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)

Forthcoming Talk


The Astrological Worldview’

Dr Jane Ridder-Patrick

Thursday 3 December 2015
Main Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh College of Art (Old Building)

Start time: 5.00pm



Astrology – the astronomical_clockcorrelation of events and movements in the heavens with events and qualities on earth – has been practised by every major civilisation since time immemorial and despite being banished from Western mainstream culture in the late seventeenth century it still flourishes today, albeit as a marginalised practice. This talk will investigate the secret of astrology’s tenacity and explore the astrological worldview, demonstrating how it has been used over the years and some of its present day applications.


Shamanism and Cunning Folk
Traditional and Modern Perspectives                                  shaman

31st October 2015

Edinburgh College of Art, Main Building, J.05



10:00 – 10:30: Registration and tea / coffee

10:30: Louise Milne University of Edinburgh
The Restructuring of the Self in Shamanic Visions

11:15: Jenny Butler University College Cork
Cunning Folk in the Irish Context: Wise Women,
Fairy Doctors and the Consequences of Contact with the Otherworld

12:00: Magnus Course University of Edinburgh
Changelings: alterity beyond difference

12:45 – 14:00: Lunch break

14:00: Maria Magdolna Tatár Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, Oslo
Fighting Evil in Rivalry between Lamas and Shamans

14:45: Lidia Guzy University College Cork
Gurumai tradition of Koraput: Shamanism of Middle India

15:30: James Kapalo University College Cork
“This dream is the dream of the Mother of God” Dreaming and Charming in Contemporary Gagauziya

16:15 – 17:30: Discussion

New session – 1st Talk

22 September 2014

Conference Room, 27 George Square

5.15 pm

Speaker: Martha McGill

Subject:  “The Folkloric Ghost in Early Modern Scotland.”


From the ethereal wraith to the corpse-like revenant, the ghosts of

early modern Scotland varied widely. This talk will explore the

diverse roles they played in popular culture, making use of the

fragmentary evidence from ballads, court records, pamphlet literature

and folklorists’ accounts. It will consider the differences between

Lowland and Highland ghosts, and look at how ghosts intertwined with

phenomena such as witches, fairies and second sight apparitions. Elite

discourses on ghosts evolved significantly between the Reformation and

the nineteenth century, and the talk will also analyse how (or

whether) popular stories changed as a result. An under-researched

topic, ghosts offer a valuable window into early modern religion and

folk culture.


Martha McGill is a fourth-year PhD History student, working on a

thesis entitled ‘Ghosts in Enlightenment Scotland’.

Afterwards will going for dinner at Vittoria on George IV Bridge and

attendees of the talk are most welcome to join us.