Welcome to the website of The Traditional Cosmology Society. The Society is concerned with exploring myth, religion and cosmology across cultural and disciplinary boundaries and with increasing understanding of world views in the past and present. We are based in the department of Celtic and Scottish Studies of Edinburgh University. We hold meetings throughout the year, along with day conferences and an annual conference.Cosmos: The Journal of the Traditional Cosmology Society is published annually, in Edinburgh. 

To subscribe to the society please access pages here or via the button

The Traditional Cosmology Society is a registered charity in Scotland (Charity Number SC004052)


TCS Talk | Keepers of the Universe | March 22nd 2019

G.05, 50 George Square, Edinburgh |  17:30-19:00
Friday 22nd March

On Friday March 22nd, Dr Lucie Vinsova will give a public lecture entitled ‘Keepers of the Universe’. Dr Visnova is a Czech scholar hailing from Masaryk University in Brno, and has conducted fieldwork with various indigenous communities living in Colombia, both in the mountainous areas of the South West and in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in the North.

In her lecture, Dr Vinsova will describe the special relationship these ethnic groups have with water. She will explain how indigenous communities in those areas have always appreciated the crucial role played by water in ensuring the well-being of their society and life in general. Indeed, the notion of human responsibility in managing such precious resource can be traced in a number of water-related myths: Dr Visnova will provide insight into various mythological and cosmological motifs, all linked to the importance of water.

She will also comment on more recent developments, however. With páramos (alpine tundra ecosystems, which constitute the main source of water in the Colombian Andean areas) now continuously threatened by mining industries, and with climate- and civilization- related changes altering the delicate cycle of water, members of those communities – she will argue – are increasingly struggling to fulfil their cultural obligations as “Keepers of the Universe”.


Vinsova - Keepers of the Universe

TCS Talk | The Meaning of Maya Myths | March 23rd 2018


G.01, 50 George Square, Edinburgh |  17:30-19:00
Friday 23rd March

In his lecture, Professor Aleksandar Bošković will examine the ways in which the Classic Maya have been studied, and the issue of whether it is possible to trace any analogies with the present-day Maya. The Classic Maya built a fascinating civilization, whose belief-system centred on in the inevitability of change, as well as on a complex set of deities and spirits. The rulers had a special place in this microcosm, as they were believed to be direct descendants of the deities responsible for each city-state. Recent advancements in the decipherment of ancient Maya writing have enabled us to gain unprecedented insights into the structure and organization of their societies and spiritual tenets.

Aleksandar Bošković is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Belgrade (Serbia) and at the UDG (Montenegro), and Director of Research at the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade. He has an MA in Anthropology from Tulane University (New Orleans), and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including Mesoamerican Religions and Archaeology (Oxford, 2017), Individualism (Belgrade, 2017), and Other Peoples’ Anthropologies (New York, 2008)

Meaning of Maya Myths poster small.jpg

TCS Talk | Itinerancy and Afterlife | February 2nd 2018

G.05, 50 George Square, Edinburgh | 17:30-19:00
Friday 2nd February 2018

Professor Peter Jackson is director of History of religions at the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender studies at Stockholm University. He specialises in the philological study of Indo-European religions, with a special emphasis on ancient Indian and Iranian religions, the religions of ancient Greece and Rome, and Old Norse religion. He has also undertaken the daunting comparative task of exploring how recurrences in the earliest cultic and heroic poetry of ancient India, Iran, Greece, and the Germanic world may provide clues to the common past of these traditions.

In his lecture, Prof. Jackson will examine the mutual dependence between a rudimentary warrior elite and increasingly specialized suppliers of ritual in proto Indo European society. He will explore deep layers of comparative evidence, in order to demonstrate the means by which patron-client relationships in ancient Greece, pre-Achaemenid Iran, and Vedic India paved the way for new notions and sensibilities, including theoretical means of living and the promise of a happy afterlife. Special attention will be drawn to the names and mythical characterizations of Orpheus and the Vedic so-called R̥bhus (r̥bhú- [pl. r̥bhávaḥ]) as idealized projections of the itinerant poet-priest.

