred dance, chant, and female rituals; of women as seers, healers, and priestessses. We also track an interwoven strand: patriarchal demotion and repression of women's power. This first course centers on ancient southern and western Europe, surveying archaeology, the written record, legal codes, art, linguistic evidence, and folklore. We'll use images and excerpts from my forthcoming book Secret History of the Witches, with discussion (see left panel).
Course overview: Here is a rough outline of topics we'll cover this year.
(The order may change, and we will spend more time than one week on some topics. )
I Searching for Diana and other ancient Italian goddesses: Ops, Uni, Bona Dea, Feronia, Ceres
II Women's Mysteries in a patriarchal context. Hecate, Circe, Medea, and Greek witches. Fenta Fauna, the Bona Dea, appropriation and repression
III What about Danu? Mothers of the waters, and the Tuatha Dé Danann. Broad Indo-European patterns, river goddesses, and linguistic perplexes.
IV Banfaith, druidae, and seeresses of ancient Eire, Gaul, and Britain
V Celtic Goddesses in the Roman era: Healing springs. Serpents, horses, deer, bears, dogs, and ducks. Altars to the Matronae, Epona, Sirona, Rosmerta, and many others.
VI Goddesses in Irish literature and folk tradition: Anu, mother of the gods. Morrigan, Macha, Babd. Bóand. Buí. Eriu, Fodla, Banba. Flidais. Medb.
And more to be determined, hopefully we'll have time to go into early medieval Pagan tradition and church-state repression ...
Images at top: Horned British goddess with distaff; golden lunula torque; the archaic willow-branch temple of the fire goddess Vesta; Isis devotee in Roman empire; "Mater Deum," the Anatolian Mother of the Gods: Medea in the Phrygian cap of the Amazons riding her dragon chariot into the heavens