TCS Talk | Michal Schwarz | 1st December 2017

Location: Meadows Lecture Theatre, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh.
Date: Fri 01/12/2017
Time:    17:45 – 19:00

Speaker: Michal Schwarz (Masaryk University, Czech Republic)

The Moon in Selected East Asian Folk Tales.  Cosmologies and deities of the moon in selected East Asian languages, traditions and folk tales

Michal’s lecture will focus on examples of folk tales from less known variants of East Asian traditions: for example, a cosmogonic local tale from the Korean Jeju island, and then ethnic Vietnamese and Mường folk tales about deities of the moon. Beside the cosmological complexity of topics in these relatively brief folk tales, the lecture will deal with the historical development of the respective religious traditions through selected theonyms and their use. Finally, Michal will compare Vietnamese syncretic motifs with their counterparts in Indian and Chinese source-traditions.


Forthcoming lecture

Please note that the date has changed for the lecture by Jelka Vince

Jelka Vince, Ivo Pilar Institute. Czech Republic 
The Proto-Slavic Pre-Christian Ritual Scenario of a Međimurje  Wedding as an Imitation of the Divine Wedding

Tuesday 5th December.
Room G.02, 19 George Sq


Fruitfulness and fertility are widely represented symbolically in wedding traditions. The objective of this paper is to examine a wedding comedy from the Međimurje folklore titled “Baba Went Mushroom Picking” from a angle, which is to say as a document of a nonliterate culture, a source and path to the fragmentary reconstruction of former religious systems. Specifically, the paper hopes to reconstruct the vestiges of a Proto-Slavic ritual scenario, on the basis of which the Međimurje wedding could be connected with divine weddings as paradigmatic models for all weddings. The paper also raises the crucial question of whether this performative form also provides insight into pre-Christian wedding traditions, and into the ritual wedding scenario as a repetition of the sacred divine wedding.




Event: Day Conference: Spiritualities and the Sacredness of the Divine Feminine and Masculine.

Organisers: Jointly organised by the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP, Scottish Charity, SC038996, and the Traditional Cosmology Society.

Presenters and Facilitators: Sara Bonner-Morgan, Lilian Helen Brzoska, MaryCatherine Burgess, Claudia Goncalves, Margot Daru-Elliott, Emma Dymock, Mark Halliday, Lucy Iredale, Morag Liebert, Louise Milne, Mandy Peat, Jenny Williams (tbc), and Jonathan Wyatt.

Venue: Sanctuary, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.
Date: Saturday 14 October 2017.
Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am. Day Conference: 10am-5pm.
Event Description: This Day Conference will look at issues associated with the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine.


Day Conference:

Spiritualities and the Sacredness of the Divine Feminine and Masculine.


Jointly organised by the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace,

EICSP, Scottish Charity, SC038996, and the Traditional Cosmology Society.

Venue: Sanctuary, Augustine United Church,

41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.

Date: Saturday 14 October 2017.

Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am.

Day Conference: 10am-5pm.

 Cost: Day Conference: £25/£20 (Concessions/£10 (Students). For a Registration Form:
Contact: Neill Walker, mesp2017@hotmail.com, 0131 331 4469.

For more information please follow this link.

2017 Annual Conference of the International Association for Comparative Mythology

we are happy to draw your attention to the Annual Conference of the International Association for Comparative Mythology, which this year will take place at our home base, here in Edinburgh, from June 8th to June 10th.

The conference, which recently announced its call for papers, picked a rather intriguing primary theme for this edition: ‘Creatures of the Night: Mythologies of the Otherworld and Its Denizens’. Papers may also also include Myth, State and Nationalism, as well as ‘free topic’ submissions.

Further information will be posted regarding locations nearer the time.